Monday, April 06, 2009

Problem Solving

A meeting first thing on a Monday morning is pretty brutal, especially when it is early enough that the first cup of coffee isn't over and people expect a person to know what he is doing this week.
But this is an every Monday thing and I've taken to writing down my plans on a Post-It note on Friday so I can hand it to whoever sits next to me on Monday so that they can just read what I planned.
If there are questions, I can generally answer them. Or at least grunt knowingly, which seems to accomplish the same effect -- That of making the questions stop.
When the topic switched mid-meeting to why a co-worker was taking three days off this week, I snapped to full consciousness.
I've been fascinated for the past year with the wildlife dwelling in the greater metropolitan Columbia area.
I've seen foxes and deer and an otter, all without having to get out of range of a Starbucks.
But my co-worker is taking part of a week off to snake-proof her yard.
There is apparently a product called "Snake-A-Way" which is sprinkled around the perimeter of the yard. This prompted me to ask what would happen if the snake were already inside the perimeter. Would it be trapped there? Growing ever more hungry and bitter?
These questions were not well received, amazingly.
So I led the meeting into full-on problem-solving mode.
The take-away from this particular meeting is that there is no solution readily commercially available.
However, our official recommendation was for her to purchase an eagle or, depending on the local laws which we (admittedly) did not research, an owl.
When she said she owned little yippy dogs the solution of adding a large avian predator was even more appealing to some members of my team, while disregarded by a separate dog-loving faction which advocated burning the house to the ground and renting an upstairs apartment in the university district.
The other thing which came from the meeting was an action item for Management to reschedule the Monday meetings for after lunch for some reason.

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