Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It Was A Very Small Knife, Your Honor

I have been preparing my program's annual workplan, due on Friday, in which I am required to set out in detail, quarter by quarter, how we are going to meet all of the deliverables for the next grant year. Note that we have not yet been told how much money we are getting, only that it will be less than last year.  Further note that we have not been given the deliverables list.  Note also that budget is due the 31st AND this grant provides about 85% of my program's funding.  No grant = no job.

So I am attempting to create a plan that 1) will be specific enough to meet all of the as-yet unnamed grant criteria while 2) remaining unspecific enough that I don't actually have to commit any resources until 3) I know how much money we are going to get, after which 4) I shall probably have less than a week to figure out how the promised dollars are actually going to be spent.  This exercise, consisting as it does of equal parts creative writing, fiscal mendacity, and divination, has taken up most of my time for the past two days.  I have been here six years and it happens Every.  Damned.  Year.

Today is a senior staffer's birthday and her team has covered the floor of her office with brightly-colored balloons.  Shortly after my lunch hour, which I spend on a conference call during which a Federal person explains how the continuous quality improvement process will allow me to reach all of my program goals, I take out my Swiss Army knife, open it, and tape it securely to the ferrule of my umbrella.  I then walk down the hall to the senior staffer's room and harpoon a dozen of her balloons in quick succession. 

My colleague remains seated behind her desk wearing a carefully neutral expression.

Me:  I needed to do that.

UPDATE 5/24/15:  We finally got the budget.  One week after the workplan was due.


Sam said...

The fact that your co-worker said nothing speaks loudly that a)you are a person doing a sucky job to the best of her abilities and b)wondering why she didn't think of this sooner. You have my utmost sympathies.

Lady Anne said...

Do you ever travel to Washington? Maybe we can miss a balloon and hit a, senator. or something. (And CIA, if you're listening, I'm only kidding.)