No Fancy Name
Friday, May 27, 2005
why I got that second bachelor's degree (in business)
[Technically grades aren't in yet, but classes and finals are over so I'm done with the b-school. Below is why I did it in the first place. This bit of the story sort of follows the tale of why I came to California.]

I am not a big fan of the corporate world, never have been. My first co-owned business failed miserably for a number of reasons not the least of which was mutual stubbornness, lack of funds, and lack of a clear plan. We had a vision, and we had clients, but that's about it. While we were making a go at that business, we still worked "real" jobs—together, actually. She was my "manager" at that job. Eleven years later she's still my "manager" but at a different company—one that she and her partner and another person own. I put "manager" in quotes because I'm not an easily managed person and the only person who really invokes the authoritarian aspect of her position is me, when I'm being a jerk, as in "you're my fucking boss, you make the choice." Yeah, I'm a real peach to deal with. I still don't know why she does it.

But I digress.

The company where we originally worked together was run by more than a few idiots and tyrants. I have a problem with idiots and tyrants, as should most people. They had a problem with me. Well, with us, really—me, my buddy, her partner, some others. The idiots and tyrants one day decided to walk us out. Smooth move, removing the web-related portion of your company, when All Things Web were beginning to take off in these parts ('97-ish). Anyway, my cohorts went on and formed a company (the company I work for now, actually) and I went off and worked technical writing contracts for a few years because I wanted nothing to do with working on the technical aspect of things; I don't do well when beholden to people who lack clues with regards to development processes, etc and in the late '90s, many web-based things were built backwards, and many of them failed. I moved to Virginia for a year, worked in Richmond (on a project at Capital One which was headed by about a nightmarish waste of millions of dollars on projects spearheaded by managers lacking any semblance of a clue) and DC (for what would have been a cool job if—noticing a trend here?—the person in charge wasn't completely psychotic) and by 2000 I had my fill of the corporate world. Many years of working with and for complete idiots, with no sense of how to plan/operate/finish tasks, it just really got to me.

So I made up with my friends in California (we hadn't been pals for several years, for various stupid reasons) and came back to work with them. While my "manager" is by no means an idiot, the nature of our business almost requires that at some point we will work with some. Luckily, she deals with them directly and I don't have to, but that doesn't mean that we always win, and inevitably we have to do things which make so little sense that it's just...astonishing, really. One very large project was just this type of thing, and it caused a major rift between us. So much so that I left them and went off to build some other thing with the person referred to as Voldemort in this and other posts. That was a fucked up business arrangement, to say the least.

When I exited that, and went back to work with my buddies, I resolved to figure out just what it was that I was "missing" about the business world, the cause of what I perceived to be an industry-wide lack of proper business skills. In other words, I went to business school to figure out just what the hell people in management positions are taught that causes them to make such crappy decisions about projects, planning, organization, rules, timelines, ethics and so forth. One could say that I went to business school to learn how to interact with clients in a better way, but that would be untrue.

Here's what I found during the last three years: people in business are not actually taught to be idiots! Classes in business school actually teach you about organization, management, strategy, ethics, the relationship of businesses to society and so on and so forth. So, the grand experiment didn't actually give me any great insight into the people we deal with on a regular basis, but it did reinforce the things that I thought I knew about planning and processes, and taught me a few things that I did not. It also reminded me that I like literature so much more than business.

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