Ten months later he was assigned to his first Tiger Team. The team was brought on board to help complete the company's hottest and most important project.
Albert felt his contribution was minor because he was put on the project so late in the game, but because he crossed the finish line with the group, he was included in the recognition for the project's success. In fact, he even received special recognition for getting up to speed so quickly and helping out at the last minute.
That's why Albert's department head, Megan Godwine, had assigned Albert to be on this current project from the beginning. It was a terrific opportunity - one that would have normally been reserved for a more senior and experienced person. But Albert had established himself with his work on the first team and Megan felt this second team would be a great chance for him to proceed on the fast track. Megan seemed to genuinely want to see Albert succeed. She was the person who recruited him and urged him to come on board at UGAT. She was also a graduate of UNM and in fact had first learned about Albert through her old professors. As a department head, she was constantly on the lookout for top talent, and the professors knew it. They enthusiastically recommended Albert to her and Megan immediately recognized his potential. Now she offered him what she thought to be the opportunity of a lifetime and he wanted out.
What should I say when I meet with her in the morning? Albert asked himself. He and Megan had an appointment scheduled for 8:00 a.m. so he could debrief her on the project and how it was going.
Until now he had been looking forward to the meeting, confident he'd be able to tell her all about how he had reshaped the project direction and really made a difference. But now all he could think about was how to tell her he wanted a different assignment.
He couldn't work with these people. Not now. Not after they had completely humiliated him by rejecting his ideas without even so much as a hint of reasonable consideration. Why couldn't they just put their egos aside and listen, even just a little? Most of them had stopped listening in the first three minutes! There's no way she could expect him to take that. It was a sign of disrespect and an indication that they didn't want to work with him.
Maybe it's because I'm still one of the new people around here, he thought. But it's wrong for them to treat me that way, even if I am new. Besides, don't they get it? It's the ideas that matter, not me. I'll bet if any one of them had the same idea, they'd think it was great. They're just intimidated by someone my age being so far ahead of them. They're trying to teach me a lesson, make me pay my dues.
Well, they can have their lesson, he thought. Tomorrow when I meet with Megan, maybe I should just tell her to tell them that they can take that attitude and my job on this Tiger Team and shove it.
One thing he was certain of was that he was not going to let Megan think any of this was his fault. Even though he suspected that the knot in his stomach was at least partly caused by the knowledge that in some way he had provoked the team's reactions, he didn't want to admit that to Megan.
No, he thought. In as polite and respectful a manner as possible, I'll just ask her to take me off the team. Maybe there's another team with different people she can assign me to. But what I'd really like to do is work alone.
Reprinted from Winning Ways by Dick Lyles by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Dick Lyles. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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