Saturday, June 1, 2013

Contracting and the Princess Bride

The week from hell ended on a really good note. A much better Friday, reconciliation with my manager so that we're on the same page, a productive day, an informative coffee with an old friend - all of this meant that a little bit of faith had been in my place of work (not that much, but I didn't feel like dry retching on entering the building). I also got to leave at five on the dot, go straight home where I met up with Gloria for a feets session and a spot of dinner. After that, I made my way to the local cinema and took in The Great Gatsby.

I know that there's a lot of detractors of the film, but I reckon Baz got it right. Tobey Maguire made a wonderful Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan was an ethereal Daisy and Leonardo Di Caprio was everything you'd expect from Gatsby and more. It did help that I read the book last week - and I reckon before you take on this film, get a copy and have a read. It's only 160 pages long - and it will make a lot of sense of a few things in the script that do grate a bit - but if you're read the book you'll find out that most of the words spoken in the film are present on the page. I like that. The sets, the costumes and the cinematography will put this in the Oscars. Definitely worth a look - but do read the book first.

Anyway, this morning, after meditation and a planning session with one of my Elks friends for the Most 'Orrible Property Committee, I had a strange thought. I get these now and then.

Contracting - or Consulting, is very much like the Princess Bride.

For those who haven't met me, or worked with me, you may not know how much I love "The Princess Bride". It's wonderful. In my last job there were four of us who could quote great chunks of it. Most of my friends can go into "Princess Bride Mode" at the mention of R.O.U.Ses, the Six Fingered Man, Prince Humperdinck and the use of a Holocaust Cloak.

But it really got me thinking, especially after the dire week I had last week. Contracting and the Princess Bride are very much aligned.

And this is why.

1. You end up saying, "As you wish." a lot of the time, even when you don't want to. And what happens in the movie often happens to you. (As you wish never means what it does in the movie either)

2. Workplaces often end up like some of the places the hapless trio end up. This one especially.

3. You often end up in battles you don't feel like fighting. 

(Everybody knows that you don't go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line. There are a lot of people like this about.)

4. Sometimes your work environment takes a bit of getting used to. And the locals are not always friendly.

5. It can take a while to get used to everybody's agendas. And when you find them out, it's not that great.

6. On the really bad days it can feel like your soul is being sucked away.

7. You might be called upon to be to be really creative in the face of adversity. And collaborate.

8. You may find yourself among very vocal detractors who cannot see the value of having your around.

9. Where you thought you were going isn't where you finally end up. It's about expectation management.

10. And there are times where you are required to perform miracles.

What do you reckon? One in the same?

I think I want to go watch this again. One of the best films ever made. It is life on celluloid.

(I'll leave you with Mandy Patinkin, who played Inigo Montoya. This interview made me cry. He's got it in one. Princess Bride fans, if you watch one video, make it this one.)

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