Tuesday, November 29, 2005

SECOND TO LAST MEETING

I had a meeting at work today, the second-to-last before I become a stay-at-home dad.

We have a report that is 99% finished, but there is still the small matter of marketing it. In the context of publishing a government report -- which was not produced in a market, and will be available at no charge -- "marketing" means the decision about who will receive a copy.

I was actually impressed by the communications division of our agency. When someone requests information about a specific topic from our website, we attempt to collect their name and address. As we "market" our report, we decide which website topics the report fits into, plug that into a database, and out print labels with those names and addresses. Plug in the relevant Congressional committees, and out come the names of the staffers. We have the addresses of all the major economics departments in case we need those. It was all pretty automated, and went pretty quickly.

But it was a meeting, and therefore frustrating. The system is very linear, and didn't include a ton of researchers and policy wonks that might find the report interesting. But oops! we don't have their addresses. So they don't get included. End of meeting.

Normally, this is something I would follow up, maybe by calling a meeting of my own. But since I am stopping work Friday, I had to resist the temptation to take it and run. It was strangely difficult.

Tomorrow's meeting will be even stranger. It's the start of a new initiative that I should be working on. I am interested in the topic, I have the skills to carry it off, it would add something to my career. And I'm not going to be involved.

I don't know if these things are popping up especially quickly these days, or if my awareness of them is heightened in my last week. But I am becoming aware of the professional sacrifices that this 6-month stint at home entails.

Oh well. There's another meeting on Thursday: a send-off Happy Hour. That I can relate to.

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