Have Perspective

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m semi-retired. I had a job I loved until the last minute of my
farewell party. Since then I have embraced retirement with gusto. I
have a happy mix of exercise and volunteer work, family and friends,
and enough money to be comfortable, if not extravagant. My former
employer is going through some major changes and they’ve asked me
(the former administrator) to consult with various levels of staff to
enable a smooth transition. My problem: the employees see things
that the managers do not. The managers are paying me, but seem
completely resistant to input they don’t want to hear. As my brother
used to say, The Nile’s not just some river in India. (Get it :-)??) I
wouldn’t mind earning the consulting income, but it feel like I’m
chasing my tail. What should I do?

Have Perspective

Dear Perspective:

Immediately sit down and write an interim report on your findings.
Submit it to the managers with section headings that go roughly as
follows: Corporate Transition Context; What You asked Me to Do;
Management Perspective; Staff Perspective; Issues Where Perceptions
Don’t Line Up; Options for Intervention. This last category should be
intentionally broad and hyperbolic, including the options of Fire
everyone who won’t do what management says to Change our goals to
what employees suggest. Only you can know if you want to commit to
making specific recommendations, I’d suggest that you do, if only to
make it clear that you have formed an opinion. Submit an invoice for
your consulting time so far and try to avoid getting sucked into more
work until you’ve been paid.

The hardest problem you will face will be deciding how much more
effort and time you want to invest in this venture. If you are truly
happily retired and don’t need the money, consider carefully how long
you want to be on tap for other people’s work lives and competing
perspectives. There’s an endless source of discontent in most
organizations. If management is willing to listen to your
recommendations, you should be able to train an internal person or
another consultant to implement them. If they won’t honor your
opinions, take your money and run.