Board Stiff

November 24, 2008

As I have mentioned, I am fortunate enough to work at a non profit organization.  For those of you who have spent your whole lives working in lovely for profit companies receiving good benefits and being let out of work a few hours early the day before a holiday…here are five things you probably never wanted to know about NPO’s.

1. In addition to having a boss and a bosses boss, I report to an illusive group of well connected people we call “THE BOARD”.  Once a month THE BOARD gets together to talk about fascinating things like the budget and the staff and oil contracts.

2. You know THE BOARD is in the vicinity because people are running around in heals with piles of paper and screaming things like ‘PACKETS’ and ‘POWER POINT PRESENTATION’ before slamming into other well intended employees trying to get coffee or use the bathroom.

3. Every once in a while, if you are working on a  particularly sexy or lucrative project, you are asked to present it to THE BOARD.  When this happens you too run around in heals with piles of paper and you keep a little travel deodorant in your pocket in an effort to convince yourself you can prevent large circles of perspiration from forming under your arms.

4. When you present to THE BOARD, you lul yourself into a false sense of security by preparing loads of information and statistics and highlighting key phrases and tid bits of information you believe will make you sound smart or at least competent enough to cash your next paycheck.

5. Regardless of how well prepared you are, how many color coded highlighted packets you have carried with you, inevitably you are asked a question to which you have NO clue of the answer.  This never fails.  They must have a training camp for smelling the subject area you are least familiar with and then moving in for the question kill.

Can anyone guess how I spent my Friday?????

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13 Responses to “Board Stiff”

  1. fritz Says:

    AHHHH yes! i know “The Board” well, in fact i was going over our by laws the other day and saw that there is indeed a seminar new board members are required to go to that teaches them how to ask questions you have no answer to and how to make you feel more uncomfortable than you have ever felt in the past…(i think the seminar is somewhere secret too, like the tomb at yale)

  2. Molly Says:

    Hahahah the joys of NPOs! I am sorry you had to face the BOARD. I am not sorry we got to have a fab dinner afterwards. xoxo


  3. hahahaha, what a joy! I’m so nervous because I’ll be making presentations in my new job… maybe i can try to do that thing i did the waiter at the restaurant so they dont ask me stuff i don’t know? hehehehe kidding. i want to talk to you! like on the phone or skype. when can we do that?


  4. WOW!! I remember my first time talking in front of THE BOARD here. a bit stressful, but you know what, my presentation 2 years ago is being brought up again as something they want to do!! 🙂

    I am going to San diego to run a workshop at a international conference! OMFG lets talk about nervous!!

    I am glad yours is over! I am sure you did a great job as always!!

  5. Matt Says:

    I work on “sexy” spreadsheets all day.

  6. Erin Says:

    And I’m guessing THE BOARD is probably all dressed alike, drab navy blue blazers with brass buttons.

  7. adorablybitter Says:

    In uni they always taught us it isn’t what you know, it is how self-confident you behave. Maybe that will help you the next time?

  8. Anna Says:

    Say, “That’s an EXCELLENT question. Anyone else with a question?”


  9. I deal with a board not unsimilar ro yours and it cna be all encompassing! You will defnitely be deserving of this Thanksgiving break!

  10. f.B Says:

    there is never a question to which you do not have the answer. such a question is often confused with one to which the only answer you have is a shameful brain fart of whatever pops into your head.

    when in these situations, i just say whatever i’m thinking. and if it sounds like “arugula” or “Babe Ruth” and is completely irrelevant, well, they shouldn’t have pushed me

  11. Sara Says:

    Fritz- See, I knew it.
    Molly- I agree
    LPB- I don’t know what skype is, but I’m game
    Hallie- thanks, you give the best pep talks
    Matt- ‘that’s hot’
    Erin- lets not forget the Vineyard Vines ties
    Adorably – I don’t know if anything will help…
    Anna-I think that is how I got through grad school
    PE- I plan to eat my weight in pie
    F.B.- mmmm, arugula
    Apollo- ding ding ding, we have a winner!

  12. Beth Says:

    One day I would like someone in my office to ask me a question because they think it will actually help us clarify something and reach a solution… not because they think it will make them look smarter than me because they thought of it and I don’t know the answer.

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