birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The plan

The best working relationship I have ever had with a boss was in a volunteer organization.

It was a national community sentencing association which held an annual conference in a different city each year. The first year I learned about it was because I did a workshop at the conference in San Antonio. The next year I was a member of the program committee and the year after that I chaired the committee.

While I had know the president of the association, chairing the program committee was the first time I had worked with him directly.

When I started, he gave me a long, single-spaced, type-written document which was a plan for organizing the conference. The plan was over 20 pages of suggestions and deadlines to ensure the conference ran smoothly.

Dennis would call me every few weeks to check and see where I was in organizing the program for the conference. My goal became being a few pages ahead of the plan.

After a few months, well before the conference planning meeting, Dennis expressed his surprise that things were going so smoothly. When I told him I was simply trying to stay ahead of schedule, he explained that, in his experience, no one else had ever really followed the plan.

The conference planning meeting went well. We were even able to add workshops we needed because the schedule changed. We had already contacted enough extra possible presenters to cover everything.

I continued to chair the program committee as long as Dennis remained the president. After he left, I became the association’s president.

Dennis was a great boss for me because he was so clear about his expectations, whether he actually expected them or not. He gave me the flexibility to do my best work and respond to challenges as they arose. He was an excellent teacher for me, and he trusted me to get things done.

Girl Boss

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