You don’t need Tony

I had some important deadlines coming up recently and needed to iterate on a few big ideas rapidly.

Writing in notebooks felt restricting and waiting two whole days for a whiteboard to be delivered by Amazon was obviously out of the question, so I started writing on the walls of my room in pencil like a crazy person.

It was great.

The progress made on a few of the ideas and projects was enough to obviate my graffiti experiment, so I decided that it was time to paint over the madness. I’m well acquainted with my own brand of crazy, no need to be reminded of it every time I look at my wall.

So this afternoon, I went down to the office in my building to obtain some paint. In the office, I was told that someone named Tony (who was referenced in a tone that suggested bureaucracy and territorial gate-keeping) would need to be petitioned for my 16 ounce request.

As soon as “work order” was mentioned, I pretty much knew how the story would end without evasive action being taken so I started harassing the maintenance workers who were walking into and around the office.

The first referenced the dreaded tyrant (Tony) so he was of no use to me.

The next guy (the newest hire, so far as I can tell) was pushing a cart towards the elevator, so I put on my best non-threatening face and approached him with my container.

Hi. I need some paint.

Without missing a beat, he confirmed that I needed paint for the wall and dutifully headed towards the heavily guarded compound in which the elusive paint was being held captive.

He muttered something about the paint being in an adjacent building, so I decided to wait for him in the lobby. It’s real out here in these streets.

A few moments later, he returned with what I needed.

That’s the end of the story.

I’m not saying that you need to be crazy (nor am I not not saying that), but I am saying that sometimes you don’t need to wait on Tony.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.