Oliver the Engineer…Exhibits & PowerPoints

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you seriously didn’t do anything else instead of sitting in front of the computer looking at the same thing over and over again?  I think it would be safe to assume that everyone has been there one time or another.  This was my week or weeks, 2 weeks to be exact that I sat in front of the computer screens to work on a powerpoint presentation.  Yes I said powerpoint presentation.  And yes, I’ve been working on it for the last two weeks.


Example of the kind of work I do.

This journey all started a couple of weeks ago when I was ask to make an exhibit for work. Exhibits are the diagrams, maps, and visuals that I create for my project.  As a civil engineer, I design freeways and sometimes the way we talk a lot of people do not understand so we have to create a visual for it, so we can communicate our sometimes complicated project to the “common person.”  My goal always is produce something that everyone will get once they study it.  However that is not always the case at least in my situation.  So when I was ask to create another “exhibit” I started asking question if I could improve upon the design and look of it.  I should have known that this was a pandora’s box of revisions to come but more on that later.

So I was given the current exhibit and boy was it in rough shape, the colors of pink and blue on an outdated aerial photos and out of date information was not going to fly and on top of that confused everyone.  So being the maker of exhibits, I took upon myself to organized it.  That was my first mistake.

I begin with first asking my boss what he wanted to communicate to with the exhibit.  And the answer in a nutshell was, everything and you only have a day or two to do it.  “HOLY CRAP!  Really?!” I thought to myself.  Okay, I can do it.  Second mistake.  This will end up with a, “WHAT where you thinking?!”

So after a 10 minute conversation of questions, bounced ideas, and repeated statements, I started to make the exhibit.  First step, track down all of the information that I needed.  Easy enough, right?  Not exactly.  So we needed to present information on our proposed Right of Way purchase for my project, I searched and found it and then about an hour later while I started making the adjustments to present, I get word that things are going to change and that they won’t know for about a day or two.  But on top that I still had to go ahead and continue with what I’m doing.  And there is no problem with that except for the fact that the information that was being researched would affect everything that I was working on which would mean that I would have to start all over again.  And then, not to add more things to the already tall order, I get another request to make these exhibits that i’m creating and put them in a powerpoint presentation.  Okay I thought.  Third mistake.

So when i was tasked to do the powerpoint along side the exhibits, I was told that it was in good shape and would take no more than 15 minutes to work on.  And just like the exhibit before, it would require some major revisions.  By they time was I working on the powerpoint it had already gone through 5 people and I would think it would be exactly what my department wanted.  Wrong!  What I was given was a powerpoint created by 5 people.  So everything was different, nothing was cohesive, and things didn’t match.  So what’s a guy to do in this situation.  I think most people would just throw their hands up in the air and just say it couldn’t be done.  But did I do that?!  No, I thought, easy enough.  Forth mistake.

Okay, if you are reading this, I pretty sure you are thinking, dude didn’t you see the red flags from the start?!  The answer was yes.  Yes I did see the red flags however who was going to do it.  I knew that eventually it would come to me and come to me at the last minute.  I just thought at this point, I might was well get a head start on it now that I have the opportunity.  Yet another mistake.

Oliver just doesn’t learn.  And at this point we are just one day one and as I mention this took two weeks to create.  So basically in a nutshell this happen basically almost everyday for the last couple of weeks.  So I’ll spare you the vent, rant, and head shakes and I’ll fast forward you to two days ago.

So after working on this for the last week and some days, I was tired of looking at the same presentation and exhibits.  From the color changes, to can we do this, can we do that, is this possible, how long will that take, to the word ANIMATION, I was about 90% done.  When finally we receive feedback from our headquarters on the presentation.  And boy was it a lot of comments but mainly it was one of those, isn’t this the way we had it before and we are going to do it that way?!  Yup, it sure was.  So what’s a guy to do.  Concede? Nope, start from scratch and declare that you are going to do it your way and just take over it.  And address the comments, all the comments.

And today, I finally got to the 99% I’m proud to say.  I have one more task to complete and i shouldn’t take me more than 30 minutes to complete.  So there is light at the end of the road.  LOL!  Pun was intended there.  Or at least I thought one would be.  So by Monday morning at 9am, everything should be done and completed!  Hopefully!

Here’s some takeaways from this:

  1. Always look at the POSITIVE side of a situation.
  2. Be prepared to tackle any task necessary.
  3. Sometimes you just have to let things go and let lessons be learned.  Keep quiet.
  4. Small victories over time will lead to a BIG VICTORY!
  5. When you find the thing that you LOVE to do, everything and I mean EVERYTHING is worth it.  So find what it is you love do and work will not seem like work.  🙂

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