Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sisphyean Tasks

There is a story from years ago when we lived in Geneva, and Chad worked on the Western European Oral Care business that I have been reminded of lately.

There was a push from the Sales and Marketing community for an initiative that had been tried several times unsucessfully in the past, and that did not have good financials. Those advocating for it thought it would build customer relationships, and consumer loyalty, and payout in more shelf space and repeat purchases down the road that were not valued in the current financials.

The Engineer on the business was incensed that the General Manager approved the project charter and he was stuck on this team. He had worked on similar past initiatives. He suggested this initiative be called Project Sisyphus sarcastically to reflect how he felt about it. To his surprise, everyone agreed.

My husband came home laughing about it. He knew at once the name had been suggested because in Greek mythology Sisyphus was condemned for all eternity to roll a heavy boulder up the same hill every day, only to have it roll down and hit him. By the time the other team members figured out why the project name had been suggested they were not very happy about it, but it was too late, the name had stuck.... and the initiative did live up to the name in the end.

I was not very in to Greek mythology in school, but ever since our Geneva days when I think about the never ending tasks in my life I think of good old Sisyphus. Of course my Sisyphean tasks tend more towards the mundate - laundry, cooking, cleaning, and this time of year, raking leaves.

Being back at NIH, I feel like cancer treatment could be another one. It is a pain, and at times laborious, but I hope this time not futile.

I am ready for day one treatment to begin. Yesterday was one of those off days here, where the lab tech drew 16 vials of blood only after she had pulled the needle out did she find one additional one and she had to stick me again. Hoping that is the worst I will face the next couple of weeks!

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