“Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence.”
“You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I’m here to put you back on schedule.”
―Tiaan Jerjerrod receives Darth Vader aboard the second Death Star
Star Wars was released in 1983, the same year I became a brother. I did not watch it on the silver screen, but within a few years I had seen it dozens of times with my friend Brian in his family’s basement where they had a large projector. How could I have missed the obvious? Maybe I focused too much on the fight scenes and too little on the plot.
Weak Link Business, Jerjerrod’s Progress Only As Good As His Weakest Lieutenant
Recently, I was reading a Star Wars book to my children and was reminded of the problem with building things. Tiaan Jerjerrod was tasked with overseeing the construction of a new Death Star for the evil Emperor, and crucially he was behind schedule. Upon examining his lack of progress Darth Vadar informs Jerjerrod that the Emperor himself will be visiting to get Jerjerrod back on track. Jerjerrod assures Vadar, in vain, that he will double his efforts because he does not want to inform the Emperor of his failure. Was Jerjerrod afraid of a bad performance review? Hell no. He was afraid for his life.
Is there any doubt that Jerjerrod was highly motivated from the get go to impress the Emperor? Here’s a guy that came from a wealthy family and left it all to work for the dark side of the force. In other words, he closed off all future career options for himself. Is there any doubt he was the right person for the job? I don’t think so, he previously was a desk general in charge of logistics and supply for the Galactic Emperor.
Could Jerjerrod have been a victim of unrealistic expectations on the part of the Emperor? Sure. The first Death Star took 19 years to complete and Jerjerrod was given a fraction of the time to complete a Death Star that was twice as big AND whose construction had to be hidden. To accomplish the latter, Jerjerrod, this overworked employee, gets “promoted” to a second role as Director of Imperial Energy Systems where he used power generators to hide the second Death Star.
Jerjerrod Getting a Tough Performance Review
Flash over to home building in California. Home building, like Death Star building, is a weak link business. What I mean by this is, you are only as strong as your weakest soldier. It doesn’t matter if you have nine great subcontractors, if you have one weak subcontractor, they can hold up your construction. You also have to work closely with parties that don’t share your sense of urgency and who can unexpectedly increase the scope of your job making it difficult to control your time and your budget (think utility providers, fire departments etc.). But then again, I would have understood this all a long time if I didn’t just focus on the fight scenes in Star Wars.
Bob Flynn, September 2017