February 2, 2009

Today's CLM

Oh boy was I ever close to having a CLM today at work!

What? You've never heard of a CLM? Here's the entry from www.urbandictionary.com:

"CLM - Career Limiting Maneuver (or Move) - When you do something stupid in front of co-workers that can potentially cause you to never move up in the company."

Here's how it happened. I don't currently have a senior on my audit, so my workpapers go directly to a manager for review. Well, this manager is very, how do I put this, "thorough" in performing the review process.

So today I got back some workpapers and they had about 90 review notes between 4 workpapers. For those of you not in public accounting, that is a ton of review notes. And several of the notes involved major changes to the work performed. We discussed the major changes for a few minutes, so I'd know what my manager wanted done. Then I got back to my desk and decided to vent a little to the first year on the audit (we both feel that this manager is causing delays to the audit through unnecessary changes to the audit process).

I opened up the instant messenger and quickly typed something to the effect of "it's just so frustrating to do the workpapers how they were done last year and not have anything kick out of threshold [show up as a problem, in accountant terms], and then have to change everything". As I pushed Enter, I glanced at the recipient line and, to my immediate horror, saw my manager's name. But the message had been sent and it was too late to recall it.

Quick thinking saved the day. I spoke before my manager could make any determinations about the intent of the message. Basically, I made a comment saying the exact same thing, but in a light-hearted tone to convey that I wasn't upset but that it's just the nature of improving the audit. Fortunately, my cover-up worked and I don't think there will be any effect on my performance evaluation due to my CLM. Phew!

Lesson to self: double check who the recipient is before sending messages, especially when you're venting or saying something less-than-positive.


  1. Oh wow! This is one of my biggest fears at work. I basically don't ever complain over IM unless someone else does first. Way to rally!

  2. Well done. I was advised to separate managers and staff into different folders just to avoid that move. And if only de minimus were several million bucks....