Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two Weeks Notice: A Midterm Update

I'm sitting here at my desk, racking my brains trying to find something to write about. Lately, everything that pops into my head that then makes it to my blog seems to be as fluffy and insubstantial as a cheese puff. Maybe it's because my life is in limbo. I have one more week after this one until I start my new job and there's nothing really for me to do, except clean out my desk.

I'm really mentally gone from this place. I don't even want to gather my stuff up. I just want to flip everyone the bird and flee. I've been trying to find other work for years with no luck and finally, finally, this new job drops out of the sky and into my lap, just in time. So, now I have six more days of long-distance commuting, six more days of blinking through the tears, six more days of repressed anger, six more days of looking busy.

How did I do it for so long, you wonder. Anti-depressants and a will to survive. For over four years now, I've sacrificed my autonomy and my identity. I've shut up and done what I was told. I've learned how to keep my distance from my work and take criticism like a man. I've discovered how to do things without caring about getting the credit. One thing I'm wondering is this: Is the only path to humility paved with humiliation? That was the path I've been on and it would be nice to know of another way.

I've been subordinated and exploited, then crumpled up and tossed out. But, they say, it's nothing personal, just business. I should dust myself off and move on, either by accepting the crumbs and sloppy seconds they offer me or turn away towards a new endeavor. Should it be the devil you know or the devil you don't know? I'll always opt for the devil I don't know and that's what makes me different from the people I work for. I'm willing to rock the boat. They are not. And that's a sad statement for many reasons.

So much the better that I can escape with my soul intact. I outlasted this job. I did not run away from adversity. I learned how to survive Theory X management. I've developed a nose for politics and a healthy respect for the power politics has to destroy. I've learned never to underestimate the cunning of those in power; how else did they get to the top? I have not been broken.

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. I used to think that, at least in education, people's intentions were good. Not true. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I would urge you to keep an eye on education in your neck of the woods. There's a lot of money, a lot of power concentrated in the very few, and some wolves in sheep's clothing.

For now, I've hit the pause button in my lizard brain to numb myself to the indignity of it all. But, I swear, as God as my witness, I shall never be powerless again. I won't panic and take a job just because it's there. I won't blindly do what I am told in order to keep the peace. I will continue to accept feedback on my work, but I will also expect appropriate recognition and compensation. And I will get out of this pink collar world for a while.

But I haven't let myself dream about my next job. I don't want to create a set of expectations about my new work that will end up tripping me in the future. I want to go in with a clean slate and build my expectations based on reality. I don't want to make any assumptions, if I can help it. I want to take my time and feel my way around. But I can't think about that right now.

For now, I need to sort through the random items I've collected at my desk: piles of paystubs representing years of my life, old post cards, 3.5" floppy disks, FISH Philosophy goo-gahs, marbles (don't ask), a black thermal mug with flames on it, Christmas cards, ancient cup-a-soup, and a barrel of monkeys (sans barell). To tell the truth, I didn't bring a lot of personal stuff to work; I've had one foot out the door since I got here. So, packing up shouldn't be a lot of work.

But, having all this time on my hands, I'll be able to look around here and see what you all are doing and hear what you're thinking about. It's good to see that there are so many like-minded people out there with good hearts and good intentions. It gives me hope for humanity to know it, frankly. Maybe, while I'm in limbo, it might be a good idea to have someone else take over here for a while. With all the dark and thundery thoughts I have, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up the froth.

Who's game?


  1. I go out of my way to only post my fluffy and insubstantial thoughts.

    Tomorrow is Friday!

  2. oh, yeah, that FISH Philosophy worked wonders for ME, didn't it??

    fuckers. i'm so fucking jealous of you that I can't stand it.

    ---Big Orange

  3. Great post. Having survived the place you're leaving, consider taking a look at a book called "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One THat Isn't" by Robert Sutton

    Good luck with your new endeavor.

  4. Maybe you would like to waste a few brain cells on being interviewed by Skylers dad?

    And by the way, what's up with the marbles? Never, never say don't ask to me...

  5. Skyler's Dad: Interview me! And ask me about the marbles...go ahead...make my day.

    Bubs: Thanks for the recommendation. I think I'd better look into that.

    BO: What can I say? My heart is broken. Don't hate me because I'm employed.

    Grant Miller: You do know how to cheer a girl up!

  6. Blogging always helps, in my experience. It's highly cathartic to write publicly about what assholes your current, past, and future employes are, were, and will be.

  7. Oh my god, I hate that FISH philosophy crap so much.

  8. What's that FISH thing?

    Good luck with the new dealy, you fantastic chick, you!

  9. "and take criticism like a man."

    What, are you gonna sucker-punch everyone that you can? Because that's, um, if you were to take it like a man, that's what men...nevermind.

    At any rate, take refuge by being a better parent, that's why everyone that I work with is concussion-free. Good luck on the next employment phase.

  10. Wonderfully written!

    I hope the new gig is just what the doctor ordered. Plus, that commute. I have a feeling it won't take long to get used to that.

  11. Glad you got all that out of your system.

  12. BSUWG: I do feel better having blogged about this. But I hate to shit where I eat, you know what I mean?

    Deadspot: Join the club...we've got jackets.

    Thanks, Tanya. Here's the FISH Thingy

    Thanks, WP. Maybe I should have said "take criticism on the chin."

    Chris, you got that right, brother!

    Beth: Phew. Me too.

  13. I would volunteer to help out, but as you know I have been struggling on my own.