Things have been a bit dicey at work, these past few days. My boss’es boss, who told specifically me a number of times to not pay close attention to a certain part of my job, has gotten called on the carpet because their boss has been looking at how that part is working out, and they’re not happy. Uber-boss wants things done a certain way. Middle boss has their own (fairly intense) agenda, and they want to do things another way. My immediate boss has their own ideas about how things should be done, but they’re scrambling just to keep up appearances about things going really well.
Now they’re on the spot, and they’re putting me on the spot. So, I’ve had my hands full scrambling to keep up with the things I am on the hook for, anyway, and their special projects which are sexy and popular, etc.
A lot of it is actually about people not losing face, about them keeping up appearances that all is well, and all is great.
Meanwhile, I uncovered a really key problem with one of the main revenue-generating systems we’ve got — critical data hasn’t been going into the right place, and nobody even noticed it till I sat down and took a look at it the other day.
So, I guess I’m a spoiler. I find out the truth, and I do my best to have integrity and NOT put all my energy into keeping up appearances and making the boss feel good, whilst scrambling behind the scenes to cover up the sh*t that’s so hosed, it’s not even funny.
I started to get really bent out of shape about this last night. How unfair(!) Then I remembered, “Hey, I’m not going to be there for much longer, anyway.” I’ve gotten some inquiries from recruiters who found my resume online (from when I posted it a while back), and they do sound like good possibilities.
This morning I started to get bent, again, then it occurred to me, on the whole, I’m actually really happy. I’m a hell of a lot happier than my boss and my boss’es boss — and their boss — probably happier than all of them combined. God, but they seem miserable. Successful on the surface, but really unhappy in their personal lives. Even the one who seems to have a happy life at home is hunched and bent over with all the burdens of life — and they’re only 35. Holy crap — for what?
So, I can’t lose my cool over my work situation. If my performance isn’t 100% what they would love it to be, then maybe they should all get in agreement about what it is they expect me to do, and I’ll do it. But there are so many dueling banjos that all I can do is what I can do, and if they’re not happy, then they can get me some help — like they’ve been promising for the past 18 months.
But again… I’m not going to be there that much longer — till October or thereabouts. Not sooner than that, because I have projects I need to get finished, I need to finalize some stuff I’ve got going on, so when I interview I can show some good results, and I need to also have a vacation in September, after the MAJOR PROJECT OF THE YEAR goes out the door. Then, I will have the opportunity to take some time for myself, polish my resume, and line up a kick-ass next chapter of my life.
Seriously, the more I talk to people and the more I look around, the more I value my experience and my ability to do things that tons of other people can’t do. I may have issues with memory and sequencing and fatigue, but what the hell – in my technical line of work, I can set up automated tasks that can take a lot of the load off me. In fact, one of the things that’s made this current job that much harder, is the manual nature of it — so many things have to be done manually, that should be done by a process or a routine. It’s just not very sustainable, and this I believe is why the company struggles to really break out of its limitations — because everyone is trying to do things by hand (like sort and cleanse data and test and monitor systems) when there is plenty of mature and reliable technology that can do that for them — or help them do it faster and better and cheaper.
But people are very intent on keeping their own little corner of the world intact. If they don’t have control over those things, then they sorta kinda lose it.
In a way, dealing with TBI has weaned me of that impulse. There is so much that I can’t seem to control, no matter how hard I try, and the more certain I am about things, the less likely it seems to be that I’m actually right. So, I’ve had to develop coping mechanisms and also learn to roll with it, when I turn out to be wrong. I’ve had lots of practice with that 😉
The main thing that I have to remember in all of this, is that the people who are pushing and pushing and pushing, are often doing that because their happiness is at stake. They aren’t happy unless they are doing such-and-such, and even then they aren’t happy — they’re striving for happiness. And they think that if they do such-and-such, then they will be happy. At last.
But I’m already happy. So I’m not driven like a crazy person to ACHIEVE quite to the extent (and for the same reasons) that my higher-ups seem to be. Achievement is certainly important to me, but not at any cost, and certainly with more thoroughness and deliberateness and planning and intention, than I see everyone around me using. It’s like everyone is in a constant all-out sprint to get somewhere — but where?
Of course, it’s easy for me to sit here and say, “Oh well, sorry that they’re unhappy. I’m doing just fine, actually.” But the fact of the matter is, my job and my professional reputation and my career feel like they’re on the line. I’ve got to keep sharp and keep looking in the right direction. I can’t let myself get pulled off into thinking crazy thoughts and getting an attitude. I have to remember that the folks who are running things are often running on empty and their main goal is often to put forward the best impression they can, so they look the part of the leader. I won’t get into whether or not they’re really leading, just that the appearances are very important.
Which goes directly against my own inclination. And I have to stay strong in myself, without letting aggravation and resentment and frustration get the better of me. I have to keep positive and patient and optimistic, or I will lose it. I’ve gone down that road before, and it takes me off a cliff. I’m tired of going off cliffs. So, I’ve got to get my head together and just keep steady… keep focused on what I want to do… keep keenly interested in things that matter the most to me… and just keep on keepin’ on. I can’t let the appearances of upper management stop me from doing the right thing, and I can’t assume that just because they appear to be “on” me, they really are. It could be something entirely different.
So, I’ve gotta stay the course. Not let my head go crazy. And remember what I’m about, what I stand for, what I am championing, what I seek to do on a daily basis — to make a positive contribution in the lives of those around me, to do good work, and to support others in doing the right thing.
And to be happy.