Friday, January 19, 2007

Bound and gagged.

Sometimes my fingers hover over this keyboard and I think about telling tales, true, bizarre tales of corporate life, and then I remember the mortgage and I clench my fists. Someday...someday.

Thoughts I can share safely. It dawned on me this morning that in the last 5 years I have had at least 7 bosses, not counting the considerable population of people jockeying for position and trying to use me as a power play. I am on my third boss in 18 months at this place. I have frequently been put in the position of working out of my job descrption, doing things that I have never done before, and I do them, often fixing fuck-ups for people for whom the "things" are their primary job function. I've never done This in my entire life, but somehow I understand it better than the person who has been in that position for five years. I really don't know how this is possible, but it's a regular event.

Thanks to the revolving door of bosses, there are maybe five living souls in this state who really know what I can do, because I never report to the same person for too long anywhere. (But they are my friends now, and if I need a letter of recommendation their stock response is, "You write it, I'll sign it." I make them write it, they say nicer things about me than I would about myself.)

I absolutely love it when we go through the quarterly exercise of reviews and "goal-setting", it's so pricelessly Dilbertian, because my job is 80% putting out fires and 20% undefined and I don't do anything on my job description. I stare blankly at the self-evaluation every quarter, because it has so little relevance to day to day work. I don't know what I am, but I am not a paralegal. What I do bears no resemblance at all to normal paralegal employment. So I'm 48 years old and after busting my ass in the working world since I was 17, getting the degree, paying the dues, moving steadily up the ladder, I am now sitting pretty, with a mortgage and a house and a small dog and less job security than I had 15 years ago when I was making 1/3 as much money. I don't even know how to respond to a self evaluation! I dont remember what my goals were for the quarter, but I probably failed at them. I'm tired of this shit.


Anonymous said...

Completely universal. I love reading your blog, because I feel like I could be writing it. See, you're doing my job too! The house of cards American economy is run by millions and millions of companies just like yours. And the scary thing is that now we dont even make most of the things we need, most of our economy is based on selling services to one another. Mismanaged services at that.
If I were giving out career advice to someone today I would say mechanical services such as automotive, or HVAC, or plumbing. All necessities, and none of that can be outsourced.
And you are spot on about the job evaluations- I have also clued in to the fact that I get no credit for the stuff not on the written goals, and since I was pulled onto so many other projects last year I missed a couple- so NOT MET was the evaluation. No matter that I was taking daily care of a 20M client after the sales rep left. This year--I'm only doing what's on the goals.

Good luck.

Catherine said...

My career suggestion is audiologist, because with all of these personal stereo devices in constant use at high volume, the damage done to those teensy inner ear bones is a money-maker. The next generation is going to go deaf young. It's the next "plastics."

The sad irony is that my company actually makes useful things, and they are very nice, and it's all the backroom stuff that is not functioning. I am a plumber. I try to fix backups. It is messy. Nobody wants to be a plumber, even when the shit is on paper.

Bess said...

I wish you could just look up innocently at the next person who asks you to do another Creative Fix-It Job and say ....

"but since that's not on my job description, nor among my assigned goals, I just can't do that.


life. Always a surprise.

Catherine said...

See, here's the thing - these tasks are not on my "assigned goals" in the Dilbert Review, but they are Assigned by people like, oh, the owner of the company or the president or one of the VPs. (Is this getting done? Please make it get done.) So they become my new tasks, but they are not on the Holy Review Form. So they put that form in front of you later and ask how many goals you've met - yes, the same people who know exactly what you have been doing. It's a bizarre, twisted system, and Dilbert is more accurate than anyone in the non-corp world could ever imagine, right down to the bizarre co-workers.