Monday, 5 December 2011

bittersweet symphony....

I woke up this morning to a comment on a blog post that's now more than 5 years old.  As I looked at the notification on my email, I couldn't remember the post off the top of my head, but something about the comment told me that it was something I'd written about work:

"Start your own business, you know it all".

Slightly stung, I clicked on the link to the post itself, and was slightly confused to find that it was a pretty innocuous account of how I was allowed chilli OR cheese on my baked potato at the catered works event to relaunch the department (...yes, again) but NOT both.

Um.  Thanks for that anonymous.  It's an ancient post, but your views have been noted.

Look.  I know that I write about work on here as though it's some kind of great mystery why someone as amazing as me hasn't progressed further and faster than I have.  The simple truth is that there's no real mystery at all: some has been down to bad luck and bad timing, but the vast majority of it is down to choices that I have made.  I choose to present myself to my bosses and the people who will influence my career in a certain way; I choose not to play the politics of my department; I choose not to keep my mouth shut when a more discretionary use of words might be both more positively impactful and less damaging to my prospects.... above all, I choose to stay in a job that seems to make me angry and frustrated.

C. - the most senior person in the whole room at the event by some distance - was cornered by two of my bosses at the ball on Thursday night.  One has now left the company, and the other is my current manager.  Both were talking about how they had started out determined to take me and to refocus me; they saw my ability and felt that I had lost my way and needed to be fired up and sent out to achieve great things.  Both also said that, after a while, they gave up on me as being too bitter and twisted to change. 

I don't agree, and more importantly, neither did C, but hearing that - particularly from my current boss - makes me feel a little sad.  I'm sad that they think that of me, and I'm sad that I have made them feel that way.  I don't think that the analysis is based upon very astute observation, and I don't really think that either of them tried very hard..... but why would I?

It's irrelevant what I think.

Just as, really, it's irrelevant what they think.

I want to do well at work, but that all depends on what your definition of "well" is: I'm not motivated by money and I'm not particularly motivated by the need to get promoted.  As that's how most people keep score, I tend to confuse people by not being ambitious in the same way that they are.  I want to do the very best that I can at work, but my benchmark for that is my own sense of achievement and what the people around me - if not necessarily above me - think of me.  And so it is that, when I'm asked what I think about something, I'm not handicapped by worrying about what the "right", most politically astute, thing is to say.  It's bemusing when I look at some of the people promoted past me, but I can't help but laugh when we then wonder at great length why we're not performing better.  Laughter, by the way, DEFINITELY not the most politically astute response....

Work is annoying, ridiculous and frustrating, but it can also be funny, engaging and rewarding.  I could get another job; I could start my own business... but I don't want to.  Not at the moment, anyway.  I work fairly close to home, get paid fairly well and do get a sense of achievement from my job.  I like the people I work with (even if I know I portray some of them here as idiots), and for better or worse, my sense of self-worth appears to be (at least partly) bound up my job.  I wouldn't give it up, even to do nothing.

Maybe I'd be better off - in every sense - working somewhere else, but one of these days evenings --SOON-- I'm going to start writing the book that's going to change my life forever.

Until then....

Still, thanks for the feedback, anon.  You think that post about my job was good, then you've got some corkers to catch up on....

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