Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wanted: Job Assessment

I've been afraid to do this. Reluctant, yes. Cautious. Downright trepidation laden.

But it needs to be done. So let the games begin.

I have been unhappy at work for some time now. Like, five years or so. Maybe longer. I don't know anymore. I've been dealing with a lot of irons out of the frying pan and into my hair that's on fire. The whole bipolar scenario has taken most of my energy. But I feel as though I've turned a corner, and I've got some ducks in a row now, allowing me to focus more on other problems.

So work. Definitely, some of the problems I have there are related to my disorder. But it's not all that. Yes, there's the bad attendance, and the poor productivity, and the general malaise, a strain on coworker relationships, etc. But mixed in is something else. I don't like my job anymore.

I've been afraid to put anything down on paper. A long time ago, I wrote a letter to my boss at the time and that just didn't go well. Certainly didn't go as I had hoped. That was a tough lesson to learn-- that your boss has a commitment to the company that you both work for and a responsibility to deal with things within a certain protocol. And that it trumps what you might have considered a "friendship." Or it did in my case, anyway. I'm still amazed at how all the advice I got after the fact was so overwhelmingly emphatic-- "Oh, no, you shouldn't have done that." Not one person thought that writing a letter was a good idea. Where were they before I gave the letter away?

So now-- back to the present. I'm gunshy about writing on this subject now for the above stated reason. But here goes nothing.

A few years ago, we were in a situation where we (the employees) were being told that there just wasn't any money in the budget for raises, with the economy struggling and all. We had been asked to tighten our belts and ride it out. Staffing was cut back, so we were asked to do more work. Our alternative work schedule, which was very popular with those who chose to work it, was taken away without appropriate justification. The trends were that we were to do more with and for less. And with a smile.

I became frustrated with it all. The inability to negotiate with directors of the budget process. The inability to organize the employees in a unified positive voice. The inability to get my concerns through the chain of command. The inequity of responsibility between the supervisors and the subordinates.

There are so many examples of ineptitude, unfairness, disillusionment, cynicism, neglect, mis-communication, procrastination, and waste that I'll refrain from listing them here. Instead, I want to try and explore why it still bothers me.

Because there has been change. New supervisors. Raises. Pleasant negotiations. People turning over new leaves. So what about me? Why not me?

Well, there's obviously some latent negativity that didn't get dealt with at the time because I was handling my health issues. But why does it continue to ruin my day? Or should I say, why do I let it ruin my day?

This has been going on for a time now, and I've mostly been attributing it to my illness. Some of that is happening, I believe it. But there's more going on in my head than needs to be.

I start my days having difficulty waking up, getting up. Some of that is the medication, which I take the night before and helps me to sleep soundly through the night. Not exactly what it's prescribed for, but that's one of the effects it has on me. I seem to start each workday with a mental malaise, a fog that clouds my perception and my thinking. The fog generates messages of a negative nature-- What's the point? You can't do this anymore. You don't want to go.

So I soldier through as much as I can, all the while the bed with a hypo-magnetic pull, and me with my lead suit and moon boots. Some days I can't get a shower in. Some days I don't brush my teeth. It's all I can do to get dressed.

On my days off, I still am slow to rise. But I have so much more energy. I have clarity of thought. I am excited to do things that I want to do.

So I should just find another job, right? Problems. This job is outside, gets me walking most of the time. I'm out on my own for the most part. I can wear shorts in the nice weather. I'm paid very well. The work isn't too demanding, more physically than mentally, but still not too bad, as long as you don't push too hard. I have good benefits, a pension. Vacation time and holidays. I get paid to exercise!

So what am I missing here? Why is it so hard to remember in my freakin' head that work is good for me? And that I can actually enjoy it? I can play in the rain! I can go for a walk in the sun! There's so much that is good, why all the negativity?

I need help in determining a plan of action. Can this job be salvaged? Or do I need to move on to whatever it is that I'm going to do next-- be it a transition job with less pay and benefits and the like, or whatever-- if I try to become a full-time writer of some sort, for instance.

Please weigh in with your impressions from what I've written to you-- you're always helpful. Thank you kindly.


Suzy said...

This is good. I know there are a lot of people who can probably relate to this. As you know, I don't have the answers. I wish I did. Perhaps someone out there will help give you more guidance. Love you!

Deb said...

It is hard to have perspective on a job that you have had for years and have had trouble with. It's easy to dwell on the negative, not on the positive. We are cynics-- looking for more bad than good. I, too, struggle with this exact thing you are describing. And because of that damned Pandora, who opened the box of sorrow and grief, we are jealous of others who seem to have "more"-- the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect life. What we don't see is that "perfect" does not exist. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between looking at something for the positives it has and settling for it. So if something doesn't make us happy, we have to be the ones to change it. Our perspective has to change, or we must get out. One or the other. You decide which one it will be. When you figure it out, let me know.

Gerri said...

I don't have the answers either. During my career, when I didn't like how things were handled at work, I changed jobs. That is not the answer, either. Once the "honeymoon" was over, the new job seemed to develop the same problems the old job had!
I think each individual has to find their own coping mechanism to get through each stage of life. You will find it, just keep trying...and keep writing about it. Your writing about it helps others, too.