For the Teabag in All of Us

Not that kind of teabag. Don't be gross.

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Location: South Florida, United States

If I go about this properly, the blog will (eventually) explain enough about me, so let me just explain the blog, or at least the title of it, here:

"A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, May 18, 2006

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

So I have been thinking a lot about work recently, and wondering how happy I really am there. For several reasons I guess but mainly because I feel like, with the possible exception of my boss, no one in charge respects me or the work I do. Which really pisses me off because I happen to be quite good at what I do.

A few things in particular are bothering me and making me feel like I'm not being taken seriously/respected/appreciated. I hesitate to even blog about this because my office is the kind of place that checks everyone's cache and if they see I am going to this site, they might read it to see what it is, and one look at the photo and they'd know it's me. But I figure if there will be discipline or even termination over legitimate griping on my own little corner of the internet, where no one knows the name of the company I work for and no information presented herein could possibly compromise anyone involved, well then I made a very poor decision in going to work there and it's not the sort of place I want to be anyway.

Moving on. Some things about work have been bugging me lately and they go something kinda like this:

1. You know how I've been bitching about not having an office? I guess a lot of people don't find this to be a big deal, but I do -- for several reasons, not the least of which is that I have one employee who is twice my age and thus very upset about the fact that he reports to me, and he is frequently trying to discredit me in front of the rest of the office, which is easy enough to do when I am in a cube (also did I mention that HE has an office? Mmhmm. It's called "first come, first served.") And while he clearly has no issues being so glaringly unprofessional, I would never redress him in front of everyone else... even though he deserves a good ass-whooping. So I smile and eat his shit and calmly explain to him whatever ridiculousness he's trying to throw at me, because that's how I need to handle him out in the open. Anyway, the point is, some space has freed up and I am finally getting an office. YAY! And I was all excited even, because I was slated to get X's office, which is nice and clean and it's a good size and it has a window that, admittedly, overlooks the parking lot, but still -- natural light! Except that now it's been decided that I will get Y's office, which is smaller and on the inside so no natural light, and also Y has been in there for like, ever, and is not the neatest/cleanest person and the office kinda smells funny. And the reason why? Well. That was never exactly articulated, but ... you do the math. Basically X's office is nicer and, as such, is being held for someone more important. Yeah, I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it. I mean, in some ways I can understand it.... but it's just so insulting.

2. About a week ago, I needed to stay home because my a/c broke ... and really, you don't want to get stuck in south Florida in May with no a/c. But of course the service guys give you a 2-3 hour window in which they'll arrive, and from there they still have to do the actual work, so it's impossible to say when they'll be done. So I put my office phone on forward to my cell. I compile a bunch of files of pending items and decide that instead of taking the day off, which I can scarcely afford to do since we are so busy, that I will instead work from home. Keep in mind please that I live 30 miles away from the office and gas is $2.94/gallon. The next morning, I wake up, check emails, answer phone calls and do some work... all in my PJs while waiting for the a/c guys. I call my boss around noon to tell him that they are still working, and what does he want me to do, because I have plenty of work to keep me busy all day. He says I should come in. And I just don't understand why he doesn't like the idea of working from home. If anything, I'm more effective because I have fewer interruptions, there is no "social time" involved because there's no one stopping by my desk to chat, and you get me working longer because a) I do not have to commute so I basically wake up and start working, and b) I don't feel guilty about taking little breaks during the day so I'm inclined to work well into the evening hours. Is it a control thing? A lack of trust? I dunno but I find it irksome, especially given the time spent commuting and the cost of gas. Once in a blue, I should be able to work from home, no questions asked.

There actually is a 3d thing but it's quite involved, because it encompasses so much more than just work dynamics, and so I think it deserves its own blog entry. Suffice it to say that it's a very important issue to me but when I brought it up I was immediately shut down.

So I'm wondering if maybe I've gone as far as I'm comfortable going in the position that I currently hold? I mean not just at this firm but at any other? I'm just not ready for a Chief position (even though people I've worked with disagree vehemently), but there are only so many companies around here where I can serve as Deputy or Lieutenant or whatever the 2d in command is called. I really enjoy what I do, and I particularly enjoy it at this company because I am getting so much exposure to different areas of the business and learning so many new things. I wouldn't say that I'm doing exactly what I want to do, because I'd prefer to be handling much more regulatory work, but the experience I'm getting is really excellent in terms of learning new products and seeing supervisory issues from the top-down instead of dissecting their structural components. I'm used to creating policy but not executing it, so it's a different vantage point, and while I don't love it in quite the same way that I love stretching and remoulding the regulations like play-doh, it's still very rewarding and, like I said, the experience is invaluable. What I don't enjoy is the insecurity because no one ever tells you if you're doing a good job (or a bad job) so you're just going through the motions but without any feedback you're just left wondering... hmm are they going to fire me today?

And then I think about how maybe I should be practising law instead and how I feel my legal muscles are quickly atrophying because I so infrequently flex them. And some friends and I have been talking about opening a law firm a few years down the line, which I think might be lots of fun and also a good investment of my capital and time. I've also thought about going to work for one of the local specialty firms, doing either claimant's or respondent's side (though I admit it's a bit more... highbrow, I think... to do respondent's side. The arguments are much more refined in terms of detail involved in the defense) ... but I think that a) I would wind up taking a pay cut which I am NOT interested in doing, and b) no one would want me anyway because other than scoring a passing grade on the Florida Bar and a couple of hours of CLE credits, I have really no qualifications to practise as an attorney. And then I give up on that idea until the next time it pops into my head.

So this post is totally long and really very profession-specific so I apologise in advance to those reading and going... wow this is the most boring post ever! I just need to get it out and even if you guys don't understand any or all of what you're reading or can't relate, it feels good to get it out. It's hard to talk about this with most of the people I know, precisely because it IS so specific.

I guess I am just thinking a lot about work and respect issues and how ours is an ever-evolving business yet the people in charge are so very stuck in the old ways and are positively curmudgeonly when it comes to effecting even a minor change. For example we are losing a very valued employee because he is unhappy with a) his pay, but more importantly b) the fact that he does a whole bunch of shit work and he's so smart and so willing to try new things and help out... and he's been asking me for months to make this change but unfortunately I have no real power, and neither does my boss even ...which is insipid, really... because every little decision is made by committee and infrequently do such decisions take into account the ideas, needs, or desires of the people they affect. Which is crazy!

And yet? Because he's leaving, the requested changes are being made. His sacrifice becomes the catalyst for change and it's just a strange way for a company to evolve but that seems to be par for the course.

And it annoys me.

I guess everyone gets fed up with their jobs from time to time, and at the end of the day I do love what I do... I enjoy the people I work with, the working under so much pressure, the rush of crafting arguments with the rulemakers, the networking, and the daily education and professional improvement that working in a busy atmosphere will afford you. But really... a little respect would be nice.

Sock it to me, sock it to me...

8 Comments:

Blogger sassinak said...

well i think regarding the office you're fucked. try to arrange to move in on a monday and sneakily have it fumigated on saturday :)

anyway a 10% pay cut for a job that's five minutes from home isn't a pay cut at all you know? i think maybe if you look around at what's out there you might be surprised. not only do you have a clue but you're bright and articulate, both qualities which tend to be sadly lacking.

you said once that your dream job was at the sec. have you ever considered actually applying?

damm that sounded bitchy.

you sound ripe for change babe, open your eyes and maybe it's already in front of you...

5/18/2006 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger DZER said...

I totally feel you on this one. I like my job, mostly, and the people I work with, mostly, but lately it seems I keep getting additional work just because I do a good job and others, who are trusted or taxed with extra work, skate by in their basic jobs.

It would be one thing if I felt I was being adequately recompensed for the additional work, but I'm not.

I frequently volunteer to do some things that I consider fun, but often it then becomes expected ... and again, the compensaation just isn't there.

So I'm looking hard at moving on ... to a different job, in a different place, on a different side of the hemisphere.

Sometimes, you have no choice but to move on ...

5/19/2006 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Well yeah you have been feeling like this for a while.

And even though it is profession-specific, you know that this goes on everywhere, including academia, where the schools that generate the most money from grants get treated like deities and gen ed and liberal arts get shafted.

Corporate stuff is crappy. There is little that can be done.

Best thing is to find a place where you are doing what you love, getting paid enough to make you happy, and where the environment is passable.

And finding THAT is hard enough. I mean, we spend 8 hours or more in this place with these people dealing with issues. That's not the best case scenario EVER.

If you are ready...move on. If they cannot see they are lucky to have you, they shouldn't have you at all.

-N

5/19/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

Funny... when I started the post (and even when I finished it) I didn't really have the idea of moving on to another company... interesting that you guys are looking at it that way because maybe that's what I really AM thinking but I'm not thinking it because it's not what I want to do for a lot of reasons (but mainly because of longevity).

Sass -- It didn't sound bitchy; it sounded logical. And the answer is yes, I have applied... but they want someone with one year's experience as an attorney and I've only been admitted 6 months so they aren't looking at me just yet. Also the jobs in the southeast regional office are SUPER hard to get, or even find out about.

And the pay cut I would take to work for a law firm? So much more than 10% ...we're talking more like 30%. And I'm not interested in working my way back up a totem pole when I've worked so hard to get this high. You know?

Dzer -- As Sass would say, WORD on everything you said, specifically your first paragraph. I love when my boss tells me that additional work is expected of me as a "Director" but then when it comes to salary, perks, and plain old respect ... some days I feel more like an admin.

Nat -- I think that for the most part, I AM at your 'best' scenario... but there are still things that irk me. And as for moving on... I'm not ready

5/19/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Cressida said...

uh... I hate jobs. I want Jake Gyllanhaal to hurry up and realize he's madly in love with me already so I can quit WORKING. blah.

5/19/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger terry said...

omigod, jmai... to borrow sass's word... WORD.

i HATE it when i am not taken seriously, or not shown the proper respect at work.

so often it seems that the only real reward for doing a good job (aside from the kudos of my colleagues) is to be assigned MORE work.. while those who DON'T do a good job don't have to work as hard.

what the hell?

anyway. sounds like you may have reached the point of diminishing returns where you are... but only you know that.

5/20/2006 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

that used to happen to me... we had this ticket system and i did tickets 99% of the time and would get in shit for fucking up one of them

the guy who never did a single ticket? never got in shit

was so lame.

5/22/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

i am getting depressed thinking about the situation. and how it seems to be UBIQUITOUS. everyone, everywhere, all offices. how do people do this for 50 yrs of their life???

5/23/2006 11:22:00 AM  

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