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21 December 2012


Today, or perhaps next week, is my 5 year anniversary of working in the same place.  Not with the same company, but being in the same seat or near enough to the same seat. When I started here I was working for one company as a consultant, sitting in a small cubicle.  2 years later my company sold my business group to an investment firm and *BAM* new company, which also means new policies, etc.  I just stayed in my cubicle working as diligently as always.  One and a half years after that my company didn't even try to win the bid for the new contract so I was in danger of losing my job.  Luckily the company who did win the bid had no clue what my job entailed and gave me a raise to stay.  They also gave me an office.  So here I am another year and a half later sitting in said office thinking upon my 5 years in the same position, but with no recognition that I have even hit this 5 year milestone what with all the change that happens around this joint. It leads me to think of how I got here in this office with no windows.

 My first 2 jobs out of college I hated.  The first one I stayed in for only 4 months because I was tucked away on a military base in a small southern town were I didn't know a soul in a house literally crawling with cockroaches; I was only 1 block away from the Chattahoochee. I worked in a huge building with 3 people, all of whom were ex-military and decades older than I. The second one I lasted a year, but only by necessity. My boss was a micro manager who had his one favorite employee and damn the rest of us.

Let me tell you a lovely story about that boss.  I have plenty, but this one still pisses me off to this day.  Actually everything that boss did pisses me off, from telling me to drive to a meeting and saying I should be able to know how to get there without directions because I made maps of the county (said county is 271 sq miles and I had been working in said county for 1 month), to making me go to meetings were I was the lone female in a group of 200 men who made up the roads and drainage crews for the city  (nothing like being sexually harassed at meetings, but still being forced to go) to telling me that if I ate lunch at my desk, we had no break room, that I would have to answer and do anything he wanted me to do ( I promptly began eating in my car in the parking lot) . Anyhoo this one day the boss approaches my cube, and asks me to come to his office.  I begin to make my way over when he tells me I need to bring a notepad.  I grab it then follow him to his office, both of us passing the department admin who is reading a romance novel.  The first thing out of his mouth after I sit in his office is "This might offend you, but...".  You know you are going to love what your dickhead boss, whom you already hate with a passion, says when this is how he starts off a sentence.

"This might offend you, but I need you to take dictation and compose a letter to someone for me".

"Actually, it does offend me" I say. " I didn't go to college for 6 years and get 2 specialized degrees in order to be a secretary".

He sputters "Well, this is what you have to do to get ahead...I had to do this for my bosses, blah, blah, blah:".

Needless to say I made my anger be known and then wrote that fucking letter for him and gave it to him.  To piss me off even more he then walks passed the mailbox and the copier, hands me the letter and an addressed envelope and tells me to make a copy and mail it.  Let's just say that I cried daily the entire time I worked in that office.

So what the long ass story above is trying to illustrate is how I felt when I came to be sitting in the seat I am now.  I came from two horrible jobs to this mecca of paradise.  When I first began working at this "location" (we'll just call it a location since my company's have changed, but the business I consult to is the same) I was down on life after college. I hated my jobs and was wondering if this one would be any better. Well it was.  The people who worked in my department, essentially my clients, were awesome.  Everyone was all kumbaya and had been working together for awhile.  We all got along and when you got irritated at someone it was more like being pissed at a sibling. I wasn't the biggest fan of the company I worked for, but my clients were amazing.  5 years later now and people have come and gone, most not by choice what with the continuously evolving climate. When I got hired by my 3rd company most of the people who I had worked with for 3 1/2 years got laid off.  The new team that was assembled wasn't kumbaya at all. They were just a mishmash of people who didn't give  fuck about one another.  One by one they have been leaving, either by firing or free will, and now there is an even newer team in place who are the biggest dicks of all.  No one works together, everyone is angry, and when you are pissed at these people it's like being in a fight with someone you hate... the hate just gets a little stronger everyday.

I'm to the point now, after 5 years in the same seat, of wanting out.  I want my kumbaya back, but have been burned so many times that I am afraid of what is out there.  Perhaps what I will get instead of kumbaya is another dreaded boss.  While my team that I work with is awful, my company is the best it has ever been.  My newest bosses are the best I have ever had and truly care about their employees. I have never worked for such a caring company.  It's hard to think of what I will lose if I go out in the work force again.  What to do, what to do??  I know most people experience these same issues and was wondering if you, my readers (what is left of them anyway), have any advice for me.

Thanks friends!


tamara said...

I haven't truly begun my professional career yet - I just finished grad school and am working a short-term fellowship right now. i do think it's really important to be happy at work - you spend so much time there, and doing something you don't love, or working in an environment that's unpleasant, is so not worth it. with the job market being how it is, and with the understanding that maybe a lot of workplaces are shitty, maybe you can apply here and there for position with companies that you think you'd enjoy while remaining in your current job? I don't know what line of work you're in or anything, so that may not be feasible, but that would be my best advice! Good luck!

Kimberly Hughes said...

I came over to thank you for your lovely comment about my bedroom! And yes, I actually spied some glossy white numbers at Ikea on my last visit but I'm still debating lol

Anyway, just wanted to pipe up about your own dilemma! Oh goodness, you need to get out there! Yes, there are lots of really crap employers out there. Yes, its scary wondering if you are going to be going from the pan to the fire. But that's what interviews are for - not just for them to see if you are right for a job but for you to find out as much as you can about them and whether you'll be happy there. Brush up your CV and go on Linked In, see if there are companies in the industry that you are in that look promising. Read articles, see whether or not they are successful (I can't tell if you work for a private or public sector but if it's public, they will have to publicly declare their profits) - more successful companies have more money to pour on to employees - and happier employees = a happier workplace. Look and see if they've won awards - do your research. Decide from your Linked In research who you might want to work for and start looking to see if you can get an intro via Linked In - by the way, if you don't have a profile - get one! No one needs to be this miserable for this long. You are obviously skilled - you just need to find the right fit for you. xxx

Stephie Z said...

@Tamara - thank you for responding! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I think that is probably the best plan. Slowly look and only send to what appears to be the best. I can be choosy.

@Kimberly I do have a linked in page, but I definitely need to get on my CV. That would be a great starting point. Thanks!