Friday, November 18, 2005

It’s a lovely day…

…for a lobotomy. The sun is shining, which I don’t particularly like, but the air is crisp and clean with a persistent breeze. The week has been busy enough so the days don’t drag by, but not busy to the point of being hectic. Today is Friday and the work portion is nearly over. So why do I wish somebody would stop by and carve a large chunk of meat out of my head?

It all started this morning as I worked to get a couple of reports out early since many people will be on vacation all next week. While rushing to piece things together from several databases that don’t like talking to each other, I was told two of our employees would be voluntarily leaving (one today, one next week) and so we would hold a party for them today. I hate things like this. They’re a constant reminder that I’m not really a part of the team around here.

I’m attached to the customer service phone tech support group because I have to be attached somewhere, but because I support everyone around here I don’t really belong to any single area. It has some advantages, but I’m frequently reminded that everybody wants to benefit from me but nobody wants to pay for me. For example, everybody in my area got new computers except for me; ironically, I’m the one with the heaviest data workload (database administration instead of tech support). When I sneeze or cough, nobody blesses me. When it’s time to go home, they say goodbye to every warm body they pass on the way out except for me. On the bright side, if I come to work late nobody notices that either and I can skip most meetings. They remember me when the need something, and are nice enough to say thanks when I deliver, but otherwise I’m basically invisible.

Naturally, nobody bothers to tell me any news so I was completely surprised to learn about the going away party. I signed both cards with something innocuous like “good luck” when I really wanted to write “good riddance, you waste of skin” and I volunteered to chip in for lunch and cake and ice cream. When the time came, I joined the crowd, clapped at the appropriate time, and then returned to my cubicle.

I don’t want to eat lunch with these people because it’s just a reminder that I’m the outsider here. Normally I don’t care, but situations like that make me think about the way that corporations function more like social clubs than businesses. People are hired for their ability to fit into the team; any actual job-related skills are of secondary concern at best. It rankles me to think of the act I have to assume while interviewing, pretending to be nice and corporate-friendly while hiding my real personality and interests because they tend to get me into trouble in polite society. No doubt my compatriots feel a little betrayed because I tricked my way in here, but I have to make a living too and if that means these diluted imitations of real life have to deal with the fact that I’m not their buddy, I’m only hard working and overqualified for my position, then that’s just too damned bad.

Unfortunately I do have to effect some pretense at getting along with them which means I can’t eat the lunch I brought because it would be considered an insult to slip away from the party to heat a frozen vegetarian enchilada. I took the time to leave the office and run a couple of errands and drop by my apartment for a quick snack. Out of sight, out of mind.

On the way back, I reminded myself that I wouldn’t be happy in any other corporate position and that my only chance for escape into a satisfying life will be to write my way out. NaNoWriMo is proving useful in at least one aspect: it’s keeping me on my writing goals, although it’s wearing me out in the process. Anyway, as jobs go, mine isn’t bad. Besides, since I live nearby I can go home for lunch and don’t have to sit in traffic at the end of the day.

I returned to my desk to discover an e-mail informing me that we are being moved. Our masters like to move their employees every so often; I envision them playing a game of cubicle chess high in their ivory tower. The others I worked with before are safe from this move, but I’m going since I was newly transferred to this group just last year (they haven’t been moved for a few years, so they’re overdue). I don’t know when this was originally planned, but it’s taking place in a couple of weeks. It won’t be too far away, but it blows the whole sneaking home for lunch or missing the rush hour traffic advantage.

I considered looking for another job, but I don’t want another job. I want to be rid of these places, all gray and beige, and these people, just as lifeless as the color scheme. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Perhaps I was becoming too complacent with my comfortable life and it was time to shake things up a bit.

Perhaps I can sneak out early without anybody noticing.

8 comments:

PBS said...

OMG I think you must work where I do! "corporations function more like social clubs than businesses. People are hired for their ability to fit into the team; any actual job-related skills are of secondary concern at best" for sure. I too, don't really want another job, it would be more of the same. I really just want to leave it (them!) behind.

H.E.Eigler said...

It's nice to escape. There was a wonderful time in my life where I was unemployed. For three whole months I tried not to get a job but would you believe that after the first interview I went to, I was hired? It was such a sad, sad time for me. Now, I'm a spiritless drone again. At least we get cake for people's birthdays. Woo hoo!

Just Some Gal said...

I hope you have a nice weekend Grant. The shadows of the work place are the backbones.

About Sis... I wish I could intervene with hard liquor...or tranquilzers or something. Its a sick little relationship they have.

ugh

Thank you for stopping by.

circe said...

This reminded me so much of the 3 years I temped at the oil company. I so know the feeling......

Spider Girl said...

If you sneezed around me, I'D say Gesundheit for ya, Grant. :)

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I know JUST what you mean....I've ALWAYS felt like an outsider, even though I go to the "going away", "bridal shower" and "baby shower" things (which I don't really want to do in the first place). Gotta play the game, though, don't we? Keep that strained fake smile on our faces for as long as we have to.

I'd much rather be a millionaire, but until I win the lotto....*sigh*

sands of time said...

I know many times when ive worked for large corporations i can remember being asked to contribute money and write cards for people i never even knew worked there.I think whenever we think things are fairly quiet in our lives something comes along and shakes it up.Sometimes good sometimes bad.I suppose you'll just have to wait and see which it turns out to be.

Butterscotch said...

Perhaps you should look into becoming the Ninja Bunny's assisstant.