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All content by Nicole Willson. Copyright 2000. No stealing.

 

Insomniaville -- All the Stuff that Keeps Me Up At Night

2/26 -- You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Be an Antisocial Loser.

I like to think I'm an ideal employee.

Tell me what needs to be done, and I'll do it. Tell me when it needs to be done, and that's when I'll finish it. If I can't make the deadline, I'll let you know. I'm friendly, but I don't stand in the breakroom and blather endlessly. (I may sneak around online, but I don't do that when I'm on a major deadline. Really.) I'll let you know if I'm getting overwhelmed, but I won't sit on my ass and complain for hours. (I'll wait until I get home and make my poor husband listen to it instead. Or dump it here.)

If something in our work situation changes -- if our department gets reorganized or if we all get a new department overlord -- you can explain it to me and tell me how it's going to affect me. And I'll deal with it. I'm good that way. I'm not the type to wring my hands and read disaster into every personnel change. I used to think that meant there was something wrong with me, but now that I've seen a few months of fretting and fussing and hand-wringing in action, I know it's not. I roll with the punches. I don't scare easy.

I'll admit it: I tend to keep to myself. I pride myself on having good working relationships with everyone, and I enjoy the occasional lunch out with co-workers. But that's where it ends. You are most definitely not my family. You are not my close personal friends. (If I think you might actually be Close Personal Friend material, which does occasionally happen, I'm capable of letting you know that myself. The Big Company is not going to force that down our throats, no matter how hard they try.)

Look over all that and tell me: Is that really soooo wrong?

Apparently it is. I didn't realize when I joined my new department that I was landing in the lap of Corporate Schmooze Culture Central. If a department head farts, we have to attend an all-hands-on-deck meeting for a few hours' painstaking explanation of What It All Means.

(A disclaimer: I still like my actual job. The following bitchfest concerns stuff going on in the department at large.)

Just recently, my department was reorganized along with a couple of other stray departments that had kinda-similar-but-not-quite functions in the Big Company. Nobody got fired; a few people and projects are being shuffled around.

The day-to-day effect on my own little group: Nothing. Nada. Zip. We're not moving to another part of the company. We're still reporting to all the same people. Our projects haven't changed. If I hadn't been told about the reorganization, I'd never have guessed anything was different. But we still had to attend a morning-long mandatory meeting with lots of department heads doing long, tedious presentations about What It All Meant.

They passed out a nice handout at the beginning that summed up everything beautifully and even included a FAQ (because we're all such technogeeks) anticipating some of the most likely questions about the reorganization. As far as I'm concerned, that's all they really needed to do. If I read it over and had any questions, I knew where to find my supervisor. Even though he's sneakily concealed in the office right behind my cubicle, I bet I could hunt him down if I had to. I'm smart like that.

But because there's a section in the "Managing Big Groups of Employees" manual which reads "Employees All Have Yogurt Dip For Brains: Explaining the Same Thing Over and Over and Over until Everyone Wants to Scream," a succint explanation wouldn't do. And excusing the people unaffected by the big reorganization (namely me and my group) wouldn't do either. Heaven forbid. Part of the reorg is making sure that everyone suffers equally, I guess. Because we're all a BIG FAMILY now. (My ass.)

We have big meetings like this at least once every couple of months. At first, I'll try to have a good attitude. But after a half-hour of "Oh well. We get bagels and it beats workin', I guess," my sense of indulging the corporate drones wears off and I get actively hostile. Dammit. I've got WORK I need to do. I might not actually do it, but it's the principle of the thing. I don't have time for this shit. I know that being included in all these meetings is supposed to make me feel special. Me, an insignificant cog in the machine -- they're including me in these important discussions! They care. Awwww.

But it just makes me really cranky.

And then I fantasize about ramming my ballpoint pen through the temple of the "Just One More Question" Guy who always waits until everyone thinks the torture is over and they can leave already:

Speaker: "Okay. Any other questions?" One beat ... nobody's raised a hand yet ... two beats ... people start gathering their things in anticipation of getting the hell out of there ... three beats ... "Okay, then --"

"Just One More Question" Guy: "Uh, yeah. Is my cubicle still gonna be by a window when we move? And can you please repeat everything you just said for the last hour? I was staring at that woman's bra strap. What's this about some reorganimazation or somethin'?"

Okay. So some people in the group really are stupid and can't understand anything unless it's explained to them a million times, with fingerpaints and a happy clown making balloon animals for illustration purposes. But how come I have to suffer?

On some level, I know that it really doesn't hurt to know what's going on in other departments. I know it's good that I work at a company where they try to let you know about these things. Even if it's typical corporate happy-face song and dance bullshit and I know I'm not getting the real story.

But here's the thing: I don't care.

I know I should care, but I don't. Does it affect me? Will it affect me in the future? If the answer to both questions is "No," then I don't care. And you can't make me.

And as part of this big happy family thing, we had to go to some group party with all the other happy reorganized folks on Friday afternoon. Maybe it's just me, but parties are a little more fun when a. I know some of the people there, b. I don't feel like I'm being compelled to go, and c. I can't actually hear the work piling up in my queue, taunting me with "Heh heh heh. Seeya Monday morning, babe!"

What's less funny that a parody song sung to the tune of "The Brady Bunch" explaining our reorganization? That same song sung again ("Everybody sing it this time!"), because of course we're all complete morons who need everything repeated to us twice so we'll understand.

(And jokes are always funnier if you tell them twice. "Har har! You guys hear what I just said?")

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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February 2000