The Freedom of Choice. the Fear of Making the Wrong Ones.

To anyone from work who may come upon this post: hi.

If you would have asked me what I wanted to do for a living even just a few years ago I would have described the job I have now.  Heck, even as a kid I envisioned (after wanting to be an astronaut) sitting in a big building somewhere with lots of people in front of a computer cranking out tasks.  That's what I wanted to do with my life.

I hate being wrong.  But man was I wrong.

Particularly since I've moved to Omaha I've seen a wave of change come over me.  I see people enjoying what they do.  To be honest, I didn't think it was possible.  I just assumed everyone hated what they did and it's a part of life.  But I think that's a genuine difference between Chicago and Omaha.  In Chicago everyone packs up their stuff, jumps on a train or bus, arrives at an office, performs a task and comes home.  In Omaha people wake up and say "What do I want to do with my life today?"  There is a feeling of choice that Chicago never had for me.

In all honesty, I bitch about my job a lot.  And people probably get sick of it.  I think it's a sense of frustration on my part that 1) I'm good at my job, 2) I can't complain about my compensation at my job, c) At last I have a job.  All checkmarks in the "Pro" column that many people, including my past self, would have loved.

But then the "Cons" column starts piling up.  The syntax friends ask me to do things is in the form of "hey, do you have to work x night?  Can you come out?"  It's an unfortunate given that it's more likely I can't go out with them than I can.  Management doesn't come up to me and say "hey, some things came up where we'll need you to work the next four Friday nights, but go ahead and come in late Monday."  Instead I just look at my queue and see things assigned to me:

You're not busy, right?

What if I had plans?  Actually, I do have plans.  I have a life, I have friends.  I plan on doing things.  I find it slightly insulting that it's assumed otherwise, or they don't care.  And if I work until 3am, and come staggering work with next to no sleep a few minutes late I don't get "thanks for your hard work last night", I get emails like this:

"Our work day starts at 8 am.  If you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, you are to contact your supervisor or prearrange any schedule changes[...] Everyone on this email has a high school diploma so I can safely assume you have all reached the recognized age of adulthood.  Let’s act like it.   If it continues to be a problem, I will have to micromanage the situation."

Ouch.  To be honest, I don't think management even realizes people are up at all hours of the night working for them.  They're nameless faces so far up the corporate ladder looking for the smallest things that are wrong instead of apologizing for ruining nights and weekends for the people who work so hard to keep this company moving.

But this post isn't to complain.  This post is to say that I have a choice.  I can chose to be a worker bee, ashamed of who I work  for and the work I do, or chose to do something else.

Until now my mantra was "the evil I know is better than the evil I don't know."  There is no promise that making a rash decision to leave a position for another would leave me in a better place.  Any move you make can be for the worse, but you don't know that until it's too late.  So I figured as long as I can live my life and deal it would certainly be better than than going to an unknown place that I may hate just as much or more.

So I'm going to take a plunge and see what's out there.  Talk to some people.  See where I may fit and be happy.  I have support of friends (some who I think are determined to get me a new role elsewhere with my involvement or not).  Regardless, it's better than bitching on Twitter.

I have more stuff you can read if you like. You might like these:

Gabe Kangas

Sep 16, 2009