Friday, March 28, 2008

Not About My Uterus, for Once!

The stress-eating that Vanished an entire bag of cookies is not due to the miscarriage/ infertility drama. I'm actually feeling pretty sanguine about that; excited about my appointment next week and fairly confident that it will all be OK soon. No, unfortunately, it is work that is driving me to the Ben&Jerry's.

I almost never talk about my work here. For one thing, it's boring. I don't relish my days at work so much that I want to relive them in my entries. Work is simple, black-and-white, and requires no thought or analysis afterwards. For another, it's dangerous to talk about work on the Internet. Careless writers can and do get fired for revealing too much information, or even just for insulting the wrong people. In the past, I have made the uncomfortable discovery that at least one person I worked with was reading my blog unannounced, which reinforces the fact that you never know who's reading. For all I know, my manager reads this blog. (Or my 'little' brother--who has the nerve to suddenly be almost six feet tall and have a (really fantastic) girlfriend-- if you're reading this, munchkin, I do not recall giving you permission to grow up.) Or former friends, ex-boyfriends, whoever. You just never know, so I clear away from work-based issues and concentrate on my private life, figuring that anyone who wants to read about my uterus, my dog, or my Harry Potter obsession is welcome to do so.

Now, I'm going to break all my own rules and spill about work. Don't worry, Powers-that-Be; I'm not going to suddenly name the corporation that I work for, or dish any insider secrets. It's just that things have been coming to a head, and gradually/suddenly/lately(?) I find myself wanting to leave. My job has gone from merely not making me happy, to actively making me unhappy. I no longer wake up neutral about going to work, but dreading it. And it's not just my manager (although it's not NOT her, either), but the entire situation. My talent for fitting in almost anywhere has warped me somewhat, and makes it difficult to see when the square-peg/round-hole situation just isn't working anymore. I am not a salesperson. I never have been, I never will be. I'm too introverted, too honest, and not nearly motivated enough by money to sell things to people. And yet, my job is partially based on sales. It's not the only thing I do by a long shot, but it's the part that I'm measured by.

I have opportunity, in my job, to do good things-- that I am proud of, that I even enjoy. I get to help people, sometimes, and educate them; sometimes I can diffuse difficult situations just by listening and being empathetic. But nobody above me cares about that. I don't mean that in a wah-wah-wah, nobody-appreciates-the-good-that-I-do sort of way, just that it's not the part of my job that produces "results", and it's natural for a company to focus (solely) on the results.

Part of this unhappiness is the fact that there is very little similarity between my job and my job description. Every day, most of what I do is not what I "should" be doing as a ____-- and let's be frank, my pay and such are based on that job title. Because this company is so big, I can compare being the ___ here, with being one somewhere else, simply by chatting with old friends. I supervise two other associates-- definitely not part of being a ____. Supervisors and managers definitely get more pay and more status than ____s get, as they should. I am in charge of operational issues-- auditor stuff-- which again is not a part of the job. It's all due to the unusual set-up at this location. At a typical location, there is one person, who in addition to her regular duties, also orders all the supplies. Another, who is in charge of the cash vault, in addition to regular duties. A supervisor, who's main job is to oversee the operations/ audit stuff. At least of couple of salespeople, who do nothing but create new sales and address customer problems. And of course the manager and perhaps an assistant manager, to oversee everyone else. Where I work, there is just me, and two other girls. I do the ordering, the cash vault, the operational stuff. I do all the sales, handle all the customer problems, and oversee the other two associates, in addition to just handling regular transactions. Frankly, I'm exhausted and annoyed. There is never a single day when I feel as though I finished everything, or, lately, that I even care enough to want to. I don't get the support I need from the manager and assistant manager, who would prefer to not deal with our tiny little branch except to claim credit for the sales we make. My manager has tried to convince me that I'm gaining valuable experience by taking on all these extras, but when it comes down to it, my resume will still say: am a _____. It's not as though I can claim to be anything else, regardless of whatever I do all day.

I am tired of the Wednesday morning Sales conference call, the Thursday morning Operations call, the Friday morning staff meeting, and--recently-- the Tuesday morning Associate Appreciation conference call, which is so ludicrous that someone must be reading Dilbert, because the best way to appreciate your staff is to NOT make them come in early yet another day of the week. I am paid by the hour, but not allowed to accumulate extra time beyond the 35 hours I'm allotted; I can't come in late or leave early, so I am reduced to ridiculous contortions to get rid of the extra hours created by having to come in early three or four days a week. That doesn't even include the Saturdays I work; I have to "lose" those hours as well. It is well-nigh impossible to get rid of four hours in addition to all the rest, when leaving early isn't an option. It is not unusual for me to have to come in early for a call, help with opening, then have to "disappear" for several hours to make up the difference, and then be questioned at the end of the day for not getting enough sales.

For the first time in three years, I am considering leaving this company and seeking employment elsewhere. I know that I have useful, valuable skills, and that somewhere out there is a job I can do well and that would make me reasonably happy-- or least, not make me miserable. I have squashed myself into this job and stayed in it, for all the wrong reasons: security, money, health insurance. These are not reasons to remain in a negative situation, I know. But I don't know what I'm going to do.


Rachel said...

I feel your pain. For years I've been working in the financial sector, pretty laughable when you consider that I have no math skills to speak of, and no great love for anything that can be neatly wrapped up. I've done it out of necessity.

For me now it's a luxury to think about what ifs, but I am starting to move in the direction of my dreams as far as I can on the weekends. Ya know?

Bex said...

My sentiments exactly, slightly different job but I need to get out. I'm a bad manager. Let's get new jobs.

ayla said...

Getting into a more supportive environment at work can have nothing but positive effects on the rest of your life. :)

Oh, and I have a "blog" on that is way more private than most other blogs on the internet, and it's somewhere that I feel I can be myself, do all the venting I need to do, share myself with others, and also feel safe. It's where most of my writing is right now, and the reason I don't blog so often. :)

Anonymous said...

This is your boss!

You're FIRED!!!!

Mara said...

Funny, you'd think my boss would remember his/her own name, and also the fact that (like Peter in Office Space) I have multiple bosses-- layers of bosses, imbedded in management-- and that firing me could never be a one-person decision.

Additionally, what kind of manager would fire someone for being unhappy? If you were my boss, I'd have already quit.