Thursday, October 8, 2009

Job Dissatisfaction...

This is one of those days where I literally had to talk myself out of bed. Then, when that didn't work, I had to force myself to get up. It was chilly in my room and my bed was warm. I was still very sleepy. Most of all, I did not want to come to work.

Lately, work feels as though it's a chore and not something I enjoy doing. There's an atmosphere of discontent floating around and like any infectious germ, it's catching. Our company has been bought and sold in the last year and with the sale have come changes. Most of them aren't bad. Our benefits have deteriorated slightly, our paid-time-off policy is a bit rubbish and the communication between management and staff has also declined but, for the most part, the company is running much as it did before.'s not. That atmosphere of discontent is hard to ignore. I think we're all starting to wonder, long term, where we're going. Working for a software company is tricky anyway; it's all so subjective to the market. Our software is exclusively for an academic market, a market whose budgets have been slashed over the last year. Our software also isn't a nice "Microsoft-in-a-box" type package you can just throw on a computer and learn to use because it's intuitive. It's a software product that literally takes years to learn to use properly. There isn't one way to do something, there's about twenty. We cannot give a client a straight answer when they ask how to do something specific because "it depends". It always depends.

While I like nuances and shadows rather than the black and white, this doesn't necessarily extent to when I'm trying to do my job. Sometimes, hearing 'it depends' on a daily basis makes me want to throw my monitor against a wall.

Naturally, I don't. Mostly because I have a nice monitor and it would make a mess. Also, because as frustrated as I get with my job, I still need it.

It's just that...our software is antiquated. It's rather clever and it does smart things but unless you've been using the software for years, it's hard to learn. You have to know exactly what each tiny mechanism does because if you do the wrong thing, it means something else doesn't work.

We do offer training. We just charge a fortune for it.

I'm not a very good business Monkeypants. I have never had much interest in the business side of things, more the creative part. Thus, I'm aware that I'm naive in my thinking when I believe it would be nice if a client could buy our product, put it on a machine and start using it because it's intuitive. Kind of like those Microsoft products. Sure, the new Office has more of a Mac feel but they haven't changed the functionality, just the look. Once you know how to open a file, cut, paste, bold,'s pretty much the same across the Microsoft board.

I know people hate Microsoft. I do too when Microsoft Word encounters and unexpected error and has to close when I'm in the middle of a writing flow and I haven't hit "save" in a while.

Yet their products are easy to use. That's why people buy them. They're familiar.

I worry about our product, honestly. The majority of our loyal clients are old. They've been using our software for years. Thus, they know it. Trouble is, they're slowly retiring. The younger generation don't know our software. We don't do much to help them with that.

I didn't mean to turn this blog into a vent session about my job which is slowly what it's becoming. I apologize for that. It's just so frustrating to come to a place every day in which I feel like an insignificant part of an overly-complicated whole.

The responsibility to change that is mine. You may ask, what have I done to try to remedy my dissatisfaction? The thing is I've spoke to my boss twice now, three times if you count the time my coworker and I ganged up on him. I've told him I need to be challenged. I've given him a list of things I'd like to do, things that I genuinely think could help the company. He's listened, sounded excited, promised to get me doing those things and then....nothing.

So, I am trying. I'm finding projects to work on. There are huge projects that need to be tackled, ones I think I'd like to do but it's hard to start one of those because at any given moment, I'm yanked off that to do something else.

It's funny, really. When I was a little girl, I always thought I'd have a job that sounded cool. I used to think I wanted to be a nurse. Then I realized it would involve changing bedpans and I changed my mind. I thought I'd be a teacher. Then, as I got older, I realized I preferred the method of ripping something out of someones hands so I could just do it myself rather than instruct them patiently.

Thus, I ended up here. I'm a computer person/writer. I'm not sure if I like that anymore or not. It used to be that I considered myself to be using both sides of my brain, one creative, one logical. These days, at work, I'm not really using much of my brain at all and I really miss it.

I don't think it helps that I got my Alumni magazine from my undergrad school yesterday. Actually, I'm never sure how I get that. No matter where I move, what my address, my alma mater seems to find me. I don't even tell them I've moved. They just...find me. It's a wee bit creepy.

Anyway, the Alumni magazine featured all of the grads from my school who've succeeded in entertainment. There are actors, some on True Blood, actually. There are writers who've had books published, producers of TV shows, sports stars...the list is actually pretty impressive.

Then I thought about me. I have a degree from that school and I'm not in those pages. I want to be in those pages. I want to be 'bestselling author' but, instead, only a couple of names are listed, one in particular for a girl I knew on the peripheral and wasn't terribly pleasant when I contacted her about my own writing. She's a big wig in the Writer's Digest world. She's one of those artsy types who shoots down popular fiction. Thus...she shot me down.

So, I have to ask myself, what am I going to do about it? Clearly, my boss is too busy to utilize the skills that I've offered up that are currently being wasted. My writing life is not going terribly well since I doubt every word I put on a page. It seems that I might be stuck at a strange crossroads and I'm not sure if there is a road lying ahead that has a sign telling me where to go.

I think the only thing to do is take matters into my own hands. I clearly have no shortage of words since I spend so many of them on this blog each day. I still love to craft them, to form them, to find a story in them. It still makes me happy to make up stories. I think that, above anything, gives me the knowledge that no matter what I do, I am a writer despite the fact that I don't have any published novels to my name...yet.

As for my day job, it shouldn't matter what that is. It never used to matter. I used to be able to earn my living and then go home and write. I think it's just a mindset change that I need. I have to accept that this is my life and only I can change it. Maybe that means I need to find another day job, I don't know. It's hard when the job market sucks. I'll figure it out though. I usually do. Somehow, I usually find a way to get what I want, it's just a question of getting the pieces in place.

Sorry this is such a self-centred blog. I'll be back to blogging about lighter things tomorrow, such as the fact that Nutley 2.0 now has two girlfriends and they're frolicking regularly around my garden with no regard for the fact that the holes they're digging are getting larger by the day and making it hard to walk across my yard without turning my ankle.

Thanks, as always, for reading and indulging my thoughts.

Happy Thursday.

1 comment:

Kat said...

This is one of those days where I literally had to talk myself out of bed. Then, when that didn't work, I had to force myself to get up. - I know exactly how you feel.