Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It Really is Just a Job....

This week seems to be going rather quickly. That is definitely not a complaint by any means. I like it when the work week goes quickly, as long as time slows down for the weekend.

Outside, it's one of those strange fall days where there are now more leaves on the ground than the trees, where there are some clouds look almost like smoke where you can see rain showers happening in certain areas but the sky is clear in other patches, preparing the blueness of sunny day. It is chilly out there though there's no frost this morning. We have had some glittery frosty days recently but I'm spoiled now and I only see them from the warmth of my unfrozen car. Having a garage is nice though I do need to get a bag of salt for when my driveway gets icy.

Today, at work, miraculously, I have no meetings scheduled. This is literally the first day in a week where that has happened. Following the lines of "be careful what you wish for," I have been put on a project team. It's a team that gets together to take one of our software applications and find ways to improve it according to the specifications of one of our clients. It's actually quite fun and I'm trying to actually contribute. The tricky part I'm finding is that in my former life, I got to act as a liaison between computer programmers and the end users. This means I learned to translate technical babble into plain English. It also means that I learned an awful lot about the technical side without actually doing any programming myself. I'm finding that in this company, they don't seem to understand that concept because here, you're either a developer/programmer or you're a functional person, meaning you use the software and help other people use it. There seems to be little in-between. I've tried beyond reasonable measures to get my boss to actually look at my resume, to see that when I ask a technical question, I want the answer because I might actually understand it. Instead, my boss just gives me a flippant response and moves on. It's not his fault; he pretty much inherited me as an employee. The boss that hired me left during the transition a few months ago.

Nevertheless, at least I'm on a project team so I mustn't complain.

The thing that I hate about jobs is that when they're not going well, they tend to colour your entire life. No matter what other happy stuff is going on, you still have to go to work for 40 hours a week. That's a big chunk of time and there's no way to ignore it; it's a fact of life: Jobs affect us mentally. On bad days, I despise my job; on good days, I can actually get excited because I find the prospect of hope and challenge enjoyable and I think I might actually have some of both. The problem is there are usually more bad days than good. Sometimes, all you want to do is complain about your job, to have someone listen sympathetically and then help you verbally bash the crap out of your company because it's therapeutic. Unfortunately, I, like many, have discovered that most often, that's not what you get when you vent. More often, you'll vent to someone, wanting them to be on your side, and they'll say something like, "it'll get better soon," or "don't let it get to you."

The truth is, I've probably said those words myself because it's the easy response, especially when the person saying them is ok in their own job and getting along just fine. That has been me, I know it. It's easy to look at the rosier side of life when things are going well for you or, at least, fairly well. I've done it. We all do it. The words are good and most likely true. It will get better soon. I shouldn't let it bother me.

Except, it's never that easy. If you work 40 hours a week somewhere and it's not going well, it's impossible not to let it get to you. It does get to you because even when you leave for the night, driving, relieved, out of the car park, headed home at last that you have to go back there, that you might have escaped for the day but it'll be waiting for you the next day.

There does come a change in attitude eventually that we do all get to. I call it the Office Space approach. I was there a couple of weeks ago. I'll be there again in another short while. This approach means you've got to the point where you really just don't care that much, that you've done everything you can to remedy a problem and no one's listening so why bother worrying anymore? This stage is fun because I start enjoying my job. It's the phase during which I doodle most creatively, when I carve pumpkins at my desk. I love being in this mood. Yet, somehow, it never lasts as long as it should because I really do care, I really do want to like my job. I start getting sad that my attempts to talk to my boss are forgotten and that I start noticing all the things that are wrong with a job instead of the things that are right.

That's a bad place to be and I'm fighting it now. It is just a job. It is not life. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I think we probably all do. Instead, I need to look at the other aspects of my life that are not work: Friends, family, writing, cooking....there's a lot more to life than the way I earn my paycheck.

I apologize; I actually didn't mean to get all heavy in my blog. Sometimes it just slips out. I'll try to be lighter tomorrow, to be less reflective and more constructive. I also need to actually write about writing again. I'm planning on compiling a series of short stories based on my doodles and I'm working on a novel for National Novel Writing Month. It's a challenge to authors to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I'm making good progress. It's probably going to be a silly effort but that's precisely why I'm writing it...sometime you just need to be silly. People need silly. I need silly. I'm hoping if I get a silly book out of my system, it'll undo some of the damage my last novel did- a novel that turned out well but was more effort to write than I ever thought it would be and one that I still can't decide if I like or not. I'm planning on liking the one I'm writing now: The Reluctant Demon . I won't tell you what it's about because I don't really know. I'll let you know when I've written it; that's usually how I figure out what's going to happen.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Happy Wednesday.


Fe said...

Good luck on your novel. :-) p.s. is it really 50,000 pages?

Captain Monkeypants said...

Uh, should have been 50,000 words. Thanks for catching that! :)

Fe said...

phew. :-) That still sounds like a lot of words. You can do it!