Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Work Ethics

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." (Drew Carey)

We have all been through this. Times when we hate our jobs or something related to it (the boss, the company, the co-workers, the team, etc), that is. For whatever reasons, and the reasons are too many to spend time here on them, we have all seen it before … But no matter how much they suck (the reasons, that is), and no matter what we see in our jobs, when we decide to “stay” and not to “flee”, should we not also, as free thinking and deliberating adults, make a commitment that we must do a good job at it? Or at least a decent one? Should we not at least close the door of that sucky office at night saying “I did the best I could, but oh, well”?!

I have never considered myself a “career woman”. I look at my job as giving me purpose, and giving me a source of income. It has to match my skills and I have to find enjoyment in the time I spend there. It also has to teach me something new, if not every day, at least every week. It has to enrich me, somehow. Otherwise it’s a waste of time. It must not fill up my entire day, and my entire cranium. At 5 PM, if possible, with very few exceptions, I want to close that door, lock it, move into my “real life” for the evening, and then unlock it the next day.

My job is not something I plan to tell my nieces and nephews about, when I am old and gray, and sit around the Christmas fire with them. It’s not something that it will necessarily go in my “life resume”. My trips, sure; my relationships and friendships, absolutely; my picture albums, most definitely; my job – just as a background mention.

But when I spend (so much) time on it, every day, I try to give myself 100% to it. Otherwise, what is the purpose of going? Sooner or later “they” will find out you’re not doing a good job, don’t you think? And one day, we all need references. It would be nice to know they will be available…

Our company announced in the first week of this year that it’s being sold. Our Publisher told us to pretend that we never heard that announcement. I did that. I tried to do that. But everyone seems to have listened to it, VERY carefully, and to milk all the bitterness out of it … And no one cares about the tasks at hand anymore.

The tune of the day, in the building, at every level, is “who cares?”. Everyone is behind, everyone does a half-ass job, and everyone is rhetorically asking “ who cares??”. And it’s driving me batty!

Loose ends everywhere, and past due assignments, and work-around-s instead of true fixes, when fixes are available, and budgets ignored, because we’ll let the “future owners worry about them”, and all swimming in the dolce-far-niente of the soup called with a shrug “who cares?”.

And the sad part about it to me is that it’s not the news of the sale makes my job sucky; and not the repeated lay-offs, not the volatility of my job, and the insecurity about tomorrow, either. It’s this “who cares? – I’m a slacker!” attitude that drives me nuts.

I feel like sending an “Everyone” email that will tell people to grow up or get the hell out. Because I surely feel like I am working with toddlers, and not adults anymore.

I guess mom was right: “In America people are worried only about themselves”. They don’t want to do gratuitous things, just to promote “good karma”. Their future is threatened, they sabotage the threatening “Now”.

And I am, again, a misfit. Because the way I look at it is this: the present, and the future will do, whatever they will do, and I have no control over those. But I have to be myself, 100%, in happy times and bad. And myself cannot allow herself to be a slacker. Myself is a hard working, conscientious and ethical worker in happy times and threatening times. The environment has nothing to do with my core and with who I am – which is more important to ME than what the future and the present want to do with me.

I could not go to sleep at night if I knew my core, my true self was not out there, day in and day out. In sickness just as in health.

10 years from now, I will meet these people and to me, they’ll forever be slackers. The circumstances of today all long forgotten and gone, they will come to my mind as what they are today: self-absorbed, vengeful, lacking any kind of work ethics, ultimate slackers. That’s what will stay.

But, as the minority, I am subdued! And once again, a slave. And in the meantime, till emancipation comes, I’ll wait at the bar.

No comments: