ruminations on the work environment

I was talking to Tink last night. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I talk to her every night, but three or four times in a week is not uncommon. She’d recently caught wind of Greta’s resignation and had spoken with Dorey over the phone about it. For some reason, Greta’s leaving seemed to her more like the end of the P2 era than her unwilling departure, or my swift exit about a month thereafter. I’m not sure I really get that; after all, she left back in May, I think. And I exited in the middle of June, so we are coming up on 6 months since there was a P2 to speak of – it was one of those things that demanded all four of us – and perhaps longer since there was the original freedom of the relationship. That freedom got quashed by circumstance and not by individual failure or betrayal, at least as far as I can see.

So Tink and I were revisiting what it was that made the working relationship between P2 so rare. Why is it the benchmark against all other professional, interpersonal relationships should be judged? I’m not sure we have the answer. Of course we drove each other nuts at times: Tink worried, I was intractable, Greta was obsessive and Dorey just made you want to beg her for an honest, emphatic, non-diplomatic answer. But we genuinely liked each-other. We were honest with each-other. There was no competition, just teamwork. Any criticism was put forth directly and it was clear that it was constructive, for the good of the team or the client. We said what needed to be said and moved on. Tink thinks that this is how guys normally interact. With women, it seems rare.

It was very good. Perhaps in a quasi-superstitious way, it was the kind of thing that was too good to last. Yes, I hated the job. I felt useless and like people were blowing up my skirt for what amounted to a admin assistant job. I could accomplish what needed to be done in about 2 hours a day and sitting around for the other 6 trying to look like I was busy and accomplishing something was dumb and pointless. I was bored. But it wasn’t hard to get up in the morning and commute in to Tink, Greta and Dorey.

And now? Tink has no camaraderie and lots of office politics. Dorey is the only one left at TxInc. Greta is moving across country, which I think is what she really wanted. And I just got out of one of those department meetings that I think must be endemic at BAC and all other big ass companies just like this one. We are being reorganized. From two departments, three are to be created. Who knows which department I will land in, although I can only hope it isn’t the same one as Iowa.

I’ve had seven jobs since graduating college. One was volunteering in Scotland. That was reminiscent of a small dorm where cliques are rampant. The interacting with people was good, and there were parts that I eventually felt like I could excel in. Including the ritual cleaning of the loos. The second was working for a small printing company close to the University of Maryland. That was awful. I was bored and didn’t have the maturity to suck it up and deal. I quit without having another job lined up for myself. I also wrote a little manifesto that declared I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t like after the age of 25. Very quaint, actually. I then went to work for my father, where I had loads of responsibility and autonomy. Good working environment for me, if a little too close to home. After his business lost loads of money to Enron when they crashed, I got an emergency job at a new hotel in DC. I was friendly with the people I was working with, but I didn’t really carry any relationships over when I left for my next job at the Department of State. I have one or two friends that have lasted from my days at State. From State, to TxInc and from TxInc to BAC.

I received an e-mail from a friend from State, who recently called our own office only to discover that the voice-mail message hasn’t been changed since such things were my responsibility. Which got me thinking. I tend to view everything in the rearview mirror as if it is far more lovely and magical than I thought it was when I was there. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I would go back to the job I had, given the opportunity. I was underutilized there too – it’s a reoccurring theme. However, I met a lot of people I liked and respected while there. Strangely enough, the weird quotient at the Department of State is somewhat less than it is here at BAC.

I think I’ll be applying to an available position that is within my pay-range and suits my skills and ambitions. I might give up the 15 minute commute in order to navigate those dingy halls again.

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ruminations on the work environment

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