I really, really, really need to get a new job.
It’s Friday night, approaching midnight, and I feel like I have just finished a week of running in front of the bulls at Pamplona. I don’t want to complain abut this too much — after all, at least I have a job. It’s a steady paycheck and subsidized health insurance. But since we were bought out by HugeCorp things have gone from bad to worse. I have tried to maintain some sense of balance, and after almost fourteen years at this place I have seen a lot of self-annointed bigshots come and go and I know that no matter how bad things get it’s just a job and my real life starts when I walk out of there each day.
But money touches everything and HugeCorp, like all corporations, exists only and purely to make as much money as possible, and it is like a giant machine, whirring in the basement (or the penthouse), grinding out new schemes and initiatives and procedures, blissfully unaware of what it’s like to be me, trying to implement them and still find time to get some work done. Some of the schemes make some sense in theory, or at least it’s possible to discern the good intentions behind them. But when they are brought into the workplace and start bumping up against reality all their flaws are exposed and eveything the planners didn’t think of takes place and there is chaos, anger and frustration.
I usually like chaos, but I am angry and frustrated because I am starting to see that I am a square peg and I will never fit into any of these HugeCorp round holes. For years we could both ignore this incompatibility, because they paid me and I efficiently did their work. But they are losing interest in getting work done. What they want now is to seem to be getting work done, so investors are impressed by the prospectus and the stock value goes up.
Another thing investors like is cost-cutting, so this week all the office supplies were moved to a warehouse a block away from the building where they are used, where they are being cataloged and shelved. This started without warning or explanation a few days ago, and by today most of our day-to-day stuff we need to work was gone from our premises. So when I was in the middle of a print job on the main laser printer and it ran out of paper, there was no fucking paper anywhere in the building. I asked the woman who had previously been in charge of supplies, and she told me to go to the other building and ask for a ream.
Really. Do I need more of a hint than that? Not only am I getting reamed, but now they want me to ask for it.
OK. I get it. It’s a huge corporation and they want to be as efficient as possible. They want to enhance the bottom line by saving money on supplies by making people accountable for what they use. But because of the stupid, arrogant, thoughtless, haphazard way they went about doing it, I – and the other twenty people who use that printer – had to stop everything and wait for someone to hike down the street and ask for a ream.
It was me, of course, and I didn’t ask. I took four reams of paper and hiked back to the office. I loaded the printer and asked the former supply-woman where she wanted the rest of the paper, and I asked her to call the warehouse and let them know how much paper I had taken, since no one had been there when I arrived. Just helpful Jones, trying to keep all the wheels turning.
For this rogue behavior I got to have a special, ten-minute closed-door meeting with the (new) general manager and the (new) controller, who together have worked there a total of six months. I won’t go into the grisly details of my reprimand, except to say that even though neither of them could refute my logic that I was just trying to get the whole fucking office back to work and ensure that another such delay didn’t occur in a couple of hours, they insisted that I had to play by the new rules (which had never been revealed to me, but that didn’t matter), that there could be no exceptions and it was too fucking bad if I didn’t like it. And, oh, yeah, neither of them was responsible for the new rules – they just happened spontaneously. (I actually used the word “spontaneously” in our conversation, and it appears that neither of them know what it means.)
So, to summarize:
- Stoopid rule.
- Productivity suffers.
- Circumventing the rule and actually working gets you in trouble.
- No one is responsible.
- I really, really, really need to get a new job.