Friday, November 26, 2004

Work is hell

My parents always taught me that when you go to work, you give it your all. Work your ass off, don't question the boss, and get the job done.

So it just felt so unnatural three weeks ago when I went to Human Resources for what I called "guidance."

I remember sitting there with the nice HR lady, my eyes down, my hands shaking as I described the oppression taking place in the office. You see (I'm telling you just as I told her), I'm all about justice. Misappropriation of funds is okay if it involves my own bank account, but not when it involves public money and the borrowed money of people who will not be able to afford to pay it back for years.

Not to mention the injustice of me, at $45K, guiding the hand of her, at $70K. Dictating her emails, standing over her shoulder dicating policy, advising her on how to deal with staffing issues, and pretty much cleaning up her messes. After ten years and an anti-depressant prescription, I was done. I wanted out.

So I told the nice lady that I wasn't expecting HR to step in. I can't save the office, I told her. I've tried to save it for too long, and I can't. It's spiralling out of control, and I refuse to go down with the ship.

So she tells me to tell the boss of my boss. There is injustice, she pointed out, hitting me in that nerve, in my leaving and changing the course of my life because of someone else's incompetence.

I looked over on the other shoulder, and there are my parents, telling me to just put up and shut up. Don't rock the boat. Get another job.

I thanked her for her advice, and left, planning to regularly check job postings each week.

Then, another big event happened. Big events in my office have become commonplace. Almost every fifteen minutes, my boss screws something up and blames whoever happens to be standing closest to the fire. Sometimes, it isn't something she's currently doing, but something she has neglected to do in the past creeping up and haunting us. This time, I was standing close enough to the fire to get burned.

I walked into the office of the boss of the boss, and told him that I have been feeling frustrated lately. We can't seem to do anything right, I told him. It's embarrassing. Can we start working on fixing mistakes before they occur instead of scrambling to sweep the ashes under the rug after the fire? My speech, of course, was much more eloquent and intelligent, or so I thought, but his eyes glazed over. He looked away from me, averting my eyes, taking himself away to some far off happy place where he wouldn't have to deal with this huge problem that would just turn the organization on its heels if he started to do something about it. Inaction is safer, I suppose.

The nice lady at HR told me that if I kind of worked my way into it like I did, that I would get clues as to whether he is open to hearing the information that I had. He clearly wasn't.

Just as I realized the futility of my appeal, he cut me off and told me the screw-up was my fault and I should have known better. :( I had my answer. As much as a small piece of me believed in the goodness and justice of the world, it wasn't here for me. Not in this office.

The next week, I applied for another job. Not a promotion, but a new beginning. I also called the HR lady to give her the update. I am not the knight-in-shining-armour after all. I failed in my mission. Or did the boss of the boss? It doesn't matter, because as in all injustices, there are victims, and none of us can (or will) help them, and so we all have failed. She doesn't know yet, because I had to leave a message.

Meanwhile, in the bosses office, she's on the internet booking her next vacation and writing up more fake overtime.

Three of us went to HR in as many weeks, each with our own concerns. Why won't they do something, they ask? Well, HR works for management, no matter how corrupt they are. My next job application went out on Thursday, and finally the HR lady returned my call, but I wasn't at my desk.

I tried calling her back, but her line was busy.

Then my friend called me today, and told me that the big boss, the boss of all bosses, has a mystery appointment with the HR lady next week.

So, of course, my mind starts racing. Along with my heart, and my imagination. The news spreads, and people fall into *gigglefits* thinking the boss is finally going to get canned.

But that's not the way this world works, I tell them. It isn't about justice anymore. It's about sweeping the ashes under the carpet before people see the soot around their feet.

Times are definitely changing for me. By this time next week, I could be going in a different direction. I could be leaving it all behind, moving onward and upward and rising above the smoke and fire that is my current workplace.

If there is any justice left in this work, I will have a new job by the end of next week. Pray for me. And if you are my boss reading this, you fvcking thief of time and money, you worthless sack of useless untalented unprofessional back-stabbing shit, have fun cleaning up your own slop.


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