My career continues to befuddle me.
I am still in the big impersonal corporate environment. There are some good points to such a place.
But the bad points…there are those too.
People will say “There are bad things about any workplace.” This is undeniably so.
Here is an example of how I think about it:
I cannot do scary movies. As a young person, I was scared sleepless by inadvertantly stumbling on the video “Thriller”. Couldn’t sleep for a couple nights.
I learned that I should avoid scary movies. “Lost Boys” was too much for me. Even had to avoid X-Files, cause it freaked me out. Couldn’t go down a dark hallway to pee.
HOWEVER, it wasn’t just the scary. For example, I loved Independence Day and Jurassic Park. Even Jaws, that was fine
Upon consideration, I figured out it had to do with the intent. Was the scary whatever in the movie after the hero personally?
Not in Independence Day. Not Jaws, or Jurassic Park.
It was like the hunter hunted the prey impersonally. It was just what the hunter does. They might have easily chosen another to eat, or kill.
Evil, though…Vampires, they want you, and they want you to harm you in a nasty way. Past the grave, they own you. They have it in for you personally.
Back to large impersonal corporations.
They can harm you, and do things that drive you mad. Most of the time, when “they” are doing it, it is not personal. It is suddenly policy that all pencils must be forfieted at the end of the business day?
Nothing personal. We simply needed to do it.
Is it suddenly policy that 10% of all personnel have to be fired?
Nothing personal. Sorry. You have to go.
But then, there is the totally personal.
In a previous position I held:
A manager had been given my department to manage. He had been reprimanded too often for badly managing his previous crew. They gave him video conferencing, so they didn’t have to demote him.
I didn’t know this.
I did know that he badly managed.
A last meeting for high-level muckity mucks was called. It was last minute. It didn’t start well, but we rescued it.
Manager dude was nowhere to be found, but we rescued it.
Since manager dude knew nothing about how to do this work anyway, it was not a matter of concern to me that he wasn’t around. I would not have expected help from him. But since he was the manager, when I saw him the next day, I gave him a full report.
“You wouldn’t beleive what happened…” I told him all about it.
He ripped me a new one. Why? because I should have known that he was out at a trade show, and I should have called him.
“I did not know you were at a trade show.” I replied. “I looked for you, and didn’t find you.I was mostly concerned with handling the emergency meeting.”
“You knew where I was. I told you!” (He had not told me.)
I stood there to recieve the redundant sphincteration procedure. I knew he was completely in the wrong. I looked at him levelly. When he was done, I repeated what we had done to handle the problem, and how it had ended up fine in the end.
He did some final touches on the new asshole he’d been creating in me. And we parted.
Thing was, he knew and I knew and he knew I knew that he was totally out of line.
Next time he saw me, he said that he wanted to reward (in the abstract) the hard work of my team, and had gotten permission to give us “A Night on the Town.” We should all go out and have a good time and give him the reciepts to be reimbursed.
He was trying to apologize for his previous assholery without acknowleding that it was assholery. He was pretending this was a magnanimous gesture.
I said, “Thank you.”
He got mad again that I was not more grateful, but didn’t blow up. I said “Thanks, That is a nice thing to do.”
Naturally, the reward didn’t happen.
But this is an example of personal evil. It was personal to me.
Impersonal was when that company lied to all the IT people and said their stock and their jobs were safe. At the end of the quarter they laid everyone off and outsourced IT.
A much greater evil. But not personal at anyone.
The personally directed attacks at me, I have to respond to. In the case of bad manager, I had to go to his manager and say, “get him off my back.”
That is when I learned that he had been given the consolation prize of managing my department. But he did leave me alone after that.
The impersonal evil, there is not much you can do about. This is a fallen world.
But, it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.