Holding Pattern Delta

Nothing–and I mean nothing–is as debilitating as having to force yourself to grin and bear it. When you’re in a situation you simply can’t stand? When the mere thought is enough to make you fall to your knees and rage to the heavens like those stupid movie heroes as the camera pulls back dramatically? It’s painful. Physical torture. You may as well be strapped to a rusted table with wobbly legs, a towel over your face and bucket of water at the ready.

No, I know it’s not really that bad. But it feels like it. And when it feels like it, it may as well be the truth. Some people are able to do it–they’re able to smile through the bullshit, and they’re able to go about their day without so much as a glimmer that anything’s bothering them. I don’t like those people. I envy them, but I don’t like them.

Me? I wear my heart (and, to my detriment, my mouth) proudly on my sleeve. I used to have a filter. I used to be able to sit there and take load after load after load of steaming foulness, only venting my frustrations to the assholes other drivers surrounding me on the drive home. But that was a long time ago, and my patience has worn thin.

Like, razor-thin. Microscopic. Hell, it’s pretty much gone.

This isn’t about the book. Well, in a roundabout sort of way it is. It’s really about my job, and how I simply cannot take the–well, not “abuse”, per se. I don’t know what to call it. Arrogance, maybe? Egotism, definitely. It’s like working for politicians, only without the class and charm. It’s being lied to, straight to your face, then being told you’re “not a team player” when you have the audacity to say something.

Well, yeah. Of course I’m not a team player–the team in question keeps treating me like shit. Why would I want to play for that team?

You can’t sit there and talk about being one team, one mind, and then ignore half your teammates simply because they don’t have a degree in something. Okay, so they’re not holding a bachelor’s degree, or are working on their master’s. So what? You know what they do have? Experience. The average person working down here beside me has about six years experience doing what they do. Most of them have more than fifteen years in. I personally have close to twenty years experience in my particular field, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to say I know a thing or two. But I’m not worth listening to. I’m disgruntled. I’m a troublemaker. I’m trying to make this company do for me, because all I care about is myself.

Which is true, in a way. I do want the company to do for me. I do want it to listen to me, to hear me out, to consider my knowledge and experience in relation to things that directly affect me. Is that wrong? I mean, when you tell your employees you have an open-door policy, and that they should feel free to talk to you about anything–isn’t this the kind of stuff you’re talking about? You’re not hoping they’ll come to you because the vending machine is selling Twix instead of Peanut Butter Twix, are you? What’s the point? If you’re not prepared to accept what people have to tell you, is it really their fault they’re coming to you in the first place? You told them to! And then you slap them down and tell them to mind their own business?

Please, someone tell me how that makes sense. Because, as smart as I like to think I am, to an extent–I just don’t see it.

Having to wait for this book isn’t helping. Knowing pieces are up in the air, waiting for them to come down into one cohesive unit–that’s making things worse. Because in the meantime, I have to sit here and pretend I’m interested in helping and working with people who openly disregard my concerns. And I can’t do that anymore. I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, that it’s okay. I just can’t. I don’t have it in me. I want to be doing more, seeing more. I want to be more. Here, I’m just a cog; another piece of the corporate machine. And we all know a cog’s only purpose is be worn down under repeated use and replaced with something new.

A few months back I was part of a focus group. This was set up by HR after a fairly disastrous satisfaction survey from corporate. You know the kind–the ones they tell you are completely anonymous, even as they hand you your unique password to use when you log in. Yeah, because we’re that stupid. (Granted, some of us are, but not all, and that’s hurtful.) So there I am, sitting right next to the HR guy, and he tells us how this company considers its employees its most valuable resource. I mean, it was all I could do to not blurt out, “That’s great. But don’t most companies use up their resources until there’s nothing left?”

When it rains, my tongue still hurts from biting that one back.

And yet…

That’s where I am now. I’m being forced to keep my head down and do a job I no longer want to do, for a company that doesn’t give a shit one way or the other, in a market that’s seeing unbelievable increases in its cost of living. And it’s not that I hate my job. Far from it, in fact. I like what I do, just not the environment I have to do it in. I have to face these people who are straight-up lying to me–to everyone–and pretend that it’s okay. That it’s all for the greater good. Which is, naturally, a load of crap. No one is benefiting here. Not the employees, and certainly not the customer. I’ve been saying for months that if our customers saw how our business was being run, we wouldn’t have any customers left.

But I can’t say anything, because I’m a troublemaker. And who wants to listen to the troublemaker?

Well, I’m kind of hoping you do. And if you did, then thank you. Job well done.

As much as I want this book out NOW, and as much as I want it to be popular enough for me to quit this job and write full-time, I’d gladly settle for an honest day’s work at a company that values its employees, rather than one that talks about it like something they’re crossing off a daily checklist.

“Yep, that one’s done. What’s next? Oh yes–collect my bonus!”

If only we were all so lucky.

Now if you’ll excuse me–it’s time to put my work face on.


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