Fevered personalities

You can pick your friends.
You’re stuck with your coworkers.

People in an office setting are a curious lot. They really are quite the clunky, dysfunctional, construct family. And you end up spending as much or more time with them than you do with your real family. Over the years a sort of pack mentality can form. Self-appointed alphas and betas thumb-wrestle for position among the staff. Newcomers aren’t always treated well. A good chunk of your life goes by around these people, and unfortunately bad energies, unfinished arguments, feelings, and emotions follow you home after your shift…it’s an office funk that doesn’t come off very easily in the shower.

In my longest stretch at a company, I tried, very badly, to set boundaries, to keep work at work. I didn’t like the fact that it’d be the weekend and I was still thinking about different goings-on from the office. At the same time, and to be fair, things from my personal life have a habit of spilling over into my 40hrs. We talk about maintaining a work-life balance but the nature of the working world has things heavily weighted in its favor. It’s why the chorus of the 1981 hit by Loverboy goes “Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend!”

There are going to be all manner of personality types in any job setting. I’ve had my share of issues with bullies at the office. These were the ‘tenured’ employees. They had been with the organization a long time. They did their jobs for the most part, and management never seemed to care much about the fact that they were a massive source of stress and a pain-in-the-ass to their coworkers.

What’s the best way of dealing with these sorts of work relationships? I don’t know. Some people choose to be more overtly confrontational. I’ve never worked anywhere where the management appreciated that sort of thing. You can go to HR. But Human Resources exists to keep the company out of liability. I’ve not found them very helpful in many cases. Their action usually ends in some sort of meeting followed by the employees involved being handed copies of the employee handbook and sent back to their department. I don’t like confrontations. I always try to find some other solution. Most long-term resentments never resolved themselves. Or I should say, we never made any effort to resolve them. Layoffs happened in the Fall of 2012 and those troublesome coworkers are no longer part of my life.

And so ends the 1st week post layoff

Last Friday, 12 Oct. I was laid off from my job of 18yrs. I am doing freelance work and I’ll be looking for temp/PT bits here and there through the first of the year. After that I’ll start looking for FT work.

I design. That’s what I have been doing. That’s what I intend to keep doing. Anything in an unrelated field is just for the cash and only as long as it’s necessary.

It’s been several months since I posted here. I hope to be able to spend more time blogging.

Diminishing Connectedness

Emptied I cleaned out my locker tonight.

I’m not leaving yet.

I work for a newspaper and the company and industry are going through severe contractions. After being told in the meeting on 10/27 that everything connected with my tenure here will continue to be up in the air at least through the end of next year and that I may be out of a job anytime from March through December of 2012 I decided to reduce the amount of stuff I have here down to what can fit in a letter-size file box or one of those reusable shopping bags. In fact I may bring one of those here and put it in the file cabinet with my stuff.

It wasn’t just the meeting that brought this on. We’ve had a very stressful year and it really started coming to a head several meetings ago when we were told that eventually there would be less of us here and there is that pesky little detail of the 59 people being laid off back on the 11th.

Things like this have me re-evaluating connections to the things and people in my life. I won’t be dumping any people. But relationships and how I look at them are changing. I just want to know where I stand with everyone I deal with and they should expect the same from me. And right now I am starting to feel like a temp.

In going through the stuff in my locker I found a Bausch and Lomb zipper pouch for contact lens stuff, a couple of wire mesh desk thingies, an expanding file folder and a can of soup of unknown expiration. I also found paperwork junk going back 9 years from positions I haven’t held in 5. I went through all the papers and threw out a few pounds of stuff I’ve received during meetings years ago that haven’t come up since.

I guess this is my first attempt at Viridian Design. I’ve thought, abstractly, from the little of Mr. Sterling’s writings that I’ve read about utility and connectedness. But I guess the feeling hadn’t changed or at least I had not noticed its shift.

I need to clean the desk again. The dust is heading into its rabbit phase. But I think I could bag this stuff up in about five minutes if the situation called for it.