Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Major Adjustments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: the great and terrible thing about working in Totally Pointless Projects was the lack of real expectations. How I miss those leisurely trips across Riverside to Dominican Joe! We won't even get started on three-martini breaks. What glorious times those were, when the 3MBG was fully staffed.

The bad thing about it was when they decided there damn well ought to be some expectations and started making us document everything, only without actually giving us anything to do, except some projects that are - well, totally pointless, to get right down to it. Weekly status reports, monthly status reports, Scotland Yard to document when we arrived and left, and pointless fish meetings every other week - those constituted the bulk of my workload. I don't miss 'em.

The really bad thing about it was the reason I kept trying to get out, despite the often cushy lifestyle: I was so afraid I'd be ruined for actual work. And it's true, though hopefully the effect is not permanent. I'm very busy, I have to get stuff done (though I'm not expected to produce a lot of documentation showing that I've done so, because it would be pretty obvious if I weren't doing my job); more than that, I worry about doing my job well, and I certainly don't have time to loaf about on the break tables or at the coffeehouse. It's not easy to adjust to.

But perhaps the strangest and most bittersweet change of all is no longer working among the sort of people who thrive in the Totally Pointless Projects environment - the people who have been there for years, or even decades, until they bear little resemblance to what you and I know as humans. I don't think I've smelled microwave popcorn since starting the new job, not even at breakfasttime. No Phantom Pharter haunts the kitchenette. No headphone antenna bobs about ominously over the tops of distant cubicles. The sound of snoring does not fill the air, nor does the floor shake violently, sending items tumbling off the shelves, with anyone's thunderous approach.

So I'm stressed out, depressed, and can't sleep. It's either PTSD or withdrawal from some chemical in the microwave popcorn fumes. Whatever it is, I better hurry up and get used to it.

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