Friday, March 05, 2004


I switched jobs last year. It was my ideal job -- right up my alley, in line with my skills, and with people whose thought processes were sometimes even harder to follow than mine. Do you have any idea how totally ecstatic I was to find that? These people are smart. I mean mind-boggling scary smart. Their wit is as sharp as their intellect. But I digress again. You'll hear more about that along the way, I'm sure. The point is that it's been a womderful place to work and I've loved coming to work. I escaped the corporate world to come here and it's like Wonderland to me.

Then, it changed.

Strange things happen to people when they get a bit of power. Some revel in it and handle it beautifully. Others liken leadership to control. That's what's happened here. Control issues runneth over.

I'll not bore you with the dynamics of our leadership, but to say it's twisted is like saying the Menendez brothers tended towards tantrums. This came to light, for me (earlier for those more entrenched here), when one of us underlings crossed one of the power-trippers. A concentrated effort was made to dissect him away from us, like a cancer. Then the controls came -- stopping just short of a time clock. They say it's not to document things for termination, but it sure looks like it, smells like it, and quacks like it.

Why am I ranting about this now? Because I just had another ridiculous example in my face. Their efforts of control have complicated things for us with the addition of new and ridiculous procedures. It should be noted that these procedures actually detract from work time, make meetings longer, and generally hinder progress and breed resentment. So, we are all trying to learn how to perform one particular nuisance of a task and we aren't even sure it's going to work. Four people trying to learn, while accomplishing this task. I watched them hover over it, work out the steps, see how it works. Before it could be completed, here comes a power-tripper.

"It doesn't take four people to do this," she says, this woman who had once been a source of encouragement.

"We're trying to figure out how it works," one protests.

"Then one person figure it out and teach it to the rest. Go back to your offices."

I hear the shackles scrape across the floor as they make their way back to their cubbyholes, dejected and resentful. It's 4:40 PM on a Friday. 5 more minutes and the task would have been done.

Maybe they were having too good of a time at it -- joy seems to be a major irritant to the power-trippers. I suppose my resentment would be less if these were low-producing people. However, they are hard workers, all of them. They keep this building moving and they are excellent at their jobs. Some have gone because of how things have changed; more still are considering the options. The ones who are left ar over-burdened by the lack of a full staff.

But heaven forbid 5 minutes of laughter be spared, at the end of the day on a Friday. How sad. And what a royal pain in the ass.