Thursday, 30 May 2013
Administrative Ass Covering
And lots of companies don't even hire actual employees any more. They hire contract workers. All you're guaranteed is a contract from this date to this date. Which would be great if you could count on start and end dates actually being what's stipulated, but part of the ass covering covers that, too. "According to our business needs" covers a lot of corporate ass, because in the end, one or two people have the final decision on if they are going to extend that contract or even honour the original one, and numbers can be made to do some pretty funky dances. Work inventories can disappear into thin air, budgets can inflate or deflate instantly, staff vacation and overtime can and often are mutually exclusive, no matter what arrangements you'd already made with them. It's amazing how little control a contract worker has over their own life. It's amazing how many pieces of paper you sign that mean nothing. They don't give you contracts to sign to protect you. Those are to protect them. They don't give a crap about you. You're not even an employee.
Oh how I miss the days of small companies where you sat down every day and ate lunch with your boss and your co-worker because there were only three of you in the room and it would be uber rude not to. How I long for that time, back in the day when I was allowed some creative latitude in my job. When I was given the power to make decisions that might actually affect the bottom line. When I had a stake in making good decisions because bad ones that cost money would get me fired, not because I'd made a bad decision, but because the company couldn't afford me. I could see the direct relation of cause and effect. I could look into my boss's eyes and admit, yes, I screwed up, or she could look into mine and say that was a great decision. Thank you. I'm glad you work for me and not the other guy.
Was it stressful to have that kind of responsibility? Well hell yes, Of course it was. Was it rewarding? Damn right. And I think that's a huge part of the problem with the big-box, centralization mentality of the world these days. No one has a real stake in their own job or the company they work for.
Even kids these days, don't get to see the bottom line in their lives.
In my job, I'm measured by two numbers: How many units I move and how accurately I get them done. I think there must be people out there who can look at those numbers and feel a sense of completion and satisfaction when they are high. For me. Not so much. Don't get me wrong. My numbers are decent. I do what I have to do. But gone is the day when I could come home from the day's work and feel like I actually accomplished something. Maybe that's why I write like a fiend. Yes, I count my words and measure some progress by how many I got down on the page that day, but I can also see more than that number. I can look at what I've achieved and say I created something that wasn't in the world before I sat down. I think, something beautiful. Something that matters.
Also, I can count my own bottom line. When I take my royalty check this weekend and go buy my son his first electric guitar, there is no force on earth that will convince me those two little numbers at my day job are even remotely as important as the book I just sold that lets me help my son find his dream. Just sayin'. (And that the last book I released just happens to be about rock stars is icing on that In-Your-Face-Corporatlandia cake I'm feasting on.)