In my twelve months of working here, August 09 has been the month with the least amount of misery and boredom. I was fairly productive, continued building on professional relationships here, and actually worked at least 20 or 25 hours every week. That means I only had 15 or 20 hours during each week that I blogged, emailed friends, etc. I consider it a real success and would even consider staying here if I could be this busy in the future. I don’t work too hard, I work with nice people, I have insurance and an acceptable paycheck, and the job is a good resume builder. I really can’t complain.
That said, here is my most recent complaint, which is really just a recycled old complaint. Friday, I was pulled into a meeting with some visitors and one of our project people. It turned out that I was being asked to do some work with this group in terms of marketing and possibly managing a website for their project. Hurrah! Something new to do! (Once again, my oblivious boss did not know this, nor does he know yet—another co-worker asked me to join.) I like the group and I like their goal—putting on a successful conference next year—and it’s something I “get” and am interested in.
Unfortunately, at the end of the meeting, we all exchanged business cards and of course I don’t have any business cards because my boss thinks I’m a nobody, so I had to write my name & contact info on my co-worker’s card, and then give it to the leader. I can’t decide if the appropriate word for how I felt was humbled, embarrassed, frustrated, or humiliated. I’m supposed to feel like a contributing member of this organization, and here are these virtual strangers putting their trust in me to help publicize an upcoming conference—yet I don’t even have business cards because my boss has just never seen the need to order me any. Oh, the silliness.
In my first few months here, I politely asked him several times to order me some cards. (One of those times, we had just met with a client who had asked me for my card—and my boss witnessed my outright lie to cover for him—“gosh, I’m just so new here that I haven’t even gotten my business cards yet”.) Each time I asked, he demurred. We are a small nonprofit, so I thought he was concerned about his budget. After a year of my being here, I now realize that he’s just oblivious. We have budget money and everyone is supposed to have business cards. I’m in COMMUNICATIONS so it’s not like I’m some behind-the-scenes person who doesn’t interact with the public. It’s absurd.
My biggest problem with this is, I can’t seem to not care. There’s nothing nefarious in his neglect of me, but his indifference is also not helpful to my self-esteem or, if nothing else, to my ability to do my job in a professional manner.
I haven’t asked in about 6 months because I made up my mind to leave this organization as soon as I can find something else. But everytime it comes up, I consider asking my boss again if he thinks I’m worthy of a $30 box of business cards yet. But I don’t know what else I could do besides ask, and I’ve asked several times and he always said no. So why should I ask again? Do I really need to make a fuss over something like this? It was hard enough getting an ergonomically acceptable workspace (a new chair and a keyboard drawer–less than $300 so that I would not generate lifelong medical claims–and I had to guilt him into it). I had to make a fuss because I was in pain. Now, I’m not in pain, I’m just frustrated. It’s not fun being a nobody.
In a way, this is good. I’m grateful that I’m able to see that this job is not in my long-term future—not necessarily because of the organization, but because there’s no room for advancement or recognition or professional development here for me. It’s a motivator to hunt for another job and also, frankly, not to take this one too seriously. And I probably needed a little shove toward the door anyway. I’m pretty comfortable here when there’s very little expected of me. It’s a sad state of affairs, but at least I am realistic. I feel grateful for what this job lacks. If I keep saying that to myself, maybe I’ll even believe it!
Until then, I’ll deal with the boredom and try to make the best of it. Pardon me while I indulge in a yawn.