Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You Better Work

If this morning were a metaphor that involves old school high top Reeboks, I would be the hooked velcro strap, my bed would be the looped velcro fastener, and the prospect of going to work would be the adhesive magic happens between the two.

My favorite boss recently left my company. She found a job closer to her home that's more interesting and probably pays much better than das kurrent employer. I'm glad. Ish. Actually, I'm considering sending a letter to her new bosses saying she made off with sixteen boxes of manilla folders and all of the nearly nude pediatric orthopaedic photos if it means they'll can her and she has to come back. In a job that is two parts tedium cut with one part rage and topped with a dollop of whipped gross, having a good boss was a stroke of luck I underappreciated.

My boss resigned at roughly the same time as another senior person in the department. Their combined departure left a pretty big vacancy in the ruling class. Before the empty seats even had time to cool the remaining managers were descending on the newly autonomous serfdom, planting flags in virgin cubicles and empty offices, claiming sovereignty over abandoned projects and assistants and leaving jettisoned file cabinets smack in the middle of the poor, entry-level village.

If I'm going to be dramatic about it. Which I am.

I'm not the only one. I got an e-mail that actually announced the arrival of "a new sheriff in town." It may have been punctuated with an e-mail smiley, the universal corporate tension deflation tool. But, as far as I'm concerned, that's just further proof that the sender meant what was written.

There's a new sheriff in town.

No more shootouts at the copier. No more whiskey-fueled brawls over who took the last Splenda packet and left everyone else with Equal. They're moving the poorly tuned piano out of my cubicle as we speak. Ditto with the swinging saloon doors.

In the year and four months I've worked in my current position I've never actually entertained the idea that I will be promoted. This is a healthy outlook, because I will never be promoted. My new boss only learned my name after I'd been working for him for eleven months. This is not the kind of person who, when faced with a departmental opening, will think on my many accomplishments and promote me to the that fabled level where it's rumored I won't have to punch out, spend precisely sixty minutes with my burrito, and punch back in for lunch.

It's only recently that people have even dropped phrases like "career path" in conversations with the assistant caste. I think they've avoided it in the past mostly because it's laughable, but also because they secretly know that no one will stay in medical publishing if they think they're actually going to stay in medical publishing. Their best tactic to keep anyone around at the lower levels is to hush up, pick up the lunch tab, and pray for Stockholm Syndrome. This is the kind of career that happens by accident or necessity; rare is the kindergartener asked to draw a picture of her dream occupation who sketches a cubicle filled with instant coffee and volumes of The Basal Ganglia V.

The reason I'm still compulsively cruising employment ads is just that; when I doodle in my cube (which I do more often than a seventh grader in algebra class) I'm never drawing little hearts around my favorite parts of the musculoskeletal system.

I'm hopeful that something great will come along before the new sheriff lays down the law. If this place truly had anything in common with the Old West, I'd suspect I might be the surly prostitute unwilling to stop drinking and mumbling under her breath at everyone in the street. No new sheriff is going to make me give up the things I truly love.

Like being disagreeable. And mumbling.


Anonymous brad said...

it just hit me today that we know the guy who wrote the song you took your title from.

1:55 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

I didn't realize it until hours after I posted it! It's so weird.

2:06 PM  

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