Where does that leave me?

I just had a murmured conversation with the bloke that sits across from me and both of us confirmed we’re keenly looking for another job. I had hopes – which I was sceptical of- that that wouldn’t be necessary. As it turns to, to no-one’s surprise, my scepticism was well founded.

Let’s rewind a little. A little while back I had three potential jobs on the go outside, and the promise of a much better opportunity – not to mention more cash – should I choose to stay. What’s happened since I think is fairly typical of the job market, sad, but true.

First the jobs. I interviewed for the first, but as it was a 3 month contract only I knocked it back. The second job was dead keen to get the interview happening and the job filled pronto, but could never sufficiently organise themselves to arrange it. Quite unexpectedly that dragged on and on with promises repeatedly made and nothing actually happened until, finally, I was told they had changed their mind and decided they didn’t need anyone after all. The third job promised to move a lot quicker – too quick as it turned out. I was told about it on a Thursday night, get ready for an interview. Friday morning I was told the position had been filled. Whatever.

I was frustrated, but it’s a long time since I’ve been surprised. I reckon you tap any jobseeker on the shoulder and they’ll have similar tales. I followed up a week or so later with the woman who put me forward for these roles only to be told she had left the company – and that was that. A brief Indian summer of job prospects that came to nothing.

So that was that, but then there was the lure of a better role in the job I have. A couple of months ago when we had this discussion I was told it was 2-3 weeks away. It was before the board and had to be approved. When I inquired about it yesterday I was told exactly the same thing. You can see why I’m a sceptic.

Somewhere along the line – in the next month – I will get a pay rise. As far as I’m concerned to keep me interested it has to be a minimum of 5 figures. I’m not sure that will be the case.

I have other issues. I’ve lost faith with the business. I’m not alone. The widespread feeling is that it’s an incompetent company. I’m actually working on some interesting things, some of which I’ve never done before and don’t seem to be within my skillset. I like that. I like being stretched. I’m designing a knowledge management framework and process at the moment. I’ve worked in that area before, but it’s interesting. I’ve also just submitted a proposal for a complaints management process. It’s pretty good, I think, and fits in besides the product review process I designed a couple of months ago. This is new to me. I’ve also submitted a business case for the online chat thing I’m managing, and that was very well received. All good on the surface. Look beneath the surface though.

Most of the things I propose will never happen, or will be severely abbreviated. There aren’t resources available, or IT can’t help, or won’t, or I can’t get the right management buy-in. Or maybe I get all that but it’s put off for 3-4 months when things, supposedly, will be quieter.

That’s the story of this place. I have a role specifically about improving processes and implementing efficiencies. A lot of that will be IT related, but if it is then it’s basically a no go – they don’t have anyone to do the work, or else they veto it for their own mysterious reasons (or don’t even look at it). Or else they’re so protective that when you offer to do it yourself they won’t permit you – I’m experienced in SharePoint (more than anyone here), have offered to do all the work required for my KMS and act as admin, but no, that’s their thing – even though they won’t do it.

In basic terms that leaves me with a pile of proposals that never get progressed, and otherwise the little initiatives where I either avoid IT involvement, or don’t require it. Even then I can’t get answers from people. Once more I have a pile of proposals sitting in people’s inbox’, just waiting for someone to give the green light, or at least some constructive feedback. I’m immensely frustrated because my job seems futile. It’s not just me either, others see it too, and ruefully shrug their shoulders.

So the plan is to start looking again. I wonder, however, how well suited I am to this now. I’m outspoken and stubborn and a bit of an iconoclast and I get away with it generally because I have a point, and because I manage to leaven it with humour. I’m an outsider though too. That’s become very clear to me now. I think I always was, but there was a time I might have been absorbed into the system. That time has gone forever now. It’s not my intention, but I feel as if my outsider status has been confirmed this last year. I’m very good at what I do, I can be charming, I speak well and have many of the attributes of someone who’ll go far within the system, except by nature I’m set against it. I don’t want to belong to it, and I can’t go along with it just because it’s easier to do so. In fact there are some (my father chief among them) who claim that I choose to be difficult. I disagree, it’s just that I want things right regardless of the politics, and resist becoming a faceless company man.

If I write an autobiography one day I might entitle it Where does that leave me? It’s a frequent question. Luckily I get away with a lot because I’m competent and reliable, and I guess I can trade on that worst case scenario. I reckon put me in a job where I run the show and I’ll be happy. Past experience supports that notion. It’s dealing with bureaucracies and stupid people that does me in. They’re hard to avoid, unfortunately, and in the short term I guess I just have to deal with it the best I can. I can look, and hopefully luck into the right job.

Ultimately I’m hoping for a wealthy sugar mummy. Ok, not really – I’ve given up on that. Ultimately – really this time – I just want to write. Reckon that time is becoming ripe, but have to get it right first.

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