Shop talk

It doesn’t happen, by design, that I talk about my job.  Frankly, most of the time it’s nothing particularly interesting, and probably not really any different from anyone else who works a fairly normal corporate job anywhere in the world.  But lately, my work has been a little bit more encompassing in my daily life than I’d really like it to, and I feel like I’m in a not-that-great position currently, and I feel like everyone I’d vent to is kind of tired of hearing the same old stories about my job, but I still have a lot of thoughts and words that I’d like to get out of my system, that writing about it, seems like the only viable option in order to accomplish that.

Imagine . . .

  • You’re an auto mechanic. You fix cars and motorized vehicles for a living.  You use tools and work with your hands in order to fix said vehicles, day in and day out.  One day, a chef walks into your shop, and gives you a bunch of forks, spoons and spatulas and tells you, these are your tools now.  Please fix my car.
  • You’re a chef. You cook food for a living that feeds all sorts of people.  You use an arsenal of knives, spoons and various utensils in order to prepare all the food that you cook.  One day, a graphic designer walks into your kitchen, plops and laptop and a mouse on your counter and tells you, these are your tools now.  Please make me lunch.
  • You’re a graphic designer. You make shit on computers, using a variety of artsy software, specifically made to make shit.  Sometimes the shit you make ends up on the internet on websites and sometimes it is manifested into something tangible.  One day, an IT guy walks onto your floor and installs this shittily-made, outsourced, glorified data entry program and tells you, this is your primary software now.  Please resume creating advertisements at a high volume and high quality.  Except there’s no please, because this IT guy is a fucking asshole

That’s my life at work, in a nutshell.

As much as I like the company that I work for, this entire episode of the life of graphic designers in advertising really makes me lose a lot of faith of the working world as a whole.  I’ve been in my general field for nearly 20 years at this point which in itself is hard to fathom, but I’ve met a lot of real shitheads in that time.  People who are self-absorbed, deliberate agitators, drama queens, ego maniacs, political gamers, name droppers, only seeing titles, delusional, manipulative, or any combination of these things.

But the person who has been making my entire department’s lives a living hell?  They’re in rarified air of people that I’ve developed a deep hatred for.  It’s hard to describe, although I have stated that I wouldn’t piss on this person if they were on fire and begging for my urine to help and try and extinguish them.

It’s gotten well beyond idiotic and way too far down the rabbit hole for anything to be really done on a departmental level.  This person has wasted far too much money and too much time, and my biggest fear is that those higher than them gets to a point where they feel like scorching the earth and firing a whole fuckton of people, including my department, is the only viable strategy while they retool and re-strategize.

This person is a masterful snake-oil peddling spin doctor who has been with the company for nearly a decade, which doesn’t really happen unless they’re good at spinning the bullshit like they are.  And I use the phrase masterful ironically, because I don’t really think they’re really as smart as they think they are as much as they’re just dense and reactive, because I don’t think they’re smart enough to strategically cherry pick their email conversations as they’ve done as much as they’re just stupid enough to forget to add key stakeholders to the conversations they’re having.  However, doing it like this inadvertently creates a lot of confusion and deniability to arguments on whether people were involved in discussions or not.

They’re also an all-star when it comes to throwing people under the bus, and by now, I’ve been thrown under the bus several times, as have numerous other people in my department.  When the day is over, seldom anything is ever their fault or their team’s fault, and it’s always user error or inadequate training on someone on my team, or another team that’s also not their own.

But what really served as the biggest impetus to breaking my general rule of no shop talk on the brog is the recent news I got that I found out that my own boss is leaving.  Naturally, I’m happy for them for getting away from this general hell I’m in, but at the same time, I’m very much concerned about my team, losing a key leader and cog in the machine.  At first blush, there’s always the whole curiosity of rapid advancement, but frankly I don’t know if I’m yet qualified to do the job of my departing boss.  At the same time, my team is taking a gargantuan hit, structurally, weakening us and making me justify my concern that things could go in a negative direction.

On the other hand, there’s always the possibility of some advancement, in the event that my team and I can weather the storm, and then things settle down.  But frankly, I don’t really know how to feel.  I don’t particularly want to go back on the job hunt again, because it’s a colossal pain in the ass, but at the same time, I really don’t feel good about the future of my job in its current state.

The bottom line is that things are shitty at work.  I don’t like to bring my work life and cross-pollenate it with my personal life, but it’s taking up so much of my every day capacity, that the overlap is pretty unavoidable.  And it’s largely the reason why my writing has been so limited this month, because frankly, I just don’t have the time I used to, to get some decent, lighter-hearted writing done.

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