Thursday, May 8, 2008

Life, or Something Like It

Whew. Blogger has been being a total bitch this week and shutting down my Internet every time I tried to log in. I seriously just hacked into my own blog. So I am going to post RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND in case I can't get in again! (Actually, now that I've figured it out, I'll probably be fine.) I've had this post percolating in my head since Friday, so I'm glad that I'm finally getting the chance to share it.

As Estaban Vihaio says in Kill Bill Vol.2, "I am very susceptible to flattery." I am also prone to falling into trying to be what someone else thinks I am or should be. And I've been doing that a lot lately. See, about six months ago I had my yearly review at work. My review was very good. My direct supervisor (not Boss - my direct supervisor is not located in my office) praised me greatly and commented that I was promotion material. She made the comment, "I get the feeling that you're not happy where you are." meaning that I would want to move up, should the opportunity arise. And I agreed. Cut to March, when my direct supervisor was promoted. I started learning more about her position, and made it clear that I intended to apply once it was opened. Well, the position still hasn't been opened. And there's some internal politics going on. I think the writing's on the wall about who is going to be chosen. And it's not me. So on Friday, I did some hard thinking about my current position, my supervisor's position, and my life in general. And here's what I came up with. I could handle the supervisor's position. It would be a challenge, and there would be some areas in which I would have to learn a lot. There would be some aspects I would struggle with. There would be some things I would do better than she does them. The interpersonal management aspects, I would do well. The position also requires a lot of travel. As in, about a month out of every quarter. That's a lot of time to be away from small children. Supergirl already gives me grief for working five days a week. (She doesn't really grasp that "work week versus the weekend" thing.) There's also some office political buzz that that position isn't very stable. As for my position, it has its bad days, like every job, but for the most part, I really like it. I know my subject matter. I like my co-workers. I am a respected member of this office and I am treated as such. I have enough work to keep me busy. But I have enough free time that I can tend this corner of the Internet and come visit you all in your corners of the Internets. The position I have now is rock solid. They would have to shut this office down to do without me. And with my performance record, I would just about have to take a shit on Boss' desk to get fired. And my office is in transition, Boss has left and a new Boss is coming in. Not to sound arrogant, but my office needs me right now. They need my knowledge. And they don't need to feel like everyone is jumping ship. Quite frankly, I AM happy where I am. And so, I don't think I'm going to apply for the position if it is ever opened. And I am okay with that decision. I don't have to be the most ambitious. I can stop and smell the roses. And I'm young. There's plenty of time to climb the corporate ladder when my kids are older. They will never be this age again. Right now, I want to change my focus. I had been really focused on work in the last six months (trying to prove myself promotable). I've been working late, working really hard, not taking many days off, etc, etc. That's about to change. It's time to focus on my family. No more staying late (unless I really, really have to), I'm going to take off early on Fridays if I can, I'm going to request a day off to take the kids to the zoo. Not saying I'm going to become a total slacker, I still intend to do a great job, but this is about choosing the life I lead. Right now I am going to choose to put myself and my family first. Maybe another time a promotion will come along that will be the right one for me, but I don't think this one is it.

12 comments:

Tessie said...

I think it's great that you thought this through BEFORE the position even came open.

I know I, for one, am not at all interested in taking on more responsibility/travel/hours while I have young kids. Or possibly, EVER.

Shelly said...

jesus christ, tessie, are you stalking me? I posted that like 15 seconds ago! Just kidding! I LOVE that you commented so quickly! Well, I've been watching things develop and then I "overheard" a conversation that pretty much spelled out some loyalties, so I knew I better get ready to get passed over if I applied. And Rock and I have been talking about it a lot for the last few months. I just got to the point where I was okay with it on Friday.

That's awesome. I think I'm the same way. I would like to think of myself as ambitious, but I'm just not.

Alice said...

i am SO NOT INTERESTED in moving up if it means devoting my life to my job. i work solely to enable me to have the life i want outside of the office. i like my job, and i like my coworkers, but i am NOT ever interested in having my job be my life. and! it's purely selfish, since i have no kids :-)

JMC said...

Sounds like you know exactly what you want (by the end anyway). Definitely do what you think makes the most sense for you. Like Alice says, working should be what enables you to live the life you want to live, it shouldn't BE your life.

Jess said...

I think this is totally spot-on. If moving up would make you happier or more secure in some way, then go for it. It sounds like in this situation that isn't what would happen, and you know that. It's frustrating because it seems like after the women's movement and now that women are moving toward equality in the workplace, we are all expected to be super ambitious and move as high as we can on the career ladder in the name of feminism. The same way that some feminists criticize mothers who stop working when they have kids. I think it's awesome that you realize that it's all about choice and you are making the choice that is best for you and your family.

Pickles & Dimes said...

Good for you for thinking this through so thoroughly. I hope you get your extra time off to spend with your family. It's hard when employers think you're available 80 hours a week just because you have a laptop or live only 10 minutes from the office.

I'm like Tessie, I'm not interested in more travel or responsibility if it means I can't just put in my 8 hours and go home.

Shelly said...

Alice - exactly! I want my job to enable me to live the life I want. So well said. And I don't think this perspective requires kids at all. : )

Shelly said...

Thanks jmc - I was getting to the point where my job wasn't my whole life, but it was my main focus. And I was starting to hate it.

Shelly said...

Thanks Jess! Yeah, I was feeling bad because I wasn't sure the promotion was what I wanted and that was what I was "supposed" to want!

Shelly said...

Thanks Shauna - I don't think it'll be too difficult to get the time. It's really more a matter of asking. I'm the type to just stay and do more or not take vacation days, it's not that all this is being asked of me.

Shelly Overlook said...

I say yea for you for figuring out your priorities and what will make you happy. "Work to live" not "live to work", right?

Shelly said...

Shelly - exactly. It's enough to have a good job and be happy where I am.