Wednesday, September 15, 2010

take this job and

I hate my job. I just hate it. My supervisor is great and (most of) my peer level co-workers are great. But the fact that I'm responsible for a lot of the operational logistics of a small unit within a large large large organization with a tremendous amount of central - yet not cohesive - structure and tons of layers of authority, means that I can never be good at my job. If I learn how to accomplish something, chances are the process will be different the next time I try to accomplish it. And the people who were made aware (and who arguably should have made me aware) of the change never seem to have any patience for me if I'm a step behind. Or heaven forbid, if it's the kind of task that comes up once or twice a year, I forget a step. The consequences of my not accomplishing some of these tasks are, on occasion, that a person may not get paid for work they finished a month ago. Messing up someone's income is not something I ever ever ever want to be responsible for.

This stresses me out.

I've had two other administrative jobs like this before, jobs where I had to learn processes and procedures and lingo and stuff like that. I learned from those two jobs to cut myself some slack for a while in the beginning, give myself time to learn and understand what was expected. In both of those jobs the learning curve was about four months. There were other things that took a little longer to master, but I had nailed about 90% of it in the first three months.

I've been at my current job for two years. Two years, and I'm still calling people asking for help as though it's my first week on the job.

In undergrad as a Sociology major, I learned about different theories of organization, Weber and his idealized bureaucracy sticking out in my memory. It made so much sense at the time, if you let people specialize then the whole organization can do more than the sum of its parts. Efficiency is increased and profits and productivity can go up. But when I'm trying to figure out how to accomplish something for my unit, I have to call four different "specialized" people before I get an answer. And the first three people are virtually guaranteed to be annoyed at me for bothering them when it's not their job to answer my question.

A friend of mine posted this a while ago on facebook, basically yet another article about how stress is killing us. The focus of this article though is that it's when your work is demeaning or feels endlessly frustrating that you're at the greatest risk for stress-related bad health outcomes. I should get better health care benefits.