Saturday, January 30, 2010

Job Angst

"And you may ask yourself: How do I work this?"

That's me. This stupid song's been running through my head for 3 weeks now, I think.

I have a Management job. It's a grown up job--handling money and a relatively fragile reputation for the TXDOT and toll roads in Central Texas. Dealing, I hear, with POLICE on a daily basis. It involves Meetings and Corner Offices. I've gone from a work station (not a Cube, even) directly to this office, skipping Cubes and the top levels of middle management...I guess. They tell me I'm moving into capital-M Management, and given the way people are bein' all nice to me now, I guess They are right.

And it's not that much more money. It's substantially more money than I'm making now, but somehow there's a disconnect between the way people are acting and what I know will be on my paycheck two Fridays from now. My new peers and boss are doing their best to make me feel like I've "arrived," and the aforementioned corner office is nice, but...if I'm not clearly in a new tax bracket, but people are either doing their best to hump my leg or telling me that people are going to start humping my leg any time I go outside, where am I?

I've owned it--it's not like I don't enjoy my job. I'm a spreadsheet nerd, a data geek, and I don't care. I got the damn job because I was the only person who could pass a relatively simple spreadsheet test, and that's sad. I know I don't sell myself well, and while I didn't freeze up and blurt something about being a professional fire breather, I know the other applicants did well at the talking bit.

Sigh...I have a reputation, it seems, around the workplace. I'm "really smart," and "know everything about Excel." And I'm weird looking--I think I'm the only guy in the building with long hair, and I'm certainly the only guy who has tattoos bigger than some half-assed Sigma-Chi late night drive to Gainesville on his tit. Being weird looking but not too threatening kind of helps you with people in ties, I think--you can be a kind of useful pet.

I work for a GIANT construction firm, and I think what has happened is that I'm being pulled up from the -local- workforce into the lowest ranks of the actual company. I'm replacing (sort of) a guy who's moved off to Florida to do the job of the guy who's three or four pay grades above his boss here...

Everyone keeps telling me "you'll do great." I KNOW I'll do great. I may spend 20 hours a week extra at work, which will suck, but I'll do it and feel good about it even as my carefully built and genuinely happy home life crumbles around my unhearing ears.

Feh. I'm confident in my ability to do the work. It's spreadsheet analysis and navigating the database, and acting like I know what I'm doing.

What I'm not sure of is whether I'm going to become one of Them, or whether that sort of dichotomy really exists at all.