Friday, April 11, 2008

So... Now What??

I am sitting on the precipice of a new career.... again!! ... it is that moment when one set of routines is ended... most of what is familiar is gone... and I will be walking into an entirely new set of circumstances.

This is not a case of leaving one office job, one desk, one computer, file cabinet, phone, and whatnot and walking into another different, but similar office job... with a desk, and a computer... a file cabinet, phone... and all the other crap that is essentially the same wherever you go.

I am starting an *entirely* different career field... I will be training, as an apprentice, learning a skill... I will be working in a shop, and not at an office...

This is not entirely unprecedented, as I have worked in a great variety of different occupations, and have learned to quickly adapt to whatever set of circumstances I am confronted with...

... and yet..

Here I stand... not knowing what to expect... not knowing what will happen... what my days will be like... what sort of routine I will follow.... nothing!! I find myself in that strange drunkard's tightrope walk between freedom and the excitement of new things to come; and fear of the unknown and a shrieking, helpless plummet into certain death!! It is a way... certainly thought provoking... and it most definitely stirs my curiosity!

... but the cynical part of my brain simply wonders what sort of shit I will ultimately be forced to deal with.... what sort of people I will be working with, and whether there will be problems and issues, or whether it will go swimmingly well... I find myself wondering if I am falling for some load of crap, and will find myself shaking my head and wondering how I could have been such a sucker... and simultaneously hoping that it will be *the job* that I hope it is.. and that all of the hopes that I have will be realized; that I will be judged solely upon my performance... that hard work will be recognized and rewarded, and that I am limited only by my own reluctance to put forth effort to succeed.

Hope is a funny thing... I remember seeing a show on one of the Geek channels where a former interrogator from the KGB was being interviewed. It seems that this particular chap was responsible for eliciting a huge number of confessions from suspected spies... all of whom were subsequently executed for their crimes. Although some interrogators certainly used torture or other unsavory methods of obtaining confessions, it was submitted that our man did not, in fact, resort to such measures.

The interviewer, incredulous at this claim that such a huge number of otherwise intelligent and self-protective individuals would willingly confess to crimes that would most certainly be punished by a firing squad would agree to set down, on paper -- to memorialize treasonous crimes that they had perpetrated, and towards which their government took an exceedingly dim view.. to this man who quietly asserted that he did no more than engage these suspects in conversation.. that he never so much as deprived them of sleep, insulted them.. or even raised his voice to them!!

The interviewer asked whether this former KGB interrogator would care to explain how he so successfully pursued his goals... and was, thereby, instrumental in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals?

The former KGB man cleared his throat, and very quietly explained that he would simply outline the nature of the crime that the accused was facing...explaining that they would almost certainly be executed. He said that he told each of them that there was essentially no chance of avoiding this fate... that they could pretty much count on facing a firing squad for their crimes. He would then say to them that, even though he did not feel that his influence would help them in any way, that if they wished, they could cooperate fully, throw themselves at the mercy of the court or tribunal, and that he would promise to inform the judge that they had given him their full cooperation. He admitted that, although he didn't think it would make any difference, it was really the only avenue that was available to them. In every single case... 100% of the time... the subjects gave him a full written confession... and were then found guilty, sentenced to death... and executed.

When the interviewer... after a brief, but awkward, silence, asked whether the interrogator had any idea why people would do this... essentially sign their own death warrant by admitting to capital crimes... so reliably; in fact, in every single instance!! His answer to this was, very simply, "There are no upward limits to the capacity for hope in human beings. They harbored a hope that they would somehow escape their fate, and they were willing to try any possible method afforded them to do so."

Facing certain death... they so hoped for reprieve that they were willing to try anything at all... and he gave them just one option; and so they took it, thereby sealing their fate. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.!

Obviously, it is my concern that my hope may be blinding me to the reality of my circumstances...

Since we have not yet found a method by which we can reliably look into the future and prognosticate events that are yet to come... I am left with the conventional method; Going forth into the unknown.. and experiencing whatever the moment unfolds to me.

And I find that I *still* hope that it will work out well for me.....

I went to meet my wife for lunch today... she is going away for the weekend to visit her sister, and it was last time that I will see her until she returns, since I will be working my second job when she arrives home from work, changes her clothes, packs her suitcase, and heads out to the airport. I won't return home until she is already at her destination....

.. as we ate our lunch, we discussed our day with one another, and the conversation turned to the various penchants and idiosyncrasies of those that we work for, and with... we pointed out, with ironic.. and sometimes black humor.. the strange issues and habits of former (and in her case.. current) bosses... co-workers, clients.. etc.

Why *do* people act in ways that are almost certainly not in the best interest of themselves or of the company??

I had a boss who would spend literally 20 to 30 minutes railing and ranting at me for asking a question that wasted no more than 15 seconds of his time!! It may be that my question was ill thought... or that it was a superfluous or otherwise unnecessary question (it/they wasn't/weren't!!) - but, it would stand to reason that if I am asking, I need to know!! I need to know not for my own interests and gain... but in order for me to perform my duties and responsibilities which are beneficial to everyone... since a business that is not performing properly will not long remain in business... and nobody will, consequently, have a place to work any longer!!

She has a boss that is deliberately antagonistic to the new employees in the company... and then he is somewhat mystified when they leave within a relatively short period of time...

I can go on... but everyone has experienced various examples of this type of behavior.

It seems somehow dreary and gloomy to my mind that we are forced by a necessity to earn a living, to have to deal with the neuroticisms, narcissism, control and/or power issues, obsessions, quirks, peeves, rudeness, cruelty and other random effluvia of other people's minds and lives. It is mildly depressing, actually... if I let myself focus on it... because it seems that no matter where you work, you have to deal with someone else's weirdness and someone else's shit! (as if our own bullshit isn't enough to have to deal with!!)

I suppose it is just part of the price of getting by... and since we can't much change it... those of us who are forced to work in a one-down sort of position, anyway.... we have to learn to accept it, and to find a measure of peace with it... or resolve ourselves to being unsatisfied, frustrated, and miserable.

Naturally, neither of us pose these questions with any realistic hope of actually getting or finding an answer... and even if we did, I don't think it would much matter!! -- i.e., Q: "Why are you being such a dick??" A: "Because I can. Feel better now??"

It was more of a way of expressing our thoughts and feelings about this difficulty that we share with so many other folks.. and perhaps finding a way to laugh at it.

Nonetheless.... standing here, on the cusp of a new era in my life, I find myself smack in the middle between Unlimited Hope... and fear of the underlying realities that I may be called upon to face.

All in all, I am looking forward to getting started.

This weekend will be for me, more or less... a contemplative retreat. I may write... I may sit... I may walk... but I will most certainly be silent... and spending much.. if not most.. of the time within the confines of my own head.

It is my plan to do my utmost to succeed at this new position. I want to learn and advance as rapidly as I am capable of doing... I want to increase my income potential to maximum extent possible, in the shortest possible time...and I *so* dearly hope that this is a legitimate situation, in which my efforts will result in some measure of success for me...rather than bitter disappointment, or fruitless efforts... I just want to do a great job, and be fairly compensated for doing so... rather than unfairly ridiculed or belittled by some abusive asshole with an inferiority complex.. To my mind, when I shake somebody's hand and accept a position, I am making a bargain... giving my word... that I will see to the interests of the company as though they were my own (well... they are, in a way!!), that I will be honest, reliable, dutiful, meticulous, and that I will do what I must to ensure that the job gets done in a timely and efficient manner. The other side of this two-way street is that I will be paid for my efforts, treated with at least a modicum of respect and courtesy, that I will not be unnecessarily exposed to danger or injurious circumstances, that I will not be asked to violate the law, and that I will be recognized for my efforts and promoted or compensated for them when such promotion or increased compensation is warranted and/or possible. I don't think it is a great deal to hope for, all things considered...

Wow... it's like I see it almost as a real JOB or something!!

In any case... I needed work, and I have found it. So.. I am happy with that....

Monday is a new beginning for me... I find myself wondering what will happen next?? Its sort of exciting, when you stop to think about it!!


jg_38 said...

I to seem to be on the edge.

My current employer will lose the contract I work on at the end of the year.

The people the contract is with, would like to hire me, but can not say anything per contract.

Though they may be phasing out or parring down what I do.

Friends have offered to have an informal talk with me and someone in his company for a possible position that does not exist.

This new position would be the best I could do in this area, but would be a lot more work, not sure of the money, and I'm not sure I have the talent for it.

If I stay with the company we are contracted with, I may be downsized, the corporate culture may not be as good when I am an employee, may not pay what I get know, and it doesn't stretch me.

Stay with the known or go into the unknown with a possible greater reward.

A lot of talk from a stranger.

Good luck.

Bear said...

JG_38 - I wish you the best of luck as well, my friend... it seems that more and more people are facing this sort of difficulty... I wish I had some wise and helpful hint to offer... all I can suggest is that you try everything you can think of... continue thinking outside of the box... and don't discard any possibilities.... times are different now... so you have to adapt to the changing circumstances... I hope your search is successful and quick!

In Peace & Brotherhood,