It's Friday, and so rather than a deep analysis post, you get some brief workplace bitching.
I'm been having a hard time at work the last couple weeks as a result of organizational changes. Our team was reduced by over 50% (though fortunately, no one got laid off, just moved around) while our workload increased, and I'm the only experienced member left on the remainder. As this was being planned out over the last couple months, I told my manager repeatedly that the team would not be able to get everything done if we were reduced so far and left with all inexperience people. "I know," was the response. "But this is what we've been told to do, and we're not going to get another decision until something breaks and people see we can't be reduced this far and still function."
So here we are planning to fail so we can get more resources. And what I've been finding is how incredibly difficult and demoralizing that is for me. For a very long time, I've realized, a lot of my self-identity in regards to work has centered around the fact that although I fool around a bit with blogs and such I'm a very efficient worker and can usually get things done faster than most other people. Plus, if necessary, I'm willing to put in long hours. So if I'm asked to do something and told it's important, it simply gets done.
And yet, here I am facing a situation where if I take my usual approach, put in lots of hours, find better ways to do things, and somehow manage to do all the work on time -- all I'll do is succeed in making the unsustainable workload last longer, perpetuating the problem. Instead, I'm supposed to give it a try in such a way that I can claim that I have truly done my best and not wasted time, and yet fail to deliver the work that I've been asked to complete and on time, in the hope that bad things will happen and we'll be given more resources as a result. (This made harder by the fact that I'll be the one, as lead on these processes, taking most of the brunt of the initial displeasure at things not working out -- not the manager who's directed me to fail.)
If this were a matter of standing up to management and making the case that I need more resources on our team in order to get things done -- it would be pretty easy for me. But I already tried that, and the result was the direct to let things break. I don't know if I'm pleased to find how central to my sense of identity in regards to work "I get things done and don't fail" is, but now I know, and I guess I'm going to have to either disengage from it or spend a pretty miserable couple weeks/months.
Interview With Artist Jack Baumgartner, Part II
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