Friday, January 15, 2010

Into the salt mines

Last month, a friend of mine had recommended me to the head of a division within the company I work for. They are in the process of recruiting people to staff a big project they are kicking off this year. I sent them my resume and hadn't heard from them until a couple of days ago when I got a call from HR informing me of the interview they were scheduling for me.

This morning I was in that interview. I had a nice informal chat with the head of that group and one of her managers. Turns out they had already checked out my resume, liked what they saw, and just had a few formality questions to ask me. So, yeah, I got the job. First thing I did when I got back to my desk was tell my boss. I think he was a bit relieved as well. My boredom in my current role has probably become quite obvious to him in the last couple of months. In the last six to eight months in this role, I managed to turn what was once a suite of tasks that took the full 40 hours a week to do into one that pretty much takes up one fourth of that. Same (if not more output) for less effort.

That's an achievement not really well-rewarded (if even recognised at all) in big bureaucratic organisations though. Often it is all about being seen to be "contributing" or (this one's my favourite) "adding value" or, even worse, being a "team player". But, hey, who cares. It's the cost of the security you get for working for The Borg. You lose your individuality and defer to the bell curve. Much obliged on my part, as what I do doesn't really involve the kind of life-or-death situations that make good hospital- or lawyer-themed drama television (where all the characters seem to give a damn).

My boss is a real decent guy. He's very supportive of everyone in our team. He's five years younger than I am and less-experienced. But I never ever make him feel like anything less than The Boss. He's the boss because he's a people person and plays The Game really well. I and the rest of my team respect him for that -- because he runs with the stuff us introverted techos prefer not to be involved with. Well that's what bosses do I suppose.

Anyways, a typical week consisting of ten hours of real work and thirty hours spent trying to be seen to be "busy" is, well, a bit too comfy for me. I tend to get uncomfortable with comfort. I've taken the view that there are always hidden costs to comfort. It's kind of like, in the bigger scheme of things, how we are now coming to realise what the comforts we achieved for ourselves as a civilisation are really costing us. But enough's been written about that stuff already so I won't get started on that. I think the more important reminder for me here is that that principle also holds at a micro level -- in this case me as an individual. I know if I get too comfy with my cushy job, my salary grows in small increments every year while my marketability stagnates. I'd suffer from salary inflation. I get stuck; priced out of the market.

So here I go. Off Fat City and into the salt mines. Let see how we go.


  1. Congratulations on your new job, and I hope it will be more stimulating for you :) Boredom is a killer.

  2. Congratulations on the new job! You're one of the lucky ones... :)

  3. Thanks guys. Change is always exciting! :)