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Chasing The American Dream

December 23, 2004


One of these days, I’ll find a job I like. That would include a nice location, good job responsibilities, people I enjoy working with, and a cool company with values and culture. This has been part of the chase story. It originally *was* the chase story until these personal issues got in the way. I’m hoping I catch a break in that someone will discover my writing talents, or lack thereof, such that I can drop my current Finance career once and for all. But in the meantime…

So what am I doing now? I’m working as a Financial Consultant for a consulting firm. I started in January. How I got here and why I took this job will all be part of the unraveling. I’d been unemployed for four months, and cash was rapidly flying out the door. Despite red flags I came across during the interview process, I took the job because I was desperate. My first impressions were, 1) the company was cheap, and 2)‘some’ travel would be involved. I had to pay my way down for an interview, *and*, I didn’t even get reimbursed when I got the job. I was quoted 20-25% travel which was doable.

As it turned out, both red flags proved correct. I got very little relocation money, and I’ve been traveling an incredible 90% this year. During my first six weeks on the job, I learned that certain senior management (I’m not dignifying them with capitals, sorry) had huge egos and were extremely arrogant. This is the anti-me so I’m having trouble fitting in.

So two management players from up North came down to ‘visit’ me these past two days. They described it as a Quality Control initiative. They can politically package it however they’d like, but they were here to check up on me and my boss. Now, I’ll admit that this project of mine is about a month behind. It’s behind for many reasons, but the main one is because my client company is very reactive and not proactive. I need to ask them for things 10 times before I get a response let alone a deliverable. We hurry up and wait around here. It has been a very frustrating 10 months, especially when you consider I’m out of town on this engagement.

I feel like there isn’t much more I can do here. I’ve done the best job possible and I can live with that no matter the outcome or no matter what any PA (pompous ass) says about the work. I guess by now you’re zeroing in on the post title. Well, I gave management 17 large binders which basically contained process narratives and test plans to document the company’s internal control structure (boring stuff, I know. S’why I wanna get out). So my management poured through the binders and proceeded to tell me their take on things.

They beat around the bush, said I was doing a good job, yadayadayada BUT, there wasn’t enough meat in the binders. Meat in my business means paper. I hate paper; it just gets in the way and is clutter. Yet, appearance and perception is everything as I was told. And then I was told the classic line, “Don’t get me wrong, this work isn’t woefully inadequate.” I thought to myself, Really? Not woefully inadequate? Oh, I’m so thrilled. I guess it’s simply inadequate is that right?

I think I tuned out the rest of the message because the previous statement read loud and clear. But it didn’t matter to me because these are the kind of condescending guys who snicker and sneer and make snap judgments at people who are ‘below’ them which, in their minds, is practically everyone. I couldn’t live with myself if that was my foundation. To me, that is ugliness below the core. I have no desire to be a part of that political haven, clique, old-boys network, or what-have-you. Often time, if not most times, one needs this arrogance and political brown-nosing to become a bigshot in the corporate world. That’s why I’ll never become more than middle management, and I’m OK with that. I don’t play the game if that’s what it takes. I refuse to play the game. The game sucks enough as it is, and that’s why I want out.

So I’m going to spend next week, stuffing binders and filling them up with all the papers stacked high on my desk. A simple paper transfer which will make each binder a lethal weapon due to its weight. We’ll pretty them up and confuse the client with all the paper. But the external auditors will like it, because they love paper. And I guess that’s what matters most.

Honestly? Was my work woefully inadequate? I don’t think so, but perhaps it depends on your perception. I think one could review our 40-page narratives and test plans and conclude that we know our shite, and we’ve done a fine job condensing the business operations into these neat documents. Will another 50 pages of paper fluff really make a difference? I don’t know. The egos think it *will* make a difference, so I’ll just follow orders and comply. I know one thing’s for sure though. These senior management guys’ attitudes, personalities, and respect for other people? Woefully inadequate.


  • http://www.bullshitjob.com/officespace/

    What kind of a writer are you aspiring to be? Let's see some fiction in the next couple-a-posts, mmmmmmkay?

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 6:04 PM, December 23, 2004  

  • Todd,

    I know exactly what you mean. Corporate America is in a sad state.

    By Blogger M, at 10:45 PM, December 23, 2004  

  • LX,

    Fiction? Not aspiring to be a fiction writer just yet. I'll leave that up to you for now...

    By Blogger Plantation, at 11:37 PM, December 23, 2004  

  • oy, sick sad world. I feel your pain. And I relate to all parts -- disgusting arrogant bosses, too much fucking paper, can't be bothered to play their obnoxious games. Oh, and desperate to land a job despite red flags!

    By Blogger squarepeg, at 12:19 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • Pad the folder, sharpen the resume, and get yourself a new situation, man. Life's too short to waste it in a profession that values quantity of paper over the quality of its contents.

    By Blogger Esther Kustanowitz, at 1:17 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • E, been tryin' for years and years. As I said, that's how the book started out. There are plenty of corporate stories that will have you shaking your head, belive me.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 1:23 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • Most places are the like one described in this post. It's very rare you find a nice place in which to work. PT, if not a fiction writer, then what kind of writer? Journalist? Biographer? Historian?

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:14 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • if the company is as bad as you say it is ("crooks/thieves"), why don't you become a whistle blower and bring the whole company down. be a hero, not a stuff shirt corporate lacky. heed this advice and you will prosper in more ways than one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:19 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • Anon, great advice but it's a private company run by the Wizard of Oz. You can't go to the great and powerful Oz because he's already aware and leading the charge. He's all seeing, all knowing. My best recourse is to leave and *that*, I'm working on.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 11:47 AM, December 24, 2004  

  • according to richard ashcroft of the verve on 'bittersweet symphony', sounds like your a "slave to money and then you die". get out of there, fast.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:56 PM, December 27, 2004  

  • All these 'anons.' Can't tell whose who? Nice quote, however...

    By Blogger Plantation, at 4:30 PM, December 27, 2004  

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