Disclaimer: This is a personal post, so feel free to skip it if you don’t want something non-tech related. Thanks.
I recently applied for a promotion at work. I was(n’t) completely qualified, but I held out hope that I’d make it at least to the interview stage considering my long history with the school, my reputation, and really, because I was an internal candidate (who the hell throws out an internal candidate from a job?). I figured that if I could make it past the first hurdle, I’d have a decent shot, and hell, at least I’d get something out of the experience. But, as you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t make it. In fact, I was pre-screened out as not meeting one of the the minimum requirements — 2 years IT Supervision1. Now, I only gave myself a 30% chance or so of making it past this hurdle, as I had to angle the experience I did have toward making it seem like I had what was needed. And at the time I turned in my application, I didn’t really expect anything.
But, once I heard I’d been pre-screened, I realized I was pretty pissed off about it. Mainly because, as I said, I had really nothing to show for it. No notes on my application, no feedback from an interview, nothing. And all the while, I thought “shit, how do you get into Management if no one ever gives you the chance to manage?” Also that a single word change that happened sometime between the draft the IT group approved, and the one that was posted, went from me being qualified, to me being unqualified.
So, for the last week, I’ve been rather ill tempered (apologies to anyone I work with that got any whiff of that). Then tonight, I had a bit of a realization, and I’m hoping it’ll at least get me out of being pissed off, even if it only leads to indifference: I am a cog. While I was working on my application, and asking those involved in the hiring if I should apply, I heard many times over how important I am to the school. I’ve heard it for years, and even today heard it. The problem is, I started reading into that as I (myself) am the important one, when in fact, those saying it aren’t separating me from the job that I perform. I do my job well. In fact, I do it very well. For a while now I’ve largely held up the IT department at the school. Sure, some think I come off a bit arrogant or asshole-ish, but I get the job done, as well as pretty much any other thing that falls through the cracks from elsewhere. Most (all) don’t know everything that I do, and don’t care. Nor should they have to… they just know shit works, and when shit breaks, I’m the one that sends th emails saying “on it” and “fixed”. I don’t work in a group big enough for a Sys-admin team. And while my boss’s boss keeps saying he wants to re-classify me, and make me the boss of a couple others in the group, I haven’t seen this position. I haven’t seen a Position Description. I haven’t seen/heard anything since I met with him about it 6 months ago. And at the time I told him “if this doesn’t happen before this other job, it probably won’t happen”. Guess I was right.
So, I’m going to be a cog. Do I like it? I don’t know… but it sure as hell beats thinking I can be something bigger then getting ignored. Do I think I’m unique in this? Not at all. We’re all cogs… but some of us are either smart enough to realize it all along (and not let the smoke that gets blown up their ass to lead to dreams of grandeur), or they have cogs above them that are willing to give them a hand up and see if something happens. And as a coworker put it: at least you don’t have to worry about trying to act like something/someone else. And at least I’m well treated as the cog I am, it’s not like I’m being shit on all the time by others. I largely get to do what I want, when I want, as long as I get my job done. So it’s not a _bad_ gig…
To end on a high note: I do work with some truly wonderful people both inside, and outside the school, I have a loving wife, and wonderfully enjoyable, intelligent, and fun son to come home to every day.
- Supervision is a specific term in HR, meaning Hiring/Firing/Reviews. It is different than “lead” [↩]