“Do you know what you just did?”
My wife is full of questions these days. She is out of work and it is driving me nuts.
“Probably,” I said, which was mere speculation, I rarely keep track of what I am doing.
“You just walked in a circle.”
I nodded in agreement. It sounded like something I would do.
“You walked down the hall then you turned around and came back. Now you are heading down the hall again. What are you doing?”
“You are wasting time, that is what you are doing.”
“It’s my time to waste,” I told her.
She shook her head no.
“You could working on the cupboards instead of walking around in circles,” she said.
Refinishing the cupboards is my current honey-do and I find walking in circles infinitely preferable to working on her long list of projects.
I don’t mind the work. What I mind is the pace. To me a project is something to savor and linger over for as long as possible – least another project be lurking nearby. I like to take my time doing things and to be driven more by inspiration than schedule.
She disagrees, for her schedule is everything.
I shouldn’t complain. I knew what I was getting into when I married her. She works in management and supervising is what she does. She can’t help it; it is in her blood. When she sees something that needs to be done – her first instinct is to look for someone to do it. Since she has been laid-off that someone is me.
As a result, even though I am retired, I hate my job.
I am not alone, according to a Gallop poll, a full 70% of people say they hate their job – and what is the #1 reason for their discontent?
You guessed it – management.
I am not saying my wife is a bad manager because I know she is not. I have watched her at work and she does a great job. The problem is with me, I am lousy staff.
I am utterly impossible to supervise. I wander in circles. I nod off. I come in late, take a two hour lunch and leave early. I am completely disorganized and given the slightest opportunity, I will take everyone off task and lead them in circles.
But my employers have put up with it because I manage to accomplish what I set out to do, no matter how difficult or risky. I worked as a tech pioneer and pioneers by definition rarely know where they are going. They may wander in circles of uncertainty but will eventually tame whatever wilderness they find themselves in.
A good manager knows this and knows that the best thing they can do for some people is not to manage them.
I tried telling this to my wife.
She knows me. She knows what kind of person I am. She also know that if she ever wants to see her cupboards refinished, she needs to crack the whip.
“You need a job,” I tell her.
“I have one,” she says, “now quit wandering around and get busy.”
I hope she gets a real one soon.
47 thoughts on “I Hate My Job”
I think that there are many husbands and wives who can relate to this, I know I can. Himself’s favourite saying: “you didn’t need to keep reminding me, I heard you the last time!” Then six months later with the task still undone: ” you never mentioned that before!” (Shaking my head in disbelief).
My husband is a born supervisor. It’s not port ant that he knows anything. He just bosses. I will do him in one day.
Accounting for the rare exceptions, most bosses are like that.
Veering off in another direction, I must say you’ve reminded me of a line from the estimable Billy Collins: “While the novelist is banging on his typewriter, the poet is watching a fly in the windowpane.” There’s an analogy in there, somewhere. Ask herself if she has a plot in mind.
There is a much truth in that – though the quote is somewhat dated. Nowadays, both poets and novelists surf the web for funny cat videos.
I can sympathize with both of you: I am a good manager (I more than happy to organize other people and other things), but really, really lousy at being managed, as I prefer to work at my own speed, in my own way. Which may explain why I’ve never made a whole lot of money….
People who work for a small business and or a small department, usually enjoy the autonomy. The problem comes when the business or the department grows. I worked for a small department of a State agency that grew from 10 to 160. I will credit myself for some of that growth – which then made working there a living hell of bureaucracy.
Have to say it–I’m on your wife’s side. I don’t want to think about what needs to be done. It stops me from enjoying the good things in my life because it rolls around in the brain poking at me. Whatever needs to be done, I want it done now, if not yesterday. Yes, I’m female, but so you know it’s not a gender thing, my brother is the same way. 😛
I can see that. It is the way my wife looks at things. I see things differently, an unfinished job is for me, a world of possibilities. 🙂
Since nobody pays me I guess I’m my own boss. Since nobody pays me that probably means I’m a terrible employee.
I have often found that the people who get paid the least, work the hardest.
Though The Child Bride is a better driver than me, quite often she marches into my office (actually the dining room table looking out into the back yard) and snatches the bud from my ear interrupting the music, “I need you to go to the store for me.” It must be for bandages to stop the bleeding or maybe antidote for poison. Something important and urgent to interrupt George Strait and Chapter Nine of my novel in progress, “Here’s the list and a coupon.” Argument is useless and counterproductive. And it gets me out into the fresh air, even though more days than not I walk five or more miles in the early morning. All usually goes well until the coupon’d item can’t be located and a reasonable substitution is purchased instead. The writing on those coupons is ridiculously tiny and faint so advanced age and bad attitude is an excuse. But the return trip to the store is a bonus and always allows me the extra time to mull over that plot twist coming up in Chapter Ten.
That could be a chapter out of my book – so to speak. 🙂 My wife and most people I know, do not believe that writing is “real work”.
I never hated my job until I got a new boss who felt all knowledge of how things should be done was a privilege for boss only. This was two years before I called it quits.
That was what old school management was all about. It rarely works with talented people, A company I worked for lost their entire staff in one afternoon, myself included. It was during the RISC computer boom days of the mid-1980’s. One guy got a job with a firm that was computerizing their manual systems – and he called the rest of us. We resigned en-mass and never regretted it.
I love this.
When you said, “It’s my time”, she could have said “No, it’s our time and you are using up my half real fast.”
Ouch!! That sounds like something she would say.
Whew, she’s found a job again. Enjoy the reprieve while it lasts.
I know… I don’t know what I will do when she retires. We get along great – but there are times…
I tell my wife: ‘I told you I’m going to do it. You don’t have to remind me every six months’.
Mick, that is such a great line!!
I’m afraid I stole it…
Always steal from the best then admit you did!!
Only yesterday I was kneeling in the garden quietly weeding around the tomatoes. Those weeds not pulled yesterday could be pulled out today, or even tomorrow. But, oh no! All had to be weeded yesterday. Hobbies so quickly become obligations!
Man! You said it! I committed myself to writing two essays a week. At first it was a goal, now it is an obligation. I don’t have a problem with that…but these things do take on a life of their own.
You know, Greg, as it is now almost 2:00am and I am still not caught up with reading two months of your posts…it is perfectly fine with ME if you let yourself off the hook and cut back to ONE essay a week. Just saying.
I have been thinking about doing just that. I set a goal of posting two stories a week as a writing exercise. I proved to myself that I could do it, but it is stressful. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could get ahead of the game by a week or two – but most of the time, I am looking at the next deadline with no idea of what to write.
Oh, boo-hoo. To turn out quality pieces like yours on even a weekly basis is envy-inducing.
You would have had your choice of paper for a weekly column. What an odd world we live in now, with millions of people online reading all sorts of material but, in the case of Americans, lacking even 8th grade literate fluency or comprehension and little education, and thus:
A small, rapidly aging, shrinking audience for writing with vocabulary or content above that level, finding only works authored by that same audience, seeking readers from that same audience–a worm eating its tail.
My wife calls herself an “idea” person…and when it comes to the house, she has lots of ideas.
About those cupboards. What then do you propose to get such a project moving? I have a kitchen that needs work. Picture leaky faucet anchored to a 1960s brown sink. Picture Formica countertops. Picture yellowing varnish on cabinets. Picture a hole in the dining room wall where a chimney was removed like seven years ago. But, hey, the basement project is nearly finished after more than a year. Not totally the husband’s fault on that delayed completion given life interfered with lots of “situations” to handle.
“Ah,” I would say, “Home Sweet Home”. My wife, however, (Ms. HGTV) would not agree. 🙂 🙂 🙂
You’re a writer. It’s your right to wander in circles. The best ideas come to us when we wander…
It is true, I mean the wandering part. My best ideas come out on the road while I am walking Scooter around the block. BTW, my block is six miles around.
You sound like my husband, except he stands still staring at what he needs to do. It takes him more time to plan than it does to accomplish. Whenever possible, I leave him alone to do his thing while I do mine.
I used to tease a colleague who worked exclusively as a “planner”. I used to tell him that no one ever called a planner at 3:00 am and told them that their plan blew up.
I find myself saying that a lot too. 🙂
Some of the greatest minds in history have wandered in circles in deep thought. I can’t name one of them but I’m sure there are..:) your wife should understand that good management includes allowing someone a great deal of autonomy. She won’t agree but you have to try something..:)
Start each day by making a list of the things you’re not going to do–that way you’ll waste your time efficiently!
That is an excellent idea!!
I think your wife and my husband my be distant relatives. Ha ha.
It could be. I have notice that in rural areas, everyone seems to be related. I have also marveled at how the conversation halts after a name comes up, and everyone tries to trace the connections…. “No, she is the sister of… who is the cousin of, who married…”
I think the worst combination is working for someone who hates their job. I’m a pretty good employee, at work and at home, but I need managing sometimes.
Totally agree about working for someone who hates their jobs. On the other hand, there is nothing better than for working for and with people who love what they do.
That’s true. I’ve been in that situation for many years and it’s great.
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