Monday, April 14, 2014

Dispatches from limbo

This past Friday was one of my co-workers' last day on the job. The co-worker in question was none other than Ms. Nonsense, believe it or not. She managed to get herself an actual government civilian position in a completely different sphere, which should make her pretty happy, I reckon. From what I was able to piece together over the course of working near her, she used to work for the State Department, and while I'm not certain under what circumstances she left, she must have later taken a job with a small contracting firm during the recession when pickings were slim. Her firm was a sub-contractor to mine, and she absolutely hated the anti-empowered nature of that subordinate position, so to be back in a mainstream position directly employed by the government, and out of DoD and back to State to boot, must be gratifying to her.

Of course I know all these details of her life because she never made any effort to hide her dislike for her low place in the pecking order around here, or really any effort at all to keep any of her thoughts to herself rather than giving them voice to no one in particular and yet loudly enough for everyone in the nearby pods of the cubefarm to hear. She drove me a little bit crazy with her high-volume (in both quantity and decibels) cluelessness and solipsism, and I won't miss her. But of course I will keep that to myself, at least in terms of office chitchat (obviously here I am broadcasting it to all of you, but that's a bit apples and oranges, or so I hope). Ironically enough, on her second-to-last day Ms. Nonsense at one point gave a loud sigh and said, "Won't miss that," in response to yet another of our co-workers, one pod over. This other co-worker is an older woman, clearly well past retirement age, and also just as clearly still fully mentally capable of performing her job duties and performing them well. But she has a genuinely unpleasant grating old-lady voice, and she does have a tendency to forget to modulate her volume appropriately when she's on the phone at her desk. So, yes, I get it, it's annoying to hear this woman speak (or, gods forbid, laugh), but the rest of us have the decency to keep that annoyance to ourselves. Making snide comments about it would pretty much cede the high ground immediately, high ground which could only have been claimed in the first place by Ms. Nonsense if she never conducted her own business at annoyingly loud levels, which I can assure you is far from the case. So, whatever, she leaves as she served, a bit of an unthinking passive-aggressive hypocrite. Every office has at least one!

I admit it's a little bit dispiriting, though, to say farewell to Ms. Nonsense, if only for the implication that I am saying farewell because I am remaining right here. In the process of applying for, and psyching myself up for the interview for, a potential new position, I made many mental inventories of reasons why I should be leaving, the truly unappealing aspects of my current gig which would theoretically outweigh the positive aspects of it. You had better believe that there were days when Ms. Nonsense rose pretty high on the list of things I desperately needed to get away from. I never expected to rid myself of the source of irritation by waiting until she showed herself the door, and yet here we are. And it's not as though suddenly, with her departure, this gig is a lot more tolerable to the point where I don't even want a new one. I suppose it comes down to envy, pure and simple. She got herself a new job, something I've been trying to do for a while with no success.

Or should I say, almost no success? I was just about to give up on the potential new gig altogether, since I never heard a word back from the company after my interview, when I got an e-mail from my buddy who already works there saying I should give him a call. It came to light via that conversation that my interview had gone better than I had feared and they actually were interested in bringing me aboard, just not for the actual position I had applied and interviewed for. They liked me and thought I'd be a good fit on the team, but since I'm trying not only to change places of employment but career paths, they felt my relative lack of experience meant I would be better suited starting out in a slightly lower/lesser/some-other-not-so-perjorative-word job title. To which I said, fair enough! This also entailed a slight pay cut, but my wife and I crunched the numbers and reckoned it could probably work, and would be worth it for the longterm upside of the entire arrangement, so I e-mailed the hiring manager and said I had heard from our mutual friend that the door was still open, and I was still interested in speaking with her about it. Unfortunately, that was almost two weeks ago and once again I find myself waiting for some kind of word of response. But the point is the lead is not entirely dead yet! So only time will tell how it will all shake out.

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