Monday, November 17, 2014

From blah to eternity

It occurred to me the other day that it's been over a year since I started what would ultimately be a slow, stop-and-start process of trying to change jobs, which would ultimately culminate in a "no thanks, nice try" return to the status quo, that last word on the subject coming at least six months ago. (I think this all popped into my head because the e-flyers for our office winter holiday party just went around, and I'm starting to think about working the Christmas ties into my sartorial rotation for another season, which brought to mind how last Christmas I was hopeful that by the following year's end I would be in a full-time business casual environment with no need for neckties anymore. Ah, well.)

I'm pretty sure I covered before how everything worked out for the best. For those of you coming in late, I was interested in one and only one specific job at a specific organization, for a variety of reasons with top-of-the-list likely being some particular employee benefits that would address my life needs. And as it turns out, not long after I was informed that it wasn't going to work out, I learned from my inside connection that massive sea changes within the organization were making it a much less desirable place to work than I had originally been led to believe, so I kind of dodged a bullet. Yes, on the other side of the push and pull, there was the fact that my gig for the past five years has become rather repetitive and stultifying, and a change of any kind would have been welcome, so in that sense not being able to jump ship was a bummer. But even I acknowledge that change just for change's sake, especially going from "kind of a boring dead-end that nonetheless pays the bills and doesn't stress me out too much" to "black pit of despair filled with dumpster fires", is not always worth getting.

The other thing that's amazing about looking back over the past year or so, which again only kind of crystallized in my mind relatively recently, is how little fallout there was from the entire failed experiment in career re-orientation. At the outset, given that I had an inside connection and a newly spiffed-up resume and a general sense that I interview reasonably well, I was fairly convinced that as long as I went through the motions and didn't shoot myself in the foot, I didn't just have a good shot at the new job, I was all but guaranteed to get it. And I carried that attitude into my present job every day for months. New projects would start to take shape and I would console myself that I'd be long gone before they ever got off the ground. Old recurring glitches would get worse and worse, and I would shrug and look forward to the not-too-distant day when they would become someone else's problems. Half of the difficulty in getting the door slammed in my face after a couple of interviews at the potential new gig was the realization that I had better get cracking on tightening things up, since I had been even more slack than usual under the mistaken impression I was making progress toward somewhere else. Instead I was going to be hanging around for who knows how long, and if for no other reason than my own sanity I needed to act like it again.

But I couldn't tell you the last time I kicked myself for having to clean up a mess of my own making. Despite how utterly checked-out I was in the early part of 2014, nothing wound up permanently hosed. No bridges were really burned, nothing haunts me now. More than anything I think that's a testament to the whole government institutional culture, where things move very slowly indeed, and numerous things can be neglected for a long time with minimal ripple effects because the wheels turn so slowly. Catching up after the fact is kind of trivial. Lucky for me!

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