My posting of late seems to be miss and miss these past couple of weeks. It started when the allergies and such overwhelmed me, but it has somehow devolved into an overall sense of negative headspace that makes blogging an endless and unpleasant experience. It seems if I am not whining I am complaining. If I am not complaining I am bitching. If I am not bitching I am being snarky about other people. My base humanity is truly ugly thing, and I hate to share the wealth of my childishness.
I had these moments of clarity last week that make me realize that full-time work life is on a slow and steady trajectory and is unlikely to reverse itself unless something dramatic happens. I can complain about it. I can rail against it. I can be determined to push forward and make myself be more positive and upbeat about it. But at the end of all that, I alone cannot change what I see has been slowly coming for the past several years. Projects are closing rapidly and not being replaced, despite our best efforts. I have known this for the last 5 years, and while I genuinely enjoy my job and wish it would last another 10 years, I believe 2 or 3 is a very optimistic outlook.
On various levels everyone in the firm is aware of it and adjusting and adapting to it in different ways. My admin has been with the firm for 20+ years and has the ideal working conditions as far as schedule, etc. However, she is also a hugely negative person, an absolutely vacuum that sucks the life out of anyone who gets has to deal with her on a one-to-one basis, i.e., me. Yesterday I realized how much I truly dread interacting with her these days. First there was the venting post on Monday, then there was the conversation yesterday about excusing her children from the health/sexual education film they would be showing today (she was 30 minutes late to work because she wanted to discuss it with the principal). There is her girl scouts activities, her soccer, baseball, school/PTA activities at the office ( her cell phone rings constantly and it is not clients or business contacts calling), her parents’ health and responsibilities … all of THAT plus the rants and venting she does about the owners and their not bringing in new work and spending money on their own lives and pursuits.
It’s truly exhausting.
Today we had a come-to-Jesus meeting about all that, because it’s affecting me and my own attitude and I needed to shut it down. I asked her to do a better job about scheduling late arrivals/early departures in advance, and I told her it was important she limit her personal phone calls during the 20 hours she was in the office. I also told her she needed to transfer her cell phone to a company plan because we are transitioning to reimbursing employees for cell phone usage and that we would no longer be reimbursing her for home internet because all her hours were now performed in the office. Part of me felt like I was being passive-aggressive because she has been getting on my nerves, but reality is this conversation was long overdue and restrained mostly by my local boss liking the relative peace in the office.
There was a frustrated venting about the owner’s golfing and extracurricular expenses versus what the overall cell phone plan and home internet service, but it’s their firm, their money. I also pointed out that we are presently spending $600 over the course of 2 years to replace an iPhone she lost. The local owner had agreed to pay for half of that, but finally agreed that the better solution was partial reimbursement for personal cell phone usage. As you might imagine, it was not a pleasant conversation.
Then again, neither was the one I had with the owners on Tuesday afternoon, where we looked at the first quarter’s financial statements. The need to cut overhead expenses has been readily apparent to me for years, but to their credit our owners are nice, generous guys who like their employees and do not want to cut back on employee perks. At this point I would much rather cut perks than salaries to make it work.
It is no wonder I am clenching my teeth.
But after that bit of unpleasantness this morning, I implemented my own attitude adjustment and resolved to not let her piss-poor attitude continue to grind me down. I spent the afternoon getting focused and organized on my new plan to get files scanned and actual paper files shredded and/or recycled. It’s tedious work, well below my paygrade, but it has to be done and as far as I am concerned if they are paying me to be there I may as well be useful. To my surprise it goes much more quickly than I imagined and gives me a genuine sense of accomplishment. Our recycling bin is full, and I am eagerly looking forward to the pick-up on Monday so there will be lot less clutter.
I find myself wondering what I will do next, once the firm winds down. Perhaps I am reading the tea leaves (and financial statements) incorrectly, but these things are pretty cut and dried. I turn the calendar at 54 next month, and there is enough chatter about age discrimination to give me pause. I do look at job listings, thinking about different places to work and what I might do next, and I must admit to being terribly spoiled by my present situation. I wear jeans, casual top, and sneakers half the year, casual dresses or shorts and sandals/flip-flops the other half (ours is an extremely casual industry and this is typical). The firm is small and the owners quite generous, and I can honestly say I generally like my coworkers, even my troublesome admin. After 10 years the work is relatively easy – accounting is accounting – and nearly all the clients I deal with are pleasant and actually grateful for the things I do for them.
Having been in a large corporate environment, I cannot say I am excited or enthusiastic about the idea of returning to that sort of job and life. If that were the only or the best option for us, though, I would go forth with an eye toward keeping my head down and doing my job. We have been extremely fortunate these last 5 years that M could be out of the workforce. With my 2 part-time jobs, we could and would manage on just my present side gig income. The likeliest scenario right now is that I would take on more work from my side jobs and pursue other work-from-home bookkeeping or accounting work make that my full-time career. I am a planner, though; I like to try and think ahead and have my exit strategy completely mapped out before it needs to be launched. In the last 5 years or so, I have updated and changed my exit plans at least a dozen times. It’s part of what spurred me on to complete my accounting degree and what inspired the list of additional marketable skills I want to acquire or sharpen before I need to actually update and send out my resume.
So this post has turned into a long, meandering braindump of why I have not been blogging as much. I know it when I am missing days, but I tend to weary quickly of blogs that complain endlessly or that present a persecuted face to the world day after day. I so fervently NEVER want that to be me. When I am having bad days, sometimes I write about the silver linings I can see behind the clouds or I completely surrender to the need to bitch and moan. The days when I sit down and open my post window and the only thoughts that come to my mind are everything wrong in the world at large I know it is not the best day or time for me to be posting.