Got an email from the boss--sorry, my boss' boss--today, asking how firm my vacation plans were. Now, I put my vacation request in three months ago, knowing that "guitar camp", as I like to call it, was the week of July 13 and that Mary was on her break from school the week of the 23rd. (As it turns out, she'll be home next week, too, because she had no classes to make up.) Suddenly, it's critical that I get into this training that everyone with half a brain has known for six months that we've needed. I mean, the first I heard that the company was even doing anything with this product was from a coworker who told me, after the fact, that she had been in Atlanta attending training on this new product. Suddenly, my PHB (everyone reads Dilbert, I hope), realizing that he needs a technical person to be able to go to customer sites and install and configure this thing, and it's like, "whoa! I'd better think of something." So, I get the 25 lb. frozen turkey in my lap with orders to make it fly...
You know, this kills me. I sit at home, waiting for the phone to ring to let me know where and when I'm going somewhere, and it doesn't ring and it doesn't ring and it doesn't freaking ring, then all of a sudden everyone wants the same freaking weeks of my time. It's like the damn buses. You'll stand out on a street corner freezing your ass off for half an hour, then three of them will show up at the same time.
I mean, this has been frustrating me for some time. When I started with this company, back in the days when we were still using Selectric typewriters for correspondence and voice mail was a secretary with a book of WYWOs, my boss would come into my office, drop a pile of papers on my desk, and tell me "handle it", and from that point on, it was my baby. I got in touch with the customer, scheduled it, made my travel arrangements, ordered the tapes or whatever materials I needed, and that was that. All the boss wanted to know was that it was done and the customer was happy. Now I'm dealing with someone who's effectively a traffic manager who schedules me and does all of the upfront work, and I get to call her every other day to find out what's going on and whether or not anything's scheduled.
I know, what right do I have to complain, right? I have a job with benefits that pays well, I'm not terribly busy, I get to work from home, blah blah blah. It's the damned Herzberg Two-Factor theory thing again: the hygiene needs are being met well, it's just the self-actualization ones aren't. I've been giving a lot of thought to free agency (see Dan Pink's book, Free Agent Nation). Of course, there is the idea of writing a bestseller and not having to worry about a "job" per se. Or, voiceover work. Or, raise cats. Or, manage Mary's massage therapy career. Or, all of the above. Honestly, there are days when I dream of being laid off. But not just yet.
Toby, my one-eyed tuxedo cat, is trying to help me write this. Actually, he's begging for attention, and I've learned that if I give him enough attention in the evening, he doesn't spend the night trying to pull open the door to the back bedroom, which swings inward, meaning that he could pull on it all night and never get in. What it does is make an annoying banging noise, which gets louder as he gets more frustrated, and wakes Mary up, who then in turn wakes me up and tells me to stick Toby in the basement. Which I do grudgingly, because Toby loves me and I know it hurts his feelings.
I wonder if that's what they (whoever they are) mean by a "cat's game". I have a lot of cats; I often wonder what kind of games they'd come up with. I mean, I see them playing all the time, batting things around the room, chasing the errant bug in the house, running after one another, clawing the furniture, watching the water go down the toilet, and, I swear, one of them chirps at the birds outside, but I don't know that you'd call any of those "games". Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that there's really no definite outcome? I think it'd be interesting to hear a cat's reasoning behind some of the things that they do.
I know, I spend too much time at home with the cats.