Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Job, part 4

With all the poor economic new these days, part of me says 'don't even bother standing up for yourself, just hunker down and keep on earning money as long as you can.'

I'm not optimistic about how the economy will shake out in the short term. As much as I hope Obama can do wonders, I think things are way beyond any one's ability to move them in any direction in the short term; we just need to wait things out, and try not to damage ourselves in the short run.

In my situation, I feel torn in multiple directions. In terms of economic self-preservation, the aforementioned policy of don't make waves, just do your job, get paid, and just hope the economic meat-axe wont reach too deep when they need to cut next.

There's the side of wanting to stand up for myself, of taking care of my self-respect, that I find myself oddly expecting more of myself and willing to take more of a risk than I would have had all of this change of management organization hadn't taken place. Strange, huh?

This whole change or moving me from a managerial role into what I see as a single focused contributor had oddly left me with, among other things, a sense of freedom. Whereas previously I felt responsible for what felt like a long list of all sorts of things (I used to liken it to a circus acrobat with dozens of plates in the air), that has all changed, at least for now. Sometimes I want to laugh because of the weight that was lifted from me.

As a manager, I felt I had to keep tabs on those in my group, keep my ears to the group about news affecting people at my level and at my manager's level, be aware more or less what went on in various other groups in the office as much of what happened there affected my group, also I maintained the computer lab so there was all lab-related networking, software and hardware maintenance, keeping up with corporate news both internal political and IT-network events and plans, be aware of all sorts of upcoming changes in products, release dates, rumors, and also maintain older systems as they were always needed (I was frequently asked: "Do you have such-and-such a system? I need one because..."), and so on.

Now, it seems like I focus on one-tenth as much. While I did mention a while back that I probably am the person with the most experience doing the current work that I do, it is so far so relatively narrow compared with previously, that I feel I am daily missing something, like I accidentally forgot to take my left arm with me when I left home this morning.

One thing I can say, it does take me out of the direct line of fire. Sometimes I feel that might have been the plan in the first place. But I cannot say for sure, and I won't be asking anyway.

But being out of the line of fire also potentially means more expendable. As a result of all of this and my reaction to it, I have climbed a little higher on the 'high maintenance' scale. Does that make me more vulnerable in terms of potential layoffs? Probably, but it is too early to say how much. At the moment they have much more pressing matters to deal with.