Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to care about your career anymore, and you could just say or do whatever you wanted? Like, suppose you had won the lottery but were nice enough to give them notice about quitting, or were leaving in a few weeks for a better job, or had worked long enough to qualify for a full pension and were just holding out for the going away cake in the boardroom. What crazy stunts would you try to pull off?
Would you run naked through the hallways, toilet paper the President’s office, or kiss the hottie you’ve been too afraid to approach up until now? Me, I’d be honest in the annual survey they make my fellow employees and I fill out. Perhaps you’ve been made to fill one out where you work. You know, that questionnaire where you’re asked to share your opinion so long as it’s the same one as the higher-ups.
My career at Power Tools International began in the spring of 1998. I had just graduated with a degree in Psychology and needed a job. I took this one thinking that it would just be a temporary gig. After all, I was well educated, so sooner or later someone would snatch me up; someone who would let me sit behind a desk, pay me an awesome salary, and work with me on changing the world! It turns out, understanding why mice follow the same route to the cheese each and every time doesn’t translate as a job skill to most employers. So here I am, still working the line at Power Tools International nearly twenty years later, and they couldn’t care less why mice follow the same route to the cheese each and every time.
They do like to pretend that they’re interested in my thoughts on how to make this a better company, though. Which brings me to the annual survey. If I didn’t have another twenty years to go until retirement, I’d tell them what I really thought. Take question number one, for example….Have you been properly trained in all facets of your job? Well, I was shown where the light switch in the men’s washroom is and how to get more loose M&M’s out of the candy machine than what I’ve paid for. Does that count? Or question number two….Has your manager done a good job explaining the company’s goals? Mine once said “Widget A goes into Widget B. Don’t fuck it up, book boy,” so I suppose. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t give question number three its due…Is there a sense of camaraderie between you and your coworkers? Oh for sure. We all stand around and bitch about the dismal conditions inside the factory on a near constant basis. Number four cannot be forgotten either...If you could bring one change to Power Tools International, what would it be? I’d toss everyone currently in charge out on their keister and take the reins.
Sadly, I do have twenty years until retirement, so I will write about ‘how I hope to use the guidance and leadership shown by the various department heads to take Power Tools International to the next level!’ And ‘how I am grateful to work with such an industrious and dedicated crew!’ And, for that one and only change I’d make, ‘how I’d love to initiate a mentorship program for new employees!’ Someone has to prepare them for the lifetime of bitterness that lies ahead, why not me?
I sometimes wonder if any of the managers hate their job as much as I hate mine. I’d ask, but deep down inside I care about them as much as they care about me.