March 30, 2011

It’s Awful

How about this for a blog theme: Anne figures out how to quit her job.

My jobby job has turned into a nightmare. I know that must seem a bit melodramatic but I’ve literally had bad dreams about it so I’m feeling a bit inclined. This morning, I was practicing yogic breathing in my car so I wouldn't have a panic attack on the way to work. My job is awfully awful right now.

Part of it is that I’m on a terrible project. You know you’re on a terrible project when your coworkers start describing it as the “perfect storm.” It’s huge in size, quite literally double in size of other projects like it. It’s a Godzilla project. It has a short schedule for regular small projects, let alone a project that eats Tokyo. It has a huge staff assigned to it, but about 50% are on irregular part-time schedules, and only seven of us are in the same office. I also have another very big project that I’m expected to work on at the same time. That’s right, it’s Godzilla versus Mothra and half my army is invading Russia.

I have had bad projects before—bad-I-wanna-quit-my-job projects—but they always end. At some point the crisis is solved, or the mother of all manuals pubs, or someone comes to their senses and cancels the ridiculous print date. At some point that horrible feeling of claustrophobia passes and I stop dreading the next day at work and I don’t want to quit my job anymore. Godzilla goes back to the Island of Monsters.

I’m on week four of feeling claustrophobic. I had to force myself to get out of bed this morning. And yesterday morning. And the morning before that.

That’s because of the other part of the reason I’m miserable. I’m working with horrible coworkers. I’m working with people who don’t tell you when they are having problems, when they don’t know how to do what they need to, or that they won’t be making their deadlines. Instead, they say everything will be fine or they just refuse to do the work requested. Then they miss their deadlines by a week and turn over crap. And when they got called on the carpet for doing all of that, these horrible coworkers blamed me. By name. They went to my boss and said it was my fault.

My boss knows better. As do the other non-horrible coworkers who are this team. No one whose opinion I care about for one second believed that I was to blame for this. I had to suffer some cheap shots and play nice when I didn't want to, but no one thought I was to blame. Everyone knows who was responsible for the poor work and blown timeline. What is hard for me to deal with right now is that the responsible parties have not suffered any consequences for their actions.

Rather, I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are working four times as hard as we were before and bending over backwards and playing nice to make the horrible people’s jobs as easy as possible so, just maybe, they’ll actually do them. Everyday I have to take phone calls from people who are incompetent and listen to them whine about doing the most basic functions of their jobs as they lob passive aggressive comments at me. They have still not made a deadline. They are still sending crap. They are still telling anyone who will listen how unreasonable I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are being. They’ve taken to complaining about work they haven’t received yet. Preemptive blaming I suppose.

The managers that be are letting it happen. They are letting their good workers take up the slack and suffer for the horrible one’s incompetence. They are watching their deadlines and quality slide and saying, “It’ll be fine.” They are letting band-aid fixes work and not caring that the overall project process is hemorrhaging. They are relying upon me to get this sorted out.

Yes, this Godzilla project will end. Eventually, Mothra will go back to the Island of Monsters too. The horrible coworkers won’t go away though. They’re on a team that I will have to work with again. They are unlikely to change their opinion of me. They are unlikely to change their work ethic or improve their skill set. I can expect to see Son of Godzilla project in my future.

Or I can quit my job.


  1. This post has Dilbert and example of how not to manager people all over it. I'm sorry to hear that you and a few others are taking the brunt of it.

  2. Thanks fellow cube survivor.