Fork in the Career Path

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So they have another workshop scheduled for those of us on what is called the extended leadership team.   I have to give you a little background although some of this is not new.  Over the last several years, I have not been asked to do any international travel.  There was a leadership team at our site that I wasn’t on.  I was not part of any of the discussions regarding the restructuring that happened last year.

When I first found out that I was reporting to a new guy but basically in the same position with the same team, I just assumed that everything would remain the same.  But this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Even though nothing really changed except for boxes on an org chart, they seem to think that I should be on this extended team and that I should participate in these three day workshops to plan our future.

Problem is that nobody asked me if this is what I really wanted.  I guess they just assumed that anyone left would welcome whatever they offered.  Or that we are all so career oriented that we’d jump at the chance to sit around with the higher ups and strategize about the future.

But they also tell me that the future is stuff that I’m not working on.  I’m sort of dealing with the legacy stuff that needs to be kept alive.  They tell me that it is still important but all the money and work is going to the new and exciting stuff.  So I don’t feel like I have anything to contribute.  In all honesty, the thought of going has been giving me serious anxiety.

See my wife and I sort of have an unofficial deal.  She’s a consultant and the major breadwinner.  So I arrange my schedule around hers.  She doesn’t travel much but when she does, the trips come up quickly and she can’t say no so she has to be free to go.  There are two of these trips in the works at roughly the same time and I don’t want to be overseas in a different time zone with no good way to communicate with her if she suddenly has to leave.

And then there is the issue of my one very old dog.  She requires a great deal of personal attention and often needs help getting up and down the three stairs to get outside.  She’s not heavy but it is difficult for my wife to really move her up and down the stairs. Plus, at her age, we know her time is limited and there are days she has trouble walking.  At some point, something in her is going to give out and it will be time to take that last trip to the vet.  I know my wife couldn’t do that and, again, I don’t want to be out of touch when some emergency comes up.

And I know that it probably makes me seem like I’m not on board and that it will be a mark against me, but I just don’t care.  I put all this in a email to my boss today for discussion on Thursday.  See, I held out hope that they’d call the whole thing off given that we had some discussions about cost reduction and there were other small changes announced last week that kind of make it stupid to do this right now but the higher ups are insisting.

This is actually another reason why I’m uncomfortable doing this.  I can’t in good conscious agree with a decision to fly a bunch of managers around and put us all up in a hotel for a couple of days just to spend that time talking.  Not when they are actively discussion cost reductions and looking at eliminating contract positions.  How can I go to my team and say “well we might have to get rid of this contractor because of costs but I’m flying out for a week for meetings”.

Yes, there are logical reasons you can talk about a one time cost vs a continuing cost but, to me, it sends the wrong message.  It says that there are different rules for upper management and the employees.  It says that we are so important that we don’t have to worry about containing costs but you little people better be pinching pennies.  I’ve never believed that title alone makes you any better than anyone else.  Which is just another in the many reasons I really don’t belong in the corporate world.

I have usually been able to put all the corporate stuff in a different box and just focus on the work and the people I work with who I like.  But the project work has all but dried up and most of the people I know were kicked to the curb or decided to retire once they saw the writing on the wall.  So now it is harder to find anything at work that I can really enjoy.  And when every day is the worst day of your life (office space), it is hard to get out of bed and roll into work.

But I can be stubborn when I need to be.  Try to get me to do something against my values and I will dig my heels in and that’s what I intend to do here.  At this point in my life, I really don’t care about the consequences.

Part of me blames our Disney trip back in February.  Disney is an immersive experience for someone like me because I can so easily put myself in a different place and time.  And that’s what Disney does best – making believe you are somewhere other than central Florida.  And the fantasy was certainly better than my day to day reality right now.

Well that’s all I’ve really got.  We are talking with our financial advisor later this month.  At an earlier meeting, he gave me an off the cuff answer that I could walk away now given my wife’s income and our savings.  That’s another part of the puzzle because that’s in my mind as well.  I’m going to get him to go on the record and try to really understand what my options are.  I’m kind of burned out with the whole work thing.


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