Different But the Same

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For some reason, my old work life is front and center this week. On Saturday, I got a call from a friend of mine who is still there. Ironically, I was close to sending him a text on Friday to set up a lunch.

To summarize, with all the reorganization, he has some different direct reports. One of them is married to someone who used to be on my team. Well there was some emergency somewhere in the work universe and they called him looking for that guy. He was away from a lot of his work connections, but I was in his phone so he called to see if I still had contact information for the person from my team as she might be a way to reach this guy.

Turns out I did and presumably the emergency was dealt with. It seems like the more things change, the more they remain the same.

When I was at work, there were a group of us who played the lottery when the pot got big enough to merit attention. Typically for office workers dreaming of a way out. Well, the last thing I wanted to do was read somewhere about my old coworkers winning the lottery without me. And, having spent many years paying into it, I wasn’t going to walk away. Yes, I know all too well that the odds of winning are basically none but it would be just my luck that they’d hit. Spoke with the guy who ran the pool before I left and put up some funds to cover the next couple of drawings. Got a text from him yesterday that they were playing the lottery tomorrow and my seed money was gone.

So I arranged to meet him this morning and got a chance to walk around and see and talk to some people. First time back in awhile. It is weird seeing new people sit where my group was and to see some of the other changes but life marches on.

A couple of people made comments about how happy I looked. One guy made a joke about how it was nice to see someone smiling. You could kind of tell that the overall atmosphere was still kind of grim. Which truly sucks because in our prime, the place hummed with activity and people were able to accomplish great things.

Spoke to one guy who talked about trying to hang on for another year or so. Which is the same situation I was in because there was an economic incentive to reach a certain milestone. What I didn’t realize is the damage that was being done to my soul by trying to hang in there. I think this guy realizes it as well but it is hard to walk away from a steady pay check even if you dread going to work.

Now I’m sure that there are those who are happy there. I mean if you look you can find good on most days. A lot of it was just interacting with the other people. But the overall vibe wasn’t that great. I didn’t stay too long. It was funny how happy a lot of people were to see me. I guess that’s kind of what happens with people you just know at work. When you leave it is like you’ve sailed to the end of earth and fallen off.

I do have the monthly lunch for current and ex employees on Thursday so this week is kind of going to be an overload of ex work people. Weird how that all happens at once.

I was never much of a corporate man. I mean I gave my best effort for most of my time there. But I wasn’t going to be the type to internalize company problems. That’s too easy to do and the big companies encourage it. They want everything from you. Its like signing your soul away to the devil. For a consistent paycheck and good benefits, you agree to give them a great deal of your life.

But the hard truth is that people are just a disposable asset to big companies. You have to view yourself that way. Even if you do climb the ladder, at some point, they’ll kick you off of it. Find life outside work. You’ll be better for it.

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