It happens to the best of us. We make plans over the weekend, we have a few drinks, we dip our toes into the pool of "well, this is what everyone else is doing, we all have to work, right?" and another toe into "You know what? I don't have to do this, I am capable of more- I don't need this shit...", the latter of which is fueled on by more and more alcohol.
Then you wake up, its Monday morning. You are fumbling in the dark and you get yourself out of the house at a reasonable time. You sit at your desk, staring at the screen placed helpfully in front of you. You start to get lulled back in. You forget how angry this place makes your inner child and how much behavioral therapy that inner child appears to need. You lose track of time reading internet articles and web sites and blogs and time ticks away.
Maybe its your lead footed blowhard of a boss bounding down the hall, pushing his weight against the earth in a fight with gravity to show everyone how important and serious he is. Maybe it is his underhanded remark about something you tried to educate him on, so he doesn't embarrass himself. Maybe its your co-workers, oblivious, locked in a match with the sands of time for who will blink first and if they will live a life carved out around this mess. Maybe its someone who will stop in, find themselves in the maze of hallways and randomly appear at your desk, with their whole rolling cart of bullshit you cannot have any less interest in taking on.
For me, today, it came in an even more familiar form. A senior manager, second in line of command to use my boss' favorite terminology. Asking me a question that made me go cold. It is a question I have answered a dozen times, an explanation I have doled out patiently so often. The worst part is that in the nanoseconds between the question being asked and the answer being given, I remember (as my mind loves to do) how much this person makes per year. How much more they make than I do. How they cannot remember the basic functions and processes that drive what we do. How I, the lowly one on the totem pole, will never be able to reach the heights of monetary earning as I am not an old friend, an old colleague, a trusted confidant, and here I am telling them (AGAIN) how to do their job.
Most of the time this scenario plays out and I mutter under my breath. I feel angry and defeated. I worry, thinking about how they are going to get found out, and even worse, if no one does anything. I worry for the person who takes my job- only to be 'managed' by those who have no idea what is going on. They will run into the same quicksand of crazy. They won't know what is happening. They wont understand.They will start their own process from the beginning. And that is ok.
That was a change. A small, but noticeable change in the course of how I am dealing with things. I see the mistakes and I worry about the person who will come to deal with them after me. Because I am leaving. Sooner than I probably thought. On to greener pastures, more important work, people who can mentor me to be my best and help me to find the things I didn't even know I could do. As I worry about the next innocent to take this desk, I am filled with anticipation and joy for all the things that lay ahead for me. A change has occurred, and as with so many things, it is within me, rather than outside of me. They will not change.
The person who takes my position will need the job. They will be glad for the paycheck. They will be happy to be secure. They will be thrilled with the ease of some things and terrified of the prevailing attitudes from some of the people. They will find out just how disproportionate the responsibilities/pay scale/ intelligence quotient ratio is in this place. This will be a stone on their journey, too. One they need. One I should not deprive them of by staying any longer.
If you ever need a reminder of what you know about where things are in your life, look around. They are everywhere.