Seems Like It’s Always Friday
I don’t think many people would complain about feeling like it’s always Friday. You know, that whole TGIF thing. But for me, it’s a sign that time seems to be flying by faster and faster, thus exacerbating my feeling that I’m not getting done all that (supposedly) needs to get done.
From the moment I sit in front of my computer at the day job to the moment I finally sign off — often later than what should be my quitting time — it’s a constant Go! Go! Go! The stream of calls that have to be returned, clients that need to be trained, and e-mails that have to be written never stops.
Add to that the fact I’ve been incrementally developing a Web application for said job, an initiative I’m proud to say has earned me one of the highest distinctions one can get with my employer: a week-long Caribbean cruise (that’s dubbed a “convention”) back in January of this year. I returned from this trip full of piss and vinegar, my head filled with ideas for other initiatives; however, unlike my previous accomplishment, these initiatives were met with a cool if not downright dismissive response, resulting in them not being pursued. Practically overnight, I feel I’ve gone from working for one of the best employers in the world to one that is typified perfectly by every Dilbert cartoon you have ever seen.
I understand how some might be tempted to walk away with a clamorous F-you. But that is not an option I would ever consider, as I’m smart enough to recognize that the “climate change” just happens to have coincided with a change of supervisor who, like any other, has her very own style and, perhaps, proofs to make. The tricky part is that my differences with her are strictly professional and NOT at all about her as a person, for on that front, I really, really like her. I’m good at making such distinctions. But like blogger Mike in DE, who seems to be going through a very similar experience lately, “Part of me says ‘talk to [her] about it’, while the other part of me says ‘keep quiet, don’t complain, and stick it out because nothing lasts forever.” Indeed, at the current rate, I’ll be reporting to someone else in about 18 months, whether it’s due to the normal turnover or because I manage to make a move within my employer.
However, for me, making such move is not obvious for a whole whack of reasons. First, I’m very optimistic by nature, so operating within a bureaucracy where cynicism poses as business acumen is not a comfortable spot for me; therefore, wherever I would move, that inward and cynical outlook is likely to persist. Second, the term “bureaucratic exigencies” is for me an oxymoron in that it places the emphasis on style (or processes) rather than substance (or accomplishments). Third, it’s difficult — sometimes downright painful — for me to witness the slow pace at which things get done in a bureaucracy, to the point where it seems completely out of touch with the realities of the world outside that bureaucracy. And fourth, because I’m at once extremely meticulous and passionate and empathetic, I would make a lousy supervisor in that I could be prone to micro-managing (definitely a very bad thing) or to doing other people’s work so it would be done right. I understand that “right” is not absolute, but I know myself well enough to know that I would have trouble recognizing that “right” is not synonymous to “my way,” so that would make me a lousy “people manager,” as they call them at work. Thus, I fear that my ability to move is severely restricted.
Meanwhile, beside work, there’s life, which unfortunately I’ve been neglecting. Off the top of my head, I can think of SIX major “projects” I need to get done for myself, but I never get around to them because half of them would require that I take some time off work — work which, as I mentioned earlier, is a constant Go! Go! Go! — while the other half would need to be done after work, by which time I’m often too exhausted to contemplate tackling them.
It’s also been two years already that I’m living in Montréal, a city whose energy I continue to love. Recently, former roommate Cleopatrick asked me if I regretted having moved here. I didn’t hesitate a microsecond before blurting out, “Absolutely not!” If ever I imagine myself still living in Halifax, I instantly get this overwhelming feeling of dread, which confirms to me that I was almost 10 years overdue leaving that city when I finally did.
Two years in, I’ve established a comfortable routine yet I’m still discovering things that are new to me. Moving around this city, it’s like I’ve always lived here. But I have to admit that I’m not taking full advantage of living in Sin City North, and by that I don’t mean that I’m not allowing myself to sin sufficiently. I just mean that, like always, I stick to doing the same things and going to the same places over and over again. I’ve been like that all my adult life, but I want to start breaking out of that cycle.
Here is, before my concluding remarks for this post, a video of the infamous Michèle Richard in praise of Montréal.
In fact, I think that it’s because I’m in Montréal that work — the topic of the first two-thirds of this rant — is bearable. And I think that’s because, as I strive to strike a balance between work and life, I recognize that there’s plenty of life to be had here. It’s far from the perfect place — crumbling infrastructures, a seriously ethically challenged political class, and some rather schizophrenic attitudes about being a city that is both francophone and multicultural ensure that it isn’t perfect — but it certainly has much to excite all the senses.