Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Quest for Life: Day 11

How doth she fare at the new job? She fareth well and surprisingly so. If tedious is one and exhilarating is ten, most of the work tends to be in the six range so far, which frankly is the best I've ever come to hope for when working for the man. The office culture isn't bad. We've got a very ecclectric group: the Filipina receptionist is probably in her early-to-mid-20s; the cofounders are a German guy I'm guessing is in his 60s and an AWG (average white guy) in his 50s?; the General Manager, a Swede (the German-French kind) is just shy of 60; we've got a Dinah Shore lesbian, probably in her 40s; a black New Yorker also probably in her 40s; another generic WP (white person) in her 40s or 50s; a 27-year-old Vietnamese woman; and a mid-western gal in the 40-something range from Iowa, who's married to a French guy. And now there's me, an SBHRD. Three bucks (all I've got left until pay day) to whom ever can figure that one out. Oh, and my age? Well, that ain't nothin' but a numba.

What we do is still a bit mysterious to me, but that's partly what keeps me engaged. Retained executive search. Retained is the good kind; contingency is the bad kind. I work for the good guys, though poachers we may be! It’s a fascinating industry, though. I’ll share more as I learn it.

Meanwhile, for the first time in the longest, I am filled with not simply the desire, but the need to learn more about the profession and about how I can add value to my firm. See how I keep using "we" and "our?" I've bought in already. It's oddly disconcerting, but I'm just going with it. I am also feeling like I not only need but want a mentor. Yah, the admission is making my head spin, too. The trouble is, I haven't yet figured out how to go about doing that. One step will certainly involve joining a professional group, the most obvious one being the Special Library Association. The SLA has three divisions in particular that should be relevant to my latest "career:" Biomedical & Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical & Health Technology, and Solo Librarians. Just to keep you confused, I am not a Librarian, and please don't call me one. Some of my best friends are Librarians, and I totally respect the profession, but it's not what I am. What I am is a Research Associate. Not too snazzy of a title, but hey, I have a cubicle office—with a door.

There are exec search associations, too, but they’re more for firms as a whole rather than individuals. What’s interesting for me is that I’m the only one who does what I do at the firm, which is why my wishlist includes somebody to bounce off of professionally (but platonically).

I could babble on about how wonderful everything is, except there is one thing that threatens my new world already, and it isn’t the mac, though truth be told I'm still not diggin' the Apple. Nope, it’s the telephones, and, specifically, that I’ve been asked to answer them. Supposedly this is temporary, until they hire an Admin. And I was asked not told. I agreed for two reasons. One is that even though I was asked, we all know that when your new employer asks you to do something, you sorta gotta do it. Pitching in. Team effort. Whatever helps the company. Rah, rah, rah. But the other reason is that it will help me get my finger on the pulse of our business—what kind of calls come in, how different personalities in the office deal with things, etc. But I really do hope this doesn’t remain a part of my accountabilities for long. I’ve already been in consultation with my buddy Six, strategizing a reverse psychology that will make them want me off the phones without it weighing against me. I will not invoke this plan unless necessary.

Meanwhile, the world marches onward, and I find it impossible to keep up with current events though, for your sake as well as mine, I am trying. Otherwise we’re all stuck with my little diatribes, and trust me, I know the nutritional value’s been getting a little weak. But I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in the toils of a worker's life.

Take the very hard working Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark and hip hop artist nee entrepreneur Missy Elliott, who have been scuffling in court over a royal crest. Can’t we all just get along? And I hear Wal-Mart has closed a store in Quebec to keep its employees from unionizing; the official story is that the store is unprofitable. Then there's Walter Scheib, the White House Chef who was fired by the First Lady. This is kind of old news, but I’ve been working damn it. I love this quote, though: “How you serve 240 people and have them not think it's another rubber-chicken-circuit dinner, that's the job.” And here I am traumatized by the telephone. I even read that 42% of U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientists surveyed say they’ve been forced to downplay or even cover up their findings about the risk of endangered species lest they themselves become endangered species.

All this and rain. Rain drops keep falling on my head, and people with umbrellas keep making me hate people with umbrellas. Nowadays you’ve got people with what I swear are table umbrellas, hogging the whole damn sidewalk, in addition to all the people who open their wet umbrellas while standing near you so all the water sprays in your face, the people who can’t walk and hold an umbrella at the same time so they nearly poke your eyes out as they meander around, the people who stand near you while waiting for the light to change so that the rain drips from their umbrella down your collar. Oh my my. Ten minutes of all that at lunch time, and I'm eager to get back to my desk. They have traffic school for violaters, and they should have umbrella school. It's time to get tough on umbrellas.


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