It’s lunch time and I’m the only one remaining in the training room. Of course, I’m not training, I’m writing a blog entry. Everyone else went out in a group to Korean food. I like Korean food, so had it not been for the ambivalence about whether or not I want to keep this job I think I would have gone with them. However, this morning when I arrived a fellow employee told me how excited he was to have a new motorcycle, but how annoying it is that the insurance rates are so high. I smiled and nodded, completely uninterested and completely not understanding the finer points of motorcycle insurance rates I think he was trying to explain to me.
That’s the problem with this place. I just don’t care. I don’t care about your motorcycle, just as I don’t care about your software. I don’t care about your network, or your IT projects, or your deadlines. I just don’t care.
And why should I? No, really, why should I? Don’t tell me that I should because it’s my job because the question I’m asking you is why should I care about this job. You already know I care about doing a good job. Don’t tell me I should care because you care, because I don’t care about you (same question: why should I?). And don’t tell me I should care because caring about it is more than caring about a job, as I know you truly feel (you’re missing the point again, I am thinking about more than just my job).
Why do you even care the way you do? Don’t worry, that’s a rhetorical question because I already know the answer. It’s the same reason why I cared about my job at Apple; because I felt good about what I was doing. I didn’t care about Apple, the company, I cared about the people I was working with (or some of them, anyway), and I cared about making the lives of my customers better. Apple as a company could live or die and I would really not care one way or another, but if that sweet mother didn’t get her iPod nano fixed and it made her son sad, I would care. I still care more about that boy’s happiness than I do about whether or not we close that several million dollar deal you want to fly me out to that suburb of Seattle to work on.
Do you know why that is? Because I’m not going to see any bit of that million-dollar deal, nor am I going to improve people’s lives because of it, regardless of how hard I work. What’s going to happen is that, if we get that deal closed, some sales person who sold that prospect our software gets a relatively minor commission (his incentive, not mine), the customer increases the efficiency of their IT processes (their incentive, not mine) which is just business-speak for making management feel better about laying people off (the customer’s CEO incentive, the greedy bastard) and never will my action actually have a benefit for this prospect’s customers, who in some altruistic sense I care about in much the same way as that boy and his mother who wanted their iPod fixed.
So why should I work here? Should I keep prostituting my values and my sense of fulfillment just to satisfy my curiosity with high-technology? Obviously not, though that’s what I’ve been doing since I realized I was unhappy here. You don’t want me to do that because it makes me a bad employee, unable to be optimally effective. I don’t want it because it’s making me miserable and makes me feel like I’m wasting a huge part of my life. It would have been easier if I got more of the perks I was expecting (more training and learning opportunities, more personal time, follow-through on promises like having a day off to make up for the holiday I worked, working with people I like, and so on), but seeing as how these don’t seem to be happening I see no reason not to accelerate my alternative plans (of which I have plenty).
So unless you see a possibility for this to change, it’s not a matter of if I’m going to quit but when, and the countdown to a decision ends this Friday at noon.