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The bitch in the Samuel Becket play - Vesta-Venus [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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The bitch in the Samuel Becket play [Mar. 16th, 2004|10:18 am]
Friday was not a good day at the government. I was asked to finish a project by "the end of the day". I am only in 3 days a week and Monday isn't one of them. I did what I was asked to do. I wasn't happy about it because a large part of it was clerical/secretarial - finding forms, photocopying things for inclusion. But I did it, albeit grumbling under my breath, especially when the cabinet on my floor was out of a particular form and I had to go to another floor and hunt through a stock room for it. At 4:00, I put the file with its myriad of components on the desk of the administrative assistant of the head of my section.

At 5:00, my former supervisor and I were talking and I told her about my frustrating afternoon. At which point she reminded me that we now have this clean desk policy that all files must be locked up over night. (For security reasons - despite the fact that since this Directorate came into being in 1967, they had never had a break in in which someone stole a file. They've had break ins, but thieves tend to steal laptops and things of monetary value - not people's work.) So, I retrieved said file from the secretaries desk and locked up in my cabinet until this morning. Now the person who needs to sign off isn't in today.

Wow. That was such a great use of my time on Friday. I'm so glad I dropped everything to do this so that it can sit unread until at a minimum Wednesday. And when did "the end of day" start meaning before 3:00 so that everyone can go home early on a Friday either? I think being done something by 4:00 is a reasonable "end of the day."

Clearly I am not cut out for government work. That year away on maternity leave has not helped me fit in around here. Being in the real world for a year brought me back to reality and now I constantly feel like the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes who notices all this stupidity that everyone else is either taking for granted or refusing to see.

I want desperately to have my world make sense and to feel that my work has value - ideals that are not suited to a career in the civil service. I have to get back into the mind set of "it doesn't matter" and "I get paid no matter what they ask me to do". And I hate it. I hate having spent 7 years in university to spend time formatting letters umpteen times. I hate reporting to an interim supervisor (who has less seniority than I do) who gets off asking me to chance two things on a letter and resend it to him when it would have taken him 3 minutes to have done it himself. I hate feeling like I've accomplished nothing important at the end of the day.

I feel like I'm stuck in a Samuel Beckett play. Samuel Becket (with whom I share a birthday!) was part of the "theatre of the absurd" movement and wrote weird, existentialist plays (Waiting for Godot, Breath, etc) about characters caught in silly worlds where nothing mattered, nothing makes sense, and everything is random. I feel like you could easily write an absurdist play about our life here at the government.

Most importantly I don't like who I am when I am here. I was crabby with my former supervisor on Friday. I snapped at her and went off on a rant about being set up to fail (being asked to get something done by the end of the day when everyone else goes home early and there is no one to give your work to - much less thank you for your effort.) It was not her fault. In fact, she was doing me a favour. Had I left it on the secretary's desk over the weekend, I probably would have got in trouble about that. But, I don't like that I took out my frustration on her. I don't even like that this place makes me so frustrated that I am crabby with people.

Hunter has joked with me about whether I can make it through the next six work days until my trip without saying something snarky to my interim supervisor. I hate to admit it, but it's about even odds.

So much for being salt and light. Instead of being a beacon of basic civility (much less the ultimate goal of resembling Christ)I seem to be overwhelmed by the pettiness, nastiness, gossipy, back-biting low-level depression of everyone around me and I sink to their level, if not lower.

Quitting at this time is just not a financial option. So, another day begins at work and the challenge to try and rise above it all and be whom I want to be lies before me ...