At the moment, I’m a part-time graduate student. I’m FAR past my 40th birthday and grad. school was suppose to’ve been very much in my rear view mirror by now…….but I digress. I have a stable job, and except for a brief period a good while back, my employment situation has mostly been pretty stable as an adult. Anyway, a bunch of my coursework is built around Human Resources-related topics…….and right now, we’re talking about something known as ‘Need’ theory and ‘Expectancy’ theory……..these are old, stalwart parts of the world of human resources. So, I’ve been thinking about stuff like why we work and (you guessed it) what we hope or expect to get out of work, yada-yada-yada. It’s funny how, in big parts of our lives, we hope for ‘stable’ work and/or a ‘steady’ paycheck……that is, of course, a big thing for most people. I’ve been laughing, lately though, about how shortly after I get that very thing, I tend to gripe about how bored I am. Work is just so DARNED BORING sometimes. Weirder still, I’m not sure I’d even want the stress of a so-called ‘exciting’ job! I just rarely ever feel ANYTHING that I’d describe as exciting at work. It’s just a grind…….and for what?! I wouldn’t say I’m feeling depressed right now…..just laconic, really.
I suppose for no particular reason, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about just how small my life is. I don’t mean I have a terrible life (because I don’t…..MANY people have lives 500% worse than mine has EVER been). I guess I just mean that my life, in general is very small. My job is perfectly OK……and what I do is important, but it doesn’t have a sense of IMMEDIATE impact on the lives of hundreds of people. I have a few friends, and that’s great and I appreciate them….I really do. But, y’know……few people ever really seek out my opinion or my input.
Some years ago, I ran a medium size business (got out of it….too stressful for me)…..I sometimes remember those times, and think about how people would stop chatting with others and turn and listen to what I had to say. Now, one might argue: ‘Here’s a guy who obviously got too much emotionally from his work, or at least tried to.’ and those people might be right. I don’t know…..I’m just feeling a little mopey, I guess. I’ll snap out of it, I always do.
So, I’ve had a lot of things happen over the past several months. Oddly, most of the ‘bad’ things really haven’t happened to me (in my personal life)…..it’s just stuff in my professional life etc. Last week, I testified in a divorce proceeding (that was also a custody situation as well) for a long-time friend/co-worker. The whole business lasted ALL DAY. I was so exhausted when I got home……it was a beating. This, after spending quite a few-dozen-hours on the phone with said friend over the past few months (not complaining…..just takes a lot out of you)……in the lead-up to this giant event. You know, maybe I would have NEVER wanted to be an attorney…..that stuff is rough, man. It was such a sad, painful event…….but in the end, my friend ended up with custody and they’re divorced…..it’s over. He gets child support, too…….not a lot, but it’ll help.
I read an article today (at LinkedIn) about a manager refusing to engage in ‘Stack Ranking’ of employees. It was a good article, and although I’d heard of it, I was really unaware of how the practice worked. I work for a state agency, and I’ve heard that it’s been used here (but heck, raises come so infrequently around here, period….that it rarely even comes up!)
But, it made me remember something I used to do when I worked in healthcare administration. I used to like to do the old ‘Memo’ containing ‘Supervisor’s Expectations’ with many of my employees. It wasn’t ‘negative’ per se, or really even meant to be ugly, but now, with many years of life and working under my belt, I’ll say this: I wouldn’t do that kind of crap nowadays….I just wouldn’t. If you’re a good manager, and you know how to motivate people, just through talking and chatting, your people should know what’s expected of them…..without a silly memo.
It’s demeaning and as a minimum, pedestrian, to treat your people like that.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Psychology Today magazine. As a social worker, I find much of the stuff to be wacky, wonky babble that teeters near the line of astrology more than science. However, I stumbled upon this article today: No autism epidemic
Simply on the matter of thinking like a proper scientist, it’s a good article.