Well, it was fun while it lasted but, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end eventually.
After two long and wonderful weeks off work, I’m back in the office today where, really, nothing much has changed. I don’t really know what I was expecting. The same messes are still in the back room. My office is exactly the way I left it, not that I expected much to change. Bertha has been out most of the time I’ve been gone with some sort of medical issue. She’s fine now, or so I’m told (she’s still out of the office,) but with her absence it was just K and John.
I don’t seem to have missed much. It was the holiday’s so that certainly accounts for some of it, but I’m also reminded that my presence here isn’t all that valuable. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’ve got a decent job with a good pay check. It’s just apparent that life would carry on here without my help, if I weren’t here.
On my last day before vacation, John gave me my annual evaluation. It was good, of course, though it seemed a bit contrived; speaking of nothing ever changing. We had the requisite “where do you see yourself in…” conversation. K and I have a term for the outcome of these conversations. It’s “ponies”. John has all kinds of grandiose things to say and ideas about what we can do within the department or the company. He makes big assertions about what he will do for us, and then they don’t amount to anything, ever. In other words, he promises us pretty, pretty ponies. This time the pony was the prospect of a new job, within the hierarchy, above my current level…
This May I will have my ten-year anniversary in this job. I will have worked for the same company, in the same department, for the same manager, doing more or less the same job, for ten years. Sure, there have been minor changes here and there in my responsibilities, but for the most part, it’s been the same job. I have been promoted three times and received two additional title changes that were lateral moves. I’ve received raises every year; some better than others based on the economy. But what I’ve been acutely aware of, lately, is that I’ve gone as far as I can go in this position. There are no more promotions to be had. No more title changes likely. No more progress to be made in this position. I’m in the Army: I AM all I can be… here.
The idea behind that discussion was that John thought it was a good move and would campaign for a new position to be created, wherein I would run the Emergency Response Program for the entire region, not just for our building. It would be a lot more work and a lot more responsibility, and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure it’s what I want, but it would be progression…
This morning, in a brief conversation with John, it became apparent that he doesn’t really think anything will come of the idea. Basically, he doesn’t think he can convince the right people of the value of such a manuever, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I believe I’ll name this Pony “believe it when you see it.”
Long before my evaluation happened though, I began thinking about what comes next. I knew I had gone as far as I could go in this position and unless I want to spend the next 20 years doing the exact same thing I’m doing now (I don’t) for incrementally more money (I can’t,) it’s time to start making a change. This year, I have to really think about the direction my “career” is going to go and start making some things happen. I put “career” in quotes because I’ve never thought of this as a career, just a job. But after ten years, is that still true?