By day I'm a professional haranguer. It's not something I ever aspired to or trained for—it just flowed naturally from a series of non-decisions about my career. I spend my days sending notes, leaving voicemails, and hunting people down for the express purpose of needling them into doing things that they have deemed unimportant.
One of last week's glamorous tasks involved proofreading a report for adherence to style guidelines. Specifically, I had to bring down the hammer regarding the appropriate way to denote fiscal years in official documents. (I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat so I'll satisfy your curiosity. There must be a space between the FY and the 2010 and that it must be 2010 and not just 10. Oh, and it should be FY 2009 – FY 2010...not FY 2009-FY 2010, etc.)
I get a lot of eye-rolling. My colleagues/targets frequently remind me about priorities and relative importance.
They assume that I don't understand what really matters.
The feeling is sometimes mutual.
Most days I'm stunned that I'm still here, hunkered down in my cube inching the boulder up the hill, the keeper of both the great truths of the universe and the only three-hole punch in the office. You can imagine which gets more overt attention.
I'm glad to have a job, especially one that's 95% satisfying. I can even appreciate the simple beauty of a menial office task...staplers are truly amazing. It's the assumption that my work persona constitutes my entire being that stings my poor battered soul.
In my mind I'm shouting as my body shrugs.
Of course I don't give a crap about whether there's a space between the 'FY' and the '2010.' One of my daughters died and will never walk, run, graduate, get married, feel the sun on her face or hit the space bar at the right time. I should be home teaching my precious surviving daughter how to count to 2,010 instead of standing here listening to you gripe to me about the indignity of meaningless work.
Last Wednesday I received an outstanding on my annual performance review. My Dad's 62nd birthday passed uncelebrated, C learned how to say, “Go away, Mommy,” in context-appropriate situations, and R...well, you know how that goes.
On Friday afternoon I received an invitation to complete a survey for high-performers about motivation. I reviewed the questions (with a straight face) and determined that I could channel my former self well enough to answer them somewhat truthfully.
And then the demographics section asked how many children I have and I was stumped.
It's totally anonymous.
What should I say?