My stomach has been a mess for the past couple of days and I’m not sure what the culprit is but I feel that coffee would only make it worse. Randall was in the breakroom starting a new pot of coffee when I walked in to rinse out my cup and fill it with hot water and tea. He asked me if I was excited about my big change and I wavered, thinking I wanted to use a different word than excited. He started telling me that he’d looked at the TVA website to look at job openings and though there are none at the moment, their focus on conservation in the area would be of interest to me. Randall and I discussed various topics like how EPA isn’t doing the good things everyone thinks they are…Radon issue..not looking out for the health of the people…propaganda; Things are not looking good for big oil…market is over-saturated with supply, prices will not go up…deepwater will likely take a hit because it’s so expensive to operate…the company is shooting itself in the foot by letting all of the experts go…they may fall out of compliance to a greater degree in several areas because those remaining don’t have required experience or qualifications; The only way to bring about the real changes the environment needs is to change the culture/society…people have to want to do things differently (like recycling, composting, growing gardens), you can’t just pass a bunch of laws, they don’t want to feel forced; Randall brought up Mars, suggesting that we will need environmental experts to prepare Mars for human colonization once Earth’s systems are destroyed…I said I’d rather live in a pod in the ocean – he said he used to care about the ocean too and wanted to protect it but that no one cares. I said, we’ll someone should care! that’s when he brought up the ineffectiveness of legislation…and the talk of Mars made me think of the movie The Martian with Matt Damon which he said was a funny movie!
I met with Joe and Petra to review the tasks I handled for water management. Many amusing comments were made about current and past colleagues. They both observed that Jake is angry due to his previous supervisor who would over analyze every detail about what Jake could be doing better. And they got into a whole discussion about how a mean supervisor can turn you into a mean person and affects how you manage your time on a daily basis. Petra said one of the young employees (Eileen), while in a meeting with one of the higher-ups, said she wishes she were challenged more in her job. In a clear and matter-of-fact tone, the lady (Rheba) responded that this company might not be the right place for people who don’t like a predictable routine. Wow, is all I could think, all of my negative feelings about this job have been confirmed as facts. Stockholm syndrome…No one likes working here unless they are paid enough – “enough” being more than they could make somewhere else close to where they have chosen to live.
I went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch with some coworkers and I only went because I figured it was my last lunch with all of them. We all joked around and tried to find things to talk about. Being friends doesn’t come naturally to us as a group. When the fortune cookies were served, we each opened ours in a state of disbelief upon reading messages which seemed to fit each person either by situation or personality. I laughed at mine which said, “it doesn’t take guts to quit.” A true case of situational irony.
After my meeting with Jake and Allan to go over what Jake needs to keep track of, I feel lucky that I survived the corporate grind. I must never let myself get sucked into that, even if I have no choice but to work one at some point in the future, I must not get sucked in.
Almost everyone is dissatisfied and frustrated with working here. Joe talked about breaking up the daily routine in our meeting after noting in wonderment how the team does everything like clockwork – from when they arrive at the office to when they lunch and leave, we all have settled into a routine. After my walk to get some fresh air, I went over to Petra’s desk to ask if she had any questions about the waste stuff she’ll be helping with. We ended up saying our goodbyes and she commented that she doesn’t like her job either and thinks that with the reorganization, they may cut her role. Later in the day I chatted with Alex and he expressed a lot of frustration with his job and that he’s tired of having to deal with different managers who all want different things and have different opinions. A pissing contest is the term he used. And he said ‘shit’ several times. I wanted to ask him what he wants to do about it but I know he doesn’t have the freedom I have and don’t want to cause more frustration or envy. Maybe they are all envious of me. Based on what I’ve described today, working for oil companies has definitely lost its appeal. Whether it’s due to the times or the nature of the work is hard to say. For me, both were enough and represent a small piece of the pie anyway.
Maybe engineers tend to be extremely detail-oriented and thus focus on details makes them unable to see the big picture.