Create-A-Day: La Bella Luna
August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
There’s been trouble in paradise lately. Well, there’s been some stress at work at least. We’ve gotten temps and training them has been a challenge. I work with them more than anyone else on my project, and I feel like a jerk constantly noting their mistakes, but our jobs are really quite simple. Our jobs are simple, but the accuracy of details is extremely important. Accuracy is crucial. So the more mistakes I find, the more mistakes I have to correct and the more paranoid I get about missing mistakes because I am trusting them too much to do their jobs well. I don’t want to crush their little souls and I don’t want my coworkers to think I’m unforgiving or being too critical. I don’t mind having new life in the office, I just want them to understand how important it is that they do things correctly, even if it takes them longer to their job. I used to make mistakes when I first started too, mostly because I was rushing to get through a massive backlog that my boss constantly talked about, but I knew beyond a doubt that the woman checking my work–my coworker Melissa– would catch any and all mistakes I made. But now someone else is doing the checking and that someone isn’t catching everything. It’s worrisome.
Another problem is moral has been dramatically low for months now in the office. It didn’t used to be. Our project is split into two teams, the data team and the communications team. I belong to the latter. Basically we had to do this ginormous task that we’d never done before and that we didn’t know how long it would take to do. Instead of asking us how long we thought it would take us, the data team slapped on an unrealistic deadline. We, the communications team, put our super-smart brains together, rallied some volunteers, and kicked that task’s ass. We got in done with plenty of time before the deadline. That gave us some time to think about the task, why those demands were placed on us, what all that work was for. We didn’t come up with any satisfactory answers. We asked the data team and the higher-ups who oversee the project. No one could give us satisfactory answers to our questions. Perhaps that’s not fair… They gave us satisfactory answers that did not address our greater, and most concerned, question of “So what?”
I think we all tried in our own little ways to push questions of the Big Picture out of our minds, to focus on the answers to the small and more immediate questions, and to continue to do our jobs to the best of our abilities. But I think since that “big task” we’ve all been restless at work, trying to find a satisfactory answer for why the hell we’re doing this. We’ve had an increasing number of increasingly depressing conversations (strictly within the communications team) about how our project is incomplete, pointless, outdated, and ill-received. We’re the face of the project to the public and to the project’s main audience, but we don’t know the “why” of what we’re doing and no one else seems to care that there should be a why beyond the arrogant “for Science, for Research, for the Future”.
So it’s been a difficult time for the past few months. April to October is our busiest travel season as well, so it doesn’t help that everyone’s schedules are constantly changing to accommodate business trips. The addition of 6 new people to our previously comfortably cozy office suite has added to the discomfort. But we carry on. We smile at the new people, we continue doing our jobs, we focus on getting the little things done, and we try to repress those constant nagging questions about why we’re doing this at all.