Today at work I had a chance to meet the guy who used to do the job that I have now. Basically he’s moved up a step on the ladder to a better position, and I’m the guy they tapped to take over the wheel.
But like so many other things in corporate culture – it's not like you can always just leave your old duties.
So even though this guy has a whole new job, he’s still pretty much the resident expert on all this work that I’ll eventually end up doing. I’m too new still, and the girl who is basically covering the base while I get up to speed is a little out of her element (especially since she was actually hired to do something else, which they're still expecting her to do anyways).
So having access to this guy is an obviously important deal. Here’s a clear source of information and expertise directly related to the work I’ll be doing. Plus by all accounts (he wrote most of the training materials and report samples I've been reading as part of my ramp-up period) he’s a pretty sharp guy – and even if none of these things were true, having more allies at the office is always a good thing, especially if you’re the newbie in town.
Too bad he’s sort of a cunt.
So I’m at my desk just sorta chilling the way I have been most of the week – reading over stuff I've probably read a million times, waiting for the real work to ramp up as it clearly will sooner than later. And this guy shows up to visit and help out the other gal who is covering the reports for the moment – and of course that leads to an introduction. Handshakes and small talk – where are you from, how long have you lived in Jacksonville, what sort of work did you do before this – pretty standard stuff.
But then he was like, “what’s your degree in?” – and when I told him English degree, he sort of stopped and looked at me, then said:
“How can you be a technical writer if you don’t have a technical degree?”
Dude, I just met you. This is how we’re gonna play? What do you want me to do next, get back in the kitchen and make you a sandwich? Bring you a martini and your slippers? I’m sorry, can you dumb that language down a little bit so I can understand it over the sound of how awesome my tits are?
What do you mean how can I work in this field that I've been working in for more than 10 years without taking the exact same path you took to get here? Perhaps the better question is how did a serious piece of eye candy like me find my way into YOUR esteemed seat when clearly it’s only reserved for bitches in knock-off alligator boots with pissy attitudes?
I mean literally this was like a minute into the conversation. Which was our first conversation of any kind at all. Not exactly the kind of introduction I was expecting, or one that I appreciated.
I mean, in the end what are you gonna do? Everybody likes to feel like they’re king of some little castle – and clearly this job used to be this dude’s own private Idaho or whatever – but that doesn't mean I’m gonna piss all over the drapes just because I didn't go to the same schools you did.
I don’t know – maybe the dude didn't realize how petty his comment came off, but this is a good example of the reasons why I’m still a little chafed over the way my last job ended. Because all of this bull, all this posturing and learning curving were all things I’d already done somewhere else. Whether or not anyone thought I looked the part or was legitimately qualified didn't really matter, because I had clearly earned my stripes and shown my value.
But now I've got to take shit from this jackass just because he's the only one who knows where all the research materials are kept?
It’s just kind of infuriating to think about. It’s sort of maddening that there are still hoops I need to jump through to get my final checks and stuff from my old gig and when I call to ask about it the guy on the line (who I had worked with many times) asks how to spell my last name. Like I’m some sort of stranger now.
I mean yeah, I played my part. I’m certainly not without some level of culpability in all of this. But this walk of shame shit is getting old, especially when it’s coming from some schmuck at this new gig who doesn't know me from a hole in the ground.
How can I do this job without a technical degree?
Because I’m a writer, bitch.
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