Thursday, July 29, 2010

Totally tapped out on empathy

For the past year, more or less, I've been listening to a co-worker whine about how miserable that co-worker is slaving away at the journal.  Lots of unhappiness about the behavior and/or attitudes of other staff, lots of unhappiness about our team lead and our supervisors, lots of muttering about being unappreciated. 

Naif that I am, I asked if this person had considered changing jobs, moving on (and possibly up) to something that might prove more congenial.  After all, USAJobs seems to have ads for writer-editors on a daily basis.  My co-worker is single, has no attachments in Atlanta, so if a change is desired, the entire country is a possibility, and, depending on the agency one lateraled to, it might even be possible to get moving expenses paid. 

Well, no, was the answer to the entire country -- didn't want to go through the expense and hassle of moving, wanted to stay in Atlanta until retirement.  Having moved myself more times than I care to think about, I wasn't particularly sympathetic to this line of reasoning, but it was understandable.  Once you're past 50, packing and moving gets old, especially if you've only got the memory of one or two moves behind you (after you've loaded and unloaded a U-Haul a dozen times or more, it's not that big a deal).  So how about trying to move into a slightly different job series right here at Large Nameless Agency, maybe slide on over to Health Communications Specialist (GS-1001) from Writer-Editor (GS-1082)?  Naturally, there was a string of reasons why that wasn't an option either. 

This month a job as a writer-editor came up that would have been a natural lateral -- duties would be almost identical, about the only differences would be the co-workers (a group that has a reputation for being really nice) and the teleworking policy (fully supported; about the only time people come in to the office is for an occasional staff meeting).  So did my co-worker take advantage of this opportunity to escape our dysfunctional environment and apply for a transfer?

You guessed it.  No. 

Every so often I try to come up with arguments to use on management to persuade them to let me telework.  Do you think they'd buy "I'll get more done if I'm not within earshot of that annoying whine?"


  1. Doug and I were just discussing what a pain it is to work with someone who doesn't want to be there. While I've not been in love with some of my jobs, I've at least pretended to be happy to be there.

  2. They never see themselves for the problem they are, but they drag everyone down. So sorry.

  3. The kids mother worked for newspaper, but all in all they seemed to get along well.

    Of course it was a small town newspaper.

  4. It's actually not a bad place to work compared to most. The workload is not particularly heavy, the physical environment is good (we're in actual offices, not cubicles), and people are at least superficially nice -- no open feuding or truly poisonous office politics. There are things about the overall bureaucracy that can be annoying at times, but that's true of any large organization.


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