- you brazenly surf Monster.com for the latest job postings.
- the C-level positions are a revolving door.
- the whole company, including the CEO, is regularly copied on emails highlighting your latest foul up and everyone you pass in the hall gives you that wide-eyed, head shaking, apologetic look.
- a hastily planned, last minute catered luncheon in honor of Administrative Professionals Day is met with much eye-rolling by the honorees
- a submitted two weeks notice by a fellow assistant incites joy and envy by those who will be "left behind"
- you're held up at lunch by extremely slow service that results in a comp meal and after explaining the situation in detail to the human resources director, you're told curtly that "the time cannot be adjusted" knowing full well that a few simple keystrokes would have been an easy courtesy
I've stated before, and will continue to state, that I love what I do. I thoroughly enjoy the role of assistant and really don't see myself doing anything else. However, the toxicity of my office is starting to curl its way around my neck and squeeze.
And what a shame! Once upon a time, six years ago, I embarked on what seemed to be a wonderful career at a great company that was small but growing and staffed with people who were genuinely friendly (for the most part) and seemed to care about me, as a person, not just another admin to schedule meetings and book travel. There was a level of warmth and concern that I had never experienced. At one point, a few years in, I remarked to one of my friends, "I can't even see myself looking for another job. I love it there!"
That was then. Now, I feel like a knot on a log, a log sitting halfway in some murky water in the middle of damp swamp. After multiple company reorganizations, annual retreats full of ideas that always fall flat, staff meetings that turn into lectures on appreciation for our jobs in a tough economy and a steady decline in morale across the board, this is not the same company I started with six years ago.
The announcement by a dearly loved, fellow assistant that she was taking another job in a few weeks has only added to my angst. Her new firm is huge, a global company in a high rise with all the bells and whistles of Corporate America. Great benefits, more pay that expected and perks like gym memberships and a break room stocked with free snacks and beverages (we long since lost our comp Cokes and the only free snacks are the cakes provided at the monthly birthday parties); it all makes my little log seem all the more grim.
I'd love to cast my resume out there and see what bites. I'm confident in my skills and ability to add value to any company. But, what I lack is the courage to make that great leap from my stable, albeit dysfunctional, home base. This company has been a six year supporter of my life and my children's lives. Every bill I have depends on my twice monthly paychecks. My whole life is affected in some way, by my job. Heck, I chose my apartment due to its proximity to the office, which determines my oldest daughter's school and the quality of daycare available to my youngest. I've settled into a routine, a way of survival that allows me to be in the midst of the office chaos yet somewhat insulated from it.
And who's to say that jumping ship will lead to sandy shores on a paradise beach? I could find, after a short time, that my new island is inhabited by hungry natives who don't crown me and make me their queen like in the movies. Then what? What's that old saying -- "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't."
I have recurring nightmares about winding up in the projects living off welfare checks and food stamps while my children run around with the bottoms of their feet black from filth. Seriously. Its a real nightmare. Failure of that scale is what wakes me up in the mornings.
So, that leaves me on the log, pondering possibilities and terrified of the same. I hate to sound like the spoiled ingrate who happens to have a job while so many others file into unemployment lines ready to take any job that makes an offer but this is my reality . . . and it bites!