Saturday, February 07, 2009

REFLECTIONS ON CAREER

Saturday morning, seven-thirty.

God! I love them! Weekends, that is. This last week dragged like a broken hind leg on a Russian race horse, skittering and slobbing.

It takes a little while to get used to going back to work every day, you know? ;-)

This last week at work has solidified my intimations that I am a boob at work. I am ineffectual. I seem, to me at least, to be an anchor with whomever I work. I drag 'em down. They have to be over my shoulder at every instant and make sure that I do the seemingly-simple procedures adequately. (That, by the way, is one of my problems: I don't work well when people are right there, over my shoulder, watching my every move. I start to spin the wrench the wrong way--righty tighty, lefty loosey, I know--and I second-guess every action that I do. I guess I do this because I don't want to fuck up, I don't want to add to the "Adam is an Ass" common "knowledge.")

I feel like a thief at work, sometimes. The company pays me good money to work with gas lines and all that comes with them, but, often--especially when I am on a three-person crew--I stand around, watching the others do the work. I'm game to do the work, really, but often co-workers will just grab the appropriate tools and do the work themselves. They'll say, "Don't worry about this one, Adam. I got it."

Maybe I need to be challenged?

Listen: there's no overt animosity with my co-workers, at all. They all like me; I know that they do. I try hard; I bust my ass with the physical part of the job. I just have the feeling that they all, too, view me as an inept boob, one who needs to dealt with with kid-gloves. I feel--and this is funny--I feel that they view me with sorrow, a sense of "what a good guy, but he's a complete ass." There is no trust, nor--I'm convinced--should there be. I've been in this department for a year and nine months and I'm still committing basic fucking errors. I'm still sweatin' the basics of the job. Though it may stem from second-guessing myself and/or self-consciousness and/or lack of attention to detail (yes), the fact remains that I suck as a gas lines worker.

There. I said it. It's out.

Now I can move on, I reckon, and work like there's no one there, judging, gauging, making sure that Adam doesn't do something to blow shit up. [That was written for effect; there's not a whole lot of opportunity to blow shit up. Relax.]

Does this sound like a pity party? I'm writing it and, yes, as I'm tapping the keys, that is exactly what it sounds like: a pity party. Listen, A-Bomb, just do the fucking job. It is faaaaaaaar from rocket science.

When oh when will I become proficient? When?! This job has damaged my hubris. It has Achille-sliced my confidence in my own innate intelligence. I am in a field in which many of my co-workers are "That Guy/Girl." The type of person who can look at a problem of mechanics and, through use of hammers and 'drivers and screws (oh my), remedy the situation, make it good as gold. Me? I look at the pipes and the fittings and the frozen ground (how will I get a wrench in there?) and I think to myself, Self? This is un-doable.

And then a co-worker will step in and kindly say, "Hey, Adam, lemme in there for a second." And then he or she will do what needs to be done in an expedient manner and, then, all is good, but, again, I've the feeling that I'm nothing but a implement used to keep ships and the like in place. An anchor, I mean. An ineffectual anchor.

I am not mechanically-inclined. I'm just not. I'm smart, I'm intelligent--I know this, cling to this fact--but I am not one of those dudes who can look at a problem and, through the use of tools, remedy the conflict. I'm just not. It's not my skill-set. And, yesterday, I was asking myself just what the hell is my skill-set? I can tell you this: it has absolutely nothing to do with steel pipes and fittings and unions and couplings and curb boxes and three-quarter to five-eighth adapters. My skill-set does not include use of trenching machinery, though my job title is TMO, Trenching Machine Operator. I can do it, I'm sure--gimme time and don't watch--but--damn!--this shit doesn't come easily to me! Motherfuck.

Sometimes at work, I want to tell with whomever I'm working that, hey, I'm not as dumb as I appear. In fact, I've mentioned that twice within the last couple of days/daze. They all say the right things: Dude, it takes a while to get this shit, man. You can only learn by doing. It's all right, Adam; you're doing fine.

No! No I'm not doing fine. I placed in the 98th percentile in my English ACTs, damn it! I'm smart! Seriously. Seriously.

Seriously, though, what, exactly, marks someone as "smart?" I'd trade my ACT scores for mechanical aptitude in a fucking heartbeat. That, to me, is "smart." The ability to view a mechanical quandary and take the appropriate steps to remedy said quandary, to me, is smart. Everyone and their brother can tap their thoughts out on the keyboard, mind to fingertips.

This post has meandered long enough. Basically, to sum it all up, I feel ineffectual at work. Have felt and continue to feel as such.

I'm seriously thinking about trading my 2002 Ford Focus hatchback in and get a rip-roaring pickup truck with a large bed. And, yes, that is a complete nod to my feeling weak and inadequate (and trucks are cool and strong and kick-ass). With a rip-roaring pickup truck (no lower than a V6) I'll be able to feel--and thus act--more manly. This begs a jaunt onto gender roles and femininity and masculinity and how individuals tend to associate "things" and actions with said roles, but, for now, I'm done.

I'm done with this post. It's 9:03 in the aye-em and I'm just about bushed, ready to go back to the warm bed and the warm woman and the satin sheets. I just got up--and thus onto this drivel--because I had to drain the monster. My elephant trunk was about to leak.

Postscript--Some, if not all, of the sympathy I feel that I feel from my co-workers could be attributable to them all knowing that I've had some Subby-Abuse demons capering behind my skull, of late. Yes. That could be part of it. I have the sense that everyone in the office is treating me and viewing me with kid gloves. "Adam's a loose cannon. Be careful"-type thing. And I can undertand that. I've not got the best track record. At all.

So, I guess, in essence, this post is about starting anew, blank-slating with regards to the people's perceptions in the headquarters. That is not an option. Baggage accumulates and people are people. People remember; people distrust. And I cannot, and will not, blame them. They see a dude who was thisclose to getting canned, they see said dude fumbling with the most basic aspects of the job and, I think, the Highers-Up ask themselves, "Why'd we keep this blast on the fucking payroll? He's an incompetent boob, with a substance abuse history, who is doing nothing but pilfering high twenties dollar an hour. Why is he still here?"

And that's a good question. God bless the union. And that is the God-given truth. God bless the union. They saved my ass--they did it with compassion and stories of their family members who'd fought the Lick-n-Hops, and they did it with an overt display of Solidarity.

And I'd never felt alone.

I love my job! =o)
***Edit: I should have been there for my dad during his last fucking days. I'm crying, now. He was in Hospice, at home, and I flaked on his last week. Fuck! I miss him so much. I really do. I'm listening to The Beatles' "Let it Be," and it njackhammers into my skull the thoughts that I had while my dad was checking out, dying. It's rough--seriously. I miss him! Fuck.
Fuck. It's like a huge fucking void in my life that I've adequately ignored, thus far.
I miss him. My Daddy. I fucking miss him. I want him here. [I'm spoutin' tears, here.]
I miss him. So sincerely. I think that there is a LFD (Life Before Dad Died) and a life after. Still, three months later, I say and/or type and/or hear that my Dad "passed." LOL I'm laughing 'cause I'm leaking like a faucet, right now. I miss him.
I MISS HIM!
Fuck.
It's tough to tickle the keyboard through tears.
11:57 in the morn.
My tears have abated, for now. I don't want any sympathy from You Readers. No.
Instead, I'd love to read stories about substance abuse and the love that you hold/held for your parental unit--and they friends.
Get back to me--please.

8 comments:

Melissa said...

This stuff will come to you. Even though you weren't drinking at work, the effects from the night-befores would have had an impact on concentration the next day, you know? So tally up how long you've been sober on the job, and that's how much training time you've got under your belt.

Screw clinging to intelligence. That's a given, and you don't need to defend yourself to yourself when your mind needs to be otherwise occupied. You may very well be mechanically inclined if you give yourself a chance.

That's the way I see it, anyway :)

Maithri said...

Bro,

I remember being in operating theatre...and being asked to do these things which took so much mechanical dexterity... and I would stand in my own way... say to myself 'im good at thinkin...not at this crap..." and sure enough i would stuff it up... I had to train my self to say ' You know what, you're smart... You can work this out..Just take a few deep breaths...even though the other surgeons are lookin at you like they wanna kill you." lol ...

It wasnt my skill set... so i had to learn it...practice it... give myself a chance... And it got easier...

You're smart bro...that helps in all ways.. it helps cos everything the body does is a result of the mind... its just using it to help you rather than to stand in your way...

As far as addictions go... I think everyones addicted to something at some stage... maybe not a substance...but to more abstract things like approval or sex etc...

I aint got the answers man... but i know its got to do with loving yourself more than the addiction...and that takes daily work....

Your dad is proud of you. I know he is.

You've got courage and heart. And thats so rare in this world.

Peace and love brother,

M

Melissa said...

Your edit is like a whole other post there, brother. You didn't flake. You never once let Dad down, nor the rest of your family for that matter. That last week Mom and Dad needed (and appreciated) time alone. We were there when we could help and came when he called. You did NOT flake. Of course you miss him - of course you miss him, but don't rake yourself over the coals, Adam. And that's not sympathy. That's just the truth.

Substance abuse ... substance abuse. I have one! Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was this girl with a brother. He liked booze. So did she. They drank and they drank, but found that all their problems were simultaneously erased and magnified. That was no way to live! So they said Fuck you to alcohol and lived happily ever after. The End.

bunny said...

I don't think you suck at your job because you're incapable. I think you've just had a massive knock to your confidence. It'll come back. You're co-workers can see it, soon you will too.

My cousin is a heroin addict and after many attempts at helping him, the entire family have collectively given up on him. He doesn't want to change and so makes no efforts to really do so. I look at him and I look at you and already I can see how far you've come.

You didn't let your dad down. And I'm sure he was (and still is) proud of you.

You can do it Adam, you are doing it already.

bunny said...

I should add that we all still love him....he just loves his addiction and at the moment, that's stronger.

We might have given up on him but he hasnt been written off.

There is only so much you can do.

Adamity_Bomb_Bomb said...

Missy-Poo: Actually, I tended to do *better* at work when i was slighty hung-over. I think it had to with the fact that I was too preoccupied with how shitty I felt to even begin to second-guess myself and what I was doing. Ironic, isn't it? =o) But, yes, "night-befores" do most definitely detract from the concentration level. And, yes, I need to lay off myself a bit and give myself a chance. Fo' shizzle.

Maithri: What's up, Doc?! =o) Thanks for the kind words, dude. You're a cool cat, man. Everything in life, I guess, gets easier with repetition and patience. And--hell yes!--deep breaths do wonderous things for a person! =o)

Missy (again): Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was this girl with a brother. He liked booze. So did she. They drank and they drank, but found that all their problems were simultaneously erased and magnified. That was no way to live! So they said Fuck you to alcohol and lived happily ever after. The End. LMAO! =o) Oh, if it were that fuckin' easy.

Bunny Bleu: Thank you for the words of encouragement, kiddo. I do appreciate them and your binary love. That's the great thing about the 'net, you know? That, in all corners of the world, people can get together and offer caring and support. Thanks, Al Gore! :-)

Bunny Bleu (again): And I offer hope and prayers for your cousin. I hope that he finds his way out his self-generated morass. It ain't easy; that's for sure, but, given time and right circumstances to want to change, he *will* get out of it. Have faith; I do. =)

Frank said...

I like to use my ACT scores to convince myself that I'm smart, even though I've pretty much sucked at every job I've ever held. Or at least that's what I think. But just about every employer I've had thinks I've done a good job. And I think that's the main point - very few people seem to think they're very good at their job. My mom has had the same job for 15 years and she still makes simple mistakes from time to time. You're better at what you do than you think, and don't ever doubt that you dad is proud of you.

caleal said...

HA - I use my ACT scores.. and the fact I'm in graduate school... to make people think I'm smart. But I'm not.

I just have a good memory. Shh. Don't tell anyone.