Two years ago I was righteously pissed.
The organization I worked for seemed to do everything in the worst way possible. I had just developed my iPhone apps, looked around, and saw that the IT component of my work operated just like the washed-up body of a bloated whale; i.e. Completely Fucked With Shit Everywhere.
Now, I work a blue-collar job. I tighten nuts and bolts for a living. I love what I do; it’s very rewarding. It’s reasonably technical, and a lot like a chess game; all the pieces have to be in the right place at the right time.
But, like a lot of blue-collars, I know that physical work carries a limited life-span. Digging trenches and carrying loads into my fifties and sixties motivates me like an icepick in the eye.
I also know that there is a very hard ceiling on my wallet. Two years ago I was five years into my job and three-quarters of the way to that ceiling. Knowing that for the rest of my life I would be relying on the company agreeing to wage rises to guarantee an increase in my standard of living put a monumental dampener on any enjoyment I had in my work.
Every job I worked has been better than the one before. That’s not by accident. I think it should be the goal of intelligent young man to weigh his work up and improve his lot.
The questions I have asked myself are:
- Money: Does it pay more? Does a higher annual rate mean you’ll be working more hours (not good), or that the hourly rate is higher (very good)?
- Conditions: Do you work your ass off, or is it a laid back environment? Are there contract conditions that make your job more enjoyable?
- Experience: Is this job going to help you down the track? Will you learn manual, leadership or technical skills that make you more awesome outside of your job?
- Time: How much time do you save each week at this job?
I dunno about you, but I want to spend as little time as possible working at my job. I would rather be working on building an independent income, enjoying my hobbies, and playing with my kids.
Travel time to the job takes that time away. Overtime work takes that time away. Working weekends takes that time away, and you will never ever have it again. Getting paid for overtime is only cool if you REALLY NEED the money, ie you can’t eat or have nowhere to sleep.
Most middle class bovines work overtime so they can spend it on their new couch. That’s eight hours of your life GONE. It’s gone working for someone else’s agenda and some overpriced tartan furniture.
All these things were on my mind. But that’s not why I wrote that hate-filled email.
Back to being righteously pissed.
I hate inefficiency. Even when making breakfast, I do it in the most efficient way possible. I make the minimum of trips to the fridge, to the cupboard. When someone moves my oatmeal, I start breaking shit.
So when I started working for this bloated corpse of a company, I felt a lot of internal turmoil. Things were outdated, software was redundant, double-handling was rife. Working there rubbed against many of the things I held dear.
I gathered my pissed-offedness and hate into a mental USB stick and downloaded it into an email. Several rewrites later I had a frothing, laser-sharp review of the atrocious nature of our IT. After staring at the screen blankly for a few moments, I took my future into my control.
I sent it to the GM.
Immediately I started sweating. But I backed myself. Come what may, I’d said my piece. I was doing my bit to battle the burden of omniscience.
After a tense two weeks in which I wondered whether I still had my job, I received a reply. The GM thanked me profusely and put me in touch with the manager of IT, who then ensured I had access to the people who could make a difference.
Two years later and that email is paying off with a move to IT.
I really wanted permission to send that email. But I asked no one and told no one. I was scared, but it payed off in spades. During #NoNothingNovember as I reflect on not asking for permission, it strikes me as no coincidence that the most audacious act of my working life would occur now.
I have no degree. I don’t need one. If you’ve never been to university you’d be surprised how stupid 90% of the students are. I’ve worked only sales and blue collar jobs. Many of the men there are far more intelligent than any graduate.
If you are working a blue collar job, and you want something more, you can move on and up. Do not believe them when they say you MUST have a degree or qualification. If you are intelligent enough, if you show enough initiative, people will find YOU.
Buck the trend and get what you want.