I was a manager. For a long time. But, I certainly do not fit the manager type. I am quirky, mouthy, feisty, and I don't really care about dressing up or passing as normal. I am also overly dramatic and I like to swear.
What gave my work-life meaning was the work I did, the people I worked for, the people I worked with, and the people I supervised. Every day I felt like I made a difference and contributed somewhat to making the workplace better. That was gold.
I could take classes for free! Even working in the trenches was intellectually stimulating. I learned a lot about people and organizational behavior. I developed relationships with lots of amazing faculty, students, and staff. It was a non-profit organization, which appealed to me as an old hippie and confirmed leftist. It was a great gig.
I worked at the university for 37 years. For the first 10 years I was an office worker. At a certain point I became an employee union organizer in my free time. For 3 1/2 years in the early 1980's I worked hard trying to bring collective bargaining (aka participatory democracy) to the pink collar workforce at the university.
During those early years, I think I managed to do my office job well during regular working hours. More to the point, I avoided getting fired for spending my evenings and lunch hours attempting to get other office workers to sign union authorization cards so we could hold an election and start a union. For all sorts of reasons I do NOT want to go into, it didn't work.
Please do not send me comments telling me how bad unions are or how a corrupt union steward refused to help your father 30 years ago. Trust me, I have heard all those stories...ad nauseam. Relax, I am not trying to sign you up. I am very happy for you to have your own opinion as long as I get to have mine.
Anyway, when the union finally gave up and pulled out, I was left with organizing and leadership skills that made it extremely hard for me to continue to work for management. So I became management. It was kind of a choice between being a problem employee or being a half-way decent manager. I chose the latter.
|One day a bird flew in my office window.|
I had the best view, and I was happy to share