Getting Ready for Columbia Business School, Running, et cetera

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dealing with Work

I will attend the Columbia Open House in only a week and a half!

I succeeded in getting permission to be away from work for a couple days, despite the fact that our busy season has begun. Several weeks ago I spoke with my boss about my eventual departure to go to Columbia. I was promoted in November, so my current boss is not one of my recommendation-writers, and did not know that I had gotten into school. I told him that I was planning to leave in July, and suggested that we hire a replacement in June, and begin advertising for the position in May. A few weeks later I sent an email asking for April 6th and 7th off, to go to the Open House. I didn’t get a response. Then last Monday (after a difficult weekend) I didn’t feel like dealing with work, so I called in sick. The next day my boss came by, discussed some projects that we’re working on, and casually mentioned that my taking time off would not be a problem. Apparently, by showing that I could leave work at will, I gained permission to leave work.

My experience at work has followed Kennan’s description of Soviet Russia. My employers do not respond to argument or reason, they respond to force. Two times at my current job I explored opportunities to move to other departments. Within a month after each exploration, I was promoted. There was no direct connection, just these remarkable coincidences.

I read “The Corporation” a while ago, and I agreed with the description of companies as institutions driven toward one goal: profit. As an employee I can’t ignore this. The company that I work for will do everything it can to get as much out of me, for as little as possible. The only way for me to get more is to demonstrate that that giving me what I want is in the company’s best interest. It always seems to require a credible threat of some sort.