I have a feeling that you know who I am and that you may be unhappy with or angry at me. You have every right to be so and I hope that we may eventually work beyond that to a better place.
Table that and let me share with you - your post moved me a lot.
It is often easier to get things done when you are the chess player and not the king. Being the king, being any kind of "front man," places you in the line of fire. Why is there a line of fire? Well, because human nature is such that people fire when they see someone taller, bigger, or even just different approaching. Of course, they hired you because they feel you are taller, faster, and perhaps more insightful than they are. Then they start the sniping and the full frontal assaults. It's puzzling. It's downright heart-breaking, if you actually care about the project and delivering good results.
I've started going to some professional management training, and while I laughed at first, I now realise that there are insights to be gained from these things.
What I learnt throguh a lot of pain and loss and exhaustion, was laid out in one of the AWIS seminars in the space of five minutes: The stated goal of the project and the actual goal of the manager may or may not be the same.
Chew on that. Meditate - and be amazed. I actually thought people wanted to do x. (In my case, x is express, purify and crystallise proteins.) I actually thought the yields on those steps, calculating accurate yields, implementing good tracking of mass thorugh steps, etc... was what we are here for. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
The actual goal of the project is psychological satisfaction of someone who has very strange and sad needs. This supersedes all else and often excludes the nominal goal of the project.
When I have tried to get clarification, I am given nothing with which to work. "I don't like the way you're doing it." "Really? Tell me what you don't like and what you might prefer, please?" "Figure it out yourself - I don't want to make all the decisions." "Well, if you don't like it, and you won't tell me what you'd prefer, you're abdicating responsibilty for yourself. In a manager, I find that terrifiying."
It's a game, of course - if I actually were told what was wanted, and if I delivered, as I would, then the person no longer has anything with which to play. I realised it was a game when I noticed how livid the person became when I sweetly and reasonable asked for clarifiication of what was wanted, how and when it should be delivered, and what observables we'd use to track progress towards "our" goals. It's no good for these people when you actually act professional and expect them to do so as well.
I have been asking around and am realising that this is far more comon than I wished to believe.
You actutally want to solve problems and deliver products. You're good at it. You're flexible. You're creative and you work hard. That's wonderful. But, it may come into direct conflict with the unstated true goals of the manager/team in charge.
I'm not sure what one does when this is the case.
I'm still learning about the psychology of management and organisations - I need to learn, becuase I'm frustrated and sad but not yet ready to go and live on a ranch in Montana. I refuse to opt out of society yet. It's irresponsible.
I hope some of this is helpful and I look forward to eventually learning more about organisational psychology with you.
2002-04-15 11:27 pm (UTC)
you don't get to tell me, "table it".
I'm not unhappy with or angry at you because I know who you are. I've known who you were since the time I decided to bother replying to you, Joanne. Does that surprise you? Or, should I be distressed or upset that you have such a low opinion of me that I wouldn't immediately recognize you by the tone of your speech? I may have had doubts, but emailing G. with the same email weeks before left the obvious thing you wanted nothing more than to be discovered. I just wondered how long I could get away with it.
But, you did it because you were so convinced that I was angry and would hurt you just because I could. I wouldn't hurt you because I'm angry. If i'm going to hurt you, it's because it would be enjoyable for me to do so. and how can I sustain my pleasure if hurting you is not what you want?
You claim to be "still learning" and yet come off as having learned *nothing* from your time with me. You promised you would be with me forever, and then you left. You made the promise when times were good, and then had buyers remorse, and sold while I was at my (relative to your perception) darkest low. Now I am in so much better a place, and I see all that I could have done with and for you, you could have had a lot of fun with me, and now you have sellers remorse, because the investment in me that you were so willing to throw away for nothing is now worth so much more, and then you want to find some sneaky way back in. I observe. You said you were going away, and then you came back. So twice then- you've promised to stay, and left, and then you promised to go, and returned.
And then, you have the nerve to say "well, sometimes managers don't say what they really want, and that's disturbing and sad." I know all these things, you must think I'm some sort of drooling moron where simplicities such as this are anything but banal. I should have learned that lesson from you, no? You made unkept promises, you said "that's not what I want" but refused to tell me, to let me find out, how to give you what you want. And that sounds angry, like some sort of hidden resentment, but I say it that way so that you continue to be ignorant and think you can learn something from what is obvious. Don't preach to me, when you are just apeing something you heard. I know you can be smarter than that, and if you're convinced your not or don't want to be, you should be happy then to take whatever lot befalls you.
What you may or may not have realized is that I would have you back, you could probably have much of your former life with me back if you would simply learn to ask. In science, the question is not "what do you want me to do today" but "what do I need to do today" Science is all about doing it wrong, and not doing it that way anymore. Metrics like "are you performing" make no sense in science because a person could achieve nothing and that is a grand, get-down-on-your-knees and worship-them achievement. Science is all about figuring it out for yourself. You're a postdoc, for fucks sake. If you can't figure it out, you might as well take that degree and burn it because you learned nothing. Yale can certify PhD's all they want but if they mass produce piss poor lab techs incapable of inventing the problem, why, I have gotten better science out of english majors. If you're going to go through life learning nothing, there's going to be a whole string of people like myself lying in wait to hammer the naif. Why? Because hammering the naif is fun, grand fun. It discourages the ignorant. It's morally important to do so.
You're not good with G. You made her believe that you thought sex with her doesn't count, and that's wrong. Many other hurts as well. You used her like she could somehow change me, do your bidding. You're not good with me, because you spend too much time wasting time waiting for the day when you'll magically be better. You're not good with me because you cost me all my friends when you accused me of what was functionally equivalent of spousal abuse. I had to cut my entire life up to begin a healing process. You can't repay me the damage, and you certainly can't afford me now that I've appreciated so much in net worth. The funny thing? I'm all healed and grown back. Scars? Sure. I'm not without a bit of tenderness here and there, but my philosophy, my sense on what I did, is even stronger now. I'm a way better person. I'd even love for you to take another whack because I suspect I'd be stronger yet. I'd also be happy for you to go away thinking I'm just an angry guy, because if you're that stupid, I want you to go away. But you can't table hurt, you have to deal with it, honestly.
And remember my original statement? People make mistakes. I was always willing to say I'm sorry, and I'm willing to say that now. But i need to be told I wronged you, and you've never done that to my face, in honest form. and i need to be given a chance to become a better person, and you've never tried to see if that would happen. You need to invest in me to see a return. and return means risk, but you didn't lose it all, you didn't make a just mistake, you gave it away. Should we feel sorrow or regret?
So are you really, truly, looking forward to *learning* with me? I want to do wonderful things to you. Make it worthwhile.
I am glad I finally came out, even in my stupid, sidelong way.
Yes, it's me, Joanne.
Yes, I need to talk to you.
Yes, I hurt you and G., and probably many others.
I'm amazed and delighted that you might want me back, in any context.
a lot moer, but not in this post, and I hope we can reach something good.