Looking For a Way Out

by weirdlittlepony

I can’t breathe. I want to just get up and run, get out of here, and keep running until I feel like I can breathe again.

The speed at which things have been transpiring, and therefore the speed at which my thoughts have been skidding around, have been way beyond my ability to sit down and write about them.

To write, I need space and quiet. I need things to settle and for periods of calm, or nothing happening, in order for my eyes and my hands/fingers to feel like they have any hope of catching up with the content that’s flying through my conscious and subconscious.

And frighteningly, I’m seeing that at the bottom of all my current issues is this pattern where I seem to keep being told again and again and again by various people and organisations that I am nobody’s priority, I will always be the last to be taken into consideration when choices have to be made, and I am so tired of it all.

It might be me projecting unresolved issues onto others, for all I know.

But the sort of things that have kept happening don’t seem to require projection on my part.

Take last night for example. N had made an agreement with me on Saturday to have a quick meet up last night for me to show her a couple of interesting spaces in my neighbourhood that might be useful in the future. I texted her at 5pm to ask if she was definitely coming, and if so, at what time. No answer. But she was actively answering and sending messages in the groups we are both in from 5.30m-6.30pm. I texted her again at 8.45pm and 9.10pm, and again, no response – but she’s sending out group texts. I called. No answer.

Finally, at 9.27pm, she texts back saying sorry, she was driving, she’s just reached XYZ Hotel. End message. I reply saying I’m confused about this and should I assume that we are postponing the recce meet-up? She replies at 9.40pm saying that yes, we’re postponing because “tonight is the only night in my schedule that I can spare to go and support PKK” (a musician from out of town who’s performing here for a few days).

And here I was dealing with a constipated toddler, unsure whether I should proceed with her usual schedule in light of being unsure of what time I had to be out of the house to meet this woman for the recce meeting that she requested and agreed upon.

Are you starting to get my drift?

And then there’s this job. I didn’t want this position, but I have tried to give it a good shot – have been trying, despite all the crap that it has thrown at me in the past half year I’ve stuck with it. Then last week I found out that it isn’t only my salary that’s being suppressed: HR flippantly said that I have not been, and am not going to be, bumped up officially to an executive rank on file – even though I am marketed to clients as an editor, burdened with the full workload and responsibilities of an editor, and expected to think and function and seek out extra ways to value add… like a fully invested editor. But I don’t have the same benefits as the other editors, and neither do I qualify for the same pay scale.

Meantime, I’ve just been getting more and more sick of the way things work.

We market ourselves as the industry leaders and experts whose role is to advise and guide our clients – but the truth is that the bosses have no clue what’s going on, and management doesn’t want to incur the “irrelevant expenditure” of sending staff for training that isn’t 100% directly related to their exact job scope. This means that even though we are a media company, none of the creatives have ever gotten training in digital media, even though many of us have been asking for it for years. When something comes up – like when a client suddenly asks us to storyboard a video – everyone scrambles to read/watch online how-tos and muddle our way through. And then we have to plaster on a grinning mask and act like we know exactly what we are doing and our way is better than whatever it was the client had in mind.

Another truth is that despite all the posturing, most of the time (excepting the rare cases where the person who drew up the contract that was actually signed was smart enough to have protective clauses incorporated) the client’s directives rule the process, and the client’s decision is final. They can do anything they like, whenever they like – and on top of delivering in accordance to their demands we have to protect their reputations by pretending to anyone who asks that they are perfectly reasonable and pleasant to work with.

Don’t bother telling me that this is normal in the media/publishing industry. I know it. I’ve done this sort of thing before, albeit from within a smaller set-up. It was crazier there, actually, but: There is a big difference between having to deal with crazy shit that you knowingly signed up for, and having to deal with crazy shit that you sure as hell did not sign up for and only agreed to “try out” because the alternative presented to you was “your colleague who is nearing retirement age gets fired”.

At least in my previous company – and I’m still good friends with my ex boss, mind – we didn’t have to fake it. It was what it was. And that might be the difference between a large corporation and a small set-up, or it might be the difference between management that cares more about the company than the staff, and management that cares more about the staff than the company. I don’t know for sure.

The long and short of it is that I really can’t find it in me any longer to care what happens to this company. I’m abandoning ship the first feasible chance I get. And I won’t feel a single smidgen of regret.

I’ve had more than a decade of publishing/media experience now, and I am heartily sick of the industry. I want out. I’ve been considering all sorts of alternatives – even brushing up my sewing skills and running a part-time alteration/tailoring service from home. Anything, really.

Well, almost. Has to be within my skill set of course, and has to mean something more than just reputation and money.

Wish me luck.

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