Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Plus ca Change

Did I mention I quit my job? I think I needed to remind myself of that today, because my boss came to me to pick up on a conversation I had with his boss on Friday, where he asked me if it would be possible for me to stay on longer. I like the ueber-boss, so I didn't reject the notion out of hand ... I told him I have no professional plans, but I do have personal plans and that I would need to think about it over the weekend, which I did not. The Partnerin and I flew to the North Sea instead, but that is another story.

I didn't mention in my earlier posts the reaction at my resignation ... Given the boss's complaints, I would have thought they would have welcomed my quitting. After all, these are people who crow about firing the "dead-weight" and about running a "lean and mean" organisation. One of them remarked while walking down the hallway on Monday afternoon that "lunchtime is for wimps!" (note bene: I replied "Aren't you a Big Swinging D*@K ... you can take the boy out of Wall Street, but you can't take Wall Street out of the boy).

In contra to all that that, some of my colleagues joke that management's griping about my work was their way of managing my expectations and keeping me in my place. Perhaps this is how they rationalise their own misery.

Instead of being grateful for me pulling the trigger to end a bad hiring decision, after they had gotten over the shock that one of their minions would actually quit, the first question was "How long can you stay?" I told the ueber-boss, "If this were America I would simply give you two-weeks notice and then leave." And I left it at that. But the irony, that people who said they didn't like my work but then were afraid to lose me, was not lost on me.

So today the boss comes in and says, "I hear you and Mr. X spoke on Friday about the possibility for you to stay on for a longer period of time. Have you decided?"

That is just his style ... no outline of how long, or what they want me to do. I've been coming dutifully every day to my office and slowly ticking through accomplishing my little goals through the end of my notice period with the intent to collect the pro-rata bonus my contract calls for. In other words, I've been wrapping up a year's worth of work in nine months. But the real crime is that I really don't have so much to do, so I am commuting roughly two and a half hours a day to sit somewhat bored in front of my computer and make nice spreadsheets and graphs. Some of you might say "Nice work if you can get it!" Well, I got it, and it isn't so nice if you want to do more with your life.

Again, by German standards the money is pretty good. But what price do you place on job satisfaction? Maybe I am lucky and a bit spoiled ... I'd like to think, however, that I have been living a somewhat reasonable life so that I do not need to be a slave to my job. This is why I can quit to pursue whatever while most of my colleagues drag themselves to jobs they hate to pay the mortgage.

So I think about what staying another three months really means ... perhaps a substantial down-payment on the airplane I looked at buying on our way up to Juist last weekend. It is a pipe dream for me to even consider it, but a few thousand euros more in the pocket would certainly not hurt to make that possible. I don't need an airplane of my own, but I am tired of sharing a plane with a number of other club members and being subject to scheduling conflicts. Pure indulgence made possible by staying on a mere three months more.

But at what cost. I'm so bored that I am ready to pull my hair out. I'd like to think I have talent and that it is being wasted. On the other hand, I've been lazy ... I have not even started looking for the next job. As the Partnerin points out, I need something to do. I do not necessarily agree; I think I will fill the days with golf and flying, but noth are not such cheap pursuits and at this rate I will burn through my savings in about ten years.

I figured I would be dead in ten years anyway, but the Partnerin does have a point that I do need to think about my retirement years. There are several pension accounts, but they will probably only keep me going from 60 to 72 ... I always figured I wouldn't care about life after 72 since I would be so infirm that I would only need the social security payments to feed and clothe me, and I would blow the rest while I could still walk. Then again, people are living longer, so mayne I need more savings ... or I could simply start drinking more. Seems the average life expectancy for a male in Russia is only 57 years, largely because of the high rate of alcoholism. But this is retirement planning with a sick twist.

And the biggest laugh I get from all of this is that the guy who kept telling me how displeased he was with my work is now in a position of having to ask me to deliver more of it for a longer period of time and for more money. As Mastercad might say, "Regret: Priceless."

So I need to decide in the next few hours whether or not I sell my soul for another three months, or do I really move on in the pursuit of happiness. The Partnerin worries that I will never find happiness. I would counter that the fact that she asked me yesterday at 7000 feet over Dortmund if they made headsets in pink is enough to make me happy, but that is another story indeed. Meanwhile, I will sleep on the queston.

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