Thursday, June 12, 2008

My problems explained.

Tonight I was watching a couple of WKRP in Cincinnati episodes that I had recorded from WGN's re-airings. (Yes, these episodes have had the original music removed, but the writing and acting still makes these worth watching.) During the second episode I had a revelation. New station manager Andy Travis is trying to think of a publicity stunt to get free advertising for the station's format switch. He makes the mistake of asking Johnny for some help:

Andy: Got any ideas?
Johnny: No, I try not to have any ideas. They only lead to complications.

Johnny: Suppose I give you a great idea. Let's suppose that this great idea works and the station actually starts making a lot money. Do you know what that can lead to, Andy? Memos. Before you know it, assigned parking spaces. Then chrome furniture, and lots of paintings of wistful children with big eyes. Believe me, I've seen it happen before!
Andy: All right, don't get all shook up, you don't have to help.
Johnny: But don't you see, no one should!!
And then it hit me: a big part of my problems in life have come from having Johnny Caravella's skewed perspective coupled with having had Arthur Carlson's mother (and attendant issues). Not a pretty combination, and certainly not useful!

Unfortunately it's late and I can't think of any of my odd-ball ideas. (Perhaps I should mine my old blog for some examples) However I do remember an incident that happened a couple of years back that scared me at the time, but clearly not enough. After I had expounded on some bit of strangeness or another in a meeting at work, my boss at the time looked at me and said "You know I think you are one of the five most interesting people I've ever met."

I remember getting rather frightened at that comment although I don't think I showed it at the time. Fear was the natural reaction given that I worked in a buttoned-down corporate atmosphere. It doesn't take much for "interesting" to be interpreted as "trouble-making" - to be followed shortly by unemployment. Sure enough, two months ago the man that had called me interesting fired me, despite a fine work record.

So the Johnny Caravella-esque side of me brought me unwanted attention. ("The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.") But the Arthur Carlson side of my personality prevented me from changing jobs at that time. I was a little too meek and far too comfortable in my position. I know two years sounds like a long lead time for a problem to boil over, but an ounce of prevention at that time would have saved me two months (and counting) of unemployment now.

Lessons learned:
  1. There's no use in trying to hide my personality on the job - it will get noticed eventually.
  2. When it feels like it's the right time to switch jobs, switch jobs!
  3. I need to quit being so damned meek. I'd do better in life being a full-bore bastard, although I probably don't need to go to that extreme. At the very least I need to recover some of the arrogance I had in my youth.

8 comments:

Trooper York said...

Great blog by the way. I will be stopping by all the time. Keep up the good work.

Trooper York said...

It's real tough to be true to yourself when everyone else is going the other way. A prime example is the current grief fest over Tim Russert. I couldn't stand him or Matthews because I think they are shanty Irish traitors who sold their own people down the river to please their elisit buddies in the media. An unpopular opinion right now. But I can't be such a hypocrite as to back off when the love fest swamps the internets. Some people might get their balls twisted. But you got to be true to yourself. Do it man. Be true to yourself. Say what you mean and mean what you say. The friends you keep are the ones worth having. You won't agree all the time but you know you will get the straight dope.

Icepick said...

Trooper, it's not the friends I'm worried about, it's the jobs.

Icepick said...

I had no problem with Russert. Personally I'm a little shocked that he's dead because of his age. OTOH, my brother is the same age and he also won't live to see 59.

Trooper York said...

I mean I'm selling freakin' bloomers man! Jeeez.

Trooper York said...

Yeah, holding your tongue to keep a job is a bitch. I have to eat buckets of shit with my clients day in and day out. That's why we started our own business in the hope I can get out from under. But it's tough when you have to kowtow to keep a gig. That's why people have mid life crises. It's when they can't take the bullshit anymore and say screw it, I'm gonna try something new.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Those sound like good observations. It's tough being Dilbert in a world of pointy-hair bosses.

Hurricane Heather said...

Mr. Fleischer:

It's time to whip out the Tom Kite hat.

Cups in Dishwasher