Saturday, June 29, 2013

Time is on my side

Yes it is.

One of the big worries that has cropped up in my mind the past two years while looking for work is how much time has passed.

Not just the time lost in the search, but the time in my life.

I "think young" (Rodney D. Young?) but I'm also a realist: I'm at an age where age discrimination happens. Employers think they can get someone cheaper, more compliant, more tech-savvy, whatever.

I worried about this, although I honestly don't feel as if I was ruled out of anything because of my age. I made it onto the short list of two great jobs in LA.

When I didn't get the editorship of the alt-weekly I interviewed for, and the job was given to a 20-something woman who actually listed babysitting on her Linked In profile and transitioned into the job from her previous gig selling dresses, I had some concerns. Was it age that worked against me there? It sure wasn't experience.

I tend to think that my failures there, however, were not mine. Science has determined fairly conclusively that island populations tend to regress and die out because of the incestuous, limited gene pool. My previous location was somewhat of an island, and I think that isolated situation worked against me. I always felt I wasn't "of" that place as much. I not only wasn't in the "Good 'ol boy" network, I wanted no part of it.

The concept of a meritocracy is always what I want. Can you do the job? Will you devote yourself to the WORK first? Will all of your efforts be in the service of the profession?

That's how I operate in a job. I just can't be half-assed about it. And, I have no tolerance for workplace politics and bullshit that have NOTHING to do with why you're there.

Who has the energy for that? If you're pouring yourself into the work, maximizing your abilities to improve whatever business you are in, there shouldn't be any time left over for frivolous, non-business-related game-playing.

But where I was, this was a significant part of the equation. It wasn't what you knew, it was more who you knew. You had to "manage up." You had to suck up. That's not my strength.

I manage "down." The people who actually do the work are more important than those who oversee the work. Think about it: generals don't fight the wars, soldiers do.

So my policy has always been, focus on the soldiers.

But that place is long behind me now. And very soon, I will be working at a place that has looked at my body of work and said, "this person can help us be better."

And I will help them be better.

I'm relieved, excited, very happy... and validated. I was evaluated on objective merits. That's all I've ever wanted.

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