Friday, February 16, 2007

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul...."

Yes, yes, yes, I know all about being your own brand, controlling your own life, master of your fate, captain of your ship. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Each and every one of us an individual contributor. Each and every one of us a CEO. Each and every one of us a one-man band - sales, marketing, product development, IT, accounting, finance, HR, manufacturing, shipping and receiving, cafeteria, receptionist, and cleaning crew - our own little virtual corporate selves.

Sick of the matrix organization? Go ahead, reorganize yourself into SBU's, each with its own little everything. No more worries that Customer A is hogging too much of marketing's time. Customer B now has its own dedicated marketing slice.

(Wish I'd thought of this reorganization stuff sooner. As soon as I finish this post I'm going to draw up a new org chart for myself. Even if I do go SBU, I may need to do a bit of layering. I don't want to end up with too many direct reports. You how that gets. You end up spending half your day listening to people complain about their salaries, or about how they're not getting any visibility, or how they want to get on the management track themselves. Yep. I've convinced myself. I know that organizations are flattening out, but I've really got to put some layers in place or I'll never get anything done. Maybe I'll even put sales under marketing and watch the sparks fly.)

Yes, sir-ee. It's fun and exciting to work for yourself. Endless possibilities out there, no?

Got a Jones for relocation? Just pick up your laptop and spend the day working in the living room for a change.

Hungry for a little hall conversation (or a good, old-fashion gripe session). What do you think bathroom mirrors are for?

Want to complain to the boss? Demand a raise or a more ergonomic desk chair? Again, there's that bathroom mirror.

Need to call someone on the carpet? Expense reports not in on time? A few key customers who are owed a call or - worse - a deliverable? That bathroom mirror works two ways.

And there are soooooo many advantages to working for yourself.

If you find a 6 month old yogurt container exploding in the far recesses of the corporate fridge, you don't need to do a haranguing memo or post a threat on the fridge door. The boob who left it there is you!

Dress code/smess code. Most days, ain't nobody going to notice that you're wearing bleach stained sweatpants and the hideous, what-were-you-thinking T-shirt you bought in Budapest ten years ago. Or that you're wearing it three days in a row.

You can spend the entire day looking for a 13 inch flat screen TV, watching videos on YouTube, or trying to figure out how many people in the country have the same name as you do. Ain't nobody looking over your shoulder.

You get to decide how often to change your passwords - and whether or not they have to be at least 24 characters in length and combine alpha-numeric-and screech ($#!*((*#&&$) characters.

No corporate all-hands meetings where the execs do their same-old-same-old patter and you're always hoping that someone other than yourself will ask the big, ugly, embarrassing question that's on everyone's mind. (For all-hands meetings under the self-employed regime, see bathroom mirror above.)

No office collections for the shower present for someone you really don't know - or really can't stand.

And if your boss is acting like a jerk - Fired? I quit! - you can take a deep breath and change behavior instantaneously.

At least that's true most days.


adrian said...

is this really what you do with your life...?

Maureen Rogers said...

Well, Adrian, I guess that all depends on what your question means. Part of what I do with my life is writing on this blog, often in a humorous way, about things related to work. As with most of us who write, read, and comment on blogs, there are (as regular readers of this blog may have observed), a lot of other things I do with my life.