I used to work. I left IBM at the end of 2015. I’d worked for them for about fifteen years. It’s about fifteen years because they included the time that I worked for other companies that IBM acquired. It’s like Matryoshka dolls. Inside my IBM career are my careers at ISS and Network ICE.
None were really careers. That’s the polite, modern terms for my employment episodes. I sort of miss the employment. If not missing it is zero and missing it is one hundred, I miss it about 27.6. I can assign percentages to that 27.6 rating.
60% of that number is missing the paycheck.
18% is missing the health benefits.
12% is missing the routines.
5% is missing the work.
5% is about missing the people and/or teamwork.
It’s sorry that it breaks down like this but my job had morphed into something bureaucratic, with few challenges, over five years ago. While a member of several teams, what that meant in practical terms was that I sat in on calls and listened 96% of the time, speaking 4% of the time on those calls. Calls accounted for about 30% of my work week, so I listened a lot, spoke little, and spent most of my time alone, reading and answering emails, analyzing problems, planning solutions, writing summaries, and entering information in various systems.
While working there, I no longer received pay raises, or miniscule raises, because I maxed out the amount for my band and geographic area years ago. I did receive a small bonus every year, and the reminder that I was fortunate to have a job in these tough economic times in America. Resource actions, where people’s employment was terminated, were regular, and it wasn’t surprising to find someone I worked with was no longer with the corporation. My morale wasn’t very high. 0-100, I’d put it at 11 when 2015 began. That’s where it stayed for my final year.
But I miss that routine, sometimes, of getting up early and calling into somewhere. I felt most connected then. I worked remotely, that is, from my house, almost three hundred miles from my campus. I visited ‘the old campus’, in Beaverton, Oregon, once. My team was based in Atlanta, Georgia, in the Eastern US time zone, while I’m in the Pacific time zone, a three hour difference. When they started the day at 8:30 AM, I had to call in at 5:30 AM, a dark and cold time in Oregon’s winter. I hadn’t seen any team members for a few years.
I enjoyed the routine of rising and plodding through the dark house, dressing, going into the office and turning on my equipment. Getting on the calls, I’d announce myself, check emails for critical matters, review my lists of things to do and my deadlines, and then listen to the call as I fed the cats, did things around the house, and made and ate breakfast.
It’s lighter now, on summer’s cusp, in the mornings. Because I’m an early riser, I find myself up at 5:30 on many days. It’s a hard habit to break, but I can accuse the cats for some of that early rising. And sometimes, I need to pause and remind myself, there is no work computer to turn on, no emails to check, no meetings to call into. There’s only me and the cats, and the day awakening outside.