Thursday, April 19, 2012

What gives?

Click to "embiggen"
Living here, in a canyon that's a conduit between the ocean and the desert, we experience changes in a moment when the temperature shifts.

There are some evenings when, at sundown, the warm winds blow down to the beach, and the dry leaves suddenly rustle across the pavement.

Some mornings the fog comes rushing up through the canyon, runs into the Mesa where the creek splits, and piles up to hide the sunlit mountain.

This was taken at six in the morning, out my kitchen door, as a hawk flies out of view.

The western mountainside, just moments ago brightly lit by the rising sun, suddenly disappears behind the moving cloud of fog.

Now you see it, now you don't. What once was clear is now obscured.

That's been the way of things lately, it seems.

In the office, daily work is affected by unknown conflicts that are raging far beyond our blanket of fog. Sudden scrutiny is brought to bear on ordinary tasks - the submission of invoices for payment, perhaps. The too-carefully-worded email reminder that covers someone's rear ("just to recap our conversation this morning...."). The admonishment to cc someone, or, worse, to "talk to me before you call so-and-so!"  Trivial details suddenly take on an unusual importance, while the office's real mission goes ignored.

A co-worker under pressure is allowing stress to affect her health. Such illness and frequent absences delay other colleagues' work, adding more stress.

Plans to close an operation were announced last year, and the employees learned they would be let go. Now the closure has been rescheduled six months later. The employees are not sure what to think.

A sharp-tongued rebuke is given to a staff member in front of colleagues from another department. Everyone looks away in embarrassment.

I'm not used to office politics. I'm used to definite tasks - loading trucks, painting walls, moving furniture, or building something. Planning an event, and paying the bills. Finish the draft, mop the floor, serve the meal, and make sure the curtain goes up on time at eight.

I'm not used to spending the workday covering butts (mine or someone else's), trying not to offend, eavesdropping, second-guessing, looking over your shoulder or turf-grabbing. That kind of stuff fills me with a sense of dread and paralysis.

What's going on? It's all hidden in the fog.

What's it like in your world - are there moments of intrigue and uncertainty? How do you navigate the shifting currents?


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I feel stress just reading about office politics and stressful situations! I could not live like that... so says she who doesn't need the paycheck to pay the bills today.

Plenty of unknowns this week (I put up the link on facebook from my son's high school and the situation there).

smalltownme said...

Years ago working in a large office, I was given the advice of "CYA." Cover Your Ass.

I'm glad I'm out of it.

That photo looks like many mornings town near the river is engulfed in a fog back, while farther away the sun brightly shines.

Gilly said...

That's a lovely photo - I'd love to be there to watch the weather changing before my eyes!

Luckily, I'm retired, and have left all that office warfare! But you still find it alive and kicking in voluntary organisations!!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I, an orchestra musician, have found myself on (gasp) a committee to select our new music director/conductor. It has been interesting and very illuminating (mostly in a good way) working with members of the orchestra's board of directors. They are mostly attorneys, bankers, VPs, and HR types. I had to tell myself to not laugh when a topic would come up and almost in unison they would say, "We could be sued!" It's been a good learning experience.