Monday I wrote about how nobody wants to hear me whine, but today I feel like whining. I've been thinking of switching jobs come fall, not because I'm dissatisfied with my current one, but because I have nothing to do. I was hired to do your basic code-monkey fare...tagging up HTML mostly...but with regular expressions on my side that only took up a fraction of the hours I was assigned each week. So I've literally been making projects up as I go along: "Hey, wouldn't a custom search feature be nice for the manuscripts?" "This system is awful. I'm going to make it modular." "Integrated application for all the databases! Who's with me?"
My boss is happy that she's getting all of my pet projects for $7.90 an hour, but I'm running out of ideas and the amount of content waiting in the wings for staff approval is starting to overflow (can you say "feature creep"?) So I've been looking at my options for when my internship ends in August. Yesterday I received an email advertising a reference position for SLIS students...$8.55 an hour. More than half a dollar more per hour to coddle confused undergraduates than I get busting out fancy-looking code.
So today, I whine. I whine about how difficult it is for skilled goody-two-shoes like me to find work in pre-professional life.
Whine #1: Psychologists Don't Want "Normal"
When students are strapped for cash, they traditionally head to the blood banks or the psych labs for pocket change. There are advertisements all over the place offering $20 a pop to sit at a table and do arithmetic...if you're a heroin addict. The labs are not looking for nice girls who don't drink or smoke and have high GPAs. They want to know if compulsive gamblers can tell when a problem is futile or if heavy drinkers have lowered inhibitory mechanisms. "Normal" controls they can get aplenty from the captive undergrads enrolled in Psych 101.
Whine #2: Supervisors Want Dumb Drones
You know how the job ads always say they want someone with initiative who can self-direct? Bull. They want someone who does what they expect them to and doesn't make waves. As someone training to be a future manager, I can understand why--I wouldn't like it if I built my little library-sized empire and some uppity student came along saying, "I want to change this, this, and that, upend your workflow and leave in a year to do something else." Still, it leaves the future-managers like me, who want to do more than shelve books and edit some links on a content-managed page, out in the cold.
Whine #3: You Have to Be a Mean Girl Sometimes
I very rarely have to be a bitch. As far as I remember, I've only done it twice this year...three if you count wrangling innocent students into the life-draining project I wanted instead of the easy online survey all the other groups were doing. In the working world, being perfectly nice to everyone is like sticking up fliers with your home address and the dates of your pending vacation to telephone poles in the ghetto. There are simply times when you have to step on some toes before someone else breaks yours. I'm competent at being a bitch, but I'm not very practiced at it and there's lots of hand-wringing in the background. I would need a slightly lower conscience and larger arsenal of conniving schemes to survive in some of the offices around campus.
Have you ever made trouble for yourself by being too good?