2022.02.05 Disillusionment

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Here I am again, staring down the cold hollow of my ambition. I'm not really good at giving up, and scheming is part of my core nature, but it is awkward to consider lately. Yes - I do think I would be a good leader; yes - I want to be "in the room where it happens"; yes - access to a higher pay scale and a company Mercedes would be nice. But the fact that management has de facto told me not to bother trying to be a manager should really be a really strong counter-argument.

Stubbornly, the plotting mechanisms in my brain keep considering possibilities for "management" to change its collective mind. Which is actually kind of important for me, spiritually, because I enjoy trying really hard on things that are difficult - and without the ambition-class reasoning for it, I fear it would wither into a dull grey existence. So I haven't officially banished my quiet stirrings of ambition.

There are counter-arguments, however. Firstly, I do legitimately love actually doing engineering, especially 3D CAD design - and managers don't get to do that. Secondly, there is a tonne more hours expected of an E4 manager, and they are clearly the sphincter of the management beast. It's a hard job. OK, quandary there - I already put in a tonne of hours, and I actually relish the challenge. The circumstantial consideration of this should be indexed with facts that the kids are still interesting and present, plus I have a lot of outdoor playing to do with my mountain biking crew, and dialling effort down would also make more time for all the good times with Amy (my Vampire Life Partner).

This week, I also had renewed insight to even more problems with my managerial ambitions.

While I firmly believe I am a great team player and dynamic contributor, I definitely lack much ability to "play the game". The game being to earn management's trust, and as open communicator I am often perceived as being challenging. Years of me helpfully suggesting progressive ideas that the company is structurally impaired to consider has me brightly marked as a problem. To change this would require, well, not being me. Tough one, that.

There's also the reality that much of the "management" side of the E4 job is painfully tedious administrivia. A budget meeting this week where I was sitting in for my recovering-from-brain-surgery boss highlighted how very much it's more reassuring storytelling than it is useful planning.

Lastly, due to the gravity of it, is the hard truth that management is where a lot of assholes are. Not that I'm entirely against assholes - I've been one myself more than I wish I had. And there are definitely assholes everywhere - or, more correctly, people willing to act in assholish ways. But the problem is that acting like an asshole is actually a successful management technique (from a career-observational standpoint, not a holistic one). That philosophical argument can linger seductively, but my point is more about how much one has to interface with assholes.