A long term worker in a short term business

I’ve just finished my second week of vacation so far this year. For me, this is a record – I don’t take much vacation time, usually, but it seems to now be necessary to manage the stress of my job.

Five months ago, our project manager moved to another job at our company. We have been promised a replacement but after many different stories and explanations of what will happen, I am still doing a completely half-assed job of trying to be PM alongside also being a developer on the same project. The current promise is that we will get a contract PM.

A year ago, I was promoted and also made team lead. With the addition of two contract designers to our team, my lead responsibilities grew and there are now four people I am leading (but not managing…  sort of).

Due to a big push to modernize several aspects of the intranet, I am called to participate in or consult on several other efforts, such as replacing our intranet search engine, replacing our internal social network with a SaaS version, and replacing our aging intranet web metrics software with a modern solution.

When I told my husband one day recently that I’d also volunteered to be our team’s representative to a newly formed application security team, he asked my why I volunteered. “Because I’m pretty sure I was going to be volun-told if I didn’t.”

“How can they ask all of this of you?”

“Apparently they expect me to die at my post.”

That’s the point at which I knew I needed a break. I gave my boss the “This isn’t sustainable” speech one more time, and scheduled a week off.

I observe the WordPress world as an outsider. The agency / startup / freelancer world is very alien for me. I work in a place that was founded on something similar to, but not quite like, the old IBM model that often provided employees a place for life. As a 26 year veteran I am definitely one of those long-timers. There are a lot of us. In the more modern internet worker world, coming and going from jobs seems to be commonplace, something to almost be expected every few years. I wonder if the lack of stability is stressful? Or is it just expected, normal?

Then there’s the contractors. That’s really close to home for us now. Folks who stay for six months, maybe get renewed once or twice, then are gone after a year and a half and that’s it. You can’t invest in them the way you can salaried people. You don’t know if they will be on your team after six months. And there are so many of them now.

It’s stressful. Honestly this lack of stability is stressful. It’s got to be stressful for the folks who don’t know if they’ll have a job after six months or not, and selfishly I find it stressful as well. I love that I’ve known both of my salaried teammates for well over a decade and that we are in it for the long haul, together. I can count on them. Maybe this will not be our entire careers, but a huge part of them.

I guess the point of all this is, if I ever have to make the adjustment to the other world, it will be difficult. And I will keep trying to pull good people on to the team as salaried members, whenever I have the chance.


And yeah, I just wanted to whine about work, too.