Time Betrays Us

As you may know if you’ve been reading this blog for very long, I moved to a new team in a situation that was not entirely of my own choosing. The new team has no one I know on it, to start with. The projects they deal with are internal, whereas I’m used to backend systems that have an external impact (as well as internal). Nothing will scale beyond maybe ten thousand users, whereas I’m used to services that have to withstand millions of hits in a day worldwide.

I’m used to services that, by necessity, have a pager attached.

It’s weird not to have one.

My new team is also pretty isolated from the rest of the company. In fact, my team is pretty isolated, period, and that makes me sad. I know they brought me in to bring that sort of experience, but the process so far is lonely.

There is no reason I should have already started to drift away from my old team. Maybe after a couple months, but not a couple weeks! And yet in less than that, when I hung out with the old team on Friday night for boardgames, I had that disconnected feeling. Suddenly what was familiar and comfortable was no longer familiar.

New associations are displacing old ones, and it’s happening so fast that it depresses me, frankly.

The team (the new team) is still in its forming/norming stage. I suppose it will take a few months before we get to storming and performing.

I miss my old team. It tears me up inside.

On the up side, I’ve been cooking all weekend, which I haven’t done in a while. It’s difficult to work up an excuse to cook when you know you might be interrupted by a high-severity issue when your hands are in the chicken.

7 thoughts on “Time Betrays Us

  1. Work-based relationships are fragile: when the work connection is severed, it’s very hard to maintain that immediate, we’re-in-the-trenches-together, camaraderie. I still mourn how we trusted each other, most particularly in sickness and crash and disaster. The need for that closeness drew me into volunteering, where I determined the duration of work-relationships.

    OTOH. No pager = fewer anxiety inputs!

  2. “When your hands are in the chicken” is quite an evocative phrase. I came to meat -cookery only recently, and had to buy medical-grade gloves before I could stand to handle raw meat beyond ‘pick up boneless, skinless cutlets from package, place in pan’.

    Transitions are always somewhat difficult, and ones that are semi-involuntary are more so. You have worked hard in life and I have faith that you will handle this one well.

    • I know how you feel about the meat. I made mostly vegetarian dishes for a while until I found the slow cooker and the magic of chicken breasts and cans of cream soup.

  3. It is very hard, when you leave a workplace, to realize how little you mattered for your self, and even how little you mattered for your job role – especially when you are used to being needed and an integral part. It is one of the hardest things to accept: like a spoonful of water removed from a pond, your absence doesn’t even show. It happened to me when, 22 years ago, I got sick – and ended up on permanent disability. I mourn the job, I dream about the job – and yet only one person called me, once a year or so for a couple of the first years.
    I didn’t have the energy, most of the time, to make the effort (if I’d had that kind of energy, I would have been back at work).
    Years later, when returning to my research institution on days when my children had been invited to show their science fair projects, people would say hi (they remembered me), but have no idea where I’d been or why I hadn’t been there. They’d say things like ‘haven’t seen you in a while.’
    Pick the couple of people you have more in common with than work – and make them your outside friends. If you make the effort, and they respond a bit, you have something to work with. Otherwise, make new friends based on common interests – and cultivate them: you should have more time for that kind of normality now that you are not on call every minute. Choose your friends, cultivate those who seem to be able to reciprocate, and treasure them. Interact with them, do things with them, take turns calling each other and suggesting things.
    Work is fine – comrades at arms are fine – but they are circumstantial, and your circumstances can change without you choosing. Get along well with those at work, even, in some cases, play with those at work. But use those relationships to see who you could really be a friend with – and then go to a movie, invite them to dinner (now that you can cook), suggest a camping trip or a potluck supper or a progressive dinner.
    You are the important part. This is YOUR life. You choose. It is well worth the effort, and far better than accidental friends.
    Also realize that if you moved back to the previous team, you would fit right back in – same circumstances. It is the way of work relationships – nothing wrong with it.
    It’s also okay to feel wistful about it. That’s life. I have contact with very few friends from college, and a couple from grad school, and a small number from previous employment, and the homeschool group that was convenient, and my mystery writer’s group, and my acting classes: all these places were easy places to meet people who MIGHT turn out to be compatible. Now I seem to be connecting with some of the people who share a writing interest online, by MY actions.
    It would still have been nice if someone from work had cared, since I didn’t leave of my own volition, and would return in a heartbeat if I could do the job.

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