I got some work. I’ve also learned something.

I was lucky enough to get a contract (temporary) job.  I’ve been at it for one week now, and despite numerous stresses related to the onboarding process I’m actually relatively happy. You see, the work I’m doing is what many people would consider “unsatisfying.”  It’s a very rote procedure engineered to fulfill a contracted task.  I’ve already heard several people on the team bemoan the work.

They don’t know how lucky they are.

I’m actually rather happy with this work.  I’ve had responsibility for challenging work. I’ve basically been a one-man audit department, working for a director who resented having to give any guidance or explain expectations. I was thrown out there, told “do your best” and then second-guessed on everything after the fact. The criticisms were never of a “you did this wrong” nature, but of a “you should have done this differently” (e.g., the way the director would have done it, which may or may not necessarily be a better way of doing things) and “you should have done more” (for no better reason than more can always be done given that the audit universe is invariably too big to fully address given the time/staff/budget constraints of any one project.)

On this job, when I screw something up somebody points out the error, I correct it and am mindful not to do it again because it was definitively an incorrect thing that I did.  This keeps me happy and productive as opposed to filling me with so much self doubt about every decision that I’m functionally crippled, which I couldn’t stand.

I suppose this attitude makes me a “follower” and not a “leader.”  Or maybe I’m simply not mature enough to handle the developmental stage where I’m granted freedom and responsibility but not expected to use it.  Do most managers go through a phase in their careers like that?  How do they overcome it?


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