Friday, October 2, 2009
Let me just say that I've been invited to an industry conference to speak about the intern mentorship I do at Design Associates. This is highly highly cool on many levels: I've thought about doing this kind of thing for several years, but only now do I have the experience to speak on his topic; I'm excited to speak to my industry on behalf of interns, who often get ignored; I like talking in front of groups and am not frightened at all by doing so; and I feel like I'm finally in a place where I have some authoritah, or at least some cache and leverage at my company and in my field.
As I've watched my office's population dwindle and my colleagues walk out the door one by one with two weeks' severance and all their stuff in a copier box, I've wondered how it is that I continued to dodge the bullet through four-plus rounds of layoffs. You bet your sweet bippie that as soon as I got the email saying that I was accepted to present at the conference, I sent out word to all the partners and higher-ups at DA to tell them about it. (I won't hit them up for a travel stipend until a couple of months before the event--I want to see how the office's finances look, but see here, they're getting free publicity and I'm doing all the work, so somebody need to peel off some cabbage roll for a Shorty.) I wanted to remind them that the work I do around there isn't just limited to the awesomeness of my daily work on projects, and it's not just limited to the clients that literally ask for me to be on their projects, but it's also the extra things that make me valuable.
It's also a little something in my head that gives me some comfort as I tolerate the occasional bad bit of behavior from a manager or colleague. I realize, slowly but surely, that if I confront someone on their particular brand of assholery, no one's going to fire me. I'm not the kind of person who blows up at people--I know how to confront without being confrontational--but even the thought of setting limits with others (especially those in charge) in this crappy economy has nearly driven me to drink because I kept thinking that I shouldn't be rocking the boat. But that, it would seem, is hardly the case. First of all, there's plenty of evidence in my office that you have to really suck to get fired. Second, I'm still here because I'm valuable to them in some way or another. And third and most recently, the very value that seems to have kept me employed has now gone a step further what with speaking at this conference, and that value would look very good on my resume, whether it's my resume at DA...or another firm, if they were foolish and petty enough to fire me/lay me off because I dared to set limits with someone's unreasonable requests or unprofessional comportment.
Even though I have two deadlines next week, I feel better already.