I’m a business analyst, an Oracle Systems Analyst to be specific although my title is unimportant. I am the person people come to when the system isn’t working. I am a problem solver. I figure things out. Each issue that comes my way is a little puzzle I need to solve to get the answer.
I like puzzles. I enjoy taking bits of information and figuring out how they fit together, what they mean. It’s rewarding to look at something from different sides until suddenly I can see what wasn’t clear in the beginning.
Or that’s how I used to feel.
These days the questions I get require no thought. Instead I’m forced to defend the system.
Them: “Why can’t I turn this requisition into a purchase order? There’s something wrong with the system!”
Me: “Well, you already created purchase orders with these requisitions. This can only be done once.”
Them: “I can’t validate this invoice! I try and try but it never does anything. There’s something wrong with the system!”
Me: “The invoice is on hold because you don’t have enough money to pay it. The hold says insufficient funds.”
Them: “Why hasn’t this purchase order been approved? There’s something wrong with the system!”
Me: “The buyer needs to approve it.”
What happened to the puzzles I used to solve? It’s exhausting constantly defending the system. Yes, there are times when it doesn’t work properly. I would love to fix those issues, given the chance. Instead it’s an endless barrage of people who blame the system for what is almost always a user problem.
In the end, this is a minor complaint I have. There are many other reasons I’m unhappy with my current job. Overall there’s a general feeling of discontent among my peers. We’re all waiting for the next thing that they will do to make it just a little worse to work here.
Morale is low, and getting lower all the time.
So why do I stay? Well I suppose the short answer is because there are benefits to where I work:
1. I am not required to work more than 8 hours in a day – this is almost unheard of in IT.
2. I get over 4 weeks of vacation a year and can earn compensatory time if I choose to work more than 8 hours in a day – meaning I can take off as much time as I want in any given year.
3. I am well paid given the number of hours I typically work – I could certainly make more but I would also be working more.
4. I work from home one day a week – working in your PJs is awesome!
5. The company-paid retirement is more than double a typical employer contribution and I’m 100% vested – I do want to retire eventually so this is important.
All great points….although maybe not as important in the end as job satisfaction. I’m still deciding where the tipping point is. I’m also struggling with whether I’m using these “reasons” as excuses as fear is definitely present. My job right now is secure. I make plenty of money to continue with our current lifestyle with few concerns. I’m unhappy but I’m safe. My kids’ future is safe.
If I leave I don’t want to leave for another business analyst job. I want to make a real change, and that’s terrifying. I am the only income. My kids depend on me and although I do have savings there is little else to fall back on. But this is perhaps a topic for a different day.
I read a question the other day that has stuck with me, and it’s really the reason I’m writing this post.
Can you learn to love something you hate?
This question has been bubbling in my mind for a few days. Some of the problems I have at work (not mentioned here) are beyond my control and ultimately could force me to leave. But, if I take those out of the picture, could I learn to like what I’m doing?
There was a time when I enjoyed the work. This isn’t what I always want to do, but could I make staying here better until I figure out what I really want to do?
So I started a list of all the things I hate about my job, all the little frustrations, the irritations. I wrote down anything that came to mind. What I discovered is that this list was almost exclusively “feelings.” I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel like I’m making a difference. I don’t feel challenged.
There were of course exceptions but largely it’s my attitude toward the job that is making me so unhappy.
This is something I can control, something I’m going to work on so that I can be happier while I work out what I really want to do with my life.
And in the end, as much as I’d like to be doing something else for work, I am grateful for this job. It allows me to spend time with my kids and pursue other interests. It provides enough money so that we can do most of the things we want to do. Perhaps best of all, my discontent with my current job is what ultimately led me to writing and what is prompting me to search for work I can feel passionate about.
Will I learn to love my job? Probably not entirely, but I can make the time I spend working better.