User-agent: * Allow: / Trenton Butcher Block: This Cat Always Lands on His Feet

"Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Defend."

Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Cat Always Lands on His Feet

The modern workplace is a jungle.  In order to survive there, you must be like this guy and be able to land on your feer after you get tossed around.

From my previous posts you may remember that I was getting transferred from my long-time position in the Bureau of Labor Market Analysis to a very different job in the State Data Center.  To bring everyone up to speed, my old job originally was working as a "field analyst" or somebody who was supposed to be an expert on the economy in a certain part of the state.  In my case, it was Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.  I got to read newspapers so I could take notes on the comings and goings of companies and other trends in business in the area.  I got to go out and cruise around on the state's dime to monitor the progress of these events and to promote the Division of Workforce Development so they could get job listings and help our state's unemployed transition to new work.

Last November, Christie's boys decided to upset the apple cart and roust me from my happy home.  I stayed at the same desk under the same supervisor and received the same pay, but my new job was covering the construction and transportation&distribution industries.  This meant writing new publications from scratch.  We at the state almost never get to create anything new from scratch, but we did and I saw it through for 10 months.  My industry report (over 60 pages long) on the transportation, logistics & distribution industry will soon be published on line.  For a guy with 20 credits or so in economics (my bachelor's degree is in agriculture), I consider that an outstanding achievement.

The man responsible for uploading and downloading stuff to the web, in addition to writing databases and making maps took a new job as an administrator in our IT department.  So my director came to me and "asked" me to take over his position.   I said "asked" because it was implied he would very much like me to say yes.  I was skeptical like, "what did I do wrong?" but I took it.   I thought it might be a setup to get me out the door or something, but felt it was best to go along, even though my qualifications in IT are nill.

Well, they kept me on my old job until last friday so I could finish my report.  On tuesday, my old boss and new boss called me into the back room.  It seem my old boss wanted me back to present my paper at the annual analyst's meeting.  I turned him down, but it still felt good that I was worth enough to bring back for one last performance.  I agreed to show up at the meeting to answer questions about my findings.

So how is this webmaster thing going.  So far swimmingly.  I get on well with my new boss who is pleasant to work for.  So far there hasn't been much to do because I don't know much yet, but I believe that will change soon.  The new supervisor noticed I have been picking up rather quickly and even figured out how to assemble a bunch of .pdf pages into a single .pdf file without any help on his part.
(It's amazing what you can do with the Help menu, especially after what I have been through since the begining of the year.

It seems that when they hire someone from off they street, they ask the world in what they want in a new employee.  Almost nobody meets the standard, so very few get hired.  However, since Christie has allowed the state only to backfill a few positions, the qualifications to move from one job to another can be sumed up in one phrses:  "Are you breathing?"  If yes, then they will retrain you.

That's why I stressed in an earlier article that what counts in the workplace is adaptability, not route knowledge of particular tasks.  Ovet time, the route knowledge becomes obsolete, but the ability to learn new things always remains in style. 

The best preparation I got was a good liberal arts education and that is what I woruld recommend to anybody coming up today.  Because I am adaptable, nobody can kill me off, I will always be in demand.

No comments:

Post a Comment