Too many times in my life I woke up in the morning dreading what lie ahead. It wasn’t the fact that I had a day of work ahead of me that had my insides in knots about what was to come, but rather it was about the work environment itself that had me want to bury myself in the blankets, hit the snooze for five hours and pack it in.
Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m gathering many of you do.
The work environment today isn’t what it used to be. Not all of it can be blamed on the employer, but certainly a very sizable portion of blame for today’s dysfunctional work environment can rest solely at the hand of the employer, the boss man, corporate America or whatever title one wants to lay at the individual or place where the bulk ultimately stops.
I’m not too far removed from a generation in which you got up and did your job and you did your job almost exclusively at the same place
for 20 and 30 year clips. It wasn’t unusual for me to know someone that had worked at the same job their entire life and that their brothers, their fathers or sisters and any other relative were currently working with them or had worked their prior to their own arrival.
Granted, some of those work conditions were the result of the old factory system that so many of our relatives were part of for many years. At the same time, there were so others that had worked in so many other professions that I know it wasn’t just line workers at factories that spent the better part of their life doing the same thing for the same employers.
Times have changed. And I’m sad to say, it’s not been for the better.
Check around. Ask how many people you know if they’re happy with their job. Better yet, ask them if they’re happy with the people they work for and with and see what the response is. I’m betting the odds are pretty heavy that the responses will be largely negative and filled with profanity.
I’ve been working fairly regularly since I graduated from high school, which is now more than a quarter of a century. I’ve held multiple jobs and, in most every situation, I’ve left those jobs for the wrong reasons. A few times it was for opportunity or just a feeling that it was time to move on, but too often it was because I was being emotionally crushed and drained. While it was troubling on me to have that happen, what often put me into a spiral was watching others around me – people I cared for – suffer for no other reason that someone had a Napoleon complex, wanted to micromanage how your hair was combed or was just what I like to refer to as an authority Nazi.
The types I’ve just mentioned are everywhere. They’re too numerous to mention and they have no redeeming qualities when it comes to their humanity level. They survive like cockroaches and strive on inflicting misery to others. The bottom line isn’t necessarily the issue, but putting those who labor for them or the company they represent at the bottom of the self-esteem barrel is high priority.
I should mention, however, I’ve worked for and with many wonderful people. Men and women that I consider mentors, colleagues and, yes, friends were also the same person that occasionally signed or approved the paychecks I received. I don’t need to mention your names; you know who you are.
For those wondering my point here, I’ll get to that. For one of the few times in my life, I’m now in a job where I work with someone who has helped shape and create an environment in which I love going to work each morning. I don’t mind the extra hours, the occasional complaints or other headaches associated with any profession because it pales to the positives.
That person is a very dear friend; and as of today, he’s no longer working in the same office with me. Some of you may have read where Greater Bridgeport Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tim Brady spent his last day on the job Friday to take advantage of a career opportunity in Charleston.
Since February, we’ve worked together on the second floor of the Benedum Civic Center as the Connect-Bridgeport project has moved forward. We share a massive office where the only dividing line is a partition we refer to as the Berlin Wall. We yell over it, insult one another through it and try to outwit one another around it.
Of course, we easily go to the other side of the wall to discuss just about anything. We’ve waxed philosophical about whether Ice Cube or Ludacris has the greatest rap lyrics over the last 20 years, discussed our mutual respect for the Nature Boy Ric Flair, took great satisfaction over the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent success and debated on issues from Seinfeld to the greatest moment of The Office. An yea, there's some off-color stuff that's not appropriate for a respectable Web site like Connect. In a nutshell, there’s never a dull moment.
Tim Brady created that. He left me, for the most part, with a smile on my face when I went home from work and when I left in the morning to come to work. That has happened in years.
As much as I’m saddened to see him go – even though I’ll see him frequently during BHS football broadcasts and almost certainly greet him with a well-placed insult – there’s a very large part of me that rejoices in his opportunity. That part of me is that part that smiles once again.
For that, I can only wish him the best. And I can only tell him thanks for making what I do not only tolerable, but enjoyable.
Best to you Tim.
Editor's Note: Pictured is yours truly with Tim Brady, left, and his wife Kathleen at my 40th birthday party. The Bradys were gracious enough to make me a Nature Boy Ric Flair robe, that I wore with great pride that evening. The gift of Flair is one that keeps on giving.