Friday, December 15, 2006

Morale at the workplace

It never ceases to amaze me how "official" our upper-admins try to be. First, we caught the wave a hiring and listening to consultants (Gartner Group comes to mind); I have never seen any benefit attributed to those exercises, except several departmental reorganizations, music chairs and the top folks getting richer. Thankfully, some small bit of sanity has returned in the last year or two, but there is still a mentality of "running a good business" that does not translate well when trickled down through the ranks. The latest "trend" is getting certified in ethics, sexual harassment awareness and security protocols. The same thing, year after year, and at a time when our elected state officials are the worse role models in the world.

But I digress...

Morale. Like a perfectionistic parent, it often seems that the message to use in the trenches leans towards "don't do this" or "do this". There is little positive reenforcement for jobs well down, and even less obvious efforts to draw the organization together; skimpy efforts at community building events, lackluster performance evaluation system that leads to general confusion about raises, and even greater confusion about priorities. Too much negative emphasis, too much micromanagement.

The people that stand out are those who lean towards workaholism, whether it be because they feel compelled to work harder or some other reason. The average joe is essentially ignored, and the "operating procedures" from on high can be seen as oppressive measures.

I love my job. I love figuring out problems, exploring new features of the RDBMS, and working with others on a project. Unfortunately, those projects seem all to often like black holes to me - hopefully, surely, somebody has a clear idea why we are investing our time in various projects. Not just "because someone wants it", but how is it progressing along our company's goals.

I love the people I work with; a diverse group in terms of culture, talent, personality and ambition. All sorts of strange conversations come up. =) But better yet, it helps to develop me as a person and DBA.

I guess it would be nice if things were more fun. We work hard, and often the rules we have to follow feel like punishment. I wonder if this is to keep the rebellious few in line, or because some talking head suggested that it was better this way. Whatever it is, it certainly makes me glad I am not running the show.