More Patience Required

Warning, emotional blather ahead. Consider this my livejournal imitation.

I thought the cloud was lifting from my mood, but it’s back worse than ever. In the past two days, I’ve been given additional responsibilities at work (because they value my unique skills and talents, they say) and then told that I’m wasting time and not contributing enough. Anyone for mixed messages?

My boss is an old-school manager from a previous generation. I’ve been managing people myself for ten years (until recently — my team got axed in the last round of layoffs, out of which my boss got a promotion), and I get frustrated when I have to watch her do the opposite of what standard modern management training suggests. (Why use a stick on people when it’s only going to make them resent you? Why not concentrate on fixing the problem to everyone’s satisfaction instead?) I know other people have different styles, but she’s always got someone to pick on — the last five people she chose quit, quit, were moved to another department without their input, were laid off, and were laid off (while recovering from cancer) — and now it seems to be my turn.

It’s complicated by what I think is a midlife crisis. I’m coming to terms with realizing that I’m never going to get to do what I really want to do for a living (blogging and reviewing comics), so I’d better figure out what I can settle for. When I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I like the webmaster/project manager work I’ve been doing for the past twelve years, and I’m good at it, if I have the right support.

Maybe I just need a change of scenery. Anyone have any job leads in the Raleigh/Durham or Madison (Wisconsin) areas?

Thank you, loyal readers, for your ongoing patience, since content will continue to be light. I don’t really feel like reading comics right now, even the good ones.

26 Responses to “More Patience Required”

  1. Terran Stryder Says:

  2. dabo Says:

    The RAM shop!? Brings back those sweet memories of UNC undergrad…

  3. James Schee Says:

    Sorry to hear about your problems at work, I hope it all works out for the best. Which given your skills and experience I’m confident it will.

  4. Don MacPherson Says:

    I can relate, Johanna. A couple of years ago, we got a new editor at the paper, and he’s a nightmare. No news sense, and he rarely supports me in times of controversy (and since I’m a courts reporter, controversy is part of the deal). A job I used to love is one I tolerate these days. Just about everyone else in the newsroom feels the same way.

    It’s so bad that people are considering some kind of mild job action. Perhaps you should talk to your co-workers and see if something like that is possible. Not a strike or anything, but something the higher-ups will notice. There’s talk in my workplace of non-compliance with a company questionnaire about management. They never seem to pay attention to comments made in those questionnaires in the past, so maybe they’ll take notice when we refuse to fill it out.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the support and suggestions. Don, my co-workers feel similarly, based on what I’ve seen, but they’re all still shell-shocked from the December layoffs. (I can’t blame them.)

  6. John Says:

    You’re a good, personable writer, surely you could work to build a freelance career outside of the realm of comic books – unless you already have and forgive me for being a dope. You start with local newspapers and move on up. It’s hard, but not impossible, and you don’t seem like a whiney person!

    Regular jobs can grind a person down and they can destroy a creative person. No challenges and petty dictators. Yuck. I’ve been there, believe me, and I know it sucks. Never say never. Go check out Maybe you’ll see something you want to do. First steps and all that.

    Again, apologies if this is superfluous info for you!

  7. John Says:

    P.S. – Not that this is necessarily helpful, but if you lived in my area, I would probably have asked you to be a comics columnist in my paper by now. Surely I’m not the only person out there who would think such a thing. Plus, I know you can write about more than comics . ..

  8. Thom Says:

    Wow, that definitely is rough. You have my sympathies on the work situation.

  9. John Says:

    I hate to say this, but you could be suffering from depression. Do your best to not let it get you down, and do what you can to fight it. Given your current situation, and stress, it wouldn’t be surprising at all. However, you don’t want this to become long lasting.

    I’m fighting my own demons right now, and trust me, it isn’t easy. Just know that you’re not alone, and be glad that you have people rooting for you. :0)

    And who knows? Maybe it is time for a change?

    Feel better, JOHN :0)

  10. Fabricari Says:

    That’s very similar to my plight in life. I realize that I’ll never make a living drawing comics; I have a great career in web development – even if I hate working. But I’ve learned to be greatly satisfied with creating comics as a hobby. (Obsessive hobby.) There’s a web project manager position where I work, but I fear moving into the snow belt would only accentuate the depression. Hope you feel better soon.

  11. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    My store isn’t far from Madison. I’ll ask around – what kind of work are you looking for?

  12. Heidi M. Says:

    Johanna, never say never. If that is what you want to do for a living, there is a way to do it. Of course, poverty may be involved, but even that is not guaranteed.

  13. Allan Says:

    I think it might be a little early to say “never”.

    A few years ago I was somewhat startled when a friend, upon turning 40, told me his life was effectively over. He realised that telling himself “one day” had gone on so long and he had to be realistic; he was never going to be what he’d always dreamed of being. He figured it was time to give up and coast into old age.

    In the last few years he’s made regular trips across the Atlantic; had articles published; taken on the legal system and won; and so many other things. He’s a happier, more fulfilled person than I’ve ever known him to be.

    All it took was for him to stop worrying about it.

    I’m facing the 40th birthday myself later this year, and it’s not something I’m looking forward to. Alongside that, with the death of the photographic industry in which I’ve worked for the past 20 years (thanks to digital), people are being laid off all around me, and I’m looking at having to find an alternate career — and quick. I’ve no idea what else to do. Scares me to death.

    What you’re feeling is not uncommon. It’s probably something most of us have to battle with at some time in their life. But my friend’s experience, at least, shows it can get better.

    I truly hope things work out for you.

  14. Tim O'Shea Says:

    Hang in there. The Internet is an ever-shifting landscape. Three years ago I got divorced and soon after I stopped doing comics interviews in earnest. I walked away from it, assuming I would never return. Clearly things turned out differently. Your current rough days, as I know you realize, are not your every day.

    On the bright side, let’s not forget, you spur pretty lively discussions on a weekly basis. Remember this?
    You are a person that makes a difference in the medium. No it does not pay the bills at present, but who knows what the future brings? Good luck figuring out the path ahead.

  15. Johanna Says:

    Thanks again for the encouragement, everyone. I’m still here, and I’m slowly coming out of it. I’ve taken the positive step of proposing a transfer to a different manager; we’ll see if anything comes of that.

    Unfortunately, living in the US, a medication situation makes it unfeasible for me to start freelancing, because of the need for affordable insurance. But I really appreciate the inspiring stories, and I’m going to keep plugging away. After all, it’s Easter, which is all about rebirth.

    I really appreciate all of you guys, spoken or unspoken.

  16. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    I know how you’re feeling, Johanna. I just got my walking papers last week. My last day of work is coming up on April 26th — the day before my wedding. So, yeah, there’s a bit of a scramble going on right now at the De Blieck Household.

    I’d love to blog or write comic reviews for a living, too. I’m very happy that I have a hobby that mostly pays for itself, but I burned through that feeling of “Why will I never be able to do THIS for a living?” a long time ago. I’m glad I started the column ten years ago — it allowed my dreams to die at an earlier age to save me the heartache now at the beginning of my thirties as my new life is about to begin.

    I am lucky, though, in that my fiancee’s health care plan will be covering me, so we’ll save a small fortune in that every month. But it’s still not enough to brave a freelance writing world for me. Back to selling my soul to some faceless large corporation with deep pockets.

    C’est la vie.

  17. Heidi M. Says:

    Perfect Timing, Augie! I’m sure you’ll land on your feet.

  18. Johanna Says:

    Good luck, Augie, and congratulations on the pending nuptials!

  19. Tim O'Shea Says:

    Augie, good luck on all fronts and I echo Heidi’s sentiments.

  20. Lea Says:

    Ditto everyone. Depression and shifting gears AND midlife all at once is a booger.

    Not that I’d know. ^_^

  21. Scott Says:

    I can so relate to the mid-life crisis-type realization (on infinite earths?). I have had that hitting me on a more spread-out basis for the past 12 years.

    My wife is not sure if it is better to have to deal with me (and it) on a low-grade level all of the time, or if it would have been better to have it hit (hard, no doubt) all at once.

    Anyhow, living in Madison, WI myself I am curious what sorts of things you are looking for. We have the University of Wisconsin and a couple of GE Healthcare-related businesses, not to mention a bunch of little startups in various tech/art/IT fields.

  22. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Johanna, I just wanted to add best wishes. I empathize with a lot of what you’re feeling. It’s no fun.

  23. Tim O'Shea Says:

    How Blogging
    Can Help You
    Get a New Job

    No, it’s not spam, it’s an actual (free content piece) I ran across in WSJ. I thought of you when I read the headline.

  24. Tim O'Shea Says:

    And I forgot to include the link (forgive my brain short circuit, I unexpectedly had a tooth pulled today…no I’m not kidding). But hey I got prescribed Rush Limbaugh drugs, so I’m OK. :)

  25. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Tim, interesting article. Honestly, I see a two-sided coin, since (as a current jobseeker) I’ve worried how a potential employer may react if they find my blog or my blog commenting. Still, I hadn’t realized there was a potential positive until reading this article.

  26. Johanna Says:

    Lyle, here’s another one: I don’t tell employers about my writing, but the technical experience I’ve gained from running this site (like PHP work) is something that fits nicely on a resume.




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