This weekend I pack for my third move in three years. Perhaps fittingly for the numerologists out there, I’m 30, so this means something, cosmically. Probably. At any rate, it will be the first time I’ve lived alone since I had a tiny studio in the McGill Ghetto my third year of college. Again with that number. Three. Third year, thirty, third move. Gosh. Everything is destiny.
I’ve also moved, in the past week, into a new job. My new job is basically like my old job, except my new boss is amazing and not a tyrant. Someone on LinkedIn posted something about how a worker’s displeasure with their manager makes one a less productive employee. (Ah, capitalism. Speaking of which, among other fever dreams I had last night, one entailed me arguing with someone about how they weren’t actually a capitalist, since capitalists moved capital for a living, and all they did was work. It’s a line I picked up from a trainee who didn’t make it back when I was a door-to-door hippy for the AFL-CIO, and it’s always stuck with me, to the extent that, evidently, I deploy it in fever dreams.) This is true. I was undoubtedly a less productive employee when my old boss tried to destroy me.
My new manager called me yesterday at the end of the day from Boca Raton, Florida, where she’s based, to apologize that she hadn’t been in better touch and to ask for my advice on a consortial deal her boss had proposed. It affects my territory, so I understand ostensibly why she was giving me the heads-up, but in our conversation, it was pretty clear that she was treating me as a peer.
“I’m generally not a fan of working with aggregators,” I said. You don’t have to know what an aggregator is for the rest of this to make sense.
“Yeah, I’m not sure that this is the best way forward, and I don’t want to shoot you in the foot right off the bat. But this is the first time Christoph has asked for my advice on a deal, and I don’t want to tell him it’s a bad idea. Otherwise, he might not ask me again.”
“Office politics,” I said. “The only ones I’m worried about are RPI and West Point. Oh, and Colgate. Oh, but wait, no. Springer never sold anything to Colgate. We need to just wait for that librarian to die.”
We bandied a few ideas about — compromises, ways to gently say no to a questionable idea from a manager without seeming combative. Alternatives, add-on conditions, exclusions, etc. It was a productive call, and it wasn’t even what she had called me to discuss.
Whatever that was will have to wait until next week. She had to go pick up her boys.
In the process of moving there are always doubts. I’m not sure where I’m going. But I like what I see so far.