Here's the thing: my current job doesn't engage me as a mathematician, or as a teacher, and while it occasionally engages me as a programmer it doesn't do that often. I have reasonable security regarding income, which means a lot to me, but I don't like most of the little things about the job, from the hours through the commute through to the fact I don't reliably get clear statements of what's actually expected of me.
And it's brought back to me that I'm never going to be properly managed here. I'm going to be regularly given vaguely defined tasks without a mention of deadlines and then sometime later be told what I was actually expected to do. That actual expectation turns out to be simpler than what I was working on, but the deadline will turn out to be ``the end of the next day'', which may be exhilarating but doesn't make the months of lassitude worthwhile.
I also realize now that it's not just me that's mismanaged. The entire company is, I think, teetering on the brink of collapse. It's always been dysfunctional. My brother once told my employer that he'd come to work there as office manager [duplicating the current office manager's position] only if he could be given complete charge of hiring and firing, and that he'd want to fire about two-thirds the staff; that would probably be just about right in matching the workload to the staff load.
I hear at lunch reliably how the computer room people (not we programmers) can't stand the customer service people, who don't seem to know how anything works and show no interest in learning and only incompetently pass messages that need to go to the computer room on to anywhere. And the tech support people barely speak with the customer service people who're all the way in the other row of desks downstairs. I'm a programmer; I have never gotten any kind of introduction to the main program clients pay to access, other than being e-mailed a password shared by, far as I can tell, everyone. The office manager rarely comes out of his office (particularly now that he's caring for his ageing pet in there); he draws people into his office by having a bowl of candies but that's not the same as really communicating.
All that's amusing enough, but ... can I actually spend much more time here?
Trivia: Halle's department store in Cleveland featured pneumatic tubes running from the ninth floor of the main building all the way underground and up to the sixth floor of the Huron-Prospect building, bringing receipts and cash payments to the central cashier room for processing, once the Huron-Prospect building opened in 1927. Source: Service And Style: How The American Department Store Fashioned The Middle Class, Jan Whitaker. (Even at this time, department stores were hitting on the idea of ``cash registers'', though.)
Currently Reading: Faust In Copenhagen: A Struggle For The Soul of Physics, Gino Segrè