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I recently found out that to my boss, I'm nothing more than just headcount. Headcount in a corporate setting refers to the fact that in order to be a manager, you have to have a certain number of people reporting to you. You could be doing the same work but with one less subordinate, and you'd be making less money. Or in my boss's case, with one more employee, she gets a team leader bonus. I get the dubious distinction of being the guy who fills that last spot.

To be fair, my boss doesn't really feel this way about me. She appreciates my work, and makes that known to me. That's one of the few things that make my current position bearable.

There are two parts to the problem.

1)The work mostly sucks. The official title for my job is "Media Development Specialist," the qualifications require a bachelors degree relating to new media. (Design + Scripting/Coding + Animation + 3D). I was hired with the mistaken impression that I'd be building snazzy Flash or Director-based multimedia presentations, as well as poster and pamphlet design.

The poster and pamphlet design happens (which isn't too bad), but the overwhelming majority of my day ends up being busy work: scoring and folding pamphlets, burning and labeling CDs, making some engineer's Power Point slides look 'pretty,' etc.

2) It's mostly politics. Every once in a while, the Video department needs some help creating a 3D animation or doing some motion graphics work, and I relish those chances. Lately they've gotten to the point where they could use an extra hand full-time. They'd like to get me transferred to their department (which would be major improvement) and they've talked to my boss's boss about it. His response?

We can't pull him out of Jane's (name changed) group, she needs x number of reports

See, in the past, Jane's been a bit of a diva. She uses the word 'usurp' a lot. She publicly screamed at one of our team members for not having enough paper in stock, even though she never told the victim about a pending large-run job (that event drove the lady into retirement). So people tend to tiptoe around Jane. Even her boss. He doesn't want to rock the boat, even if it would provide the Video department with a great, fast solution and keep me sane in the process.

So, the solution to the Video department's shorthanded problem and my tedium-induced insanity is this: wait a year and a half 'till Jane retires and we'll get this all settled. In the meantime, headcount number 383,507 will continue folding and burning. I've got 600 pamphlets and 300 CDs left before I go home today.

 I've really got to get this movie flying.


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