I had lunch with my work team today. It was interesting - it's nice to see people and talking to them gives me some insight into how things are going there. There have been some management changes and the department is reporting to someone new which will bring some changes.
Several people asked me to come back to work soon because they really need me. I've been gone two years, and they really need me now? Hmmm. How bad are things, exactly? Pretty bad, I think. The trouble is, if it's that bad there, how stressful would it be to go back? I love doing the type of work that I did there - I really, really, really do - but I don't know whether I can go back to that environment.
It's as though there's a lot of wall-building going on; people on that team have built walls around their sandbox and won't help anyone build their own sandbox, let alone walls around it. Moreover, when asked to do something, if it's outside their sandbox, they'll do exactly as they're told, without thinking for themselves, or they'll do it badly, or they'll do it late because they don't want to even know that there are other sandboxes. They keep their eyes down, looking at only their own sandboxes and toys.You know?
That sort of viewpoint was there when I left and it was a major source of stress for me then. The work I do on that team - the work the whole team does - is basically a service to other departments. I always felt that once my sandbox was built, I would build bridges to other sandboxes and help people build their own sandboxes, too. I also felt that I would look around and see if people could use help before their walls came down on top of mine (or their sandboxes got overrun by ants that would head to my sandbox) - in other words, before they're problems affected me.
Since my views on how to interact with the people outside the team were diametrically opposed to my manager's view, we had a number of conflicts (some degenerating into screaming matches - I'm not proud of responding that way, but there you are. I was extremely stressed). Those conflicts and having to conform to something that I strongly feel is a wrong approach is very stressful. I'm getting stressed even thinking about it!
Who knows, though.... maybe by the time I'm ready to work things will be different. And if not, well, hopefully there will be something else for me somewhere. It's a big company.