Thursday, June 21, 2007

The more I know, the less I understand.

There are people in your life who've come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; life goes on
You keep carryin that anger; it'll eat you up inside

---Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter

Indeed. My tummy hurts.

This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. And I don't mean Paris Hilton difficult. I'm talking friggin David Hasselholf's wife difficult.

I thank everyone for the advice. You've given me an objective point of view that I can't possibly get IRL, even though all the information you have, you've gotten from me. So, I guess it's not totally objective, but you know what I mean.

My tummy is ruined. It feels like OJ Simpson has wrapped his angry fist of death around it and is squeezing it so hard that I don't know when I'm hungry and I don't know when I'm full. I don't know whether I'm going to puke or burp.

This morning I cried on the way to work. That damn Don Henley song came on and I lost it. Quiet tears, just streaming down my face and I just let them. Who gives a fuck about the makeup. Then at the end of the day, I got in the car, put on my seatbelt and looked over at city park across from my office, and started to sob. I wasn't really thinking about it, but I just started sobbing. I pulled away from the curb and got out on the road, and at some point during the drive my body just started going into spasms, and I started to really, really cry, like a child. Just this raw despair.

I keep wondering when the turning point is going to come. Then I opened my blog and saw Weltek's post, and I thought, well, you know, Weltek is right. I've been thinking about the whole grievance thing, and how I've still got twenty-five years to retirement, and I've got a litter to think about, and in spite of my desire for justice and my hurt pride and my shattered ego, I have to be a good little girl and suck it up.

OR. I quit, and go the way of GinGin. The way of GinGin is the way I want to go, but I can't do that unless I have a place to go.

So, my plan is to meet with grievance man anyway, and just get his take and his advice just in case I get to plan GinGin and have to prove that I went through all the proper channels.

My "other" boss (yeah, the place is complicated), who is very supportive and who is very new and is pretty disgusted by this whole mess, told me that I pretty much have two choices at this point: I can either tell them "screw you" and leave, or I can tell them "screw you" and prove to them that they're wrong about me. That means seeing them through this big reorganization, and making the place the perfect place that it should be and that I've wanted it to be since day one.

He doesn't want me to go.

But then there's another boss who has been avoiding me for two weeks. He's not really a boss, but he's quite superior to me and has been an amazing friend and source of support over the past year. Until he read the report. Suddenly, what is it? Shame? Guilt? Embarrassment? Not wanting to see me this way, so hurt, so beaten down, when he knows better than anyone what I've been through this year? He still bothers me. The mystery of his silence weighs heavily on my mind. And in my tummy.

The bottom line is: I came back for the students. I came back to make it a better place.

My boss who wants me to stay is going to talk to our new HR person to ask for advice on how he gets through this mess that has been caused by this report. He wants to tell her about our conversations; I say fine. Whatever. It can't get any worse. My tummy could not possibly feel worse.

Don Henley, you are one smart dude. It does eat you up inside. Forgiveness? Hah! For me to poop on! They have one stubborn Frisky on their hands, and forgiveness does not come easily for me. Resolution? Sounds good, but it's also part of the title of that damn report, so now I hate that fucking word.

Pride. That's what it's all about. I can't let my pride be my downfall, but at the same time, I'm too proud to stay. I'm not, evidently, too proud to drive down a busy road while my body is wracked with sobs while other drivers look alarmingly on.

Oh, Daddy. Please help me figure this one out.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Send My Regrets

Go ahead, say it.

I told you so.

Go ahead, really. It needs to be said. People told me so, and I didn't listen.

April: Office lock is faulty. Lock fails often. We report it -- have been reporting it for months. Nothing done. Big Boss (CFO-level) finds door unlocked while we are at a staff meeting in another building. Boss, to teach us a lesson about being so careless, gets a couple of his minions and they "steal" equipment, mostly monitors, off our desks and hide them in the basement, then leave. They lie in wait until staff come back to office. By this time, I've gone to an appointment and I'm not with them when they return.

Staff freak. Computers gone, information gone, hard work gone -- stolen. Personal information on hundreds of people. Some cry, everyone scared. OMG -- is the robber still in the building? Are they hiding somewhere? They start looking for point of entry, and go to the basement, where they find computer equipment on basement floor. They know -- something is up.

Big Boss comes in and blasts everyone -- this is a lesson about security. You obviously don't care about security of our clients. You left the door unlocked. But, they say, it's broken and we've been reporting it to your minion for months and he won't fix it. Not true, says Big Boss. Tells them in the morning there's going to be a meeting.

Nobody sleeps. Everyone calls me at home.

Next day: Big Boss arrives two hours after scheduled time. Everyone is a mess. Scared shitless. He yells at us. He tells us that if we don't lock the door, we won't be working here. A few people call him on the stunt. He shouldn't have done it, it was unprofessional and disrespectful. It threatened our security. You made us carry computers out of the basement and up flights of stairs, potentially causing harm to us or our equipment. One asks for an apology. He yells back that we won't be getting an apology. He tells the most vocal that he'll speak to her later.

When it's over, I go to my office. He follows me, and sits across from me. He smirks. I burst into tears. I know it's over.

He assures me that it's not my fault. WTF?? Damn right it's not my fault. You can't come in hear and treat people like that! But I can't speak. I'm too upset, I'm crying.

Upper management gets wind of it. They call me, contrite. Vow to make it better. Vow to investigate and find a way to fix it and move on. Vow to make sure staff know they are appreciated and that they feel safe.

I call Grievance Guy. What do I do, as a bumbling, inept, managewhore, to protect my staff at this point? He's appalled, never heard of a CFO behaving this way. Don't file a grievance yet, he says, let Upper Management deal with it internally and if not satisfied, then we file grievance.

Upper Management hires external consultant. Consultant interviews people. Spends 40 minutes with me and each of my staff. Spends time with Upper Management. Spends time with other managers. Starts off by interviewing the Big Boss and getting his take on people. By the time Consultant gets to us, his opinion of us is formed. This is clear by types of questions asked.

The report of this consultant will be out in a few weeks, they tell us. This is going to be really positive. CFO will likely lose HR privileges. We think he should be fired, but they say that in the real world, you can't fire someone important like the CFO.

June: Report comes out. It says that the dysfunctional nature of my office led to the "incident." It got so bad in my office, that the CFO lashed out. The underlying cause of the incident is not the CFO, but us. Me. My staff. That previous manager, who left that huge mess that I'm still wading through, caused a huge backlog of work. My job is almost impossible to perform while going through all the backlog AND counselling the staff that she damaged. The report is very critical of the management of the office (me) and goes on to explain how the office should be properly managed. It says the manager is "frequently absent." WTF?? I work friggin weekends for fvcks sake! Totally unfounded. Thanks for letting me know I svck and for educating me on Management 101. Now tell me how I'm supposed to do all this while working through the backlog of a manager whose ineptitude they ignored for years and years. You think I didn't already know how the place was supposed to work? Of course I did. I just didn't have time. The report goes on to explain how the weak manager in my office has led to the dysfunction. No names are mentioned, but when you turn to Appendix Frickin' A, there's a list of relevant people. There's my name, right next to the offending Manager's position.

This scathing report, which amounted to an unconventional performance evaluation, which I clearly failed, was not presented to me personally. I received it by email. CORRECTION: I received it by email AT THE SAME TIME AS THE REST OF THE ORGANIZATION RECEIVED IT BY EMAIL. That's right, this report, referring to the inept, bumbling managewhore, and then naming that person in the appendix, was sent to all my colleagues, friends, coworkers, upper management. Everyone.

This was yesterday. Took today off. Have received a number of supportive emails from my staff, who are completly winded after also taking a good kick in the teeth. We've all been publicly lynched.

Meanwhile, Big Boss sits at his desk, smirking and tenting his fingers a la Montgomery Burns.

Yeah, I regret it. People warned me a year ago that I would probably regret going back there. Why are you doing this, they asked? You finally broke free and now you're going back?! It's a good career move, says I. It will take a lot of time to clean the joint up, but once I do, I'll be a frickin hero!

Chewed up. Spit out.

I need a new job. I need to get out of there. My reputation is shot. Wrote to the Grievance Guy and forwarded the report to him, telling him that this was the result of the internal "investigation" and that obviously I'm not pleased with the outcome. But surely I will have no credibility with him once he sees this report. This public lynching.

OMG I regret it. Yes I do.


When you were here before,
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fuckin' special

But I'm a creep,
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts,
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

I want you to notice
when I'm not around
You're so fuckin' special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here.