Hello Kitty. This was a gift from a friend for my AA birthday. I think that was so sweet and it means a lot to me. But I finally did realize why I find these little things disturbing. That cat has no mouth. She can’t talk. She can’t eat. She just gets to sit and look pretty. How nice. And what a great little symbol for all the little girls out there. Keep your trap shut and stay tiny!
So, at work, what happened…. I think I need to write this now that I have a couple weeks of perspective and yet its fresh enough to remember.
As some of you may remember, I left the hospital in 2012 after working there for over 17 years, and was transferred to a job downtown. A job I hated. It was terrible and I nearly lost my mind. I got so depressed that my life fell apart. I stopped opening my mail, and stopped paying my bills. I was completely non-functional. I had a terrible boss. But ironically (or not) I could always talk with her and she often incorporated my feedback into her management style. She was a rookie. She appreciated my honestly. I appreciated that she listened to me. We are now friends. In fact, we recently had lunch, and she told me she is expecting twins in December. I am so excited for her! She added that she made a list for her husband of people she would welcome into her home to help her after the babies are born, and I am on it! I am so honored and excited about the prospect of helping her.
Sure, this is a bit of a disclaimer. But the past is the best predictor of the future…. this is how I get along with people, even people I am having problems with.
I got to go back to the hospital after a year and a half of the downtown job. I was thrilled. Someone took the job I left, but another old job of mine was available. I jumped on it and expected that I would be able to work at least another 3 years. In peace. Doing a job I was very comfortable with.
But, right away, I noticed that one of my staff was a sneaky, dishonest, phony, gossip. I tried to supervise her. I told her she couldn’t do the things she had been getting away with, like punching in 7 minutes early and punching out 7 minutes late, and getting a half hour of overtime every day by playing that game. I guess I was not supposed to notice. She was rude to her co-worker. She was condescending and insulting to her. I talked with her about that. Then she started being rude to me. With the encouragement of my supervisory chain, I documented, had meetings, etc. It finally reached the point where I needed my boss in the meeting with me. And that was when I knew I had a REAL problem. My boss came into that meeting and gave my staff the impression that I was the one with the problem. So, I confronted my boss. Who acted innocent and like she couldn’t understand what I was talking about. OK, I gave up on that. I then let this woman do pretty much whatever she wanted since I had no support from management.
At about the same time, I realized I had a problem with the woman who took my job when I left. I tried to help her, but even though she asked for my help, she would get angry with me and be really rude. So I backed off. I tried to leave her alone. About a year ago, she called me to her office to help her with an excel problem. I solved her problem and she was so grateful, she called me an “asshole.” She then did some other dastardly things…. I talked with my boss about it. Who said he would talk to her. And when he came back to my office, he said “well, I guess she has a point.” I asked him “what about calling me an asshole?” “Oh!” he said, “I forgot about that.” oh. ok.
On and on. I knew I had no support from management. The problem woman is 20 years younger than me and it seems the big boss has a crush on her. She is as mean as a snake and politically connected, so no one will deal with her. I am not the only one. Someone else filed a workplace violence claim against her a year or so ago, and they just dragged him through the mud to discredit him.
She talks over me in meetings I am chairing. She laughs and carries on in meetings I am chairing. She is disruptive. She told me to shut up a couple of months ago. It has gotten intolerable.
Recently, I volunteered to do a project that would more rightly be her job. I was mindful of that and asked several managers if they wouldn’t prefer that she does it rather than me. They all wanted me to do it. I explained that the workgroup needed to be very small. If it is large, it gets out of control, and you can’t move quickly and do get things done – fast! Oh, it’s all good. I proceeded.
Then someone I love and trust came to me and said problem girl ought to be included. I told him refused to work with her. If she should lead the project, then I’d be happy to give it to her, but I cannot work with her.
The next day my two managers (who used to be my friends) called me into a conference room and very sternly told me I can’t pick and choose who I am going to work with. They wouldn’t look at me. They told me I had to have a meeting with problem girl and be willing to work with her. The meeting lasted one hellish hour. I called them on their affect. I told them it was extremely unfair to me. I was frankly puzzled at why they said I was gossiping about problem girl and it needed to stop. I wasn’t gossiping about her! I would do anything to avoid even saying her name, for God’s sake. She scares the crap out of me!
On the weekend following that Friday, I decided this was a loud and clear message to RETIRE. I have not changed my mind since. It is time for me to go. I am too old to be in this workplace and I don’t fit in any longer. If the behavioral norm is to call people assholes and tell them to shut up, I think I’m grateful not to fit in.
On the following Monday, I shared with my boss that I am leaving, so we don’t have to have a big meeting for me to learn how to get along with someone like that. As we talked, it became evident what had happened. My problem staff had overheard my conversation with the man who asked me to work with problem girl, and immediately ran to tell p.g., all about it. (they are friends.) So, these two bosses, who used to be my friends, believed problem girl when she told them I am running all over the hospital talking crap about her. They acted like it was some kind of “cat-fight,” my boss said he didn’t want to “get between two strong women.” I confronted him on that! What kind of b.s. is that?
Someone in my own office overheard a conversation I had with someone I trusted, and ran with it. The management of the hospital, these two I have known for 20 years, decided to believe someone else and just treat me like some horrible employee.
They were SO relieved when I told them I am leaving.
After all these years. After everything.
O.V.E.R. It is over.
This is the state of the sisterhood.
But, I get to move on. I get to have a new life. The hurt is already starting to abate. The hemorrhaging wound is starting to close.
This is not how I ever dreamed it would end. But lots of jobs end this way. This is life. People act this way.
Praise God that I have a pension. I can actually do this!
My trick now is to change the narrative I am writing in my mind. I don’t want to leave angry. I want to have happy memories of a place that was a huge part of my life for 21 years. It was very very good to me, until it wasn’t.
I get to leave on my own terms. That is the truth. I am happy to leave. That is the truth. I am looking forward to a new life. That is the truth.
Thank You God.