Interpersonal Work Relationships.

I will, quite often, remark that the reason I must have lost my job from Greed, Inc was probably due to my being a bad manager. Whether or not this is true, I’ve decided that this is the best way to look at the situation. This allots for whatever mistakes I may or may not have made (that were never pointed out to me, after the fact or prior to the fact) that could be lumped into the “why” category. But this also gives me the ability to at least assume that I really did have some responsibility for what ended up happening. I’ve since learned that this is probably not the case and chances are, I’m a decent manager. Until such a time where I can test that ability out again, I have to assume that I screwed the pooch in some arena or another and I just haven’t quite figured out where that particular “arena” is.

The reason I mention this is because it’s possible that I don’t know what quite makes a “good boss” because I, myself, was not what would be considered a “good boss.” Let’s keep that in mind as we continue…

I have a fairly decent relationship with my direct supervisor. She’s not actually a supervisor in the traditional capacity. She’s the lead on two of the largest portfolios that our consulting firm handles. She’s fairly busy a lot of the time because one portfolio has nearly 600 properties associated with it and the other, while only at 46 properties, needs a lot of hand holding. I support her on both of these portfolios, extensively, as well as have lead over my own sets of portfolios. (None of which require as much time and effort as the two she is lead over.) We talk regularly. We joke regularly. We complain about the same items on both portfolios regularly. All in all, I wouldn’t say that we were friends, per se, but I would say that we have a decent communication line between us. I have no problem telling her that my plate is too full for more items to add to it – since she turns to me first for delegating tasks – and she respects the boundaries that I set. I will admit that I don’t set as many boundaries as I probably should but, honestly, she doesn’t have many people to choose from. There are two other leads, of other portfolios, in the office and three support roles. I’m the quickest to respond when she needs something and, aside from one other person in the office, am probably the most capable for some of the stranger items that she needs me to work on.

All in all, I’m awesome.

But in all seriousness, I know what my job entails, I know how to do it, and I can do efficiently.

However, in the last week, she’s had some personal issues popping up. Frankly, I’m not going to discuss what the items are because they are numerous and convoluted. I know about her personal life because she feels like sharing, though I do not reciprocate because I’m a private person. (Not to mention, being a pagan in an Evangelical Christian’s office setting leaves me feeling that I need to keep most items private in case I misstep or misspeak and end up without a job.) I feel her pain and I commiserate with her over the issues she’s face. They are large. They are very important. And they are mentally and emotionally consuming. As I’ve mentioned to her before, she needs to get better about her spoon management when it comes to both work and personal life items. However, we are all different and how we go about working things out are entirely different from one person to another. As these personal issues have cropped up, I’ve noticed a marked difference in her personality, her habits, and her remarks concerning work.

Honestly, the job isn’t the best one to have. It pays the bills, but it takes a lot out of you most days. On days like that, you’re lucky if you can clock out ten minutes after the close of business. On days like that, you’re often day-dreaming about the really horrible things you can do to your customers and their needs because they are stupid, foolish, or a mix therein. On days like that, you are staring moodily at the clock, hoping for it to move faster so that the end of the day comes quicker. On days like that, you’re probably surfing Facebook or Tumblr to keep your mind off of how bad your day is going.

The rest of the time, you’re patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

Whatever is going on inside of her head, she’s been taking it out on everyone directly beneath her lately and it’s starting to grate on my damn nerves. At first, I was exempt from these peevish remarks. She made them in regards, mostly, to the new girl. “What does she do all day,” she’d snap at me. I’d have to explain that she was either doing side work for me or any of the other leads in the office. The girl has been there for not quite a month and is still learning. I hate to break it to my supervisor but she was pretty babied when it came to me. I came to her previously trained by someone else and I am a fast study. The two new hires haven’t been as quick studies as I was and so, it’s taking the full three months of training to get them up to snuff. Not only that, but they are all being inundated with requests from every lead in the office (of which there are four) for assistance with minor items like getting contract information, getting pricing information, and things of that nature. We all forget how time consuming that can be, but it really can take a while to get any of the carriers to give us the information we want. Sometimes, it means we have to call back 6 times before we get a rep that isn’t going to ask us stupid questions.

I think I really started getting snotty when she asked me, “Do you think she’ll ever grow up?”

The girl is young. She is very, very immature in the ways of the world. She is also very, very blonde. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, but she can be incredibly ditzy. It happens, though. We all make mistakes; that’s how you learn what you need to do. What makes all these snarky remarks about the new girl that much worse is the fact that (A) I don’t have to monitor her every movement or E-mail like I did with the other new person and (B) my supervisor is the person who made me like the new girl! When I found out how old she was and how little telecommunications experience she had, I immediately wasn’t to black ball her. But, now I have to defend her youth and inexperience to the very person who did this to me? I understand that my supervisor’s previous remarks were before she was tried and tested, but frankly, if you don’t watch her, help her, or even remotely look over her shoulder in regards to what projects she’s working on, you really shouldn’t bitch about it. And considering that the owner of the company has point-blank said to all of us that mistakes are healthy because they teach us lessons, I don’t really think getting pissy over the fact that she forgot to attach a document to an E-mail is really necessary.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little weird because I don’t see it from my supervisor’s perspective? I saw the very same things as she did when it came to the guy who entered our office. He’s really just not worth it and they should have removed him before now. However, with all of us working on HUGE PROJECTS, we need someone to do the little things like get pricing, create documents, and call for contract information. But we were both in total agreement about how he is not cut out for this job and any work besides the basics. All of a sudden, we’re at odds over a new person because she’s doing her job but making mistakes (as I did and do) during the learning process. It just smacks as… well, it sounds like a pretty shitty way to go about being a boss.

And if there are legitimate worries and issues she has with the girl, then she should probably have those discussions with the person in question instead of making snarky comments to me about it.

Today, however, I got kind of slammed into the “snark zone” with her commentary. And now, I’m kind of angry.

As a quick remark: I only work 30 hours a week instead of the 40 like everyone else. And in those 30 hours, I have to do the same amount of work as everyone else in the office. Since I am as quick and efficient as I am, I can do this. However, if you start inundating me with requests to do things before I even walk in, then things are going to slide.

I walked in this morning to an E-mail request to reach out to a site that was having computer issues. We don’t actually treat any computer related issues, but we do deal with Internet items. So, I was tasked to reach out to this site. Then, it was asked that I very carefully and personally handle a billing discrepancy for a site that has been having issues since they went from standard phone lines to a hosted phone system (voice over Internet). It took me an hour and a half, amid meeting with various people in the office to discuss the issues at hand that were a little out of my relatively new-to-hosted viewpoint, creating the documents that the site would need to understand my investigative findings, as well as working on my own projects. I had repairs to complete and check the status on today. I had my own portfolios to follow-up with, ongoing projects to work on, and billing disputes to file. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to drop my stuff to come running to fix an issue that wasn’t caused by me and I’m sorry if I don’t give a shit if some guy needs computer help.

“Have you called them yet?” She asked me about 2PM.

“I’ve been working on the billing issue you needed me to work on,” I explained. “It’s taken me a while to figure everything out to report back to the site.”

“Ugh.” And if that response wasn’t bad enough, the stomping out of the office to take her lunch, the angrily punching out, and the slamming of the door behind her was kind of an indicator that she was in a pissy mood.

Well, you know, I’m sorry that things don’t move as quickly as you want them to, but if you really wanted that dealt with before the sensitive billing issue, then you probably should have said something.

What really aggravates me about this is that she knows, clearly, how busy I am. I know she goes into my task tracking document and sees how many projects I’ve been working on. Many of the open tickets in our repair/project ticket program are mine. I update each one of those tickets at least once a day. It’s not like I’m sitting around with my fingers up my butt and singing the National Anthem off-key to myself. I am legitimately busy. I am legitimately doing things. I am legitimately stopping those things and teaching the new girl when she has a new question or needs assistance. I am legitimately doing my fucking job and if it was that fucking important then maybe speaking up was in your best interest.

And what makes this all worse is that I know this is because of her personal issues. She was fine up until last Monday when she told me about her myriad of personal issues. I know that the change in behavior is specifically related to her personal life and that drives me insane. As much as your life, at home or with your family, may absolutely suck, you still have to go to work. There is no one else who is going to pay your bills if you get suspended for bad behavior or fired because of bad behavior. You need to keep your personal things at home where they belong. It’s one thing to joke around about how you got a sunburn on a cloudy while at a craft fair and entirely another to take out shitty fucking personal things on your employees because your personal life is really shitty.

So, while it’s possible I don’t know how to be a lead and direct underlings, I have to say that not taking out your personal life on your underlings is probably top of the fucking list.

The Reality of the Unemployment Situation.

I called a friend of mine up in a panic today on my way home from submitting applications and feeling true despair at the totality of my situation. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to panic. We would brain storm about things later together. And then she said to me, “Just don’t panic; you can go on Don’t Panic, but you can’t actually panic.” So, here I am.

Yesterday, I received the news that I knew was coming from the office of unemployment. I was no longer eligible for unemployment benefits and now, I have to become a “welfare bear” in the hopes that my family and I can survive the harsh reality of our situation. I cried. There’s no other words for what my reaction was. I just cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. And I can’t help but wonder how many other people are in my situation, crying their eyes out as they try to find something that allows them to survive in a country that has “no jobs” and is itching to cut the very benefits that will keep people like us alive? I can’t help but be angry at the situation – it sucks – but in reality, I feel very betrayed and disenchanted with everything this country is supposed to stand for.

We hear the politicians talk about how unemployment rates are lower than they were. All right, yes. I’m sure the rates are lower, but the only reason is because people have passed their extended benefits and are no longer eligible, whether they are employed or not. The break down isn’t discussed. You just hear this magic number (I believe it’s 7.8%) touted about and everyone pats each other on the back. “Look what we did! The unemployment rate is down!” But how many of the people who have fallen from unemployment are still looking? How many of those people are living off of state aid in an effort to stay with a roof over their heads and food on the table? I seriously doubt I’m the only person in the entire country facing this crisis.

Did you know they did away with the third tier benefit? And that’s probably the real reason why the unemployment rate is so low.

When you’re filing for unemployment or are living off of the state assistance programs, they actually make you go and take classes at your “local career center.” This is a euphemism for a dark, shadowy place of imprisonment that has absolutely no desire to help you find a job. They tell you about the classes they have and they tell you about using their computers and they update their job postings every day! These are half-truths and outright lies. For example, I have applied for the same job three times via their resource list that cut off hiring in August. In August. (I keep applying because by the time I get that low on the list, I’m drunk with typing and thinking.) Their computers need to be signed up for days in advance, but that’s no big deal. And the classes? They’re typing 101 and they’re how to write a resume 101 and all the next levels to these classes. How are they supposed to get you a job?

Why not have a class about what to wear to an interview? How about a class on proper E-mail etiquette when you’re fishing for a second interview? What about a class on how not to feel like a complete fuck up and loser while you’re going through this crisis? Why not offer counseling services for your mental and emotional well-being instead of all of these “skill set” classes? For the most part, I have to assume that they get enough students for the classes. And I have to assume that they are well received by the local and federal governments because the local career centers are still getting aid at the state and federal levels. So, obviously, this is all well and good in the eyes of politicians who don’t understand what it’s like to have to worry about where the next meal is coming from and what’s more important: gas in your car or toilet paper for your ass.

I am so angry and frustrated all the time. I hate feeling this way. I really feel very similarly to how it was just before MEH and I officially broke it off. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am hurt. I am bewildered. I am scared. And always the same advice from friends and family, “when the doors closes, a window opens.” What they forget to tell you is that you didn’t bring a flashlight, the window is probably a thousand miles down some tight corridor, and you have to find it in the pitch blackness of reality. I hate that phrase right now almost as much as I hate the phrase, “have some hope.” Have some fucking hope?

Everything is wrong and evil and stupid and I am so fucking angry. I am beyond angry. I want to hurt that company so badly. I want to stick it to them. I want their pens to dry up; their computers to be attacked by viruses; their questionable fucking practices investigated on a state level; and I want them all to suffer. I want everyone who threw me under the boss and everyone who still works there and everyone who kisses ass over there to hurt and be angry and know what it’s like to be thrown under the bus after nearly two years of committed service. I want every single one of them to know what it’s like to get interview after interview that lead to nowhere. I want every single one of those selfish twats to see me crying as I panic and worry and have anxiety attacks about how I can’t possibly raise or take care of my family.

And I hate feeling this way.

I’ve worked a very long and hard time to gain adequate control over my emotions. I’ve probably taken that control a little too far, to the point where crying actually physically hurts sometimes because I just… don’t. But I prefer to be in complete control over my emotions instead of being the insane raging beast that I used to be. I much prefer this to that, in all honesty. And the fact that I am always angry, hurt, bewildered, scared, anxious, and panicking drives me fucking insane. All of this drives me fucking insane.

The politicians who think they’re doing a good job.

The people who think they can give advice when they really don’t know the situation well enough to give me advice.

The people who offer me the same old platitudes.

The people who aren’t around to watch me suffer.

The people who did this to me.

I am so fucking insane with rage that all I want to do is shake someone or something all the time. (I suddenly understand BFMA’s intense desire to throw shoes at a door whenever she gets upset on such a better level now.) I don’t do this. I scrub the counters. I scrub the toilet and the bathtub. I do load after load of laundry. I sit down and I fill out endless applications. I sit and I fret, but I don’t shake anyone or anything. I don’t throw shoes at a door. I end up crying instead and have panic attacks.

This is the reality of unemployment, people.

Keep that in mind, too, when you vote on November 6th.

P.S. In case it’s not clear, this isn’t some random “VOTE FOR ROMNEY” ad or anything. Romney can eat a bowl of dicks. I lived in MA when he was governor and he was next to useless. His stance on things like Planned Parenthood, abortion, and his belief that his “business savvy” make him ideal of president are laughable. What I’m saying is DON’T VOTE REPUBLICAN.

I Was Fine Until I Had That Dream…

For the most part, I’m pretty much over how badly my ex place of employment shat all over me. After having watched so many other employees get tossed out on their ear for little to no offense, I’m at the point where it is what it is. I knew how things could end and didn’t do anything about it. However, there is a small area that I tend to still get caught up in that I don’t know how to handle. The one part is that one of my employees still works there and I loved this woman. She was like a mom and she was one of my best employees in the history of ever. I never had to worry when she was working. I don’t go into the stores of the company that I used to work for because, well, why would I want to do that? But, there are nights when I know she’s working and I want to visit. I don’t know how to handle that.

The other part that still bothers me is the part that my Ex-Corpified Boss played in when I was fired. I’ll reiterate what happened.

First, this man hired me. He was the guy who gave me a break after I had been stuck working in a laundry facility for six months. He was a good boss. He was the kind of guy that you could talk to if the need arose. We used to joke around and say he was the father of the store and the employee I spoke about above was the mom. It was a joke, but some of us took it more than others. When he quit, we were all thrown for a tailspin. He had a good replacement – she knew she couldn’t actually replace our boss so didn’t try – but we still missed him. He’d come in to check on us. We all were friends on Facebook. We had a farewell party for one of our mutual coworkers when she moved to another store and became a manager in her own right. He was… well, he was a good replcement father-figure for me.

In the weeks leading up to me getting fired, I would call or stop by his office to talk to him. (He had been re-hired as the training manager about six to nine months after he had quit.) I was having issues managing the crew I had been set to manage. I had plans for what I wanted to see happen – get rid of some of the worst employees and get a good crew going, mostly – but I didn’t quite know how to implement it. I was also having troubles with certain strong-willed employees who thought that they could run the store more effectively, even though they had stepped down as a manager of another store months before. So, I needed his help with handling the multiple personalities. I was stupid, however, because I still trusted him implicitly to help me.

And considering the environment we were both employed in, this was my big, huge mistake. Part of the thing that people would do to keep their jobs was to throw someone under the bus. I saw it happen all the time in different instances. I watched as one manager would toss another under the bus. I would watch as people in the office did it to one another, over and over and over again until someone was finally fired for some imagined offense or some lie that someone else made up to keep the heat off of them. And while I’m sure the amount of money I got paid was part of it, and I’m sure my less than reverent attitude to the Stiff-Necked Jerk that ran the company was a part of it, and I’m sure my refusal to bow to the pressures of the President of the company over an illegal tobacco sale, and I’m sure that the new VP wanted to get rid of me because she wasn’t helping me as she said she would… I’m sure all of those were contributing factors. But after months of thinking about it, I am beginning to think that my ex-manager had thrown me under the bus.

You see, he was there the day I was fired.

The security officer came in to do their job and he got sent to my store to take it over since they were firing me in the middle of the day. He didn’t look at me. He didn’t speak to me. He didn’t so much as say a single word to me and he worked very hard not to meet my eye. And that hurt. I don’t think I’ve been able to convey how much his lack of acknowledgment hurt me. I went home and unfriended him on Facebook and blocked his number from my phone – that’s how much his lack of caring hurt me.

So, the reason I bring this up is because on Saturday, I went grave-tending in the very city he lives in. And I saw him driving his car. I saw him immediately because whenever I see a blue Saturn, I always look, just in case. And there he was wearing the blue shirt that the company mandates all employees wear. And I turned my head as I drove by, hoping he wouldn’t look at me.

That night, I had a dream about that boss. He was the head of a shell company, akin to Bain Capital’s various companies that bought out others and destroyed them. The shell company had an intent of taking over Greed, Inc or something. He apologized to me for throwing me under the bus and he said he always felt awful about not so much as looking at me that day. He said he was hiring me to make amends but that he was also doing it because he knew that all of the shit that they said I “did” was a complete lie and I deserved a chance. And I woke up in tears.

Interview.

So, I have an interview today. In all honesty, I’m rather ambiguous in how I feel about getting this job. (A) I need money coming in that is not unemployment. (B) I worry that I will lose out on the important stuff with my son, as I feel I did when I was working at my last job. (C) I worry I will lose all my forward progress with my religion.

It seems really pathetic that my pro is about making money.

So, I shall put on a power suit, practice my best hire-me smile, and wear makeup as my armor.