Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hush Money

(Tuesday 12/20/11)

That's what my bonus check was. I had my review today, which was given by my boss and the owner of the company, and received five Above Expectations (4.0 points) and two nearly above expectations (3.5 points). This is phenomenal but was completely overshadowed by the one below expectations on interpersonal skills.

This was the comment: While she has good skills and brings energy and enthusiasm to a project, she needs to work on her relationships with fellow employees.

To say that I'm pissed about this is an understatement. Thinking that this was directly related to the situation with my ahole manager, I said this is really unfair that he wrote this on my review and he knows I've bent over backwards trying to improve the situation but it continually has gotten worse and he, the boss, has not done anything but perpetuate the situation. But this is the kicker, the boss said it wasn't because of my non-relationship with my a-hole manager. It's because I walked out on that meeting with the marketing lady and my idiot manager back in September (see 9/22/11 post). The boss knew that I walked out of that meeting because of my manager trying to do my work because I confronted him about it shortly afterwards which was compound by the marketing manager thinking that people would take a 15 minute survey, at a festival for a temporary tattoo. And now I'm being punished?

By the reaction of the owner of our company, I suspect he did not know that all of this has been going on. I briefly explained that this situation has been escalating for the last three years and in the last two years has turned into a bullying situation. I explained how my manager is very insecure and jealous, refuses to train me and has now withheld work when there are plenty of work to do. I also told him how this situation has led to begin losing our credibility with clients and deeply affects our productivity and quality of our products.

My boss tried to downplay the situation and kept saying "but your a great worker and grant writer" and at least you got a really great bonus. I would gladly give back my kick ass bonus, for a better work environment any day. I just surrendered at that point because I thought there was no way, after bring this to the owners attention, that this situation would continue. I kept it together long enough to walk myself into the HR department to tell the HR person what just happened. I had the ugly cry going on with the occasional hickup in the middle. I can be an emotional person but when I start hitting rock bottom thats when the cries turn into the hickups. It took awhile to even get the ability to speak again so I just showed her my review. I just told her a day earlier that I thought the boss was going to punish me on my review and that I had been having nightmares about it coming. She thought exactly what I thought, that the comment was directed towards my working relationship with my manager. She flipped when she found out he was dinging me on one incident that was already addressed and something he should take a little responsibility for (knowing that my co-worker had been stealing work yet not punishing him for it).

After calming down I left the office to find out that my boss was brought into the accounting office to what appeared to my informant, to discuss exactly how unproductive I've been and the general unproductiveness of our department. Whether this is true or not, I don't know but it sounded like the accounting department knew that I am constantly approaching them and other department heads for work, so at least I know they were not saying I was being unproductive on purpose.

I was so thankful to have a dr's appt scheduled for that day so that I could have a legit excuse to get out of misery. At least the appt went well. The echogenic focus was not noticeable on the ultrasound however the kidneys are still a little dialated over the normal range but the perinatologist thought that as the baby continued to grow it would resolve itself. It's a huge relief.

(Wednesday 12/21/11)

Nobody approached me to address the issue at all until the end of the day. There is nothing worse than getting an email at 3:30 saying you have meeting at HR at the end of the day. Of course I thought that was the end of me so I loaded up all my personal information on my computer to my flash drive.

I have very mixed emotions on how the meeting went. Pissed. Shocked. Betrayed. Self-loathed. Basically the jist was that this whole situation is my fault and that I am a difficult to work with, overly opiniated and nobody wants to work with me. I know you don't know me know me, but the first few weeks I worked here, I made sure I introduced myself to everyone I encountered. I want to have a positive workplace and I don't feel yelling or being rude to others will make my job easier nor anyone elses. My jealous co-worker actually complained about the number of people that stop by my desk on a daily basis. I've go to lunch and drinks (when not pregnant) with just about everyone in this place. This would not happen if people didn't like me and over all, if its one or two people who don't like me, that's ok. You don't have to make everyone like you. I am a ballsy girl. I believe on getting to the top in a way that is respectful, I don't believe on stepping on people, you will never get people to work with you if you do that. When someone asks my opinion, I give it even if I know it might not be what people want to hear. In a job with 100+ men, you need to stand your ground. I'm not a wallflower. I'm not going to lie to your face although I am very concientous about not delivering the news in a cold hearted fashion. I always try to provide two positive comments per negative comment. After saying all that, hearing that "nobody wants to work with me" was like a knife to my heart.

I believed it for a split second, I had to ask "really?" and even the HR person said she didn't believe it either but had talked to a "few" people and that's what they (HR and boss) were told. She had asked these people if they ever told anyone about this in the past and they said no. How do you correct something when you aren't told about your mistakes? I still took it very seriously, I would never want anyone to ever have that impression of me so I listened to what they had to say. And that's when I feel their story started to fall apart. The only person they really could indicate was our marketing lady. They said my ahole manager was not involved (and they were not going to let me talk about anything that had to do with my manager during this conversation) which I have a REALLY hard time believing. I know I can be viewed as opiniated and I know that when people sit around and discuss an issue over and over again and nobody takes a leadership role, I typically will step in when no one else seems to step up to the plate. I work with a number of quiet and insecure people, and I'm sure that my confidence and instinctive nature to lead rubs them the wrong way but after knowing them for 3 yrs, I know they will never make a decision on their own so I tend to expedite the process along. I also am very comfortable contacting one of our many engineers to ask for their input on the safety or viability of a infrastructure project that has been cooked up by our planning department. Our engineers are awesome and they have more than a handful of times prevented us from creating projects that our completely unsafe or unbuildable. The best part is, they never give me a hard time if I ask questions, they know I'm learning.

Their solution was for me to start going around to apologize to people in the office in case I have offended anyone with my opinions. Just apologize to everyone (I work with 170 people, a little over 100 in this office alone). My boss said he will go around the office in about a month or two to make sure I've made all my apologies. Maybe its just me, but that just seemed like they wanted me to get everyone involved in our mess of a situation which I feel is highly inappropriate. I have only talked to HR and four of my closest friends at work of this situation and I really don't want to drag others into it. But I'm going to do as I am told. It will be interesting to see peoples reactions. I figure I would just start off with the "I apologize if I've ever offended you in anyway, please don't feel like you need to tell me if I have or not, I'm not here to make anyones job here any harder than it needs to be and I don't want to foster an unhappy work environment". Something to that affect. I was also told that I am now no longer allowed to voice my opinion unless I am specifically asked for it nor am I allowed to ask my fellow engineers for their input unless I go and get my boss first and let him do it. I feel like I'm being treated like a child.

The funny part (ok maybe more uncomfortable) was when I mentioned that I am embarassed about how the fueding and lack of leadership in our department this affects other departments opinion about us. Worse, how it affects our clients perception. On a recent trip a co-worker from our northern office mentioned how, in general, our company has very few leaders and how he heard our department was the most dysfunctional and unmanaged. I brought it up in this meeting as an example. My boss started saying how he's on the board and he's never heard that before, that's just my opinion. Thankfully HR stood up for me and said she hears this type of comment regarding our department quite frequently. She even gave more examples of situations that fit this description. He just shook his head like we were making it all up. Again feeling fairly defeated, I just kind of surrendered. I agreed to the terms, dropped the fact that my co-worker lies and even my boss has acknowledged that he knows he is doing it and left for the day.

I headed for my second job that day and took a few minutes to share with my other boss what had happened. Out of my own paranoia, I asked him he felt that way about me too and If so, I promised to correct myself and that I do not want to be the cause of a bad work environment. He had the best reaction which made me feel sooo much better. Direct quote: "You work with a bunch of insecure assholes who clearly are covering there own asses by making you the escape goat! F-em! You're our Mary Poppins on crack, quit your job and come work for us full time" I still don't necessarily understand why I have to be equated to a disney character on crack, but I appreciate the gesture. Sorry for the quote, my manager at the restaurant talks like he just got out of prison;)

(Thursday 12/22/11)

I came into work this morning to begin my first apology sessions. I was a little apprehensive and started to really wonder again if what they heard was true. My first apology went to the marketing lady. I walked into her office and asked if she had a moment and apologized with everything I had. She accepted the apology and hugged me and then told me that she was purposely testing me that day to see if I would snap, and I failed miserably but she was glad I came to finally apologize to her and she hoped that I had learned my lesson. Yeah, that was what she said. UNBELIEVABLE, that was the most messed up thing I've heard in a very long time. You were purposly trying to pick a fight, as a "test" to make me learn my lesson? This is what I learned: I have some of the most immature co-workers who just want to power trip any chance they get. I didn't want to start a real fight I just kept my cool and apologized again and left.

The next two people said the exact same thing when I apologized (I just kept making my way down the row of offices), Why are you apologizing? We like working with you and have never had a problem with you, but your department is an unorganized mess. One of them also called us the land of the misfits. It is going to be a long day.

Thankfully I can leave in about 6 hours and bail out of this forsaken state. I just got to keep thinking it's Christmas, it's Christmas and I will have my baby in my arms in just a few short months.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Genie said...

WOW! I'm getting all worked up reading this because you work with a group of idiots. Seriously, have your baby, get back on your feet and get the hell out of there. It's a toxic environment that no grownup experience ... EVER.

Better days are coming for you.

~ Mary ~ said...

Totally toxic! And how humiliating to make you apologize like that... Get out of there fast as you can, you deserve a professional atmosphere! Seriously, that kind of stress is not worth it! Please do not let their antics take you down to crazy town with them ;)

Tiara said...

Humiliating was the word I was going to use's like you work with 2nd graders! That marketing lady is a real piece of work!

R said...

You have GOT to get a new job! That is completely ridiculous... Go around and apologize to every single person, regardless of whether or not they've ever said anything? WTF??? Have your baby, enjoy every minute of your maternity leave, and spend one of baby's naps updating your resume. Then get the hell out!

Happy Holidays, and hang in there!