Ponder this:

Friday, January 9, 2009

A few days in a very tippy boat


As of Friday, I am half-time in the office where I have worked for twelve years...that's all that's budgeted. So I don't know what I'm supposed to do....work half a day and go home? The budget is effective 1/1/09, and no one has received any instruction from the people who made the budget.


Early afternoon I asked Bill, as a department head, to work out what the schedule would be with Jane, the other department head. He went straight down to Jane and threw me under the bus…”June’s havin’ a tough time with this.”

I walked in to hear Jane telling him “Everybody’s life is in an upheaval right now,” and looked for something I’d left there and got out again.

After THAT, I saw Jane talking to the mayor, clearly having been in tears.
A while after THAT, I went to her office and asked her if she was okay.
And we got into a screaming match about my "still having issues" with working in her office.
I yelled, "What're you mad at ME for? Talking to my department head about when I'm gonna be in the office?????"
She didn't answer me and I went back to the office and cried and wailed and yelled at Bill for throwin' me under the bus.
So then.
I calmed down and apologized to Bill and wanted to make it right with Jane.

Jane said I thought it would be a ball to have you working in here, but so far it’s been just awful. You think it’s all about you.

I said I was so comfortable in my department and I thought I was just gonna ride it out until I retired.

Jane said So did I. So did Frank. Phyllis didn’t know anything about survey work when she went downstairs. I haven’t done billing in ten years and I sat here with my eyes buggin’ out for two weeks.

Jane said I feel like I went out on a limb to keep you employed full time so you could keep all your benefits and it seems like you don’t want it.

Jane said If you don’t want to work in this office then we can get a part time person.

I said Don’t yell at me.

Jane said I don’t mean to yell. It’s just that it seems like you’re not hearing me.

I said The most important thing is I don’t want to go back to the way we were a few years ago. I appreciate your friendship. I want us to be friends.

Jane said Well that’s part of it, too…When you made it clear you didn’t want to come work here I felt hurt. And when I’m hurt I get mad.

I said I cry.

So then I asked for a hug and we hugged and I said I was sorry and I would be better tomorrow.


Today was a better day.

When I heard tomorrow's weather forecast I determined that I will be staying at home, taking a vacation day, so on my way to work I decided that unless something unexpected happened in the “home” department I would spend the whole workday in Jane’s office.

Jane changed her training style this morning too...from having me sit at the computer with her next to me, to her doing it and me taking notes and observing.

MUCH better.

The first way, there's absolutely no way to feel as if I'm doing anything right...impossible to get a picture of the framework in which I am to work. So we got out most of the necessary work, and then right around 4pm the printer stopped printing. But something got DONE.

And that's good.
And the mood was much better.

When I mentioned this afternoon that I wouldn't be in tomorrow, Jane said, "That's such an old lady thing!"
I said, "I AM an old lady! It isn't gettin' to work that worries me...I can just roll down the hill. It's gettin' back UP that's a problem."

She was wearing a skirt today and I commented on it.
She said, "Oh, you know...PMS...you wanna wear something different."
So that was an admission that she'd been a little out of her head.
I told her about when I waited tables at one of the fancy restaurants where I'd worked, the second lunch I worked I got all nervous and jerky and the assistant manager had to take out my orders for me...and then I was okay.

We admitted to each other, by way of these stories, that we had both been wrong.
We made our peace.

Today Phyllis told me that when my predecessor in the job used to do the work that I did yesterday it was trainwreck time and it had been much calmer with me there.


There's freezing rain hitting the windows off and on now. I am home today, fighting a feeling of guilt. But I prepared yesterday for not being there by spending my two half-days in Jane’s office in one day....and I told both my bosses that I wouldn't be there.

I need to remember that I need to take care of myself first.
No point in feeling like I'm doing somebody a favor and scaring myself half to death by driving on this crap and taking an hour and a half to get home, if I could.

Resentments are born of such actions.

This morning I called Jane to touch base, asked her how she was. She had a controlled dead-person sound in her voice. I asked about the board meeting last night and learned that the board voted to dissolve the municipality.

So now the shoe has dropped. Jane said it had to come to this so that it could end one way or the other.
I said, Yes, the suspense has been terrible.
She said it’s been a question for twenty years and this will put it to bed one way or another. The proposition will be on the 12/09 ballot for municipal voters.

I told Jane that my plan, if it was in agreement with hers and Bill’s, was to give Jane’s office priority and do Bill’s stuff as it came up. Bill agreed wholeheartedly with my plan.

Our municipal government is a school project, nothing more, for the mayor, who has said, "I'll do any crazy-ass thing you want me to do. I have nothing to lose."

It will always bug the hell outta me that nobody ever actually said to me: June, your job will be cut to half time. You have a choice to go part time or work part time in this office and Jane's office.

I just got it by word of mouth, and all the time Bill was telling me it wouldn't happen, even when we got the copy of the budget and I highlighted the part that said "Part time," and left it on his chair....so right up until 1/2, I wasn't sure what was going to be expected of me.

But nobody had ever spoken to Bill about any of it either.


Things have settled down some at work.

I spent Tuesday and today all day in Jane's office and some things are beginning to look a little more familiar to me.

Jane was very very tired today...has some sinus thing going on. If I were still in the state I was in a few days ago I would've gotten all nervous and jerky that she was upset with me and it would have gotten in the way of my being able to "get" things.


Carolynn Anctil said...

Ah, communication is a wonderful thing...

I've found in my experience that if I can resist my natural tendency to come up with stories in my head about 'what's going on' and actually ask for clarification instead, I usually avoid a lot of unnecessary confusion and the other person gets the opportunity to be heard.

Good luck with everything in your world!

June said...

Thanks, Carolynn, for the good wishes. It will all come around. The stories in one's head can kill a person, can't they?

It seems that my life lessons have equipped me to deal with this whole imbroglio in a matter of days rather than months.

But it sure would have been a lot easier if, when I asked for clarification the answer had ever been something other than: THERE IS NO PLAN!!!!