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wise up
Jun 17th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

i’ve been on a cleaning and purging kick lately. i am of the opinion that the things which have been collecting around my house are weighing me down, both from a neatness perspective as well as a psychological perspective. which is why i thought this was a bit interesting.

every now and again, i have chosen to write about something which got my proverbial goat. it’s probably why i blog. i write for release, for therapy, and cos it’s so gosh-darn fun. so it was fascinating to me what i found when i cleared out my old franklin tool from the organizational cult of all cults planner. i’ll just type it verbatim. i would point out that this was written while i was a new mother of an eight month old who was struggling to balance work and home, with no one to help me except for BS.

7/29/99

Today, S [my then boss] and I met for lunch to discuss my future. She is retiring on Nov 30 and wanted to know my plans because she wanted to know whether I wanted to be recommended for her job or whether i wanted to do something else. I told her I would be pleased to manage the XXX group, that I thought very highly of my XXX colleagues, and that such a position would be instructive to me — that I would bring plenty to the position, having managed people before, but that I would learn much, too. But I also told her that I enjoyed strategic work and liked figuring out process.

She said I didn’t seem so enthusiastic about managing the team and that she really needed to lobby if I really wanted the job because someone is concerned that I leave at 4:30 each day. I told her that whenever I am needed to stay later, I have made arrangements (such as when I was covering SP2 for her a few weeks ago and had to stay late to deal with a problem it had.) And I come in earlier, which is better for my customers [who were in Europe and Asia.] She said I should come back to her on Monday and let her know what I think.

eventually, i was lateralled into another position. someone i had trained got the position. the same person who was promoted over me while i was on maternity leave because i looked so tired when i brought the baby in to visit that they didn’t think i was really coming back to work after maternity leave. i especially appreciated it when S, my direct supervisor, tried to sugarcoat the whole thing. yep. made it all better. not.

for nearly 10 years, i have been trying to clean and purge the anger i have felt about being penalized at work because i was a new mother, penalized by a company which, incidentally, won a best company to work for by working mother magazine. (what a laugh.) i did my job — and i did it well, if i may say so — and yet i was scolded for not keeping the same hours as my boss’s boss. nevermind that i was available to my customers who were in different time zones. nevermind the conference calls i had to take some evenings, while my colicky baby fussed.

i had to suck it up. for financial reasons, i had to suck it up. plain and simple. i had to feel tremendous shame and anger at being passed over — twice — because basically i was a mother. no one else in my group was a parent at that point. (i still remember when some of the women freaked out because i had to pump in the ladies room. it’s not like i could do it in my cubicle.) and every day, i had to come in with a smile, a smile which hid some incredibly venomous feelings, feelings i had to swallow in order to continue doing what i was paid to do.

i sucked it up until march 2000 when i was free at last. ironically, i was called back to the same company to work again, only to eventually leave because a new supervisor had a serious issue with my prenegotiated schedule. you know, the ironclad one i ensured i had before ever starting work there again — the one that gave me my tuesdays with my girl? it never impacted my work. and yet the new supervisor — childless, btw — could not deal with the situation. instead of talking to me about it, she yelled at my direct supervisor. for hours. fortunately, i was in a position this time to leave at will. which i did.

i am so lucky to say that i have had some amazing bosses in my life. i still communicate with several of them; i count them among my friends. and yet here i am, remembering an experience which really and truly soured me. i often wonder how many women end up in this situation?

i need to wise up and purge it. it’s done.

but sometimes, that’s easier said than done.


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