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Monday, June 14, 2010


The hardest thing about being me (which isn't really that hard) right now is work. I don't want to get fired because I wrote about work on the interweb, but man... can a girl vent?

I have a nemesis.

This person has strongly disliked me since the day we met. Normally, I'd be all "What the heck ever," but I haven't been able to achieve that level of zen in this case. There are several reasons, but let me give you a little background.

When I started and was introduced to this person, she asked everyone else in the room, as if I wasn't there, what made me qualified for my job. Because you know, I'm a rocket scientist and need Ivy League credentials, or something. I was like, okay... From that point on, nearly every interaction I had with this person was antagonistic. I would present at meetings, and she would ask me why I didn't do things like the person who previously held my job (and left a year before I started). I would just shrug and move on. If I ever presented a possible trend, or something inexact, she'd tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about.

The public humiliation, while great fun (sarcasm!), wasn't the worst. I had been at my job about 9 months, I finally received the training I was promised at my hiring (so that I could do the things the previous person had done). Times were peaceful, for a short while. Then, I found out I was pregnant. I started working with my organization to transition back after maternity leave by working from home. All of my superiors were completely supportive of this. Except the one who wasn't (she has never been, nor will she ever be, my boss). So, I prepared extensively for leave, went on leave, began working from home 12 weeks later, and transitioned back to the office shortly after that - as was agreed upon 4 months before I left. Every meeting I had where this person was in attendance, she made a comment about how I didn't really work "here."

When I was back for good, the antagonism began in earnest. I was told that she made two concerted attempts to get me fired because I didn't know sh*t. (Forgive me. I heard this from my direct supervisor.) Since that time, she's called me stupid to many people and to my face, well, she vacillates between mean, belittling, and pretending I'm not there.

None of this qualifies for an actually "hostile" work environment. It just fits into this paradigm. (Please see the link and read the quick summary.) But, this person, my nemesis, keeps getting promoted. Her meanness and unprofessionalism seem to be rewarded, whereas people like myself (and I am not alone) are left to wonder what it is that we actually did to deserve this. I still have no answers.

This basic history (which doesn't include all of the personal remarks she's made to me, because they require too much contextualization) is to ask you, when do you say when? I've really been struggling with this the past few months. The interactions ebb and flow, and honestly, the majority of them are the level of microinsults. But really, why?

So, I talked to my supervisor the other day (one of a million such talks) and said that all I really wanted was for her to stop calling me stupid, and to treat me like a human being. In essence, for her to be professional. It's not going to happen. What happens when I decide I can't take it anymore and I either blow the hell up, or I walk out the door? God help me. I hope neither of those happen, because she'll, in effect, win.

I admit it. I'm just ridiculously offended by people who don't treat others with kindness and respect. I know if this was someone else, someone other than me whose day-to-day life was a roller coaster dependent on how this one person treated her that day, I would stand up! I would fight for her. But for me? Not so much. I wonder if at some level I think "maybe she's right and I have no idea what I'm doing."

This was a long post of venting and introspection and I beg your indulgence of my "woe is me" in such a time as this. I have a job! I have a roof over my head! Be grateful! Yet, she wins a little bit every day because my joy (I love this gig) is being stolen. Even worse, I take this home. I have to stop that. While she might have some ability to decide my fate here, I give her the power to make me feel bad. Forget that! I have to turn over a new leaf, here and now. She's not going to win!


Breathe Gently said...

Marianne, I don't know how you've kept that inside for such a long time - I'm horrified that such workplace bullying is happening to you. It shouldn't happen at all, but LEAST of all to someone as genuine and sweet as you.

To be honest, a lot of these problems aren't ones that you can really deal with yourself. You need to be supported from management down - and if they're not willing to do that, the bully will just. keep. going. Are they taking any action? If they're not, I would seriously question why not?

There aren't any excuses for what she's doing but I'm guessing she feels threatened by you?

Not much advice as you can see, but big hugs coming at you from my way. And at least, as you've mentioned, you have your gorgeous boys to go home to! x

Adelas said...

I know I've been over here before, although I'm not a regular. I just hope that the "she's full of it" wins out over "there's a grain of truth, must mean it's all true".

*fist bump*