So this happened two weekends ago, but I’m going to share so you can “laugh at my pain,” as Kevin Hart says. So yeah, Bubs and I were in Santana Row for the Container Store (elfa shelving). Because I slept in late, we ended up not getting there until lunch time. I was feeling hungry, so fine, let’s eat at our old standby Pasta Pomodoro. I got my usual: gorgonzola ravioli. Delish. Even though we had never dined at this particular location, we have certainly eaten at many PP, and they are consistently good. Well not. this. time.
I mean, the meal tasted awesome going down, but after our stint with the closet expert, as soon as we got out of TCS, the shits came on fast and strong. I went to the closest coffee shop bathroom, and I swear to god, it was occupied FORever. Minutes went ticking by as my bowels tore themselves apart. Finally, we decided to head home and of course, we hit every goddamn fucking red light possible. In the car, which John already drives all herky jerky, I started sweating, so we blasted the AC. Then, I was freezing, then hot again then cold. Repeat. Holy fuck. We just barely made it home, and then my body was exhausted as hell from trying to keep that shit (literally) under control for 20 minutes. Jesus Christ. What a close call!
My first few days of freedom have been pretty darn good. Nothing super dramatic or exciting like jet setting to exotic islands or lounging on the beach in the South Pacific, but I’ve definitely been enjoying that feeling of having time. It’s so weird but whenever I’m working, I just get into this crazy zone where I dunno, so many aspects of my life just fall to the wayside. Now, it’s so refreshing to NOT be all about work all the damn time! I’m only a few days in, and although my quality of sleep has not yet improved (Marty is digging frantically in his bed again at night– it sounds like someone is scratching to get out of a coffin!), just being able to sleep in definitely gives my body some needed rest the morning after.
This week, my main focus has been tackling home organization. Our garage cabinets from Bay Area Home and Window got installed while my dad was here earlier this month, and I followed the suggestion of the professional home organizer to get uniform storage containers: big clear bins from Costco and then small and large clear shoe boxes from The Container Store (TCS). In the past, I really hated that overpriced yuppie store, but as it turns out, if you buy the shoe boxes in cases, it’s actually more affordable. That and well, I guess Bubs and I are yuppies now. Lately, John has been saying over and over that he needs to start living his “best life” now, and part of that means he wants his home to be nice. Admittedly, I definitely run on the cheap/low standards end for “nice”– maybe I never outgrew my college makeshift furniture mode– but I am trying to get on board with Bubbey. So, TCS is having their big elfa closet sale right now. Last weekend, we went into the store with our closet measurements and met with the designer. She was really fast and responsive, so we’re going to give this elfa thing a try in our bedroom closets. Of course, I had to go about a very specific way of purchasing, to maximize my Bubbey Bucks.
You see, I learned about Upromise two years ago from that job networking group in Sunnyvale. Basically, it’s a program where you earn cash back for online purchases by going through a referral website rather than going directly to the store website. Sure, the money takes a while to deposit into your account, and some transactions (like via mobile tablet or phone) don’t get logged at all (buggy). My friend K tried Upromise a few months ago and HATED it. She prefers Ebates, which processes the transactions almost immediately. But Upromise has higher cash back percentages, so you know that’s where I go! Recently, I earned $150 back from T-mobile for activating two new devices; plus, I scored some decent bucks with 5% back on hotel bookings (for my work and John’s work) and other larger ticket items like car tires. The day-to-day stuff doesn’t earn that much but still, at 5-10% cash back (like for TCS or for clothing stores), it adds up. So far, I’ve earned over $400! LMK if you’re interested, and I can hook you up with a referral, and then we both score $20!
In other news, I ran a gabillion errands the other day: seriously, I am amazed how much more I can get done when no one else is at the fucking stores. I went to the regular supermarket, the vet office, Costco, then the gas station. Incidentally, I decided to empty out the contents of my cute car trash bin. Well I had forgotten that I was weighing the bin down with a ton of pennies to keep it from tipping over. So all of those damn pennies went rattling through the gas station garbage bin. And yes, I tried to re-collect them. Now before you start judging me, let me share a story about my father.
He called me the other day to ask if Dulles Airport is open 24/7. The reason? He doesn’t want to inconvenience his friend who is giving him a ride to the airport. Dad’s flight is at 6 am, so his plan is to have his friend drop him off at Dulles at 10p (a reasonable hour). Then, he will just sleep at the airport until his flight that morning. Uh, dad, why don’t you just take a cab or a SuperShuttle? You can take SuperShuttle from your friend’s house (about 30 min to the airport compared 60 min to his home), and it’s $30. “No, this is fine.” When I told Bubbey my story about the pennies, he warned me about nipping that shit in the bud, bc I am very well on that path to being my father sleeping at the airport for seven hours. The fruit don’t fall far from the tree.
What else. So yeah, I have been organizing my shit big time. Damn, even just packing up my office crap and bringing that home… I had a ton of junk. With the elfa closet makeover, I am going through my clothes and purses and bags… purging and making more room. I also started deep cleaning the house. Fuck man, I busted out my vacuum attachments for the first time ever. Sucked up all the damn crud that fell between the couch cushions and along the baseboards. Jesus Christ, John and I are fucking slobs!!
I’ve been pretty productive these last few days. John has been telling me to chill the fuck out and not be so goddamn task oriented. I can’t help myself though. Today I sat in on a webinar about an online web development boot camp. Right now, the following career possibilities are on the table: web dev/UX/product management, real estate, project management (PMP certification), Salesforce certification, freelance social media/digital comm work. I’m not gonna lie, but I fantasize about running my own gig with flex hours and lots of remote work. Those options seem to allow for that…
I’m currently reading a book recommended by my student intern. It’s called Undecided, and it’s basically about women on this unending search for career fulfillment, partly bc they have too much choice these days (compared to the previous generation). I’m early in the book, so it’s too soon to tell…
Tomorrow I’m getting back on the yoga bandwagon. Sure, I started that hip hop class last Monday, but it’s only 4 classes total, and given how fucking sore I am after the first class, I have a long ways to go before I get back to my old days of glory. So yup, I bought a few Groupons and it’s back to sweating my brains out. After all, the big 4-0 is like that heat coming around the corner!! Get busy livin’ or get busy dying!!
Overall, my dad’s visit went much better than expected. I think he had a good time, and I’m pleased with the level of travel and activities we did outside of the house. We parted ways the day after MLK, with dad flying straight home from Vegas and John and me back to the Bay Area. Of course, the day before, John commented that he wanted to touch down before noon rather than after noon, so we switched our itinerary to fly out earlier. As it turned out, SFO was getting another dousing of rain, so our flight got delayed. Thankfully, I moved fast and asked the gate agent about flying into SJC instead. It was 6:50a, and she switched us for free to a 7:15a flight. So yeah, we headed out of Sin City early, in time to be back behind our desks by 9a. Workaholics, man. They CANNOT be helped.
Most people say their final week on the job is super lax. Unfortunately, not my experience. Last time I ditched The Man, the last week was crammed up to the wire with me training my interim replacement. Same deal this time. The interim was a previous staffer from a different department. She crashed my office, and we spent my last week practically attached at the hip. Ok, not that bad but there was a TON of info transfer, and my final days were intense. She’s a cool lady, and interestingly, we are both ESTJ. She was all surprised to learn I am an E. I’m full of surprises, woman. Don’t try to put me into a box! Haha.
I feel good about the systems I implemented and how I organized my files. The overlap period was helpful, and I have full confidence that everything will be fine. On Thursday, I had lunch with the Cool Club at the office. Who doesn’t enjoy a love fest? Then on Friday morning, my boss organized an office-wide goodbye breakfast. That was really thoughtful and nice too. I said a few words, cried a few tears, etc. Of course, the interim AVP was in the office but didn’t join, which I’m actually glad about bc my words of gratitude didn’t apply to her anyway! I definitely didn’t make the same strong connections here like I did at the previous workplace (in part, bc I was only here 15 months instead of 6 years), but there are still a lot of good people, and it pisses me off when they are mistreated and disrespected.
In the afternoon, I had my exit interview with HR. In typical Vix fashion, I had a lot to say. I tried my best to come across thoughtful (rather than spiteful), intelligent, and compelling. I only met with the HR analyst for 30 min, but she acknowledged that I had put a lot of time into my feedback. I gave her a verbal summary, and she said up until now, she hadn’t heard a thing about our department. She said my charges sounded quite serious, and she would read my file more closely and escalate to the head of HR. But she also said that right now, it was still just one person’s viewpoint against another’s. I assured her that my sentiments went beyond just me, but I understood her position. Unless people go forward, I’m just one person who perhaps has a beef with another. I suggested a 360 review to ask the staff about their thoughts on the recent leadership changes, and she seemed receptive. I hoped that she would understand the gravity of the situation, as I was departing NOW without another job and without obtaining my retirement benefit at the 2-yr mark. She said that spoke volumes, and she promised me she would spend the time to look into this.
As I drove home, I was overcome by emotion. Despite my defiance in taking such a strong stance, there is a part of me that understands there may be consequences to my radical honesty. My file will be read by my immediate boss and by the interim AVP, since she is my boss’ boss. Maybe she will contact me or approach me or blackball me among her very wide circle of influence. There was an incident in the office this last week where she physically approached my colleague who was asking questions and not backing down. This was during a department meeting, so witnessed by multiple people. I wasn’t there, but the act of her getting into my colleague’s face definitely touched off a storm in the office. To me, her move sounded like physical intimidation, so maybe it’s not completely outlandish that she would approach me somewhere and get in my face…
And what if HR did in fact send out a 360 review? Would my coworkers actually take the time to be honest with their feedback? Or would I just end up looking like an unruly child, making unwarranted claims, coming across like someone with authority issues? After I got home, I climbed into bed. Why do assholes get away with this kind of behavior? Why do people not speak up and defend themselves? Why had I not even approached the AVP in person to give her a piece of my mind? Goddamn, maybe I hadn’t done enough or maybe what I had done was all out of order??
When John called, I said all these things, and he just kept telling me to let it go. I wrote what I had wanted to say and now the rest is out of my control. He said there was zero chance the AVP would contact me upon seeing my criticism. He also said he doubted anything would happen for the department. Institutions like that are systemically flawed. They don’t have the right people or mechanisms in place to enact real change and make things better. His comments reminded me of a coworker who was so surprised that I had bothered to write any real feedback in my exit form. He too said he had zero faith that any of the effort would result in anything.
This is what I mean when I say that I’m just dumb, naive, and unfit for this life. Why do these people understand so easily that this is sometimes how the world works: You have asshole bosses and they get away with shit, and you either accept that or you leave. If you leave, you save yourself and you remove yourself from the bad situation.
People who stay have their reasons. Clearly, the situation is tolerable for them. It’s not anyone’s job to try and change the environment for people who are ok with it. That same coworker wrote me an email after I got home that said I cared too much and I worked too hard. And then I just felt sad, disappointed, defeated, unsophisticated, and flawed. I went to bed.
The next day, I felt better knowing that no matter what, I didn’t have to return to that place come Monday. I wouldn’t have to be pushed and angered on a daily basis anymore. And I realized that my naïveté was probably what gave me the determination to walk away from this toxic place, to resume a search in the face of uncertainty. So just as my college roommate spent 20+ years finding her spouse, I am spending more time and energy towards finding my workplace “match.” And ultimately, I know I am blessed to exercise choice.
I’ve had a super hectic week since taking days off from work. Surprisingly, my father took my suggestion to reconnect with some old friends. I was thrilled and happily offered to shuttle him around to see them in CA and NV.
After that beotch of a day on Tuesday, dad and I drove up to San Ramon on Wednesday. Mr. Chen was apparently the friend who matched up my mom and dad many years ago at a party in Taipei. This dude was an economics big wig who lived in a gazillion places while serving as a diplomat for the Taiwan government: Panama, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Italy, England, you name it. What a life, learning a bunch of languages while working and traveling the world! Their two daughters are now in NorCal, so the parents retired in a beautiful community in San Ramon. I had never traveled to that part of North Bay, but shit, pretty swanky new construction haciendas adjacent to a golf course! The house was huge and def a party house with massive gathering rooms, an outdoor courtyard with fireplace, a casita, and a pool. Of course, as soon as we stepped in, the place was freezing cold. I couldn’t even take off my damn coat. As an environmentalist, I am all for energy savings, but shit: don’t be buying a big ass house if you’re not going to heat it! Same with the pool. Seriously, I drank a ton of hot tea, bc I just could not stay warm.
And so the conversations began: talking about their kids’ schooling, jobs, and credentials. I’m sure people are just sharing their lives, but hypersensitive me, I take every little thing as some comment on my failure. These other kids are doing big things with their lives: traveling the world for prestigious firms; opening private dental practices; getting PhDs in whatever fields… And what am I doing? Marketing and communications for some lame private university. I didn’t even have the heart to say I was leaving my job. I already felt loser enough. Ugh, fucking shame: No matter how much I read about building confidence or taking risks or self acceptance, things just never feel good enough. Then my father throws in that he’s moving back to Taiwan bc he “doesn’t have grandkids to care for or babysit,” blah, blah. Maybe he’s just doing the radical honesty thing, explaining why he wants to return to Asia instead of stay Stateside, but I dunno, there are just moments when I read things pretty negatively. Like he’s blaming me for not giving him enough reason to live in the US. Whatever. See? Complicated emotional guilt tripping or no? Hard to say bc to some extent, Chinese parents seem to love the blame game. On the other hand, maybe he just doesn’t want to bother or inconvenience me. Hmm, has that stopped them before? Obviously, my thoughts waver back and forth.
On Thursday, I drove dad to Visalia to visit with other old friends from Taiwan, a physician + dentist couple. Very nice and a little younger than my parents. Again, big house, freezing temps. The lady, on seeing both my dad and me keeping our coats on after stepping inside, asked what temp I set at home. Lady, you don’t even want to know. Her thermostat was set to 66 deg. Are you for fucking real? Unlike the couple the day before, this house was definitely Chinese in its decor: a lot of glass curio cabinets and tables and black lacquer. Slippers as soon as we came in, and a shit ton of takeout containers washed and stacked for re-use in the kitchen. So weird to observe these things and then realize they are part of a pattern, a cultural thing perhaps? The couple was super nice: they showed us around town. Visalia is super agrarian with a mostly Latino population. Interestingly, I learned that this couple spent ten years living apart: the wife practicing as a dentist and raising their two kids in the Bay Area, and the hubby practicing as an internist in Visalia, driving home every weekend. Who does that?? Immigrants, man. The struggle is real.
That evening, the temps dipped low, and the mountains got some snow. The next morning, the couple drove us to Sequoia National Park, but we couldn’t drive very far in, bc we didn’t have snow chains. So, I will have to go back for sure to see the world’s largest living tree. On the way back down the mountain, we hit up a Mexican place. Delish, esp with the bass rellano. Add it to the list!
On the long drive back home, dad talked regrets. Boo hoo central. Maybe he should have sent us to boarding school to better prepare us for Duke. Maybe we should have gone to a state school first, possibly done better academically, and then attended a prestigious grad school afterwards. I admit that one of my greatest disappointments in life was not doing well academically at Duke. That really shattered me, and I don’t think my confidence ever truly recovered since. That said, I hate regret, so I always try to focus on the learning moments.
When I told my dad that things turned out fine and I’m fine, he switched his comment as if to say it only applied to my brother. Th thing is though, my brother always maintained his merit scholarship at Duke. He came close to losing it due to poor grades, but he always pulled through. And for grad school, he went to one of the nation’s top film schools and then to one of the nation’s top teaching schools. So who is my father talking about with his whole public school undergrad and fancy grad school scenario? And is he talking about academic success or professional success or life success? When I press, he’s unclear. This is where I just feel like he continues to believe both his kids are failures, and that makes me feel like utter shit.
If he’s talking academic success, my brother did very well. Professionally, he is in a field that suits him and he is well respected at the university. If dad’s talking about life success, my brother sucks at that, but is he then suggesting that not adapting well at Duke led to being unprepared for life? As for me, I know dad never thought anything about my grad school selection even though I earned a selective fellowship and Florida was the best program for solid waste engineering. He also never thought much of any of my professional tracks: environmental engineering, political advocacy, nonprofit, etc. Life wise, I suppose at best he doesn’t have to worry much about me.
I dunno: the truth is, it’s all moot now. But I still get frustrated bc basically, somewhere I’m either not smart enough to excel in the arena he wants, or compared to the immigrant sacrifices of his generation, I’m not hardworking enough to achieve professional success. Sigh.
Back to the trip. On Saturday, the three of us flew out to Vegas. The plan was to do a quickie weekend meeting with more of dad’s friends (retired in Henderson) and then do some exploring. As it turned out, the flight got delayed and then the rental car took FORever. Fucking Budget. DO NOT RENT FROM THEM. We left our house around 8am and didn’t get to eating anything until 4pm. It was the longest day ever. Fortunately, dad treated us to the buffet at Caeser’s Palace, and our suite at the Signature at MGM was spacious and beautiful.
I left the house late morning to take my dad to buy Powerball tickets in downtown Mountain View. Yup. He’s into it…only when the prize pot is ginormous. For lunch, we got cheesesteaks from Jersey Mike’s. Dad wasn’t impressed. It’s not as tasty as Jerry’s Subs back East, I’m told. Goddamn, he is hard to please!
In the afternoon, I had that offsite work meeting, and then at the tail end, John interrupted us, calling to say he got a message from Santa Clara Animal Control: Marty got picked up and was thrown into the slammer. WTF??
We suspect he got out in the morning when the garage cabinet installers were putting in those storage units (They look good!!). The shelter says he went to the school next door, entered one of the classrooms in session, and refused to leave. Man, I rushed over to the center thinking he would be all scared and terrified being in a new place. Nope. As I discussed with staff about his licensing and rabies exemption paperwork, Marty was snuggled into a dog bed with a blanket and big toy, snoozing away!! He could have stayed there longer for sure. When I woke him up, he was all, “Huh, oh what? Were you looking for me??” Marty and his new adventures. What ever happened to those days when he never stepped beyond the boundary of our front gate?? Gone forever. SMH.
Even though my resignation was a LOOOONG time coming and I stayed on quite a bit longer than I had wanted (partly at the request of my manager), I’m sure that from the AVP’s perspective, I pulled a dick move by announcing and then giving just two weeks’ notice. The new website launches in mid-Jan, and even though I’m not a part of the web team, the project is a big deal for the department. Yeah, I know, that is still not that compelling of an argument… Except that the AVP had the bright idea to do a big marketing push for the site launch. I have a few thoughts on the matter: given that the project is already up to the wire, it makes more sense I think to do a soft launch and then insert all the fanfare after the kinks and oddities are worked out. In other words, who the fuck REALLY cares about a new uni site? Do people really want to hear about it repeatedly in some kind of blasted campaign? Doubt it. But whatever, I’m not empowered to make those calls, so the AVP gets what the AVP wants. And she wants to toot this horn. Fine.
Bc dad is in town, I took off this week, Tue-Friday. The AVP was told this bc my resignation date factored in those days. So what happens? I work from home this morning; I meet with my temp/replacement this afternoon offsite; and then the AVP emails me asking for the social media plan for this stupid website launch. Like I said before, take, take, take. And shame on me for doing work on my “day off.” This is how loyalty (to my immediate supervisor) screws me. Whatever, I’ll be outta that shithole soon enough, thank goodness.
So my father came to town last Thursday. Poor guy. His flight into SFO was delayed FOUR hours. On the plus side, he was upgraded to first class with free drinks and meals, so you know homeboy maxed out on the amenities. Like father, like daughter. Unlike past visits (last one to Mountain View was September 2013 after I left my previous job) where I had him and mom stay in my bedroom with the Westin bed and bigger master bath, I set him up in my office. He came solo this visit and I figured with just one person, the air mattress would work better holding him than holding both John and me. His bed setup involved my CB2 Lubi as a base, then a 2-ft thick air mattress, then a 2-in foam mattress pad, then a heated mattress topper. Yeah, I forgot to share that a few months ago, my heated mattress topper stopped working. I assumed it was on a 1-yr warranty, so I just reordered a replacement. Well turns out that topper carries a 5-yr warranty!! So after the fact, I requested a free replacement to use on my dad’s bed. Yup, I can never have enough heated surfaces in my house. Even Marty has two heated beds. Anyway, my point is that my home office is working out great for dad, bc he set up his laptop at my desk along with his blood pressure monitor (daily), and a stack of books. Yeah, who knew he was reading so much. He lugged a pile of Chinese novels that he loaned from the library!! It’s pretty cool to see him find things to watch (tons of Taiwan politics– the elections are happening this week) and read and learn. Piquing that curiosity and all.
I went to work on Friday, and then we did a bunch of stuff over the weekend. We did a combo of dining out and eating in. He insisted that he didn’t have to have seafood, so we branched out and ate Korean bulgogi, Italian, Burmese… And I threw in a few NuWave meals, of course. Yup, roast duck, lamb chops, roasted veggies, and yesterday, I mastered Chilean sea bass. I am on a freaking roll with that appliance. I also made porridge, steamed squash, and oatmeal in my second fav appliance, the pressure cooker. My dad was def being a good sport about eating outside of his comfort zone, but man, as soon as he had that fish and rice, you could see that that will forever be his sweet spot. I’m telling you: we’re from different worlds with our food preferences. Funny thing, for the first meal I made at home, my father was like wandering around the kitchen for five minutes, and then finally he asked, “Where are your chopsticks???” Oops. They’re hidden away in a secondary drawer, bc we never use them! I’m so unAsian!
What else. On Sunday, we went to Vasona Park in Los Gatos. After a nice stroll (clocking steps on his FitBit), we took him to Campo di Bocce, a restaurant (where my division had this year’s holiday party) with indoor and outdoor bocce ball courts. My father never played before, but as I anticipated, he enjoyed it. I always feel like activities requiring precision and hand control are good for him: bowling, ping pong, etc. Those surgeon hands have so much strength and control and are highly attuned to making small adjustments. For example, we were comparing the weights of the iPad Pro tablet and the Surface. John and I held each one individually, and we were certain they were the same weight. My father, who was known for extreme accuracy calling baby weights straight out of the womb, said the Surface was lighter. Yup, about 5 oz lighter!
I know it’s the new year and I need to look forward more than look backward, but heck, I need substance for my blog posts! No seriously, reflecting back reminds me of my latest progress!
So, let’s take it back to “Doomsday December” and/or “Disappointing December.” The week before Christmas, the interim AVP finally cleared the “high ambiguity” office air regarding working over the holiday break. For the whole month prior, she had been threatening to make us work during the break. Finally, she said she was NOT going to require non-website staff to work. Oh my, how generous and gracious of you!! Instead, she asked us to consider volunteering to help copyedit various sections of the new website, set to launch in mid January.
First off, the inter-holiday break is an annual thing. People actually travel far away and book flights in advance for that shit; you can’t just wait until the very last-minute to tell us yes or no the week before. Way to be a planner AND way to be considerate. As for the volunteering, yes, I’m a dumb ass sucker so I offered to help copyedit. Nevermind that I repeatedly give the institution extra hours from being a stupid workaholic. For some reason, at the time, I empathized with the web staff: I remembered how stressed I used to be near launch deadlines for new web features/tools… The very next day, we volunteers received an email containing the assignments. Only a handful of people were dumb enough to volunteer, and most people got 1-3 sections. Granted, some sections were massive units, like the School of Engineering or School of Business, with TONS of pages. Me? I got assigned 10 sections, the most sections out of anyone. Maybe the same number of pages? Still. WTF? The lesson here? You give an inch; they take a yard. Whatever. I considered it escape from my family (a la Taiwan).
The next day, my manager came into my office with “feedback” from the interim AVP’s recent Trustees’ meeting. Earlier in December, a bunch of teams in the department scrambled like crazy assembling data and metrics for fancy charts she wanted. She purported that these data compilations were aimed to demonstrate just how much work the department cranks out with very limited resources. She said this would strengthen her case for more staff and more resources. But here’s the thing: Our department produces a shit ton of deliverables. By quantifying all of it, aren’t you just showing the execs how much juice they can squeeze out of these lemons? If the institution is paying, say $2 for a shit ton of productivity, showing the higher-ups all that they are getting for that value is NOT going to make them want to pay $10, unless they get 5x the amount of work. You’re better off arguing for more staff and resources by pointing to HR records, showing them that 10 people out of a department of 25 have left in the last 15 months. Hello, maybe we need to better compensate our staff, or reduce the demands and expectations. Hmm, maybe that’s a compelling argument!
Whatever, she insisted on her pet project, so we busted ass to generate all the damn charts. The next day, she emailed a big thank you and “you guys rock.” Blah, blah, fake gratitude. A few days later, my manager was in my office with the marked-up copy of my social media dashboard. This comment was written on it: “Data is too rudimentary. Information does not reflect best practices.” Uh, what???
The original bare-bones instructions I received from the AVP? All the data had to fit on ONE sheet. So, I picked key metrics I thought were helpful. I asked other social media managers. I poured through sample metrics reports to see what others typically reported. I looked at what other schools reported. I ran the parameters by the AVP, and she approved them. Turns out, the data isn’t what the Board wants. What then do they want? I asked my boss, who in turn went to ask the interim AVP. Down the hall, I heard some raised voices and a few minutes later, my boss returned saying, “She says for us to figure it out.” Wow, thanks for the feedback. I mean, I wasn’t at the meeting but the AVP was. Thanks for sharing what you observed.
Later that day, two coworkers at my table during the Christmas party started talking about a heated exchange they witnessed that morning between the AVP and my boss. The AVP was in a hurry, walking to the kitchen. My boss was trying to ask her something alongside. She asked and the response was, “She needs to do her fucking research!! I am not an encyclopedia!” Upon hearing this, I immediately put two and two together. Is she for real??? Did my boss seek more specific feedback for the social media dashboard, and was this how the AVP reacted? Who the fuck is this person???
I was livid. After I got home from the party, I relayed what I’d learned to K. She insisted that the conversation couldn’t possibly be about me. I texted the other coworker to confirm the dialog he had heard outside the kitchen. He suggested that maybe it was about someone else, or perhaps my boss just caught the AVP at the wrong time. Sure, it’s possible they were talking about someone else, but given the timing and how exasperated my boss looked after she returned to my office saying to “figure it out,” the chain of events seemed highly plausible. So I was pissed. Enraged. On one hand, why did it matter? I have never claimed to be an expert, and I don’t care about people recognizing me as such. Especially with social media, I’m a work in progress, learning new things along the way. But dang, that attitude just grinds my nerves, rearing its ugly ass head over and over again. She doesn’t thank people for their effort, for their hard work, for accommodating her requests, no matter how ridiculous or last-minute. She preaches a bunch of leadership/change agent buzzwords, and then when you ask for clarification or more information bc you want to learn or understand more, she says “this is a high-ambiguity environment so get used to it” and clearly, can’t even be bothered. But when she asks you questions in front of the group after every department meeting, “how do you feel?”, you aren’t allowed to deflect. I’ve also noticed this: if you do your own research to produce something she wants (for example, a strategy, plan, or report), your independent research doesn’t count unless you reference a book, article, or website that she specifically endorses. Only her recommendations are “best practices.” All others are amateur. So whatdya know, now we’re into January and another dashboard is due. Since she couldn’t be bothered to give me constructive feedback, she’s gonna get an exact repeat of last month’s format. If she doesn’t like it, she can go fly a fucking kite. Yeah, bite me. That was the incident before break.
As it turned out, during the break, J and I were worked to nubs by our families day in and day out, dealing with the chores and cleanouts and visits. After I returned from Maryland, I started attacking the website edits. Holy fuck, the writing for some of these sections is appalling– yet another example of the university skimping on hiring/compensating for experienced/skilled people for these comm jobs. Long story short, I contributed over eight hours on edits for three sections, plus additional hours for my usual social media crap. Then, after the new year on Sunday, we received yet another email (on top of the one on Christmas Day and others throughout the break, containing shit to read and stuff to do). It basically read like this: You volunteered to copyedit these webpages. I need to report on the status of these pages at my staff meeting tomorrow, and the spreadsheet needs to be updated. Come to the meeting prepared.
Uh, say what?? Happy new year to you too, beotch! Yes, thank you so much for volunteering your personal time off at ZERO COMPENSATION to help with the web project. You were only given two sentences of guidance/direction on what needed to be done, but heck, fill out the goddamn spreadsheet and be prepared for a meeting I’ve never mentioned before ever!
Jesus fucking Christ. Consistently tactless. Why am I even surprised by these astonishingly tone-deaf communications?!? It’s a new standard.
A few hours later, I submitted my resignation letter. Dad’s coming to town: Surprise! I’m taking most of next week off, so last day is January 22. Buh bye, ingrate!
On hearing my news, a former coworker sent me a link to this classic: