OK I have just GOT to vent today, so if you don't feel like listening to me bitch, you may leave and come back another day when I'm back to my happy, bubbly self. Also - this is going to be really long, as I cannot tell the story without telling ALL of the story. You've been warned.
I wasn't going to blog about this because I kept thinking, "what if someone reads it?" Well, you know what? That's the point. I need to vent, this is my blog, and I really don't give a rat's ass if someone reads it - and do you know why? Because I am in the right, and I do believe that any rational person will agree with me.
Remember a few weeks ago I told you how I got a raise and a promotion from Manager to Director? Um - don't you read my blog? You better remember! Anyway, I didn't really tell the whole story for the reason above, I was afraid someone might read it and be offended. But now, as I also said, I do not give a rat's ass. So here's the story:
My prior boss, we'll call her Sally for blog purposes. Sally was my boss at a previous job I had worked at, and then she got a job here about a year after I did. Sally is a control freak and can be a very difficult person to get along with. I made every effort to be nice to her - I actually thought we were friends in a weird sort of way - let's put it this way, she is the type of person that wants to be my friend outside of work and hang out, but then when we're back at work, she's like "I'm not your friend, I'm your boss." As far as I'm concerned, you can't have it both ways. If you're my friend, you're my friend - period. I'm professional enough to know how to behave at work regardless of whether my boss is my friend or not. OK - so this went on for two years. The majority of people here hate this woman and I have spent 2 years defending her and trying to stick up for her, even with my sister, who cannot stand her. Students, parents, and other staff members here have all had a hard time with her - there have been numerous letters written to the President's office complaining about her and the way she treats people. Many of the staff members here in my building have gone to Human Resources to complain about her, as well.
Now I must back-track a bit, forgive me. When I started my job here, my boss was Annik (isn't that a beautiful name?), and Annik and I were good friends. I started as a Student Account Representative, but I learned quickly and Annik pushed for me to be promoted to Assistant Bursar within a year. I had taken on many additional responsibilities and she knew I should be compensated and given the appropriate title for that. However, she had given her notice and the "powers that be" wanted to see if her replacement felt the same way about me. Sally turned out to be her replacement.
OK - moving on now - a year went by with me doing the job but never getting the raise/promotion. After a year, Sally came to me and asked me to change my hours - I had always done 7:30-4, but she wanted me to work 8:30-5. Why? Because SHE didn't come in until 9 or 10 every day, and she worked until 6, 7, 8 at night - and she wanted a friend here with her. That's it. There was no real reason, and it was really quite ridiculous. She constantly complains about her family and hates to be home - I do not, I love my family and I'm anxious to go home every night. So I basically put my foot down and said no to my boss for the first time in my life. I told her that I was not willing to make any changes or take on any additional responsbilities until I had been given the raise and promotion that they had been dangling in front of me like a carrot for over a year. She said she'd see what she could do. A couple days later, she called me into her office and let me know that it had been approved. But my new title was "Billing & Collections Manager" and the raise was not what I had hoped for. Being an optimist, though, I was still happy and agreed to change my hours to 8:30-5.
OK - now it's been another year that's gone by. I have continued to take on additional responsibilities, but there are certain things that Sally would not teach me or let me know how it was handled. She'd say "Oh I have to teach you that" but then she never would. I was given a laptop with the promotion - I asked for the access that I needed in order to bring it home and work from home. I asked at least 5 times, and she kept blowing me off, I didn't understand it. About a month or so ago, she sent me an e-mail saying that she expected me to work "many extra hours" now that I'm salary! I replied to her e-mail and told her that I'm happy to put in some extra hours, but that I prefer to do it from home - and that I need the access on my laptop in order to be able to do that. She said "I'll see about getting you the access, but you still need to work late many nights." I was so pissed - I can't possibly put into words here all that we'd been through but this was like the straw that broke the camel's back. I had just had it - I went to Human Resources and explained the situation, and I asked her "If I have to work extra hours, do you have any problem with me doing so either by coming in earlier in the morning, or by bringing my laptop home to work from home?" And she said that was not a problem at all, and for me to just calmly explain that to Sally. I should mention that I am always willing to work late if I'm needed - if there are students lined up waiting for help, or 100 phone calls to return, etc. That is not a problem - I'm talking about turning it into a regular basis type thing. I won't do that - if I wanted a night job, I'd be working at a night job that paid a lot more money.
It's never really been about the money for me, but I have definitely learned that if you don't look out for yourself, NO ONE WILL. That took me a long time to learn - I've always just trusted people and assumed that they'd do the right thing! I foolishly thought that people cared about each other, that they would look out for each other. I mean, you spend the majority of the day with the people you work with. Unfortunately, I've learned that some people are just plain evil, mean, heartless, uncaring - it's been a tough lesson for me to learn. I know, I know, I'm PUSHING FORTY for Christ's sake, I should not be shocked by this revelation, huh? I don't care, I'd still rather be me, naive and all, than one of THEM.
So anyway - shortly after Sally had tried to tell me I had to work "late nights" and I pretty much told her "no", I saw a job opening at another local college for the Bursar/Director of Student Accounts position (that is Sally's position here). I decided on a whim to apply for it, it was a Friday afternoon. Sally was going away that weekend and had said that she was taking Monday off from work, but that she'd be back on Tuesday. This happened to be the start of the busiest season for us - and Sally did not come back that week. On Monday, I got a call from the HR Office where I had applied and they asked me to come in for an interview, which I did on Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon, Sally called me to see how things were going and to let me know she would be back to the office on Friday. She asked me if I was job-searching. I was surprised that she asked, but I do not lie, I do not like to get caught in a lie, so I don't do it. So I said "I'm surprised you asked me that, I am not really job-searching, but I did go on an interview this morning" and I told her about it. She said "Well, I'd hate to lose you, but you need to do what's best for your family. Good luck." That's it. I was definitely a bit disappointed, as I thought we worked well together and that she valued me as an employee at the very least.
That afternoon, I received a phone call asking me to come back for a 2nd interview with the CFO of their college. I was flattered but started to get nervous - I wasn't sure if I was really ready to leave my job, I LOVE my job! But I had to do it - so I went back the next day. He liked me, he was an older man who said to me, "Well, you're certainly bubbly!" LOL I got a kick out of that. Long story short - they offered me the job that day.
Later on that day (Wednesday), we were called in to a meeting to inform us that our office was being "re-structured" and that Mindy (not her real name, either) was now going to be in charge of our department as well as Financial Aid. This meant that Sally would now report to Mindy, and I knew that Sally would not be happy with this at all. An e-mail was sent out to the entire college informing them all of this change. I felt bad that Sally had to find this out while she was away on vacation through an e-mail. Later on that day, I told Mindy that I was offered a job at another school. She asked what it would take to keep me here - and I told her they'd have to match what I was being offered for the other job. She came back shortly after and said "If you'd like to stay here, we'd like to offer you a change in title from Manager to Director, and you will be reporting directly to me. Your raise was approved, as well, effective immediately." She basically said that they could not afford to lose me, I'm a valued employee, etc. I was, of course, thrilled, and I accepted immediately.
In the meantime, Sally had been communicating with me and others in our office through e-mails. She stopped communicating at all and did not respond to anything we asked her. I wasn't sure what to do, should I call her to "make sure she knew" what I knew she would be upset about? Wouldn't that make me a jerk, almost like rubbing it in her face? That's what I thought, so I figured we'd talk on Friday when she got back - and I was actually eager to share my promotion with her - we would now in effect be co-directors of our department, and I thought we'd work well together. I won't lie, though, I was definitely happy to not have to report to her anymore. I do not need to be micro-managed, as I do my job and I do it well. So as much as I do respect her work ethic and I know she works hard, I'd rather work WITH her than FOR her. Anyway, she never showed up on Friday, so I had no idea what was going on with her.
Friday afternoon I leave work around 5:00 and go home - as I'm walking into my house at 5:15, my cell phone starts ringing and it's Sally. I looked at my husband and I said "You have got to be kidding me. This is MY time now! I don't want to have to deal with this now, when I'm home!" So I let it go to voicemail, she left me a message asking me to call her back. I then went and took a shower - when I got out of the shower, she had left me THREE more messages, on both my cell phone and home phone, and on the last one she actually said "If you don't return my call, I'll have to come stop over." ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Can you say "stalker"?
I went up to my bedroom and shut the door and called her back, knowing full well by now that she must be very upset to have called me so many times and to leave such a message.
She immediately began to interrogate me about what had happened while she was gone. She was not happy and kept insisting that “there will be shake-ups” and that she hopes I made the right decision, etc. She kept saying that no one has the right to make personnel changes without her. She accused me of avoiding her – I pointed out that it was after 5:00 on a Friday night, and that I had been available to discuss work matters all week – I didn’t see how I was avoiding her when I was at work, she was not. I told her that I fully intended to speak to her on Friday, but she never came in – I then expected to speak to her on Monday morning regarding all that had happened and I didn’t think it would have been appropriate for me to call her while she was on vacation to discuss everything. We finally hung up after about 15 minutes of this, but I knew it wasn't over just by the tone of the discussion.
Monday morning – I arrived at work at 8:05 a.m. and Sally was sitting in her car in the parking lot waiting for me (keep in mind she normally comes in between 9:00-10:00 a.m.). A co-worker confirmed for me that she had been sitting out there for a bit, so I am quite sure that she was waiting specifically for me. She followed me into the building and asked if she could talk to me. She said that she feels as if I betrayed her and she no longer trusts me – she didn’t understand why I would want Mindy to “go to bat for me” and that she wishes she had been given the opportunity to do that. I told her that I did give her the chance, and she basically told me "Hate to lose you, but do what you need to do." That certainly did not give me any indication that she had planned to "go to bat for me" - am I wrong??? She was very upset that she now has to report to Mindy and she actually started crying. I said I was sorry that she was so upset, but that she really couldn’t be angry at me for the changes that administration had made – she had to know that I did not have anything to do with it. Then she said that I should have called her and that I was in the middle – I told her I was very uncomfortable with being put in the middle and that she was really the only one doing that.
So then she became even more angry and said that she hopes I realize that whatever I was promised last week is pretty much no good and that I WILL be back "underneath her" (don't you love the terminology? I'm a psych major - I could have a FIELD DAY with that) within the week or two and that because she no longer trusts me, it will not be good for me. She said that I should have left, I should have taken the other job because I was not going to be happy once I was back “under her”. I just kept trying to be professional, not really saying much but nodding or shaking my head and saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.” I tried to point out the positive side and all the good things, about us working so well together and how it wasn't even a big deal, she was not losing her job, just getting me as a co-worker instead of her staff. She kept saying, “I’m happy for you but….” and then she’d say a bunch of mean/obnoxious things. She said "I hope they didn't promise you that I was leaving" and "I hope they didn't promise you my job, because I am NOT leaving." and I was like "WHAT? No! Of course not!" This went on for a good 15 minutes or so, and eventually she was starting to get very nasty and I just stopped responding, she finally left my office and went upstairs.
So - needless to say, she was wrong. There was even more that went on, but this was all that I need to vent about. She will not speak to me, and neither will one other woman in the building who she is friendly with. I don't understand it, I don't understand how they can be angry at me for wanting something good for myself. She is a liar, a control-freak and a bitch, and I'm OK with that now. She is who she is, and I feel bad for her because of that. She has to live with herself, the poor thing. She actually told a good friend of mine that when she was in my office, all she said to me was that she thought I was crazy for not accepting the other position, as it would have been the next step for me professionally. This is the 3rd time that I have heard her outright lie with a straight face, so I've just accepted that she is one of those people who is truly only out for herself - and that I have to watch my back.
So if you're still with me - PHEW! You'll be happy to know (well, I sure was happy!) that my NEW boss has approved my hours to go back to 7:30 - 4:00, AND she got me the access I needed to be able to work from home within 15 minutes of my asking her about it. I love my job and I am good at it - as far as I'm concerned, that should matter, you know? It annoys me to think that someone doesn't like me or is angry at me when I don't understand the reasoning, but I won't sink to that level and become a petty bitch like them - then they would be winning. There have been a few days during the past few weeks that I wanted so badly to say to one of them, "What is your freaking PROBLEM???" when they walked by me and I said "good morning" and they refused to answer, or when one of them walked by me and just gave me a dirty look. But - nope, nope, nope - I'll continue to be my happy, cheerful, BUBBLY self, and REALLY piss them off. hee hee Kill 'em with kindness, I say.
Peace, my friends. ;o)