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Thread: Thoughts, Rants, and Musings

  1. #801
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    What a tough year everyone is having. Some are having it even tougher than others. It seems like a lot of people are facing a cancer scare on top of the whole COVID-19 thing. My heart goes out to them and their families.

    My boyfriend and I are each facing career tumult. Mine came to a head a month ago, but the seeds were planted two years ago. I wasn't taken completely by surprise because it's been a constant battle.

    Arnold's work-troubles all began with COVID-19. His family's business has been severely impacted and they've had to lay off most of their staff. It was heartbreaking for Arnold to watch his dad go through such a painful process. The future survival of their business is uncertain. This was totally unexpected.

    We are both working from home, which has been nice. We live below our means and aren't terribly concerned about money at the moment. We enjoy each other's company. But we are each also in our own private Hell with our careers.

    We both view the response to COVID-19 with a similar level of astonishment and wonder, but he has more anxiety about it than I do.

    For me, the COVID-19 epidemic has been a relief of sorts. It means that I don't have to go into the office and face miserable managers that I can't stand. But I still wrestle with the ugliness of the situation that I am in. And the economic slowdown means that my job hunt is on pause.

    Arnold associates COVID-19 with pain and anxiety for his father. It means he is losing contact with people that he cares for.

    We were talking tonight about how it's tough to understand the pain that people are going though. We can't touch each other's pain, even though we are close and we know we are both going through something.

    I look at his predicament and feel sad for him and his dad. But I don't feel the intense pain that Arnold feels about it. I know that he feels it. But I only feel sympathy, and a certainty they will ultimately be ok. It's almost as if I'm dismissing his problem, while he is stuck with the pain.

    I know it's the same with him. He sees what I go through with my job, and he feels bad for me. But to him, this is just a temporary thing. I will make it through and be ok. He's on my side. But he can't feel my pain and sometimes that's frustrating to me. I realize that doesn't make sense for me to be frustrated by that.

    The benefit of this, is that we each provide hope and clarity for the other. When I think of my hope for him, I know his hope for me is as clear and strong, and that feels good.

  2. #802
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    They just laid off my coworker, Lisa. I am literally praying to be next!!!

    She is one of my walking buddies at work. I will definitely miss her if I have to go back.

    Working from home started out as a challenge. But it has gotten progressively easier as I adjust to my new set-up.

    Right now, I am working on a short job for one of the principals, Daniel. I've never worked for him before. But so far, I like working for him the best. He's actually involved in his projects and doesn't deflect decision-making responsibilities back on to me.

    I still have to conference in twice daily with Shannon and Jason. I've set up reminders for those calls in my phone. I've named them "Hate Brigade," and "Assh*le Conference." When the alarms go off, it actually helps to see those words along with the thumbs-down emoji and the vomiting emoji.

    It reminds me of when I was trying to distance myself from this guy I was dating, and I set his ringtone to the wah-wah bugle music. That was surprisingly effective, too.

    I am no longer in the loop for my last project (XYZ Project) with Shannon and Jason. I realized it yesterday, when the HVAC project manager, Lucian, started asking me questions about when we were submitting the XYZ Project. He told me that Jason said it was urgent that it got out ASAP.

    I said, "I sent the XYZ project to the client last Friday and they are reviewing it. Jason knows that. He's the one who insisted I send it out without picking up all of the redlines."

    Lucian said, "Well, you should call Jason and make sure."

    I was like, "Well maybe Jason should call me if he needs something, instead of expecting me to guess what he wants."

    Lucian said, "I'm just stuck in the middle."

    I said, "So am I. I'm not even in the middle, actually. I'm outside of the middle."

    This morning, Shannon complained that Lucian wasn't answering her calls. Jason said the same. I laughed to myself because Lucian always takes my calls!

    They're also having trouble reaching the electrical project manager, Mitch. But Mitch always responds to my calls and texts.....

    I guess there are some advantages to not being an assh*le. Maybe one day someone will let Jason and Shannon in on that secret.

    Anyway, during the conference call, I indirectly learned that I was no longer on that project when Shannon said to Jason, "I forwarded you something about the XYZ Project."

    After that, I called Lucian to inform him that I no longer appeared to be in the loop with XYZ project. He answered my call on the first ring. lol.

    Then I called Lisa and checked up on her. She is stunned, but ok. She doesn't really need to work.

    I'm turning in my project for Daniel today. Maybe they will lay me off after that.

    If I don't get laid off, I hope that I get transferred to Daniel.
    Last edited by Jibralta; 03-27-2020 at 11:08 AM.

  3. #803
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Well, my prayers have been answered! A big thanks to you, if you also prayed for me to be laid off!

    Late yesterday afternoon, Mark called me and laid me off. He sounded genuinely regretful about it. I am sure he was, actually. But only because he is uncomfortable looking like a bad guy.

    I keep thinking about my conversation with him last month. How he couldn't give me a single specific reason for criticizing me, yet criticized me anyway. How he went directly into Paul's office afterwards, shut the door, and asked him, "What should I do?" (I know this last part because Paul told me. I find it laughable).

    I texted and emailed with my coworkers to let them know what happened. Their supportive responses left me feeling really good.

    I waited until the 5PM Assh*le Conference call to talk to my direct teammates about it. I am sure Jason and Shannon already knew that I was being laid off, but I didn't want to slink off like an injured animal, offering no form of goodbye.

    I sat there on the conference call, wondering if they were wondering why I had dialed in. I figured they'd probably assume that Mark hadn't mustered the courage to tell me. They were probably wondering when he was going to tell me.

    It was an interesting few minutes of bad acting.

    At the end of the call, I said, "I just wanted to tell everyone good bye and good luck. I've been laid off."

    There was a moment of silence, then an outcry of "Oh No"s, the loudest of which seemed to come from Shannon and Jason.

    Shannon said, "Oh no, I'm so sorry, Jibralta. Nobody told me. I had no idea this was going to happen!" Then she said, "I heard Lisa got laid off earlier today."

    It was a really stupid thing for her to say. It made no sense that they'd tell her that Lisa was laid off, but not me. Lisa works for a totally different manager.

    I couldn't resist busting her on it. I said, "Wow, it's really strange that they told you that Lisa was laid off, but they didn't tell you that I was going to be laid off."

    Shannon did her goofy Snow-White-and-the-Seven-Dwarves giggle and said, "Yeah, it is. I'm gonna have to talk to someone about that." Some accommodating laughter ensued.

    After we ended the call, I received some "good luck" texts from my teammates. Jason also texted, saying, "This situation sucks. I hope you find something better where you don't have to feel like you're constantly under the microscope. Good luck."

    Ugh.

    Anyway, I am glad. I feel like I shouldn't say it, but it's true. I haven't been able to relax. Managing my job and my general career trajectory has been almost all-consuming.

    That can all change now. The world has ground to a standstill. It's like a frozen moment in time where there's nowhere to rush off to.

    I woke up this morning thinking, "Thus begins The Long Saturday."

  4. #804
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    It's the first time I see someone praying to be laid off. I understand though. The majority of your posts the last two years were about your ordeals at work and the as*holes you had to put up with. All this backstabbing, gossiping and duplicity Ė you are a hero you stayed that long. I would have quit the first couple of months.


    In any other case I would say sorry to hear but in this case I think you should celebrate it if anything else. Itís a good time to take a break for a few weeks and given the situation you donít need to feel bad about relaxing a bit :)

    I am an optimist and I always believe the best is yet to come. Take care Jib :)

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  6. #805
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    So sorry, Jib!
    Hopefully it is a relief. It is awful to work with dysfunctional managers.

  7. #806
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys.

    I'm not totally stress-free about it, but I am definitely relieved.

    It really helps to me read back through this journal and revisit some of the shenanigans that I witnessed while working there. I haven't even listed them all!

    It's easy to forget that that this place has been effed up the whole time I've worked here, and that I witnessed this same thing happening to other people.

    Even so, it's an ego-blow to be criticized and rejected and ultimately laid off.

    I think perhaps a big part of it was my salary, which was pretty great. Mark mentioned it when I sat down with him last month. He said that my salary didn't match the level of responsibility that I had. I think he may have hoped that I would volunteer to take a pay cut.

    Fat chance.

    My response to him was basically, "I didn't exaggerate one bit on my resume. I'm willing to do the job; I just need guidance and support. When I interviewed with Frank, I told him there were gaps in my experience, and his response was that those gaps would be addressed. But they were never addressed. I've been left to my own devices the whole time I've been here."

    I remember that first conversation with Frank, clear as day (side note: I originally named Frank "Bob" in this journal). I wrote about it in post #333:

    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    I got the written job offer today. I was a little stunned by the level of responsibility I am going to have.

    I went back and checked my resume, to make sure I didn't inflate my current responsibilities. I was very careful not to, but you never know how people might interpret things.

    Even during the second interview, I told the guy that I have gaps in my experience that needed to be filled. He accepted this and said that this job would fill in those areas for me.

    Well, I guess they're going to throw me right in!
    And it's not like I just sat there and raked in the cash. I worked for my money, damn it! When I didn't know something, I asked questions. And when I couldn't get a good answer from people (which was often), I put in the time to figure it out myself.

    This meant lots of extra hours during the weekday and on weekends. I put in 50 hours per week, minimum. It was probably more like 60 hours per week, average. And I was happy to do it. I'm still happy I did it, actually, because I learned.

  8. #807
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    You may remember that I reached out to a former prospective employer, Bill, when this whole debacle first unfolded back in February.

    I met with him in early March. At that time, he thought he might be able to take me on at the end of the month.

    Well, I'm not holding my breath now, with this whole COVID thing. Plus, I want to take some time to clear my mind, decompress, and get my resume/portfolio together. But I do plan to reach back out to him in the near future.

    Anyway, prior to our in-person meeting, while we were still emailing back and forth, I wrote, "I realize I make a nice, comfortable salary these days. My lovely salary comes with a lot of headaches. So, please don't let that put you off. If you decide that it's feasible to hire in the near future, make me an offer and I will consider it. Mentorship is as important to me as salary. One thing <my company> is not good at is mentoring and developing people. The experience is great, but the mentorship is lacking."

    His response was, "I will keep that in mind. I can certainly be a mentor and teach you everything I know about architecture, business and real estate."

    This response was like music to my ears. Well, eyes, since it was email.

    When we met in March, I talked to him about how difficult it was to get answers to important technical questions at my job. I said, "I think people really don't know the answers, and that they're hiding their lack of knowledge."

    He said that some people believe they will have an advantage if they know more about things than others. So, they have an incentive to hoard knowledge.

    I said, "But it compromises the whole team and stops progress." I told him about how, in my previous career, one of my responsibilities was to train people to perform certain tasks. I said, "I taught them everything I knew, all the shortcuts and tips. I paid attention to the different learning styles. I could see what people's strengths and weaknesses were, and I provided support accordingly. Because if they didn't do it right, I'd have to do it myself. I wasn't afraid they would out perform me. I was confident in my ability. Plus, I like a level playing field."

    For my next job, I want to work for someone who is not afraid to train their competition. I want to work for someone who appreciates a level playing field. Because ultimately, it isn't competition. It's collaboration. We can't get anywhere if one of us is always protecting their own ass.

  9. #808
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    Because ultimately, it isn't competition. It's collaboration. We can't get anywhere if one of us is always protecting their own ass.

    Amen! I abhor people who keep the know-how for themselves, notably nowadays where internet and technology are widespread and the knowledge is out there.

    In fact, this is not about knowledge or information. There are some daily practical details which are unique to every job and someone has to show you how they are done. I don't fathom why some people act like they have strictly confidential MI6 secrets. Usually these people tend to be the same people who try to put everyone down to look better themselves. This is why corporate jobs suck, it's not about results, it's about who looks better.

    We would work pretty efficiently and effectively together :)

  10. #809
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    Jib , I think you really got it. They were viewing it as cutthroat competition rather than collaboration. A very unhealthy environment.

    I sincerely hope your next job (when COVID has blown over) has healthy management and a well-oiled team that works well together. You deserve that.

  11. #810
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dias
    We would work pretty efficiently and effectively together :)
    No doubt, Dias.

    Originally Posted by dias
    There are some daily practical details which are unique to every job and someone has to show you how they are done. I don't fathom why some people act like they have strictly confidential MI6 secrets. Usually these people tend to be the same people who try to put everyone down to look better themselves. This is why corporate jobs suck, it's not about results, it's about who looks better.
    Yes, and this was my argument to both Shannon and Mark. In fact, in my email to Mark, I wrote, "Nobody knows it all. People should feel comfortable asking questions and not made to feel like idiots... Nobody here seems to feel that it is their responsibility to help fill in the knowledge gaps for a more junior employee. And yet architecture is supposedly an apprenticeship industry!"

    I reasserted that same point to him in person, on the following Monday. But it was so obvious that my remarks fell on deaf ears.

    Ironically, just one Friday before that, I'd seen my viewpoint validated in the outside world--the real world. It happened at the surgery center, during my visit for prolotherapy. While I was recovering from the anesthesia, I witnessed my post-op nurse train a newer post-op nurse on what to do after a patient (me) came out of surgery and started waking up.

    The new post-op nurse performed all the tasks. I noticed the lack of hostility in the trainer's manner as she gave instructions. She didn't assume that the new nurse knew everything, or accuse the newer nurse of not knowing something she was supposed to know. The trainee did not rush around frantically, apologetic for her lack of knowledge.

    It was as it should be: an easy, fluid process, where both nurses efficiently established their common knowledge so that they could find a middle ground and work more effectively together.

    It was soooooo refreshing to see normalcy like that after two years of working at a place like this. It felt like I took a nice, deep breath of fresh air: normal people do exist!

    And more importantly: It was reassurance that they were definitely doing it wrong in my office. If the medical field took my office's approach to training and development, people would literally die.

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