Joy (cithra) wrote,

hostile work environment

So, when I first got hired into the Education branch at work, it turned out my boss was not the best manager on the planet, even by Federal standards. She had all the best motivational tools of an alcoholic parent, and she wielded them with the skill of a blind neurosurgeon attempting delicate surgery on the high seas. If you were in favor, you could do no wrong; if you were out of favor you could expect everything from denial of leave requests to hearing various stage-whispered complaints about you wafting over the cubicle walls.

This was not a good environment for me, mentally. I find I need consistency in my work environment - whether it's things being consistently good or consistently bad makes less of a difference. Management by whim turns me into a quivering mass of useless insecurities, triggers my depression something fierce, and makes me consider ill-conceived dramatic departures involving network crashes and combustibles. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, and was in the process of dragging the union into things, we were reorganized, and I didn't work for her anymore. Hurrah!

I still had to work with her, in that she sat in my part of the cube farm - so I still got the frosty glares or bright greetings, depending. But she no longer had control of my Permanent Record, so to speak. Then, wonder of wonders, she got a detail out to a different department, packed up her cubie and left. A blessed silence reigned in the corner from whence a sort of shrill mental static had been formerly heard. Muscles I didn't know I was tensing relaxed. Our portion of the cube farm breathed a sigh of relief and got down to work.

A blissful (ok, that's larding it a bit thick. Strike the adjective) nine months passed, and I slowly started to remember what it was like to work for a boss who had normal expectations and communicated them reasonably well - allowing for the vagaries of remote management (he's in Fresno, CA - I'm in Seattle, WA). I still didn't particularly care for my job, but I stopped thinking that opening my wrists was a good alternative to showing up. I even started to actually enjoy some of the projects I was assigned to, since they allowed me to do things I was good at (writing, research).

[You know what's coming - or very like.] One of my coworkers got a job in Austin, TX. Budgets being what they are, rather than announce her position and fill it with someone new, they pulled my ex-boss back from her detail. She's still not anywhere in my chain of command, but she's back on the floor in my part of the cubicles. Suddenly I'm finding it really really hard to go to work in the morning.

I'm not a morning person. My ideal work schedule starts at 10 a.m. or so, if not later. For a while, I was working 2:45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. and it was bliss. So getting to work on time in the morning for a tour of duty that starts at 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. is difficult under the best of circumstances. But this is more than that. I find myself mentally skittering away from the idea whenever I think about walking in the door.

I just don't want to be there, where she is. I don't want to overhear the millionth repetition of the "I'm back!" story. I don't care how cutely naive her daughter is, looking for colleges on the web and finding Westpoint, and thinking it was an excellent deal because they pay for your tuition AND give you a stipend to live on - not realizing it was part of the armed services. Her voice is like a dentist's drill to me now: high-pitched and whiny, just under the threshold of perception so it draws my attention, and sets my teeth on edge.

So I find myself struggling to get ready, to walk out the door, to walk down the hill. I don't even know that she'll be there today, since much of the office has taken the long weekend and made it longer... I just don't want to be there. I find myself thinking about just how much of a pay cut I'd be willing to take to do something else, somewhere else.

I just need to find a way to think of it and her that removes the pressure of her presence. It's only been three days that she's been back, hopefully something will occur soon. Maybe I'll be hit by an asteroid! That'd solve things...

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