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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Why I Was Quiet..., as some of you recall, my blog very nearly went dark in June, and that was a result of some rather significant workplace change that happened in late May. I know that a lot of you were hoping that the change was a positive step for my career, but unfortunately, it wasn't. and I'm sure that there's at least one of you who is hoping that my career is going to complete hell, and guess what? This week's worth of blogs are Just. For. You. Hope you enjoy them while you sit on the tracks waiting for the karma train to come run you over.

After spending seven+ years in an individual contributor position, at a director level (without the title to go with it, but hey, I didn't have any direct reports so it didn't matter - that was dumb, I should have pushed for a formal title change), and a significant contributor to production design, I got bumped down. Now, it wasn't positioned as a demotion - after all, I have a very generic title so they could pretty much do with me what they wanted without repercussion. Now me and my generic title are reporting to someone who has been promoted to the director level. A layer of ineffective management between myself and my former boss.

This someone has been less than forthright in the past, and seems to be scared of me. This individual is also as passive as I am aggressive. But perhaps I've not been aggressive enough. After all, I've got this lovely position that's being whittled away at piece by piece, and after 7 1/2 years, almost nothing to show for it except a resume that looks like I've had no upward movement for a long time.

Which, for anyone who's known me and my career, is not the case. It's been significant upward movement into new responsibilities. I know this new little tactic was probably something that would inspire me to leave the company, and it's working. Heck, would you stay after something like that happens *and* your entire support base is gone?

My old boss that I worked with for 7 years is gone (retired, about time and good for him, bad for the rest of us) and replaced by this new guy that made this decision to bump me under the director that acts so much like a puppy that wants to please and be petted - it's sad. The industrial engineer that ended up getting shuffled under another guy who wants to empire-build has been gone for about a year. He was great for sanity checks when I would need them - he'd even grab me and drag me out to lunch or outside the building to make sure I didn't lose my mind. And he was here for 6 years. The materials director (5 years) left a couple of months ago, but he and I are still in touch regularly, and that's a very good thing (and I know he reads this blog to keep up with what's going on with me... *waves Good Morning*).

The most recent departure shook this place to the core. I don't think it had a bigger impact than any of the others who left, except for the abrupt manner in which it happened. All the others left with notice - we knew it was coming. The latest one - the director of hubs - was just let go. Fired, if you want to put it that way. "Eliminated his position" was the way that was positioned to us. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to him and get any contact information to stay in touch - not that he would, I don't think. The real story as to what happened with him? Don't know - I don't get to attend the staff meetings anymore where I learned what was going on in the organziation. And my so-called boss doesn't tell me anything.

Do I bother to chase down information either? No, because that means I actually have to spend time with the so-called boss and I tend to avoid that because he won't look me in the eye. When he does look me in the eye, he seems... shaken, nervous, I'm not sure what name to put to it. I told you, I scare him. Intimidated is probably the better word for it, but either way it lends itself to a non-healthy working arrangement. He's stated he would like a 'good working relationship' - I think the best working relationship we could have would involve me handing him my resignation and leaving the company behind. We *might* have a good working relationship if he actually bothered to keep me in the loop and didn't lie to me.

Oh yes, he lies. When we talked about the 'recent change' (meaning the director of hubs no longer working here, because he wouldn't mention him by name) I let him know that I felt a little put out by the fact that I felt that something was going on in the organization, but didn't find out until the deed was done. He asked me if I'd gotten the email that the big boss had sent out about it. I let him know that I had - according to him, no one knew until an hour before that email went out.

Funny that. The email went out around 4:30 in the afternoon... how come a vendor called me 6 hours earlier to ask what happened because they had just been in there and told that the individual was no longer with the company? Hrm? I didn't blow the vendor's cover, but someone else in my organization who was wondering what was going on got confirmation of the same thing while I was on the phone with the vendor. For those willing to give my so-called boss the benefit of the doubt, please be aware that he was in the meeting where the vendor was notified of the change. Either there was another email (no, confirmed this) or he's lying to me.

Judges? Yeah, thought so. Liar. I hate liars. And it really says something when you're finding out things from the vendors instead of from the people that you should be learning them from. Never mind the fact that the big boss told me 3 hours before that email went out, but I don't think he was planning to do that based on a hesitation on his part before he said it (I was just acting happy and clueless about it all), and I feigned complete innocent shock.

I hate individuals without backbones - yes, I'm back to complaining about my so-called boss. And those who just want to pant and please. And those who attempt to steal other people's ideas - yes, he does that too. He took one of my models before he was my boss and said that *he and I* had come up with it. Let's see. I built it, he asked me something related to what I was looking at, I showed him the model and he runs with it to the boss and says "lookie what *we* did". Nuh-uh. And that wasn't the first time. He tried to convince the old boss that I hadn't done a sufficient job explaining a rather large data model to him almost 2 1/2 years ago when he first came on board (he's from another department and is dual reporting to that department and my department - it's not pretty).

Anyway, like I said earlier, the departure of this last person shook people up because it was so unexpected and was right after a very large meeting of managers from out of town/around the country. He was thier leader, and now he was gone. I don't think that anyone saw this one coming, and that's why it shook everyone. People were unnerved around here for the better part of a week. I think this was more abrupt than a sudden death, to tell you the truth, because while no one was expecting it we all knew he was still out there... just no one could talk to him and I don't know if he would want to talk to anyone. I just wish I had even an email address so I could drop a line and let him know how sorry I am that he's gone, and that I really enjoyed working with him for so long (the 5 years he was here).

So.... that's what has happened, admittedly in a nutshell, for the last couple of months in my workplace. We're bleeding long-term people, and all but one of my core supporters are gone, and I'm pretty much completely out of the loop (even for things that I think I *should* know - I'm finding out way after the fact, or from sources like vendors). And the one supporter I have left isn't in the staff meetings either and she doesn't learn much about what's going on. It's classic - since I'm out of the loop, when I provide analysis that isn't up to par because of a missing piece of information here or there, they'll probably start stating that my work is substandard, and then they'll let me go. It really is a classic way to push someone out of the organization without having to open themselves up to a lawsuit over gender discrimination, or ageism, or anything else that could be hurled at them.

This whole situation drained me as time went on, and I lost the will to write. Now it's back, I don't care who's reading to tell you the truth, and this is going to be cathartic for me, because if I don't get it out somehow, I'll go insane. I realized that once I made the decision to write this stuff down, I felt eons better than I had for the previous few weeks.

Tomorrow I'll talk about how my job has changed/is changing, and what I see as the endgame...