Monday, August 22, 2016

Super Boss Resigned

His last day is September 2.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Early Birthday

I am turning 40 November 22 so my mother this past March proposed a weeklong celebration in the Berkshires for the summer. I said hell yes. Sunday August 7 began our week in North Adams/Williamstown. My brother stayed Sunday and Monday with us and we had a great time driving out.  We saw an improv musical, checked out Bright Ideas Brewing, went to Mass MoCA

and the Clark museum Sunday and Monday. My brother asked me the funniest question over breakfast Monday morning. He asked me if I spend time curling my hair in the morning because he remembers my hair being stick straight and flat while we grew up. I have absolutely no idea what happened to my hair as I got older but it is a wavy/curly mop now which varies from looking like mentally ill Einstein to Dragonball Z anime. The fact that my brother thought I worked for this look had me howling with laughter as I gasped out, "I have no idea what is going on with this mess."

We checked into our weeklong hotel in Lee Monday afternoon. My brother drove back home after a picnic lunch. Tueday, we scoped out the Lee outlets in the morning and rest of the day was recovery "low energy Chokmah" mode. Wednesday morning we drove out to Great Barrington stopping in my favorite hippie dippy store, Crystal Essence and grabbing coffee at Fuel. We headed to Pittsfield for the afternoon and  I got 3 text messages from Super Boss letting me know about big changes at work. He isn't my boss anymore. Mom and I had a delicious lunch at Eat on North where I cried and tried to process the work changes. Then we toured Herman Melville's house, Arrowhead, and I felt a lot better. Nothing perks me up more than hearing about a depressive author who died thinking he was a failure apparently.

Thursday in the oppressive heat and humidity, we toured The Mount

The garden

The dining room
The library

We grabbed lunch at Cakewalk. Then, we went back to the hotel to cool down and hydrate afterwards. 

Friday, mom and I had a four hour spa package at Body and Soul spa. It was pure bliss. My toes are now gorgeous painted with a deep purple. Torrential thunderstorms blew through. We had a delicious dinner at Mazzeos where I discovered this delicious red wine

Saturday was still evilly hot and humid. We had 7 hours to kills between check out and the concert at Tanglewood so we grabbed a delicious lunch at the Great Barrington Brewery

Then we drove to Lenox to bum around town. Sweaty, exhausted and cranky we decided to skip Tanglewood and head home. The best part was my mom giving away our tickets. The group we gave them to were so happy and thankful.

I am home now rested, rejuvenated, and pretty broke. I am not looking forward to returning to work but I think I have refilled my coping reserves. I know my new boss and he seems decent. I still have sad pangs about Super Boss - I even picked him up a a little gift on our travels! My room-mate even got into the early birthday celebration. She got us tickets to this.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mother of Analysts

This past week was fairly decent! Super Boss was on vacation. I got to be in charge for a week which was stressful but also a bit liberating. Worker Bee and Baby Analyst were there to help me and when I was unsure I sat down with them talking through solutions.  I'm pretty sure Super Boss is going to pick apart every decision I made when he gets back but I don't care.  I did my best and felt good doing it. I didn't cry in my office once all week.

Remember that manager who completely screwed over our group? I will call her Tactical Incompetence. She made my life a lot harder this week by more political games and bullshit. Tactical Incompetence manages a group that is incapable of simple math or revising a memo but she volunteered to take over a compensation analysis task from our team.  Because our team trying to do this task correctly is impeding her group. She offered this assistance in the morning so the rest of the day I bcc'ed her on the emails I sent to her group asking them to fix dozens of errors. The thing that kills me is Worker Bee has been venting to her about his concerns regarding the analyst team. I think that is giving her ammo to dick us over and apparently she is playing the victim blaming Super Boss for issues.

Since work is so political and frustrating, I have been taking advantage of our EAP benefit. The therapist is really good. She pointed out a bunch of things that I need to ponder.  Things like if work feels like family, that's good but this is just a job and work won't be there for me like family.  Also, since I come from a dysfunctional family, feeling comfortable might not be the best sign. Yup a lot to think about. I also don't think it's a coincidence that I had a pretty good week when Super Boss was on vacation.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Empire of Dirt

This past week was not any better than the one before.  Communication with Super Boss was especially rocky.  He was working until midnight each night and was stressed out. I was frustrated and stressing over pushing along the implementation process.  A couple times I could feel that I was getting upset in front of him and I tried to shut it down by brusquely moving onto business.  It was such a stressful mess I thought he was angry about explaining something to me which made it so much harder for me to understand what he was trying to explain.  Wednesday was when everything came to a head so I called a friend who works in the building to help me. She helped and I felt a lot better but she pointed out that I could file a complaint about Super Boss yelling at me. I won't because it hasn't happened since April. I was a little worried how long the quiet would last because he did not seem to take my request not to be yelled at seriously. Some day I'd love to be able to request to be treated a certain way and have the person say, "OK" with no debate on word definitions or anecdotes about how they experienced so much worse.

Wednesday afternoon I was able to grab some of Super Boss' time to go over the list of questions I had amassed throughout the day. I admit I was not a happy camper as I glumly went through my list. We wound up getting into my unhappiness and I assured him that it was just the last couple of weeks thanks to this implementation. He said, "You have been miserable for two weeks." I affirmed that and told him not to worry that I have survived much worse.  I don't think that made him worry less. We talked about the analyst's teams concerns over the lack of training and communication blips. I prefaced the talk with that I didn't want to put so much on him but I thought this feedback was valuable. After this, I did mention that I am concerned about the yelling thing because I did not feel like my request was taken seriously. This was a big tough talk.

So, he sat back. Held up his hands and listed off the concerns we had discussed. Then he said "I think I should transition from being manager of this team." His face bunched up halfway through and tears ran down his face. I sat there stunned and finally said, "What? No! No! No! What do you mean?" He explained that he had such plans for our team but he is obviously failing. He has no time to build the team he wants.  Then he said that he felt our manager employee relationship is broken. That is when I started crying telling him that he's wrong and it has just been a bad couple weeks.  He said, "Chokmah, you have been coming to work miserable for two weeks. I'm your boss. I should be able to help. But I can't." Tears were streaming down his face.  I hung my head and cried. I asked him when he was leaving.  He said he has nothing in the works but it is time. I asked him if I made him want to leave. He said no. I brought my head up and looked at him.  I told him he deserves to take care of himself and be happy.  Then I told him how he's like a brother to me, that each morning I wake up and see the rug he gave me, and I have this amazing apartment thanks for his advocacy and support. His face crumpled and he started crying a lot harder which made me tell him that I wanted to let him know not to make him sad but because he knows how life is and it's important to let people know. Our crying settled down for a bit as we tried to focus on tasks and work.

I went back to my office with a list of To Do's. I tried to get in touch with our EAP office with no luck. Then I texted my roommate. I worked and cried in my office for several hours. I don't think Super Boss is the crux of our group's problems. But if he feels like he is trying and failing, that is not a great state of mind. I still could not shake the feelings of guilt and that I ruined something.

I finished my To Do list around 8 and said good night. Super Boss came out to the hallway and told me, "We'll survive this." I asked him if he understood that he told me something today that I have been dreading for a year. Then I started crying again. We had a good talk where I was able to calm down and he got weepy about what his legacy will be. 

I have decided to use this time to appreciate having him around. I will be helpful and go to him with good news as well as questions/concerns. The implementation process was completed Thursday so my stress levels should be lower. Super Boss is on vacation next week. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It Doesn't Have to Be This Way


I cried every single day this past week in my office. Wednesday I applied to a job elsewhere.  I have lost track of how many horrible weeks I've endured.  Here is what pushed me off the cliff:

1. I designed a project implementation plan last week and emailed it out to a bunch of departments. I accomplished the tasks assigned to me and waited for Baby and Worker Bee Analyst to finish their steps to move forward. They did nothing for several hours so I reminded them about it. It turns out Super Boss never trained them on how to do their steps, so I did. I trained them and spent half a day answering their questions. Meanwhile I was wondering where the hell Super Boss was and why was I left to do everything. When Super Boss did appear, I let him know that I am very frustrated. It turns out he had decided to delegate the management of the analysts to me - AND HE NEVER TOLD ME! He admitted he made a mistake by not telling me. On top of all this. I was frustrated that I could not understand a really complicated testing process. I tried to have Super Boss explain it to me and it still didn't make sense. I stared at the data, drew process flows, and finally had Super Boss say that I got it. So, to recap, I had no one to explain something to me and no one to help me train co-workers.

2. Tuesday all the implementation work the analysts had done was erased by an IT team deciding to refresh the test environment without checking with anyone.  I also discovered an error in a billing letter we mailed out. Super Boss was MIA in meetings for most of the day. I tried to handle things. When he appeared around 4, I updated him on the wreckage. He told me I should have checked the billing letters. Gee, thanks. It wasn't like I had been in my office crying, freaking out, and beating myself up. I wound up working until 8 trying to redo all the work we did last week in the test environment. That night Super Boss told me he would be in training all day Wednesday and Thursday.  Not only did my implementation crash and burn around me, I found out I would be all alone to handle the fall out for the next couple of days.

3. Wednesday I trained Worker Bee and Baby analyst on the complicated process flow. They were really pissed off that Super Boss didn't tell them he would be gone all day. They started bitching about him and the analyst job. I felt a little uncomfortable but they did have points. Super Boss does not train or communicate to us. It looks like he hoards all the work, but in his mind, he does not have time to train or pass along knowledge. Worker Bee asked if Super Boss even wants an analyst team. He also ranted about how this is the worst managed group and it doesn't have to be this way. Once I got over being uncomfortable, I realized that my frustrations were valid and other places might be better.

4. Thursday some Big Wigs were looking for departmental reports that only Super Boss and I know how to produce. So, I decided to try to train Worker Bee on these reports because our boss does not and he was not in the office.  It turns out the Big Wigs needed multiple department reports ASAP so I had to hunker down in my office churning them out fuming, crying, and generally being overwhelmed. Worker Bee ran interference for me turning people away saying I'm busy.  Super Boss checked the work we did on the complicated process flow and called me at night at home telling me everything checked out.  I was on cloud 9. Then at 11, I checked my work email, and he had sent an email saying that one thing was wrong but he fixed it. I was very pissed and upset that despite checking with him about my understanding, there was still something wrong. I let him know how frustrated I was. He apologized and noted how much more I'm trying now that getting out of my comfort zone can bring a lot of frustrations.  That was nice of him to note.

Yeah, this job is so bipolar I am having trouble hanging on. It's smart to keep my options open.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Last Friday, June 10, was the 15 year anniversary of my stroke. I took the day off from work, got a facial and massage.  I have worked really hard to shake off the emotional shackles of my stroke this year.  I have a recent neuropsychological report that says I am smart and I got feedback from a voice acting class that was amazing. So, rather than focus on loss, here are the things I am grateful for:

Where I Live

Living in Jamaica Plain has been wonderful.  I love Ruggerio's, Canto 6, Centre St, Green Street Massage, and the Egleston Farmer's Market. People smile at strangers here.  My apartment is amazing too. It's a five room two bedroom in a triple decker.  It has central air, garbage disposal, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. There is also storage in the basement. Yes I have been able to watch a sunset sipping wine on our porch.  My commute when the orange line cooperates is 15 minutes.

My Roommate

After living alone for thirteen years, my roomie is basically too perfect to exist outside of my imagination.  She's a fellow nerd who is open to new obsessions - I got her into the Marvel Universe, she got me into Outlander. She's incredibly empathetic which helps on my bad days.  It's easy for me to ask her for help. The division of labor around our place has been painless because we have similar mess tolerance, internal laziness, and guilt.  We crack each other up to the point of doubling over and wiping away tears.  She gets my routines and moods.  Like I am a grunting stumbling Frankenstein in the morning with Dragonball Z hair until I get coffee in me.  We watch Game of Thrones together.  She also gets along with my family.

My Job

I have a job that engages me, uses all my skills, challenges me, and teaches me something. This is the first job in a while where I own projects and am responsible for outcomes. It feels great that with each challenge, I have been able to succeed. The people I work with are kind, helpful, and funny. I love my little analyst group; Super Boss, Baby Analyst, and Worker Bee Analyst. Baby Analyst and Worker Bee have a fun bickering/friendly vibe.  I joke with them that looking out of my office door is like watching a sitcom. I don't tell them it's like a will they/won't they romantic sitcom. Seriously, I look at those two and think "Just kiss damnit!" Super Boss and I are getting along well.  He isn't on a pedestal in my mind anymore, he's more human now. I think that helps with communication. If I can survive the current political climate, I can see myself sticking around for a couple more years.

My Body

I am so grateful for this body I have been given.  I know I don't treat it well and I should. It has persevered despite a lot of damage. I am approaching 40 with minimal wrinkles and health problems. My gray hairs are sparkling white. I haven't had a sinus infection for over a year - I used to get two a year.  My bones basically don't break, I wind up injuring tendons, nerves, or tissue.  A fun aspect of my body is that my mother's DNA is so strong, I look at photos of my grandmother, great grandmother, or go to family parties and I see that I belong. Sure I wish my boobs were bigger, hair thicker, and waist thinner but what I have been given is so strong, I am grateful.

My Family

My mom and brother have been my best cheerleaders.  They know how to get me out of my funks and how to tell me painful truths. They have celebrated my highs, laughed long and hard with me. My cousins are also awesome to have in my life as an adult. We tend to have similar work ethics and hang ups. I get great advice on everything from excellent beers to handling sticky situations at work. I am the oldest cousin but that doesn't mean I should know the most and it's so helpful to have resources where I can get feedback without being judged. I also love their kids. They are kids I would have totally played with when I was little.

I am so glad I am here whether it's through God's will, luck, or my stubbornness. Each laugh and each tear is a gift. I love my life.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

May Crazy Fun

Wow, life was intense, busy, and awesome in May!  My mom and I had a great Mother's Day thanks to Canto 6 bakery.  I got to see Cyndi Lauper and Boy George at The Wang.  That made me so happy, I was on a high for days.  Throughout the concert, I was having flashbacks to where I was when I first heard certain songs. I think the concert had such a great affect on me because I knew eight year old me (who was so unhappy and scared) would be so proud and content with who I am now.

Memorial Day I went camping here with a group of seven people and two dogs.  I snagged a ride with this great married couple who live in JP and their lovable labrador, Quixote. Traffic was horrendous heading out and it was nice to witness the wife's road rage because I ain't got nothing on her! The weekend was full of beer, laughs, good food and group dynamic drama.  I avoided the latter.

Work has been as crazy as usual. We got a temp to help with the billing process. She definitely helps but she is SO CHATTY I basically let her talk and find a pause to steer her back towards work. Work has also gotten a lot more political with potential lay-offs on the horizon.  It's pretty sad seeing managers so focused on saving their own asses, they are willing to screw anyone over.  Super Boss and I got blind-sided by one of these maneuvers this past week.  A manager who we thought was a supporter/ally completely threw our group under the bus.

You know how I call my boss "Super Boss"? I don't think that does me or him any favors by putting him on a pedestal.  He isn't perfect, the best, or a super hero. He has a ton of great boss qualities but also has problems handling his emotions.  In particular, anger and frustration.  Lucky for me, I have the same problem so that's why things can turn toxic so quickly for us.  I had a very difficult week this past week.  One day he blew up at me because he didn't like the tone of my voice when we went over a project.  The next day he told me that he's not a hugger but I look like I needed a hug. I did so we high-fived.  We have also been talking quite frankly about finding a new job.  He is definitely looking and I am getting worried that I should. The other day he told me in a despairing tone, "It wasn't always like this..." referring to how miserable and stressful work has become.

June should be a lot less busy socially but on the flip side work will be nuts thanks to fiscal year deadlines.  I am taking June 10 off as a vacation day.  It's the 15 year anniversary of my stroke and I want to do something for myself.