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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Flowers

I discovered this song last Sunday and I can't stop listening to it:

Things have been pretty busy but good!

My room-mate's sister came to visit over Patriot's Day weekend. I was a little nervous about making a good impression.  But all of us had a really nice time.  We introduced her to Mystery Science Theater with "I Accuse My Parents". I made my slow cooker brisket recipe for dinner and we got in a game of Monopoly. Pro-tip -  apparently drinking wine while playing guarantees a win!

I also went to the Boston marathon with a group of friends around mile 20 in Newton. That was a blast! The weather was gorgeous and everyone was so nice. We picked various ways to cheer runners.  I decided to yell at every red head runner, "Go gingers!" Afterwards, we grabbed drinks and lunch. We discovered Citizen Cider's The Dirty Mayor which is like cider champagne deliciousness.

Work has been pretty good. Super Boss and I are back to normal after a couple weeks of tentativeness. Those awkward tip-toeing days made me a little sad because I felt like I broke our rapport. But we settled back to our regular vibe but with better boundaries like I call with questions rather than constantly popping into his office. When I do poke my head in, I always ask if it's a good time and now he tells me that he is going to a meeting in 5 minutes. I also respect his closed office door.

He was training me on a reporting process the Tuesday after the marathon when I told him that I had been yelling "Go gingers!" to red head runners. He got really concerned and said very seriously that I should not have done that.  That ginger is really insulting that he and his buddies have gotten into bar fights over using that word. I took that in and scanned his deadpan face hoping for a hint of humor.  Nope.  He wasn't trying to put one over on me - he was dead serious. For the rest of the day, I was horrified that I had basically screamed the red head version of "nigger" at people in public. I was also confused how I had absolutely no idea how insulting the word is.  My room-mate came to the rescue in addition to several friends on Facebook. Look at my profile picture. I come from a family of red heads Scots/Irish.  Guess what? Me saying ginger isn't insulting because hello freckles, reddish hair, and ghostly skin. Super Boss with his olive skin and black hair from Italian/Russian roots - insulting!

This past week was our last week to fix 1095-Cs.  I worked last Sunday with the plan of checking the penultimate coding file for maybe an hour with only a couple tweaks.  Guess what? Within five minutes of opening the file, I found hundreds of coding issues. Super Boss came in and we were both so discouraged and stressed. He said the only thing that is helping him get through the day was the Game of Thrones premiere that night.  Ha!

We needed to get 8000 correct forms stuffed and to our mailing room by Friday at 3:00pm.  Monday to Wednesday we were still testing coding. Super Boss stayed until midnight two nights in a row.  We don't have a high speed printer so we kept getting jams trying to get the forms out - the forms that needed to be kept in order.  Thursday, I spent 6 hours stuffing envelopes with help from various people in our department. Worker Bee Analyst and I found an error on a couple of letters where the zip code was printed twice.  Worker Bee begged me not to tell Super Boss.  Knowing Super Boss' need for perfection, he would want to reprint everything - so yeah I kept my mouth shut. Also, Worker Bee gets a good read on situations.  I ignored his warnings a couple weeks ago which lead to that horrible blow up and broken clock.  The 6 hours of straight envelope stuffing did a number on my neck, arm and back (car accident residual injury). I got home after 8pm, got in my PJs, grunted at my room-mate, and went to bed.  We got all the forms out by the deadline Friday.

Stressed/ no sleep Super Boss has an awesome sense of humor. He kept me laughing the last couple of days. I got really excited that one of our interns' cousins went to Mount Holyoke and I was gushing about Happy Valley. Cue Super Boss commenting, "Oh that dump..." my face just had a second to get pouty and I took a breathe to launch into a defense when Super Boss laughed and nodded - letting me know he got me.  Another time I was in his office and I asked him a question about China. He made a really deadpan observation about Chyna then I was doubled over leaning on his desk laughing my ass off.  Two days of high stress and buckets of laughing wasn't too horrible!

This is my one free weekend for the next month.  Next weekend is a girls night and Mother's Day, the next is my cousin's wedding shower, the next is Cyndi Lauper and Boy George, and then Memorial Day weekend is a 3 day camping trip Friday to Monday with a group of 9 friends.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Good News!

Firstly, acupuncture for dealing with emotional BS totally helps! I've done acupuncture for physical pain before so the needles didn't freak me out. The practitioner was really gentle, kind, and warm. He let me talk, ask questions, and cry. Whatever he did, felt like a weight had lifted from me. The Friday horribleness did not have the emotional hold on me anymore. So, I'm going to add this to my wellness routine!

My early morning emergency therapy session went well and I had a lot of good guidance like cutting Super Boss a wide berth today. Also, making a routine of doing something relaxing each day.

I walked into work with a lot of tools under my belt and coping advice. I had been in my office barely 5 minutes when Super Boss appeared in my doorway asking if we could talk. We had a good talk, I got to apologize, he apologized, we explained where our head were at Friday, and got into boundaries. Super Boss had a whole list of things I don't need to do and alternatives for me. I almost started laughing because altogether, I sounded like one pushy broad! But I know the examples he used were random instances where I remembered feeling like I was interrupting or was unsure about how to approach something. The upshot is that I'm getting a verbal warning and we're cool.

The final amazingly good thing from today is when I was chatting with a co-worker about Friday. I apologized for the drama and thanked her for lending me an ear in the midst of it all. This is a grandmother of four and she told me a couple months ago she came into work in the morning and basically had a tantrum. That we can never know what will set us off. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Broken Things

This blog is about my life on my path to wisdom, healing, and self-knowledge. Friday afternoon, I set in motion a series of events at work that I am deeply ashamed of.  I wasn't aware of it at the time but I kept pushing and pushing Super Boss in an abusive manner so I got to win by being the victim of him storming into my office and yelling at me. It doesn't matter the he said, she said of it play by play. I was unprofessional and disrespectful to my boss. He was really struggling Friday so he couldn't deal with my drama and he just announced "That's it." grabbed his coat and walked out.  The former director wound up running after him.  I was in the Staffing Manager's office crying.  I played my trump victim card floating the idea that I might rescind my senior analyst application.

I went back to my office to tie some work up and I saw Super Boss return to his office. I went to his door and apologized. He was completely disheveled and was crying in his dark office. He said, "Just leave." weakly when I finished. I gathered my stuff to leave and closed my office door, then the clock on the wall fell and shattered next to me.  This is around 4:45 and the handful of people left yelled asking if I was okay.  Super Boss came out of his office concerned. I told him I was fine and will clean it up. Because nothing is more awesomely pathetic and victimy than picking up broken glass crying. Oh yeah, when I want to feel pathetic, I can go all out. I got in another abusive parting shot at Super Boss that set him off again because I am that fucked up.

I cried on the train ride home and it turns out my roommate was on the same train so she met me in the station lobby with a big hug.  I called my mom who pointed out all the bullshit psychodrama I had unfurled at work.  She told me that Super Boss had every right to tell me to fuck off and how I acted could jeopardize my job.  I needed to hear these things and it helped. She also gave me advice on how to handle Monday.

To be quite frank dear readers, I have written a lot here about how Super Boss has been so supportive, kind, and my biggest champion. I don't always treat him like he's the best boss I've ever had. He is.  I get caught in testing him for dumb psychological reasons. I test his patience, I test his compassion, and I test until I guess I win by making a kind decent man explode yelling at me?  It's easier for me to deal with brutishness than compassion and patience.

I have a therapy appointment Tuesday - which I am going to try to move to Monday.  I also booked an acupuncture appointment tomorrow. My plan is to see if Super Boss wants to talk about it, if he does I will apologize listing the steps I'll take to handle things better.  I don't think I am going to be fired. I'll probably get a written warning and have a meeting between him, I, and the Staffing Manager. I am also considering writing a formal letter of apology.

The mountain of shame and regret I am digging out of is deserved and completely exhausting. You know what really killed it for me? The Staffing Manager kept saying how Super Boss has nothing but great things to say about me and a co-worker gave me a huge hug telling me that our department needs 10 Chokmahs and how I shouldn't let Friday ruin my weekend. I work with good people - and I need to make sure I treat them well darn it!

Friday, April 01, 2016

1095-C, Life Ruiner

Remember those 8,000+ tax forms that we got saddled with printing?  They are benefits forms. Benefits data in our system is absolute crap because the Benefits Team aren't analysts or IT savvy. We relied on a contract business analyst last year to help us fix benefits data and interpret IRS regulations into logic coding for the 1095-C.

Guess what? Data was still wrong and the regulations logic was coded incorrectly to produce those 8,000 forms.  The benefits department was flooded with complaint calls.  March 25, Super Boss was given the job to fix the entire mess.  Not the Benefits Manager or IT Manager.  Super Boss. The form mailing due date was March 31.

This past week has been absolute hell, dipped in burning bullshit.  Super Boss is going to resign in the near future.   He can't continue working at our company anymore.  I know his health, spirit, and marriage are suffering.

He was so utterly overwhelmed and miserable trying to decipher the IRS regulations, working until at least 9p.m. at night. He wound up completely blowing up at anyone in the vicinity of my office Tuesday. Crying in his office, telling me that he was handed the job to fix this mess as a set up for failure so the higher ups can fire him.  I sat with him for hours trying to help interpret the regulations and scope a fix. At one point, he said quietly, "I guess I am going to quit Friday with no job lined up."  I sent an urgent email to our former director asking him to swing by because Super Boss was in The Dark Place.  I asked Baby Analyst around 2:30 Tuesday to grab Super Boss lunch since he kept insisting he had no time to get food. Tears leaked from his eyes when she put two slices of pizza and a Pepsi on his desk. Tuesday was bad. I was so panicked and unable to help, I sent an email to the Higher Ups Tuesday evening listing all the wonderful things about Super Boss and how important he is to our department. I cried my heart out to my room-mate and my mom on the phone.  Both made me feel a ton better.

Wednesday morning, I decided to tell Super Boss that he is basically family to me, that I want him to be happy, when he hurts I am sad, and that I will always have his back.  I also told him that he had every right to be upset and say the things he said Tuesday.  He got teary and thanked me.  He also told me his wife is really pissed at him about all the late nights he's working, that fixing the 1095-C form is hurting his non-work life.  So yeah, remember how I said that since he's family I want him to be happy? Damn it - I kinda know logically he needs to jump ship ASAP but I would really miss him. Wednesday we tried calling the IRS, our healthcare provider, and similar companies to get some kind of handle of how to code these damn tax forms.  On the plus side, we found out we could mail a letter that would give us a thirty day extension!

Thursday, we finally got some kind of guidance on coding from an outside consultant.  Super Boss actually smiled!  We are going to spend the next 3 weeks fixing the code, testing, and sending out a whole new batch of forms

Today was an okay day 90% coding testing but after I mentioned to Super Boss about potential summer vacation plans, he mentioned he will be taking off a chunk of July himself "...if I am still here." I said, "Ha, ha April Fools" and went back to my office to cry.  I was a monotone, snippy bitch to him the rest of the afternoon because I am professional woman gosh darn it!  We had a phone call and I apologized explaining why I was upset - he assured me that he has no prospects now but I should not be surprised if it happens. I brushed up my resume when I got home tonight. Super Boss sent this tonight,

"Fellow team members,

I just want to thank all of you for all your assistance and support over the course of this past week.  I have fallen severely behind on e-mails, voicemails, assigned projects and daily tasks in order to dedicate time to 1095-C.  I imagine that many of you have as well.  Some of you were directly impacted by my inability to be available and for this I am sorrowful and am asking to be excused.

I appreciate all your efforts and dedication in trying to move us along in a positive direction on the 1095-Cs.  The struggle is real.  The confusion is authentic.  But I believe we are on a path towards clarity thanks to all your hard work, research and questioning.  Your labor is for a good cause and I am so grateful to serve on a team with each of you.  Without you so much of what the Analyst team delivers would just not be possible.

Despite all of this week’s mayhem and crammed learning, you continued to move theX project along, continued to test Y and Z approval issues (are we done testing?), continued to respond to alpha questions, and continued to do your daily, weekly and monthly tasks as best as possible.  That is amazing stuff.

Thanks for all you do"