post published look at this photo - there appears to be a tear coming out of the vicinity of that chick's eye. almost a good reason to swap the illustration but I really LIKE the illustration so I'm going with this: It's not a tear because it's coming from the wrong side of her face - the upside, it should be coming, gravitationally speaking, from the downside unless of course she's just flipped herself over and that seems highly unlikely given how settled everything looks - therefore I'm going with this: It's a river of butterfly pee. Wait. That's a moth. Whatever.
I was laying in bed this morning taking stock. This was after I was laying in bed this morning begging the sleep fairy to come back and dump a little more magic dust over my head but it was turning into late morning and there's only so much sleep you need or can suck up before you have to start asking yourself The Question.
What the hell am I avoiding?
I am swimming lately; no doubt about that. Sometimes it's just an ungainly dog paddle only discernible from a thrash in that I'm not taking in water and sometimes it's a dead-man's resting float and sometimes It's that long haul glide you get from a breast stroke with some rhythm. What it isn't is a float on the back where you stare up at the sun and sort of smile at nothing in particular. That's OK. For everything turn, turn, turn and all that. It isn't the resting and smiling time right now but why be so damn serious all the time?
I feel like I ought to clarify a few things from a prior post that I didn't want to particularly bury in the comment section because they're important.
Sucking up. Not what I meant in the least. I don't do it or I don't do it well or something like that or I don't do it with a straight face. Sometimes I probably ought to be able to do it or some close approximation of it but the best I can do is learn to shut my fucking mouth and pay attention. There's a BIG difference there. I don't know everything, I can't see everything and if I go off half cocked I'm likely to find myself cold cocked. I'll end up on the street on the proverbial stretcher and I'll get to be right about something but I'll have missed the point. Also, in terms of men versus women in positions of power and abuse thereof, the worst situation I've seen or experienced by far was a woman. She wins hands down in terms of psychological warfare and having an agenda that was so personal as to be mind blowing. This guy can't hold a candle to her. Some day I'd like to write a book about how as women in Corporate America or just positions of power we have managed to sabotage ourselves mightily. Not like we haven't had help, but my GOD. Anyway, I'm off track.
So there's that.
On the subject of men and being able to take care of my own emotional needs; I think about babies learning to be self-soothing. I can see the middle and the end too but only in terms of where I've been and how I got there in the past. Some days I'm stupid gun shy but most days I'm just too overwhelmed to think about it. I want it though. It's one of those things on the list. Find new mate. I'm just not sure where it falls on the list or what sort of dependencies are attached in front or behind or even in tandem. There is an eleven year old to consider and this whole thing called what the hell does Alecto want anyway but when it comes right down to it those can either be stopping points/excuses or just things to answer along the way. I honestly don't know. I honestly don't know a lot of things these days. Mostly I'm working on breathing. Air is my friend. Without it my lips turn blue and I pass out. Also, it's bad for my hair, nails and skin (not breathing).
Where was I?
Laying in bed taking stock. Right. I wasn't moving. A'tall. Not an inch. I was working REALLY hard on keeping the week at bay but that wasn't going so well. I took out the list. Here are the things I'm not doing and it's time to be doing them:
- I notice it is spring suddenly. When did this happen? Granted, it was never exactly winter (at least not a hard winter) and so when the flowers sprouted and it got warmer I can hardly be blamed for not doing cartwheels. The day I stopped wearing my long down coat happened because the dog slimed it and I had no other viable choice but to wear the raincoat. Turned out I didn't freeze to death and I haven't washed the down coat yet and I don't think I'm going to need it again... Right. And I notice it is spring suddenly and I have NOT been outside yet. So there's that.
- It is time to call my friend at the drop zone and discuss the barter situation. You want to stay current on an outdated mode of training and I don't want to pay ungodly student rates to get current (read: start over) again. Personally I'd prefer that outdated mode of training for the most part because it's what I know and the idea of a harness hold makes me queasy (although honestly it's probably A LOT SAFER). I haven't done this yet.
- My chicken order hasn't been placed. I know perfectly well why I haven't done this yet. I haven't done this yet because I'd have to commit to moving. You know, moving myself more than four feet at a time on weekends and in the morning and evening during the week. I would have to be able to not need six hours of recovery time per day. Or recover some other way than being immobile. So far I haven't gotten there. I'm still kinda catatonic at the end of the day and I don't manage to go to sleep until anywhere between 10:30 and midnight. Midnight is bad because I have to really struggle the following day. Thankfully I'm nearly past that now.
- I haven't spent any of the money budgeted on various and assorted repairs, excursions and other things that have been put off. I have not forced several other things to happen that should have happened that would change cash flow. I haven't done any of this because I want just about every penny possible building up in the buffer. Call it mad money. Actually, call it Fuck You money. Let's call a spade a spade.
- I haven't finished my taxes. Well that's not a surprise and hardly anything to worry about. Add it to the list anyway just as a reminder. Plug that crap into TurboTax and get 'er done.
- Laundry gets done barely. Just what we need when we need it. The rest of it sits there waiting. Crap.
- I need to call a plumber to fix the problem with the pipe in the garage so I can get the water situation handled in the back yard. This is imperative or pretty damn near. Dammit. MOVE.
- Grocery shopping happens every other week. Prefab meals again but at least they always contain a vegetable. We're on auto pilot again but we're actually doing OK.
I think there might have been more but I'm looking at it and I'm probably not giving myself enough credit. Oh hell, I know I'm not giving myself enough credit. I surely did get out of the house last weekend and did not work last weekend and short of turning on my computer and logging into a server to run a defrag a couple of times won't be working this weekend either.
But shit is definitely coming to a head.
HR called me into her office yesterday. Holy mother of god. We went to lunch, we always go to lunch together (not me and HR, me and my team). It's a control thing. That doesn't have to be a control thing but if you combine that with not letting your employees out of your sight if you can help it then it is a control thing because then they can't ever have lunch with anyone else and no relationships are developed outside of the department of three.
The red light was on my phone. Nobody ever calls me unless it's a wrong number. I get an email instead. I don't know anyone who would call me. The email I get comes through the help desk and it is addressed to the help desk and I take almost all the helpdesk tickets now because I'm good at it and I pick them up first and just do them. Nobody complains. I got an internal e-card the other day (who knew?) and it's a noisy thing so my boss heard it and came right over to see what the hell was going on in my cube. He wanted to know what and why and I told him. I was honest to god scared he'd be mad. I fixed a problem so that it wouldn't happen again. That's all. Except it took about two hours and some research and a process change. It could have gone either way. Anyway, the red light was on. I didn't notice right away because I never look. I finally looked and I didn't pick it up right away because at The Factory I was inundated and I used to avoid my voice mail like the plague. Eventually I picked up the message.
HR asked me to come to her office.
All the offices are glass.
I didn't say anything. I just got up from my desk and walked down the hall.
I sat down and she asked how I was doing.
And I told her.
There's a big difference, oh hell, there is a world of difference between going to HR with a problem and being asked a direct question.
HR has one job. Only one job and don't EVER be under any other illusion. HR's job is to keep the company from being sued.
If an employee goes to HR they need to go very carefully. The information taken to HR is something HR needs, no doubt about it. However, two pieces of information are being relayed. 1. Houston, we have a situation on our hands (possible harassment issue) and 2. Houston, we have a situation on our hands (possible litigation issue).
If you go to HR you are a liability. Don't be a liability.
OK, I don't mean don't go to HR if you need to go to HR and if you happen to be an HR generalist and you're reading this before you have a complete hissy fit stop for a minute and THINK. Think hard.
Yes, you want an employee who is being harassed in the workplace, one way or another to come forward because you need to know about this and you need to stop it before it gets out of hand. Why do you need to stop it? Because a law suit is going to cost you a lot of money directly and indirectly especially if you're a public company.
Define harassment: harassment is anything that contributes to creating a work environment that is uncomfortable enough that an employee has difficulty doing his or her job. That's the current definition, by the way. First you tell the person who's causing the problem, if you feel you can. Then you tell the next superior up the line (this is probably going to make it worse but what the hell) and that person is supposed to handle it. Then you keep going up the chain of command until it's all better.
Really? You're just supposed to handle it. In most circumstances you should be able to work it out and in most cases you can work it out one way or another and often we just live with stuff. People compromise. It's the way the world works. Or you learn to avoid unpleasant situations or whatever. And which one of us is innocent when it comes to being irritating to somebody? There's a lot of accountability. Anyway, my point is there's the other side of the equation. The possibly litigious employee. Once an employee has filed a formal complaint, that employee, for better or worse is a marked liability. Sucks, huh? Yup, sure does.
So the bottom line is you don't go to HR until you've exhausted all other possibilities up to and including finding another job depending on the possible outcome. For instance, can HR resolve anything? Is there a long term solution available? Is this a company that has value to you in terms of long term employment or is this a short term one or two year stop to pick up a set of skills? Can the situation be resolved any other way?
But what happens when HR comes to you?
Well thank fucking god. THAT is a free get out of jail card if you're careful.
I'm still not writing about a lot of what's going on and I'm not going to. I'm still trying to figure out what I want out of this. I won't be terrorized though. I'm not willing to be held hostage. I'm also not willing to turn and run.
And god dammit. My old boss sent one of his monthly checking in emails. His timing couldn't have been worse/better. I know what he's doing. He knows I know what he's doing. Dammit. I don't want to run home. He's just taking my temperature and I gave him a reading. A small reading. Just enough to keep the back door open.
Is that so wrong.
So I'm having lunch with HR on Thursday because she asked me to. I haven't told my boss yet but I did warn my co-worker because I don't want him having heart failure because he will. I also want him to have enough time to process this and enough time to cave and confess if that's what he's going to do. I'll tell my boss on Thursday right before lunch if he doesn't know ahead of time. I already told her that I fully believe if she confronts him directly she's going to make my life holy hell.
I also said I thought he was being mentored and I thought he was really trying and I thought it was salvageable.
I do think these things. I just didn't lay down the odds.
Here is something I know: One of the most important things is the ability to recognize when you are actually being terrorized; as in emotionally harmed or abused by someone in a position of power. This is really important because I believe 'we with a work ethic' are taught to believe that if we only work hard enough, follow the rules, listen carefully then all will be right with the world. We believe that it is up to us to figure out how to make it right or make it work and that if it is not working that as an employee it is because we are not good enough.
I truly wish that light bulb had gone off when I worked at The Castle. I wonder how differently things might have turned out if I'd been able to verbalize earlier and better what she was doing to me then and what I allowed to happen. On the other hand I don't suppose I'd have understood the purpose of HR as well as I do now either.
OK. I feel better now.
(and why did HR call me to her office? Well, there are actually a couple of reasons I can come up with. The reason she gave me was, 'I just had a feeling'.)