Monday, July 31, 2006

Someone's In Trouble

And that "someone" would be me. Yep.

Today, there were a series of closed-door sessions. For a company as small as Acme Consulting Company (six people onsite), that's unusual. And, since I wasn't a part of any of the closed door sessions, I had a feeling it might be about me...especially since The Junior Executive didn't engage me in her normal "how was your weekend" Monday morning chatter.

This afternoon, I was called in to talk to El Presidente and The Junior Executive. The Junior Executive began by saying she hates to wear her supervisor hat, but sometimes she has to...and then she pretty much laid into me.

She began by saying that I am excelling at my new role as writer. However...and then that's when I got the one-two punch. Apparently, my phone manner is inconsistent, and two weeks ago, El Presidente’s Wife overheard me say something to (a customer? a telemarketer?) that left her concerned enough to voice those concerns to The Junior Executive, and to ask that maybe I be taken off the phones.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'd love to be taken off the phones. But seriously, I can't think of an incident that particular week that would concern El Presidente’s Wife. Sure, I was stressed being as I was the only person manning the whole office Monday through Thursday. (Well, sort of. El Presidente’s Wife wandered in a few times, and I'm assuming it's one of those times that she overheard me on the phone being less than jocular.) However, honestly, I know when I'm rude, and I don't remember being rude that particular week (not saying I haven't been rude, but mostly to telemarketers, who I frequently just hang up on).

And then there's The Cry Baby. Apparently she found an entry I made on my other journal complaining about how often she calls in sick on Tuesdays and showed it to The Junior Executive, who in turn showed it to El Presidente. They are disappointed in me, and because of me, had to revise the Acme External Service Standards to include a new action item: Other - No "public" discussion of personal company issues or employee issues.

So, The Junior Executive told me that she had no idea why I would do something like that, knowing that both she and The Cry Baby had access to the site. She even went as far as to say I gave them the address. NOT TRUE. I never gave either of them the web address for my journal; they found it on their own. And even though I didn't mention the company by name, The Junior Executive is mad because her name is on the entry (not in the body, in the comments) and also The Cry Baby's.

Boo hoo. But of course, now probably all my entries will be "friends only." Most are now, anyway. Not sure why I didn't mark that particular entry private, but I didn't, and now I'm in trouble. (Strangely enough, shortly after posting the entry I had the feeling it would come back to bite me in the butt. Why don't I ever listen to my "feelings"?)

The Junior Executive went on to say that when The Cry Baby calls in sick, I'm cold to her the next day. She basically told me to lighten up; that Acme's policy is that if someone calls in sick, they're sick, and if it becomes a problem, then they will get talked to. So, basically what she said is The Cry Baby can elongate her weekends as often as she wants to, because she is a valued employee, whereas I am treading water, and if I know what's good for me, I won't call in sick for quite awhile.

She also harangued me some more about The Cry Baby. She said that she had hoped I would've taken her out for coffee a while ago, and instead of bugging me about it, she decided to just step back and see what I would do. Well, newsflash: she said it might be nice, but she didn't feel it was necessary. And since I also felt it wasn't necessary to spend more time with The Cry Baby than I had to in the office, I just didn't do it. But of course, now I'm in trouble for not doing what she was hoping I would do.

Which brings me to the next point: my raise. I honestly thought they were going to take it back! She talked about it, and how I haven't lived up to their expectations, etc. Then she said that I am supposed to be coming to her on a regular (weekly? monthly? bi-monthly?) basis, and saying, "The Junior Executive, gee, I would sure like to have some more work put on my plate. Challenge me! Give me more." (And I know this sounds like I'm making it up, however that's what she said, basically word for word.) And since I haven't done that, I am in trouble.

She said it was all part of the original deal: That I would ask her for more work, grow my job, "RELISH" the opportunity to get so much work that my inbox would be overflowing (again, I do not exaggerate). Now, I never remember her saying that. I do remember both her and El Presidente saying that they would expect my job role to increase, and The Junior Executive saying that she would be giving me more of her workload and training me on it.

She did not do that. Yet, I'm the bad guy because, guess what?, I should've been ASKING for more work.

Then they both asked me if I even really want to be part of Acme. They said they didn't expect an answer today, but that they'd like me to think long and hard about it tonight, and maybe this entire week, and get back to them on that. They said that in many ways, I do not fit into the Acme mold, which is an exuberant, joyful personality, always asking for more work, and turning my head the other way when people abuse the Acme sick policy. (Okay, so I made that last part up, but it was eluded to...)

The Junior Executive mentioned several times that she doesn't like to confront me because she's scared to. Well, that's not my problem. I've never snapped at her. I've never given her any reason not to approach me. And yet, it's my fault that she doesn't feel that she can approach me to give me more work.

El Presidente concluded the session by saying that he does see a lot of potential in me, and believes I have what it takes to be an "Acme Ace employee." However, some of my personality quirks concern them, so please think about if I just want a job or if I want a job with Acme.

Which brings me to Todd, who just this weekend sat me down and said "Honey, what are you going to do about your job?" He knows I'm unhappy here. In so many ways, navigating Acme country is a lot like navigating life with my folks. There are a lot of landmines around, and I just never really know when I'm going to step on one.

Basically, The Junior Executive wants me to be a mind reader. She wants me to be "proactive" (and if I hear that word one more time, I think I am going to need a lobotomy) and come to her. And as much as I'd like to be that kind of person, I'm not. I like to skate. I went through most of my whole adult life without skates. I did everything the hard way in the Army and in my first few jobs afterwards. But at Acme, they just sort of gave me some stuff to do, and I do it. I don't look for more, but if they give me more, I will take it on and excel at it (oh, I guess unless it involves answering the phones...).

If this was the Bay Area, there's be no thinking involved. I'd give my notice, and get a new job. But this is Reno, and the job market (for someone like me who hasn't finished college) consists of casino work, warehouse work, or receptionist work, all of which pay a pittance. And yes, I like my Fridays off.

So what's a girl with a poor phone personality to do?

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