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My SparkFamily Sustains Me!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thank you, my SparkFamily, for your encouragement. May has been full of blogs about the death of a dear friend, too much work, too much stress, layoffs at work, including that of one of my supervising attorneys and the death of a friendship.

I am really off my equilibrium with the end of this friendship on top of everything else. It truly feels as if I am in mourning. The fact that we work on the same floor will definitely slow down any healing. I imagine she feels the same way but that her hurt is colored with anger. I can't even attempt to set things right and it really hurts that she could ascribe whatever negative motivations she has assigned to me without looking at what happened in the larger context of our nearly 6 year relationship.

But - I have truly been lifted up by your comments and goodies. I even gained a new Sparkfriend! How cool is that?! (Hugs, ANNESYLVIA!)


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSY455 5/27/2012 12:54AM

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KEEPITUP05 5/26/2012 11:25PM

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_LINDA 5/26/2012 10:17PM

    Hopefully, when Yvonne cools off, however long that takes, she may start to reason. If she is blindly self orientated that she will never see both sides of the story in which case that is not the kind of friend you need. A true friend will, eventually, see reason after a cooling off period. The old saw times heals all wounds will apply if this is a true honest and open friendship..
I know you deserve better treatment as does anyone on here who has heard your story. Just know we are here for you. Vent, cry, laugh, whatever you feel like, don't be afraid to share!
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CMRAND54 5/26/2012 10:16PM

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Still Employed But...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I could not sleep last night and got up at 2:45. I have not been sleeping well since this whole thing with Yvonne started. I was not sleeping well prior to that because my mind was so caught up with the project I'm doing at work. I got to work just after 5:30 and was able to make some very good headway on my project before meetings started.

First was with my supervising attorneys via email since we're in 3 different places due to their crazy schedules. Then there was the All-Hand's meeting where the CEO gave his rationale for laying off our top attorney and another senior executive (cost cutting). Between those meetings, I had lunch and an hour to return to the project. After the All-hands, I had another hour before my meeting with my boss. I did not know why we were meeting, but I had several ideas. I was not fired or laid off. But the primary reason for the meeting was that Yvonne went to her boss who went to my boss and, legally they had to, they went to HR. My boss said he knows me well enough to know that my intentions were good but she took it all wrong. I told him they don't have the whole story and he said he knew that. But, I now have a warning in my personnel jacket.

I LOVE my job, my company and my boss and I was horrified, mortified and humiliated to have that kind of conversation with my boss. I have known, liked and respected him for all of the my 11 years at the company. It was an awful conversation to be having and, to his credit, while he was wearing his metaphysical manager's hat, it was uncomfortable for him as well. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I was struggling so hard to maintain my composure that I could hardly talk. My throat closes when I am that upset and my jaw locks, my lip quivers and it is all I can do to get a word out. He told me he knows I will be professional because I am always professional (I appreciated that) but he had to warn me that if there were any other issues, there would be a bigger discussion and they would have to take measures. Not stated but implied included termination.

I have been doing a part of Yvonne's job for about 3 years. Upper management has decided she will handle the government contracts again and I have to train her because they are all "one-off" from the transactions she normally deals with. I told my boss that I would be able to do that in a professional manner, but not immediately. Not that I am going to lose my mind or anything, but it's just too painful. He understood. He had not realized that she has ended our friendship and that stunned him. As I said, he does not know the whole story. But I will no longer be her back-up when she goes on vacation, so that frees me up from that clerical work and allows me to do more paralegal work.

That change is not because of this issue. My boss has been trying to get me out of doing clerical stuff for more than a year, but it took a reorganizational change a couple of months ago for this to happen. The contracts teams have been moved into a different group and are no longer under the Legal Department's umbrella. That allowed my boss to ask the question why a Legal employee would be doing work for that other group when the 2 groups do not have the same management "food chain". So the timing is coincidental, but it works out in the long run.

My looming OT for the summer has been cut. I was really looking forward to that money!
Now I have the stress of how am I going to get my regular work done as well as all the new computer training and testing AND mentor 3 students!

A former coworker who has remained a friend called me as soon as I got home. She lives clear across the country, but we hang out whenever we can. She was concerned about me and was stunned when I told her all of the day's news. We talked for over an hour and it was such a balm for my battered spirit!

It will take a while, but I will recover my equilibrium. I think it will take much longer for me to get over my incredulity that this whole thing happened and ended the way it did.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ISHIIGIRL 5/26/2012 9:41AM

    There is that old saying what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. It seems you have gone through a lot of lessons lately. I am sorry things worked out the way they did but there is a reason. It may not be clear right now and you may never fully understand why this happened. I am glad your friend reached out to you and I am happy you won't have to work with Yvonne any longer. You have so much integrity. Being the person you are says so much to everyone. I am sure your boss recognizes that. Hang in there. Hopefully this will be a blessing in disguise. Know that you have all of us here who are rooting for you. Try and have a restful weekend and do something just for you!

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CMRAND54 5/25/2012 6:48PM

    I wonder if they talked to the person who started this by gossiping about your friend? I'm so sorry you got caught in the middle of it.

I was a manager for more than 20 years, and believe me, your boss didn't enjoy that conversation any more than you did. I'm hoping things will settle down for you as the summer progresses. At least you are still employed and some of your duties were reassigned. Hang in there!

Comment edited on: 5/25/2012 6:49:07 PM

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CATLADY52 5/25/2012 3:43PM

    Knowing that you won't have to cover for someone who has put you in a bad place should make your life easier. You still have a job and that is good. emoticon
You will make it through emoticon

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_LINDA 5/25/2012 2:31AM

    To me, it seems an injustice was done here with you getting that black mark on your record :( So very sorry about that.. At least you won't have to cover for Yvonne anymore, big bonus there. But really sorry to hear your OT has been cut :( Though the long hours were not doing your health much good.. Redshoes has a good point -getting involved with coworkers can be big trouble. Not only that, your company is very unstable -firing people at the drop of a hat. They don't seem to realize you NEED the best people -they will generate more business then newcomers.. Can you imagine what the clients feel like when their best attorney is dumped??
I sure don't like to hear this Yvonne has your job fate in her hands should she complain again.. just hate that -that is an awful threat to work under!!
My thoughts are with you, wishing there was some way I could make it better for you..
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REDSHOES2011 5/24/2012 10:09PM

    Sorry about the problems, your story serves as a reminder why I never mix friendship and business because misunderstandings can sour everything and then people know our weak spots.. Hope you bounce back real soon and never cover for anyone no matter how much you like them- they are there on own merit..
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MISSY455 5/24/2012 10:05PM

    emoticon I am sorry that you had to face your boss over the issue, but at least you still have your job. I think it is important that you won't have to cover for Yvonne anymore, it would have been difficult. I know you would have been nothing but professional, but who knows how Yvonne would have behaved (based on tattling to her boss I don't think very professional.)

I am glad you were able to talk over the day with your friend. Someone who understands you and all the players is a big help. Keep your chin up and do the best job you can. I hope things fall into place for you and you manage to get everything accomplished that you need too in the time allowed.

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Mourning the Death of a Friendship

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yvonne let me know today that she does not want to be my friend any longer. Somehow we are supposed to still be coworkers. This is going to be awkward. I will, of course, be professional even though my heart is crushed. I feel as if I were tried, judged, convicted, drawn and quartered without cause.

I spoke with our soon-to-be-former top attorney today and she did not think I made a big mistake. She really lifted my spirits even with Yvonne's email. I had to arrange a conference call with one attorney in DC, another in TX and another in CA on about 1 minute's notice and I pulled it off! I told my newly-promoted attorney that there was probably a more elegant way to make it happen, but I was just glad they were able to talk. I was not privy to the conversation, but I do know the end result was what we needed, an extension of time.

Later I talked with my boss, the managing general counsel, and he said that the company wants me to do even more of this kind of paralegal work! WOOHOO! I am thrilled! But I know big changes are about to happen. I am afraid that I will end up reporting to a different attorney. I told my boss that I would be really unhappy to report to anyone else. However, we both know that I will do what the company wants. Apparently, the changes will start happening pretty quickly.

I have a summer student starting Monday and, we hope, a second student the following week. I have only a few days to train them before my deep dive for 10 weeks of intense super user training and user acceptance testing of our new enterprise system.

Thank you to those who commented on my last blog. Your words are cherished!

  
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MAMATENACITY 5/29/2012 8:12PM

    I lost a friend who I felt was like a big sister to me. This was 14 years ago. I still catch myself missing her sometimes, although the break was entirely her decision, her choice... nothing I tried to do to reach out over the years has changed her mind. It was based on her new husband's wishes, but she went along with him, of course. He "didn't like any of her friends". My stepson and her son are still close friends, which makes it harder. I chose the wrong person for a friend... or she became the wrong person. It hurts deeply and lasts longer than a romantic break-up, by far.

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CMRAND54 5/23/2012 4:09PM

    I'm sorry about your friend. Just keep on being professional and she may have second thoughts about her decision. It sounds like you have a busy summer coming up at work! Good for you!

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BYEFATNANNY 5/23/2012 11:42AM

    Real friends stay real friends those that leave weren't really friends, I say. In our professional industry, best to keep work, work and friends outside, I've found. I don't "allow" any of my co-workers to be my facebook friends, just thought it was a safer policy. Glad you got the extension, hard work makes it easier to ignore work politics. Change is hard, but it is inevitable, sometimes when we get a new attorney they surprise us for the better. So chin up as always and nose to the grindstone. (is that physically possible LOL)

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_LINDA 5/23/2012 12:55AM

    Mali, the way you have described your relationship with Yvonne, it seems to me she was no friend of yours, but simply using you. Taking advantage of your caring and giving nature. If she is so shallow to behave this way, you are truly better off without someone this poisonous. You do NOT deserved to be treated this way. You should be celebrating your freedom. A professional relationship is all it should be..
I am glad things are happening for you at work that you like. I hope you get to keep the attorney you have. I can't imagine the frustration it must be having to constantly cope with dealing a new person. That company sure doesn't believe in stability and consistency. Good luck training the newbies before this other training starts.
Try to take care of yourself as best you can with all this looming work..
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DESERTDREAMERS 5/22/2012 11:44PM

    Losing someone we thought was a friend is always hard. Sorry Yvonne put you in the middle of being the "tattle-tell" OR her friend ( if I understood your last blog, you tried to warn her without saying the names). Good luck with your work place - it sounds very stressful!

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NONIE_C 5/22/2012 11:09PM

    I'm so sorry a person you considered a friend has decided to treat you this way. However, I believe that a true friend does not act like this. You deserve people who cherish and support you...you are a wonderful person, and you deserve to be treated as such...don't forget it.

And congrats on being so rad at work!!! I hope the changes are all great!

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ABRANNEWME2014 5/22/2012 11:02PM

    I'm sorry you have lost a friend I know exactly how you feel I lost one last week good luck to us both

Tema

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CMRAND54, You Asked (Thank You for Caring)!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank you, CMRAND54, for checking in on me! It feels great to know someone cares. She posted on my page, asking if I were ok since I have not blogged in a long time.

My last few blogs were early in May after the death of someone Iíve known since 1986. His memorial service is on June 3, hosted by the City of San Mateo at a city-owned gathering place. He was a mayor of that city for 2 or 3 terms, but he was so much more than that.

I had also mentioned briefly that I am in the midst of document production, paralegal-speak for responding to a subpoena. My employer is not a party to the litigation, but itís a case of the litigants wanting to know what we knew and when we knew it. Thereís never enough time, so I have been putting in very long hours working on this.

One of my first thoughts when I saw the date for Johnís service, after noting itís my sisterís birthday, was that I am too fat. There will be a lot of former coworkers there, people I have not seen since I left the company in 2001. That thought, too fat, eats at me. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not about me, it is about honoring John and supporting his family.

I am so sick of weight being an issue for everything! My yard guy disappeared, leaving work half done and wonít come back. So I am doing what I can until my BF gets back on June 22. I have fallen twice in the back yard while watering. I keep tweaking my knee which is extra terrible because of the extra weight. So I have been exhausted from the work and sore from the pain.

Then today happened. The morning started with the thunderbolt news that the company has let our top attorney and other employee go as part of a cost-cutting move. I had a premonition that changes were coming, but I did not see this coming. Fortunately, those of us in Legal were told before the company-wide email went out. After that went out, there was a steady stream of people coming in to the department to find out what they could. Stressful. Hard to watch.

The attorney who was cut was the supervising attorney on this particular request for production, so I now have to switch gears and go through it with another attorney. I know him pretty well, but have never worked with him in this capacity. We had our first meeting and I made a rookie mistake which was compounded by a mistake that our rookie attorney made. The newly promoted attorney really let me have it, albeit in a low-keyed way. I know him well enough to know how displeased he was and I was in tears. My boss got caught up into the mess, too, so it just got worse.

Then it got worse. I have blogged many times about my coworker and friend, Yvonne. She has been going through a hard time and has been taking it out on everyone around her. Two people came to me and shared some info about her that I did not believe, but was concerned about. I spent the weekend agonizing about whether or not to say anything to her. I asked her if she would want to know If someone said something that would upset her. She asked me to tell her, so I did. She lost her mind! Now I am in the exceedingly uncomfortable position of ďtelling onĒ those who told me by giving her their names or, if I donít tell her, we are not friends any more. I did not violate a confidence, but it feels as if that is some kind of emotional blackmail for her to make the ultimatum.

There, CMRAND54, now you know what has been going on. Not enough exercise, not watching what Iím eating, too much stress andÖÖÖI donít know what to do.


  
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CMRAND54 5/22/2012 12:31PM

    You are coping with a lot, for sure, but you are a strong person, so I know you will get through this. Take care of yourself. You are really special to all of us.

I haven't blogged in a really long time, either. I need to write something about my surgery and my retirement and the 7 pounds I've gained in the past year. I'm increasing my exercise, and being more careful with potion sizes. I want to get back to 150 again. It doesn't help that my husband has lost 10 pounds in the past year, without even trying. Men can do that.

It's good to hear from you again.

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BYEFATNANNY 5/22/2012 11:19AM

    Wow- work sounds awful right not, don't worry things will work out. I love to have friends at work, but sometimes, just losing yourself in the work, works out better. I hate when I make mistakes at work, but I am SO lucky the attorney I work under is a dream compared to some. So I guess nose to the grindstone, make up for the mistake, take a breath and make yourself too busy for the gossip. I find watering after work is relaxing, can you take a light weight chair and sit while you are watering or bending. I have little stool I use sometimes. Chin up, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. emoticon

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_LINDA 5/22/2012 2:32AM

    Wow! Letting go your top attorney?? What is your company doing? So sorry you had to be caught in the middle :((
You are right about John's service being about him, not how fat you think you are..No one should be paying any attention to anything other then his service if they are really there to show their support..Just dress nicely and pay your respects, its not a social party..
This Yvonne really is poison. Your mistake was to repeat malicious gossip. That does nothing but create bad feelings and hostility in the workplace which surely doesn't need to be encouraged with all the stress you are under..Unfotunately, with the cat out of the bag so to speak, I don't see any kind of fix for this :(( She is blackmailing you for sure :((
I want to thank you for always taking the time to read and comment on my blogs in spite of how busy you are. You really don't have to. I would rather hear how things are going with you. I do think writing out your daily struggles does help clear the air and put it out there you need help or to self motivate you to finding solutions...
Please take care of yourself -you deserve it!
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USPS Stamp Out Food Drive

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today was the US Postal Service Stamp Out Food Drive and I left some goods next to my mailbox when I went to work. I'm not sharing that to say I am a good and generous person, but to reflect on my changing relationship with food..

I've blogged before about the fact that I have food issues in addition to self-esteeem issues and some physical challenges. These are not excuses but the are part of the reason why I am morbidly obese. My food issues go back to my earliest years and carry all the way forward. Mother stayed home and my stepfather supported all 8 of us on his salary from his job at a national lab. Money was always tight and my stepdad, because he was the breadwinner, got the best food that was available. Then Mother and all of his children, my older brother (he was the only boy) and last, me. But that was only part of it. Going without food was Mother's favorite punishment for me and, since I was her scapegoat for everything that made her unhappy (in addition to normal kid stuff!), I seldom ever had 3 meals a day.

When I went to live with my dad, I finally got reliable food and gained weight. I finally was at a healthy weight, but, not knowing squat, I kept eating and eating and eating without exercise. My teenage friends joked that I was a human garbage pail because I ate everything (except beef liver!). The teasing hurt but it did not change me

After college, the only job I could find paid very little. I discovered generic label food and cheap, filling and unhealthy food. And gained. I have food insecurity - never sure I am going to have "enough". People bring food to work to share and I almost always take some "just in case".

I've been active in food drives for a number of years, more so since I learned that so many children go without food when schools are closed because they lose the access to the subsidized breakfast and lunch meals that are served there.

Last night, as I pulled stuff out for the food drive, I felt as if I had the heart of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, that it grew a little with each item I put in the bag.

Every time I think I have this relationship with food figured out, I am reminded that my issues are still with me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 5/13/2012 2:02AM

    I am very fortunate my Mom worked three jobs to make sure we were never without anything we needed. Unfortunately, because of her busy lifestyle, we ate mostly highly processed, quick to prepare foods..
Our relationship with food is formed in our early years, but it is possible to break free of it. I hate hearing how you were treated as a child. That is incomprehensible that an adult can treat a child that way :((
Have a peaceful, relaxing, rejuvenating Sunday.
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LIBBYFITZ 5/12/2012 10:49PM

    No body deserves to be treated the way you were. How sad for you. I have never known what it is be hunry and without food!
My mother was in Holland during the famine in WW11 and she was eating tulip bulbs at one stage. She and her cousin went walk about into the country to the farms to look for food.

Once she migrated to Australia and had an abundance of food, my father grew all our vegetables, mum was adamant that we "eat EVERY THING on our plate" as a child that was not a problem as we had to walk a lot to catch buses to school. We lived out of town. But once I reached audulthood and after I had my children I would eat their left overs as I felt guilty throwing food out!
Oh and I forgot the bit where her stepmother would feed her children first, and if anything left over mum and her siblings might get a morsel! So when I read your bit about the men getting the big portion because they went out and earnt the money it brought back my memories!

Know that I am older I can relate to my mother's obsession with food and how upset she would get if we didn't "like" something. She would tell us the story of how she ate potato peelings and other food that you would not normally eat. And how she walked 70 miles to look for food!

Food certainly does bring a lot of emotion with it. I have learnt over time to treat food purely as a source of energy for my body and nothing more! I know get quite cross with myself if I don't get my exercise in as that is what gives me a "good feeling" now. Not food!

I hope oneday you are also able to do this. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/12/2012 11:34:44 PM

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