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.
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!
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.
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.
Monday, May 07, 2012
This morning, I stopped at the hospice care at the VA hospital on my way to work. John was alone and he had that same glazed morphine haze that my dad had in the days before he died. I don't think John knew I was there, but I remembered that the nurses told me that the hearing is the last sense to go. At the time, it made my brother and me laugh despite our pain because Dad had been hard of hearing for years (a consequence of Army artillery drills).
So I sat down next to John's bed and touched his arm or his shoulder and talked. I told him I love, respect and honor him. That I was proud to work with and for him for nearly 15 years. I was in my 20s when I started working for him and it was as if he were a second dad - we were all young and we all grew up working for him! Through FB, I am in touch with many of my former coworkers and we have been sharing stories and pictures and memories of John.
I reminded John of the day he solved a huge problem for me. This was before the internet, to give it some context. I needed to find out when and where I needed to be in Alameda (across the bay, a place I'd never been) in order to be there for the homecoming of the USS Enterprise. Alameda was her home port then. My brother was on that ship! John called as if he were calling on behalf of some Army general and got the info I needed, complete with bus info and everything. (I had not yet learned to drive.) Without John's help, I would have missed that precious visit! John, having been a career Marine, knew what to say and whom to call to get me what I needed to know. My family met John later and they are still, as I am, grateful for that kindness.
I am so glad I went to the hospital. I feared it was going to be a gut-wrenching emotional experience! But it was not. Had I not had that gut-wrenching emotional experience with my dad, this would have been a very tough visit. As it was, it was hard, but - oh, Lord am I thankful!
I learned late yesterday that John was moved from Stanford to the VA and, within moments of that, I got a phone call. My stepmother called to say that my brother and nephew will be in the US sometime in late July, early August!
This coincides with the "thou shalt not take vacation during this period" at work due to the super user training and testing, but I hope I can at least take a Friday and Monday off...
The thought of this mini family reunion has me fired up, at least a little. I worked out a little with my 7# kettlebell tonight. It felt great! I am using the DVD that came with this new one and discovered, to my dismay, that I lack the balance to do a one arm row + leg lift + kettlebell on one side. Instead of giving up and feeling defeated, I am going to work on my balance until I can do those! I LOVE the feeling that working with KBs gives me, even if I can do so little! I am not used to feeling good about exercise, let me tell you!
Please pray for John, for his enormous family and his friends as well as his caregivers. I thanked the nurses for taking care of "my" vet!
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