Today I’m flying out of state to visit my family. It comes at a perfect time.
I’ve yet to detail it, but the HR manager at this company has been ambushing me with “friendly conversations” about how it’s going at this place. I would appreciate these conversations if that’s what they were, and especially if I had time to prepare for them. But they’re used as ways for my boss to communicate what he doesn’t like about me. Namely, that I don’t make myself available all the time.
During the last intense project, my availability was a huge deal. I did what was needed to be done, but not without emotional costs. I was crying hysterically at different points, nearly ripping out my hair at the lack of editorial process or sense at this place. As I’ve said before, the boss is a micro-manager and has no trust in any of his employees. Hence we do things numerous times before it’s solidly done. He likes to wait until the last second to submit, so all of this happens in a compact time frame. I worked 10 hours on a Sunday to get this done and it drained me. This after working another 19.5 extra on another project that week.
The boss was delighted with me. The HR person asked if I’d had a change of heart about the place—in one of the ambush conversations, I’d said I was doing my best to try to make it fit, but that I didn’t feel comfortable with how projects came to me. I readily admitted that these last-minute projects took a lot out of me, but that I hadn’t changed my M.O.; I continued and will continue to draw boundaries when boundaries need to be drawn. In this case, I was willing to pitch in, but again: not without an emotional cost that I couldn’t pay each time.
What this leads me to conclude is this: the quality of my work doesn’t matter. It’s the quantity of time I’m available after work hours that matters. Because, friends? My work on that project was exceptionally shitty. I didn’t give a rat’s ass, I just wanted to get it done.
My husband has pointed out the tension that the company culture creates: what’s convenient for the bosses versus what would bring the company success. I think the above evaluation of my work is a perfect exemplar of that.
The HR person flat out told me that my insistence on having a work-life balance and my noting of a fundamental truth of life—sometimes, I will just not be available thanks to family, medical reasons, classes, even personal well-being—would be a “deal-breaker” in the long run. I think HR person was trying to scare me with this, a veiled hint that I could be fired for this.
So be it, I thought. Part of me had hoped that this ambush would be exactly that.
He concluded that more responsibility could be coming my way if I wanted it. When I asked for details as to what that would be, he couldn’t clarify. I told him I would have to think long and hard about whatever they asked before giving my thoughts on it.
And to put the rotten cherry on this ice cream sundae made of crap, guess how this conversation happened? Over the phone, with the HR person calling me from home. Why? Because “closed doors at our workplace invite attention.”
Can’t even discuss work matters at work. How’s that for professional?
(For funsies: a Forbes article on the “9 Things a Boss Should Never Say to an Employee.” Numbers 3, 4, 6 and 7 have been said to me in some way, shape or form since I got here in May. And #9 apparently happens on a regular basis between my boss and the tip-top boss. I’ve been told tip-top boss does it to other people when in the mood.)
I am so happy to be getting away for a few days.
I hope all you lovely people have a wonderful weekend.