wise up

i’ve been on a cleaning and purging kick lately. i am of the opinion that the things which have been collecting around my house are weighing me down, both from a neatness perspective as well as a psychological perspective. which is why i thought this was a bit interesting.

every now and again, i have chosen to write about something which got my proverbial goat. it’s probably why i blog. i write for release, for therapy, and cos it’s so gosh-darn fun. so it was fascinating to me what i found when i cleared out my old franklin tool from the organizational cult of all cults planner. i’ll just type it verbatim. i would point out that this was written while i was a new mother of an eight month old who was struggling to balance work and home, with no one to help me except for BS.


Today, S [my then boss] and I met for lunch to discuss my future. She is retiring on Nov 30 and wanted to know my plans because she wanted to know whether I wanted to be recommended for her job or whether i wanted to do something else. I told her I would be pleased to manage the XXX group, that I thought very highly of my XXX colleagues, and that such a position would be instructive to me — that I would bring plenty to the position, having managed people before, but that I would learn much, too. But I also told her that I enjoyed strategic work and liked figuring out process.

She said I didn’t seem so enthusiastic about managing the team and that she really needed to lobby if I really wanted the job because someone is concerned that I leave at 4:30 each day. I told her that whenever I am needed to stay later, I have made arrangements (such as when I was covering SP2 for her a few weeks ago and had to stay late to deal with a problem it had.) And I come in earlier, which is better for my customers [who were in Europe and Asia.] She said I should come back to her on Monday and let her know what I think.

eventually, i was lateralled into another position. someone i had trained got the position. the same person who was promoted over me while i was on maternity leave because i looked so tired when i brought the baby in to visit that they didn’t think i was really coming back to work after maternity leave. i especially appreciated it when S, my direct supervisor, tried to sugarcoat the whole thing. yep. made it all better. not.

for nearly 10 years, i have been trying to clean and purge the anger i have felt about being penalized at work because i was a new mother, penalized by a company which, incidentally, won a best company to work for by working mother magazine. (what a laugh.) i did my job — and i did it well, if i may say so — and yet i was scolded for not keeping the same hours as my boss’s boss. nevermind that i was available to my customers who were in different time zones. nevermind the conference calls i had to take some evenings, while my colicky baby fussed.

i had to suck it up. for financial reasons, i had to suck it up. plain and simple. i had to feel tremendous shame and anger at being passed over — twice — because basically i was a mother. no one else in my group was a parent at that point. (i still remember when some of the women freaked out because i had to pump in the ladies room. it’s not like i could do it in my cubicle.) and every day, i had to come in with a smile, a smile which hid some incredibly venomous feelings, feelings i had to swallow in order to continue doing what i was paid to do.

i sucked it up until march 2000 when i was free at last. ironically, i was called back to the same company to work again, only to eventually leave because a new supervisor had a serious issue with my prenegotiated schedule. you know, the ironclad one i ensured i had before ever starting work there again — the one that gave me my tuesdays with my girl? it never impacted my work. and yet the new supervisor — childless, btw — could not deal with the situation. instead of talking to me about it, she yelled at my direct supervisor. for hours. fortunately, i was in a position this time to leave at will. which i did.

i am so lucky to say that i have had some amazing bosses in my life. i still communicate with several of them; i count them among my friends. and yet here i am, remembering an experience which really and truly soured me. i often wonder how many women end up in this situation?

i need to wise up and purge it. it’s done.

but sometimes, that’s easier said than done.


6 Responses to “wise up”

  1. sheesh, reminds me of the Zen Shorts story where the wise panda tells the little boy, Don’t apologize. You need to carry it right now. Maybe you need to chuck the planner, maybe you don’t. Thanks for sharing, though. More women need to know they’re not the only ones facing that situation (cause you’re right, must be many ending up in that position). I am sorry that you had to go through that (colicky baby and all).

  2. happens all the time… so frustrating all the way around and beyond.

  3. Wow, I just spent a portion of my morning reading a paper online which was basically my research project in graduate school. And, my name’s not listed anywhere. And, I’ve been stomping around all pissy about it.

    Oh, graduate school really soured me, too. I was told, “Not only are you a woman, you’re a mom! Why would you ever want to spend your days in the lab? You should be with your kid.” Whoo boy, not a pretty road to revisit.

    I thought I had purged but it’s always simmering somewhere below.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re totally awesome, dear. Awesome in every regard.

  4. omg, how awful — to do work and not get any props! and then, icing on the cake — the old, don’t you want to be home with your kid, barefoot, pregnant, toothless… well, you get the picture.

    i’m so sorry that happened to you. i think the world of you, too, kiddo.

    (you, too, of course, mamabird 🙂

  5. yeah well it sucked/sucks. but, that biyotch “S” should have known better. I was never a fan of hers even though everyone else was all gaa gaa over her. You ended off better off than all those jerks!

  6. all’s i can say ms. maren is that you were a fabu boss pour moi… and an even better friend 🙂

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