Tag Archive: changes


Calm Out Of Chaos

There are subtle noises at my work being made that are leaning towards change.  At barely a whisper, it’s hard to tell if the change is merely my imagination or might actually happen.  Usually, I can tell when something is “off” and right now, something is “off”.

One of my coworkers, while very nice and a great person; usually talks or makes some type of noise for the better part of the day.  Random song lyrics out of nowhere, blurting out what she’s thinking regardless of the subject (she once informed us she needed to go #2), and wild statements that you’re positive aren’t true (my mom believe’s you’re the devil).  My assumption is she talks to hear herself talk; but she’s also commented that she takes meds for ADHD, so that probably plays a large role in her personality.

Recently, she had an upcoming day off.  One of the other ladies asked her what her plans for the day were – her response was “I’m going to a job interview”.

No one said a word – positive or negative – we were all silent, like she hadn’t said a thing.  Just like we react to 95% of her statements.

I asked one of the other coworkers (when we were alone) what her thoughts were.  She responded with, “I don’t think she’s going to an interview.  I think she just said that because she wanted someone to say ‘no, don’t leave!  We’d be lost without you!’.”

But, for some reason, I think she was serious.

I don’t know.  I could be wrong – I’ve been wrong before.

This leads me to another, similar, event.

While I did change jobs about 6 months ago, I am still with the same company.  I’ve been with this company for over 22 years now.  Over those years, they’ve done different processes for employee evaluations.  Their current model is that everyone has their evaluation done during the same time-period.  So, even though I’ve only been in the position for 6 months, I just completed my yearly evaluation.

It was a decent evaluation, with my manager praising the changes I have helped with during my short time in the department.  She went so far as to say, “I wish there were 6 of you!”  She also commented that she wished I would go full-time (I’m only part-time at 28 hours a week currently).

I stayed silent on her comments.

In the past, I would have agreed immediately to whatever my manager wanted from me.  Bigger challenges?  I’m on it!  Want me to work myself crazy?  No problem!

But not now.  I reflected on her comments and reviewed the subtle shifts happening in the department.  I see patterns, and can intuit things before others see the same things.  I think we’re going to have a job opening in the department within the next 6 months.

And if my manager stays true to her statement, I’m not going to take the offered full-time job.

This is a huge change for me business wise.  In the past, I would have jumped right on it.  Already thinking about how I could change the position for the better (before I was in the position or even before being offered the position).

Now I know that if I took the position I would eventually be miserable.

Within a year, I would be stressed out and, eventually, willing to throw away my career just like I was before.

With the current job I have, and the personal growth I have experienced over the last several months, I know what I want out of life now.  I know what I want to be when I “grow up”.

I want to create.  Specifically, I love to create calm out of chaos.

That’s what I’m currently doing.

My core job duties are the same as what my coworkers’ job duties are – except I only do those duties about 35% of the time, while they do them around 85-95% of the time.  The other 65% of my time is dedicated to special projects.  The job didn’t start this way, but it has morphed as my manager saw my strengths and utilized them.

The projects I am given are a complete and utter disaster when they are handed to me.

I make sense of the project.  I create processes on how to do the project going forward.  I test out my process and revamp and revise as needed/necessary until it makes sense.

In six months of being in the office, I have tackled 6 major projects.  Most are completed; a couple of projects are still in process.  I’m given a new project every few weeks.  I have more projects “in queue” to be worked on than I currently have time for.

And I am ecstatic!

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Will I be willing to help out my manager in a pinch if my coworker does quit?  Yes.

Will I do it without a plan to return to what I’m currently doing?  No.

I finally feel like I’m a grown up.  Funny how things like this work.

Mulan

I slept until noon.  Man did that feel good!

It’s Friday, and my new boss told me to take the day off.  Who am I to argue with the boss?

As promised, I’m going to relate the story of why I now have a new job, why Fauna quit and why Merryweather has resigned.

It all started last year when Flora was “asked to resign”.  Even though I work in the same office, I reported to a different entity, but still helped wherever I could.  For around 4 months, the office was without a director – and then my mentor was hired.

She needs a name – cause I’m pretty sure she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  In continuing to stick with the Disney theme I have going with nicknames – I’m going to refer to her as Mulan.  She doesn’t bear any physical resemblance to the character what so ever, but instead holds the virtues of hard work, stepping up to do what needs to be done, questioning the norms, and doing what is right as near and dear to her.

Mulan came in and observed for the first several weeks.  She implemented some minor changes based on our employee survey – including group weekly meetings to discuss what we needed to do for the week, along with individual weekly meeting to discuss whatever was important to us at the time.  Even though I wasn’t her direct report, she included me in the meetings as I was part of the department.

One of the first things I did was explain to her how frustrated I was that I didn’t get the training I needed to do my job and if she was willing, I’d be coming to her with a lot of questions.  She welcomed the opportunity to share her knowledge.  We ended up having massive weekly meetings because of this – where the other two would be done with their meetings in 20-30 minutes, we would talk for an hour, two hours, one time three hours.  The conversations were 90% about work and how one thing would lead to another.  She would apologize to me for wandering off-topic, afraid she hadn’t answered my initial question.  So many times I assured her that not only did she answer the one question, but also answered a half-dozen more that I didn’t realize I had.

What spawned from the sessions was a mutual trust between us.  I trusted she would answer any question I had (even ones she didn’t know the answer to, she always followed up with where to find the answers) and she began to trust that I have a natural instinct for the job.  She also began to realize that if she asked me a question, I would answer it truthfully – no matter the subject.

I’ve always had my own personal policy – if the boss is smart enough to ask the question, I’d better be smart enough to answer it truthfully.  I don’t offer more than what’s asked and I don’t run to any boss to “tattle”, but if they ask the question, I answer it.

One of the very first questions I remember her asking me that was not job related, but rather department related was, “Am I going to have issues implementing change in this department?”  I answered a resounding, “Yes!”  I could already see Fauna pushing back on some of the minor changes.  And I was seeing Merryweather starting to withdraw.

Apparently, these meetings we were having, while nothing but positive for me, were causing resentment in the office.  I was blissfully unaware of this for the first six months.  And then it came out that the others viewed me as the boss’ “pet” employee.  That I could do nothing wrong in her eyes, that I wasn’t being held to the same standards they were and they started pushing back.

What Fauna and Merryweather conveniently forgot was that Mulan couldn’t hold me to the same standards because I wasn’t her employee.  She treated me like her employee, but the group weekly discussions that touched on “no overtime” for example, didn’t apply to me because I reported to a different department.  She didn’t hold me to the same standards, but she didn’t have to either – I held myself to those standards on my own and she could see that.

And then Mulan started implementing REAL changes.  We didn’t talk about it, but I could see both Fauna and Merryweather actively pushing back.  I just shook my head.  Change happens no matter what the department – especially when a new boss comes into the picture.  Pushing back just shows the boss that you are not adaptable and is a strike against you.

And so the tug of war between the employees and the boss began.

Playing this game against a boss never works unless the boss is weak.  Mulan is not weak – she was chosen for the position for a reason and the biggest reason was to implement change in the department.

One of the things I suspected about Fauna from the start of working in the department was that she was taking shortcuts on the job.  I had no proof other than gut feelings, but they were there.  She had been in the position for 20+ years with Flora who had been her boss for 20+ years.  They appeared to have developed a type of relationship where Flora wouldn’t bother Fauna as long as Fauna was doing the work.  But Flora never double checked Fauna’s work, so she became complacent and lazy.

Mulan checked the work, and asked questions, and kept asking questions when those questions were evaded.  She was suspecting the same thing as me – that shortcuts were happening.  Mulan was also discovering aspects of work that wasn’t being done at all that was required.  In our meetings, she would ask me if I was doing “X”.  I was honest and would say, “I have no idea what “X” is, but if you’ll teach me, I’ll make sure it’s done.”  Apparently, she was asking Fauna the same question and getting an answer that would circle all around the question, but never answer it.  Apparently, this happened over and over and over.

Now, the only reason I know this is because one of my strengths is being able to read-between-the-lines.  My kids hate this aspect of me because I can always guess what they’re planning on doing without them saying.  It serves me in my job as well – including this aspect.  Mulan has never told me about the conversations she’s had with the others, but the things she does say tells me the others would evade and give vague answers to her questions.

Fauna wasn’t getting anywhere with Mulan and Mulan wasn’t letting up on the high standards that she expected from Fauna.  One Friday, Fauna announced that she had turned in her resignation.  She had gotten another job, hadn’t been looking she assured us, but the job just feel in her lap.  That’s fine – good luck!!  She still emails me wanting to know what’s going on in the department.  She’s been gone for almost 2 months now.  At our first one-on-one meeting after Fauna turned in her resignation letter, Mulan immediately asked me if I would be willing to switch positions and report directly to her.  YES!!

Six weeks later, Merryweather has now turned in her resignation.  I feel sad for her because so much of what she has said over the last couple of months reminds me of my kids and their struggles with their mom.  At one point, she referred to Mulan as her “evil-stepmonster boss” – a direct reference to her own step-mom from 30+ years ago.  There is obviously some deep-seated resentment there that I’m pretty sure she’s conveying on Mulan that doesn’t need to be.  That’s another post and some intense therapy there.

Fauna’s last day was July 11th.  I took over doing my job and hers at that point.  I’m doing the jobs badly at this point I might add – you can’t do two full time jobs well, no matter how much overtime you put in.

My last day with the other entity was August 11th.  I’m still doing that job and the new one as no one has yet been hired for my original job.

Merryweather’s last day is September 12th.

Someone better be hired soon!!!  I can’t take much more of this!