19 January 2009

The C.I.A. and me

So, this isn't so much about my mucked up reproductive system as it is about me.

I'm C.I.A.. Obviously, I'm not actually in the C.I.A., because if I was, I would say that I worked for the Department of Agriculture or that I was an accountant or something very mundane. Spies don't announce they're plotting to overthrow the crazed dictator between the soup and the fish courses, right?

No, I am C.I.A., which stands for...

and...wait for it...

Now, please, don't take my word for it. In fact, I really can't take any of the credit, either. Those very words used to describe me came from my performance review, which was discussed amongst all of the department heads of my place of employment.

Imagine if you will....a boardroom with a long, glistening table and comfortable "let's sit a while" chairs. Around this table are several individuals who have known me for approximately six months.

Some of these individuals I have worked with closely on a daily basis - and a few of them even knew what was happening during the last miscarriage. (Some were supposed to know...and others were told without my permission or knowledge. But, that's another story.) Other members of the group were people who have only heard me express ideas because we were in a large meeting - and one individual, in fact, had only ever sat in a single meeting with me. Apparently, that was the meeting that started my induction into the C.I.A..

I'll let you in on a secret. I'm not shy, nor am I quiet. At. All. I have been described as "enthusiastic", "a fireball", "infectiously exuberant" (I love that one), and even, dare I admit: "tenacious as a pitbull". But I'll never pass as wallpaper or a champion poker player.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and every expression on my face is the one I mean - if I'm pissed, I show it. If I think you said something outrageously stupid, I'll try to compose myself, but really....when I smile after you say something stupid, people know why I'm smiling. If you are amazingly brilliant, then you'll see it when I talk with you. It's all over my face.

So, I had built up a rapport with my boss after six months. It was a kind of "hey, you and I joke a lot about stuff, and it's all cool, because you and I respect each other." relationship. He was a fountain of information, but was unwilling to unburden himself of some responsibilities because he had a bad run of staff before I showed on the scene. I adore this man as a person, and he is genuine.

He and I had been on a few business trips evaluating companies for a project we're undertaking. There was an issue about how the whole process had been handled (not enough research by said boss), but in the end, the final product was going to be under my management. I knew which company was going to be the best suited for us, and my boss agreed. We did not agree on our second and third choices, and it was a technology issue. No big deal, right?

During the meeting with the CEO and CFO, after giving my opinion about timelines and what needed to be done, I was told that I had to push the timeline back approximately three (possibly four) months. My face showed my displeasure. Later on, I apparently made a remark that was construed as condescending.

A month later, my boss is giving me my annual review (If it's an annual review, then why is it given after six months? "Because we do all the annual reviews in December." If it's annual...oh, nevermind.), and while I'm doing a fan-fucking-tastic job, there are some "areas of concern".

And that's when the C.I.A. showed up.

He explained that everyone evaluates me during this super-duper secret meeting (they evaluate all employees at the same time). He gives his overall review, and then asks for comments.

Apparently, not only am I abrasive and condescending, but I am impatient and a "know-it-all" (this knowledge comes from my secret spy...who is a double agent, if you catch my drift).

He ended this whole thing with..."I thought you should know this all before you went in for the interview." Yes, I was headed into an interview - for his job, because he was leaving the position (not entirely by his own choice).

So, I went home and recounted the story. Mr. Monkey listened patiently as I ranted. he explained to me that they hired me because I get things done. Now they're just rewriting my job description.

Then I called a friend, and when I told her that they said I was C.I., and A.....she replied: "So? Tell me something I didn't know. We're New Englanders, damn it. This is how we are."

I told another friend, and he laughed so hard that he snorted. Then he sighed and asked what I was going to do now that I knew how the department heads felt about me. And you know, I'm not feeling so fabulous about me at this time.

And it bothers me that what my husband said rang true. They hired me based on recommendations of my past work as someone who gets things accomplished, keeps people on task, and makes sure that all the loops are closed. I don't always play nicey-nice, but I am the first person to ask someone if they need help getting something done.

I call it "work ethic". I guess these people call it "bitchy" and "agressive". I'm finding myself not speaking up at meetings unless someone asks my opinion now. I did go to the interview, kicked ass....and almost two months later, they still haven't made a hiring decision about who will lead my department. To be frank, it doesn't matter if it's me or someone else (as long as they're qualified), but...oh...when the CEO asked me to "handle things" until they do hire someone, I learned to play poker really fast. "Sure. It would be my pleasure."

I'm struggling here. Work is exhausting - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I'm not sleeping well, my blood sugars have been swinging up and down, and the last miscarriage took the life out of me (literally and figuratively). Yeah, yeah.... I'm seeing a therapist. Mr. Monkey is seeing a therapist. I'm just drained, and keep hitting a wall. No closure, no decisions.

I need a break, but it's not coming any time soon. Mr. Monkey quit his job two months ago, and is not actively looking for work at this time - not that there is any to be had in the area in his field...layoffs in IT have hit hard in this bustling metropolis. I can't take a vacation, because we're (obviously) short-staffed, and my travel schedule is looking like a series of Venn diagrams strewn across a calendar. Ever try to figure out how to swing being in town around your peak ovulation period when you really are supposed to be three time zones away?

Nah. Me, neither.


niobe said...

I like your style.

Megan said...

I'm sorry your work is not going well. I hate super secret management meetings...

Cara said...

Ms. Monkey - I found your blog through LFCA and caught up on your history.

Even as the mother of a stillborn baby girl, I cannot imagine the emotional rollercoaster beating of losing 5 babies. I am so very sorry for each and every monkey you lost.

Like Niobe - I love your style of bold truth with snarky comments. Keep it coming...we'll be here!

Ms. Monkey said...

Niobe, Megan, and Cara...
Thank you for the warm welcome and the electron hugs. Much needed, much wanted....