Being choked by the chain of command

Today’s rant is brought to you by the letters S, H, I and T.

Shan and I each came up with why our days were like shit. She said she takes so much shit, it’s as though they have an I.V. tube feeding into her arm, and the bag is full of shit. The shit keeps on dripping, in a continuum, and they are always changing her bag of shit to ensure that she does not know what a day would feel like without a neverending stream of shit.

I likened my own shit to a Ferris wheel ride. The ride stops for a minute, some shit slides off the ride, and a whole new hunk of shit gets into my ride cycle. That shit goes around for a few turns until more shit has to get on the ride, so we stop the ride and let some old shit off before some fresh shit gets to take a spin on the Shit Express.

Jesus fucking christ.

Okay, so I was asked by our current (and sweet and fabulous) outgoing president to do an article on something he felt would greatly impact my readers. It was reiterated to me from the publisher that yes, we need to do something, but be careful because there’s a political hot potato waiting to explode. I spoke with my main source from the story last week, only for him to say that he’d clear it with the publisher (i.e., King Kumquat) WHAT he could say so that I can run it. So I chatted with the interviewee today. Charming, sweet man. And he told me to not touch the politics with a 10-foot-pole.

So I turned to another inside source, whom I’ll just call Nervous Norman. I e-mailed him four questions to answer for the article, each of which pertaining to the four subject areas that the other guy and I discussed. Two hours go by. Norman came into my office finally and said that he’d just had a meeting with Kumquat, and that he’d taken my list of questions in to him. (Instead of just answering them, of course — everyone’s got to run to Kumquat because they need permission to wipe their asses from front to back.) He had a fit and said that, no, I had taken the wrong course with the article and that, in fact, Kumquat insisted that I take the political route.

After having typed in about 1,000 words of the story at said point, I closed my notebook and threw it across my desk. I said, “Great. Just great. Deadline’s Thursday, and now I have to start yet another story over again.” Note that this is the second story this week that Kumquat said to someone, “What was Dawn thinking when she decided to do that?” Not to mention that Nervous Norman had asked me to get an article done on an outside entity, which Scott tried valiantly to achieve, only for us both to later learn that Nervous Norman knew all along that the outside entity was, in fact, writing the article themselves. Not to mention the article I tried to assign to an in-house columnist, only for Kumquat to insist that, no, actually, I should take the article back and do it myself.

That’s four strikes, for those who weren’t counting, against my deadline in 48 hours.

I gave Scott an assignment for next month — no sense in driving him as nuts as I am this week. Unfortunately, though, I am stuck with doing (and re-doing) shit for this issue. At least, though, most of my columnists came in early with their work, although we all know Kumquat will come in at the 11th hour, as is typical, with his article. But I digress.

Nervous Norman panicked when I showed my outburst of emotion. Nearly ran out the door, shaking. Told me that maybe I didn’t have to start over, but that I should just ask Kumquat directly what the fuck he might want me to do. So I dropped Kumquat a note to inquire about the conflicting messages and to seek his guidance (dear god, don’t let it be the political route).

I’ve referenced the chain of command here before — sometimes, you get the instruction to only deal with your idiotic … er, immediate … supervisor, which in my case happens to be someone who has no bloody clue what I do or how I do it. Other times, you are told to sit on your hands and wait for someone, anyone to approach you, at which time they will copy half the Mid-Atlantic region on the correspondence. And still other times, you have six different people telling you what Kumquat wants, but then when you or your middlemen deliver said product, Kumquat has a bitch fit and insists that everyone’s nuts but him.

Which is why I now e-mail him with my questions. I love a paper trail. Shan is smart enough to save his VMs, because when he wigs out and says, “I told you to do X!” she can play the message that clearly says, “Do not do X. Do Y, Z and A but I will do X myself.” It’s a shame because that’s when you get alphabet soup, a.k.a. C-Y-A. And I’ve got a lot of ass to cover, so it always seems like that’s what I’m doing.

In my 10 months here, I have written about 45 stories and have edited five times as many. Never once has anyone told me that I was a fuckup or that I was taking the wrong approach. I usually worked at my own pace, turned in my shit, and it was automatically approved. Not now. Now that I have to fucking have weekly supervision meetings (like tomorrow — Jesus Christ), I have to report every time I lose an eyelash, and I have to tell them how many people I called and how many times I told them that my eyelash had fallen out, as well as if it was from my upper lid on my left eye and whether it had mascara on it or not.

But noooo, it should have come from my lower lid on my right eye now. So I have to go find a sharp object and extract it from my head and show it to them so they can approve it and see how pretty it is.

Oh, god, save me.

On that note …. my mom and I always find that our conversations go downhill in the last five minutes. Likewise, this entry just went to shit.

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