Identity crisis

I am going to have a better day than yesterday. Really, it shouldn’t be too hard to improve upon nothing. 😉

I decided that whether or not I make another monumental move, I have to work on me. The Dawn of five years ago, I’ve decided, would’ve despised the woman she’d become. The Dawn of today has been increasingly too mentally exhausted to notice the difference or even care.

My evolution (or descent, if you will) started five years ago. I was never politically correct — my mission in life was to have a ball, at any cost. People came in and out of my life, as I did with theirs, and we all learned from each other and moved on. Jobs were secondary to a social life. But then I started working all-consuming jobs that required me to watch every word I said and every action I did. I learned that flying under the radar was best — if I went unnoticed, I stayed out of trouble, for the most part. I gave up being the squeaky wheel in favor of becoming passive-aggressive in all areas of my life. The end result? I am a walking pressure cooker.

Particularly in the D.C. region, everyone is like that. If you cut off someone in traffic or flip them off or remind them that their name should have been “asshole,” as I often do, people snap. Don’t ever cut me off in traffic, or I will tailgate your ass till you move out of my way. And lots of us are like that. I think we are so frustrated and so in a hurry to go nowhere that we forget common courtesy and just can’t forgive the random stranger who happens to perturb us. I find I don’t get really angry at the big things, but I get really pissed off at the little things. It’s not like you can beat somene at the office with a cluestick, but you can with relative ease tell the cab driver who doesn’t know where his turn signal is to go take a flying fuck.

Here’s the deal: performance reviews are looming. And we won’t get more than a 3 percent raise, no matter how well we performed. I exploded on Demure!TM on Tuesday, how my last review was a farce, how I busted my ass and she could only focus on the fact that I miss meetings all the time and therefore gave me a shitty raise. And Solitaire and the other useless crew got a higher raise than I did, even though I was clearly committed to my job way more than they will ever be. And I said I don’t even want my annual review because I know I won’t even get a 1.5 percent because of how stingy Demure!TM is with corporate money — you’d think it was coming from her own personal bank account.

What also set me off is how she told me to review Angie, who, admittedly, is a true asset to my department as well as my personal sanity. But Demure!TM told me that if I give her a 3 percent raise, that doesn’t seem like enough money, so if I want to give her a 3.25 percent raise, I can feel free. I, of course, asked what kind of compensation I am entitled to, being that I couldn’t get a favorable review when I was doing two full-time jobs for the price of one last year. I told her it’s absolutely demoralizing and that nobody looked out for my well-being the way I am expected to (and plan to) look out for Angie. Further, I told Demure!TM that she really has no idea not only how much work we do, but also how many side projects I arrange for Angie and me — reading articles on leadership, learning how to get along in the working world, etc. I am committed to her personal growth just as much as her professional growth, yet I have no mentors of my own (although I have kind of goaded Scot into that role for me, a role he is taking quite seriously — he is always there for me to help me make decisions, craft defenses and bandage the wounds).

I had to go on about the furlough days — I am so broke and I can’t catch up because EVERY paycheck reflects a furlough (that I’ve worked!). The thing is, we took them proactively, not reactively, according to Finance Guy, and my argument is that we’re going to get shittier-than-usual raises as a REWARD for losing pay. I told her that they are going to lose some really good people if they don’t show us some genuine appreciation/compensation soon. She said that we keep losing members, so if we didn’t have the furloughs, we’d be in a real budget mess.

So I noted, then, that, “OK, so we are hemmorhaging members, and it’s the staff’s responsibility to keep the organization afloat when nobody is doing anything to recruit/retain members?” (That’s her job, by the way, but she didn’t budget for recruitment efforts.) I said I don’t mind helping out, and if I truly took the furloughs as personal time instead of having them fall smack dead in deadline week every issue, I wouldn’t breathe a word of complaint, because my personal time means the world to me. And that’s why we’re on early deadlines this month — I am NOT going to be there for the May 28 furlough. The first one I’ll have to myself! I wanted my staff to have a long, nice Memorial Day weekend, so we are busting our asses this week to kick the paper out the door. But shit like that will never show up on my review — not that I do anything for a favorable review, but it would be nice to be recognized for being just as much of a leader/mentor as I am a worker bee.

I really don’t hate my job. I just get overwhelmed by the series of little things that make it less an adventure than a sentence for something I did wrong in my past life. And it’s way better than my last job, although as Tiff noted, better doesn’t always mean it’s good.

Today’s word is “no.” I had to abandon a story I was writing because e-mail was down for five days and interviews for it didn’t come in, and I have too many other projects to shuffle this one in. I have a life, a weekend full of activities. I don’t get paid more to take on extra work. I take on more because I like it, not because it’s overly necessary. “No” is a word I have trouble saying in all areas of my life — I’m more prone to “maybe” or a compromise, although sometimes it’s just easier to do something than to worry about defending my self-preservation. But I hit an epiphany that I will always come first, from now on. And in the long run, will my crappy excuse for a raise mean a damn thing to me? Not really. I want a fair evaluation more so than a monetary reward (although that would be nice to have, too!). I want to be recognized as a contributing member of a team — a good leader, even — as opposed to just another cog in the wheel whose existence doesn’t matter. On the other hand, my opinion is the only one that counts, and I know I’ve done well and will continue to do so. I just have to find my own motivation, because my mentor and my friends may lead me to it, but I’m the only one who can make it happen. …

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