This job is going to kill me if I don’t do something about it. And with $300 dropped today on a decade-overdue eyeglass prescription (holy shit are my eyes in bad shape), I can’t go anywhere due to finances. Then there’s another $300 that I have to fork over for a fellow employee’s car that I tapped the other day (I think that’s fucking ridiculous – there is no damage to either of our cars), while pulling away from our Homewood location (why the fuck would he park so goddamn close to me anyway?). Of course, the expensive car payment (for a low-end vehicle, damn the high finance rate), rent, insurance and the insane credit card bills (due to marathon retail therapy sessions), I’m in a financial rut. If I run from this job, I’ll save my sanity, but not my life.

And hence, after a lot of thinking, I have come up with what I think is a fair, viable short-term solution to my problems.

I am going to voluntarily take a demotion.

Sounds heinous, but let’s face it – Her Royal Pretentiousness (all hail the queen) makes me nuts. F/OM and I had a long talk on Thursday, and it was a good one. HRP has been treating us all like shit, but all the directors are used to that. I am not. And she is frustrated with me, that I am not making much progress or showing much leadership. I told F/OM that if I am not good enough for the job, just tell me and I will go. And furthermore, I should hope that they account for all the barriers I experience, including the staff that they gave me.

We talked about HRP style of leadership (as if that’s a word that it could EVER be called), how she tries to beat her passion into us. I asked F/OM at what point does it become obvious that she has beaten it out of us.

The conversation was long but amicable. I know it was hard for him to say the things he had to say about my performance (however brief the commentary was, it was still tough matter), but the conversation really revolved around issues in all of F/OM’s departments as well as HRP’s recent rampage toward all of the directors. I learned that this is nothing really new to them, but the frequency is a lot higher right now than normal.

And frankly, I don’t want to be a part of that.

F/OM told me that it reflects poorly upon me that I don’t pal around with the directors. I think his exact words were, “You hang around with Brat and CTL – what does that say about you?”

I was slightly furious (well, not slightly) at the insinuation. F/OM reminded me that it’s lonely at the top, and that it’s best to just retain my professional distance from everyone. (We’ve had this battle before.) He said I don’t carry myself as a director, that I don’t exude the confidence or command the presence (might I remind him that they have me sitting with secretaries? I am nice to everyone because they help me out when I need it). Aloud, though, I said I don’t have the confidence because I have HRP constantly telling me that I am a “failure.” And then how she embarrasses all of us in front of each other (and the recent b.s. at the leadership retreat), how I can I have any confidence to face the people who hear her tear me apart?

I let the Brat/CTL thing slide. Man, that infuriated me. HRP is only married to the janitor, for Christ’s sake, and her cousins and relatives are at all levels of the organization — and godchildren galore in my own department-from-hell. Maybe she doesn’t pal around with them much during the day, but the fact is still out there that she is the only one who can have relationships with people who aren’t on her level, because nobody is on her level.

Mom pointed out that I hang out with people who look/act like me. I hang out with the single white people (including Tiffany, too) – I don’t hang out with the married-with-children crowd of directors, all of whom are African-American except F/OM, who happens to be the only other director with whom I have a relationship. It’s not racially motivated, though — it’s more like an attempt to find people who are bleeding from the same wounds that HRP inflicts upon our group. SHE is the one who creates a racially charged atmosphere. I was FINE with being in the minority … until she started her shit about “white folk” versus “brown babies.”

F/OM wants me to show the personality and spunk that I show him behind closed doors. But on the other hand, they say I’m too “cavalier” and that HRP doesn’t know how to handle me. (She can start by not belittling me at every opportunity.) He also wants me to show more leadership, to take charge and make important decisions, to tell them what to do instead of asking what I should do.

I didn’t remind him that I just received a written warning for running ahead and doing things on my own without asking if it’s okay. I do see all of his points, and he presented them pretty well to me, but I also realize that it’s hard for me to be a leader when nothing I say/do is “right.”

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