Still puzzling over how I became ‘NOT the riff-raff’

Five days till Mexico. I can make it. I think I can, I think I can.

I’ve decided I like being in meetings all day because it means I don’t have to do any real work. Now, to figure out how to offload the remaining work!

How (and when) did I get so useless in my old age? Probably when I realized that all those years of working 80-hour weeks could carry me into my 50s. Can’t I take the next 14 years off, then?

I’ve had occasion to think about an old supervisor, whom I called Miss Piss, from my non-profit days in Pittsburgh. I was working hard and, I think, doing a great job. I was also not pleased that I was making a paltry $18K/year until I was 27 even though I raised money (as a grantwriter and event coordinator) for a living.

When I was 26, the company denied me a promotion and eliminated the position above mine. Then they brought in a 28-year-old to be the vice president to whom I reported.

Poor girl was uptight as all hell. She had a million ideas and came in to find out what a useless jackass ran the place. We were a regional branch of a national charity. He had financially burned down a branch in Texas, and I don’t know why they put him in charge of Western Pennsylvania. Crazy talk!

I used to write thousands of thank-you notes and pleas for money under his name. Unfortunately, there was one time that I needed his real signature (not the one I forged so beautifully so that I didn’t have to talk to him). I walked into his office, only to find him sleeping (face on desk) and drooling orange crackers, which he was eating when he must have nodded off.

Yeah, you can see why I wasn’t the happiest of campers.

Anyway, I was great about omitting information for Miss Piss. I didn’t need a layer of management inserted between the president and me. And certainly not one two years older who was brought in at way more than twice my meager salary.

One day, she called me in and gave me a stern talking-to about my piss-poor attitude. That she was only keeping me because I knew my shit and I was good at it. But that she really didn’t need the snark and the bullshit.

I walked away wanting to kill her.

I came back the next day with a new fire — to COLLABORATE against that snoozing, orange-cracker-drooling asshole and that cunt who ran H.R. (I really did hate that bitch.)

And while there was always competition between us (as I had to introduce her to my beloved wealthy volunteers. And I daresay they liked me better), my life was easier when I realized I should just learn from her … to let her be the asshole accountable for everything now.

I don’t think I ever stopped working hard. I just stopped fighting the system and channeled my energy into my work instead of doing double-time between work and assholitry.

I share all of this to say that I see a similar situation unfolding before my eyes. And now I’m the asshole inserted into the process and screwing up other people’s lives. 😉

And I refuse to believe that they DON’T have the same potential I did. Sure, I shitcanned Stripper Girl quite gleefully — I have my theories about her undoing, but suffice it to say that I tried everything and still didn’t get through.

But I feel like I owe it to Miss Piss to be that “new” supervisor with a plan and an honest conversation. By proxy, I owe it to the employee. But really, it’s a thankless job and I’m sure my efforts to get to this point (downright heroic, if you ask me, but I digress) will be mostly unknown and certainly unacknowledged.

So, Miss Piss, thanks for being my wake-up call. I hope to achieve a similar result.

And if it goes the way of Stripper Girl, I once again will have tried and can have a clear conscience. And if I do get a turnaround, then I can feel good that I did someone a favor by knocking them down a few pegs and reminding them that — just because they are the smartest person they themselves happen to know — it would do them some good to learn from those who can make their journey so much easier and productive.

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