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Friday, November 9, 2012

"making something magical takes time as well as fearlessness. I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."  ... from Susan @ Phantasythat

to begin again from where i am.... to recognize mistakes and start again from a blank page... 
it's been a very long day, fraught with highs and lows.... mainly lows. it's been a many kleenex day, if the truth be told.  when starting from a low place, any direction is uphill, and very hard, discouraging work.  
... but the view from the top just might be a big improvement over the one down below, if we can just get there.  
Sometimes magic is the result of really hard work.  perhaps more often than not.  certainly, it's difficult, if not impossible to make joy without it.

recognize this guy? 
......  the governator back in his Terminator days.  just before lunch today, my boss played the role of Terminator. i was the 
yep, they fired me
there was this incident.... a new employee was hired.  a very highly paid, and, if logic applies, therefore a very highly skilled employee.  i know this stuff because i do payroll.  i only suspected the high pay rate at the time because he's a senior engineer.  pay rate was, in fact the issue in question.  it's problematic for the person doing payroll to pay an employee if they don't know what that employee's rate of pay is.  so... with cutoff past and hours tallied, everything was ready to send off for processing and payment.... everything except the precise rate of pay for this new, quite likely highly paid employee.  
the company hires out human resources stuff to an HR contractor. a 'specialist', also very highly paid. i know this because i also did payables. to complicate things further,  it wasn't just matter of asking someone in the office how much to pay him.  the HR 'specialist' and the employee in question both work in a branch office,  half the length of the province from the main office, where i work .... um, worked.  after trying, unsuccessfully,  for a week or so, to contact this HR  person - after leaving voice messages and sending emails to her and her staff requesting the info,  with not so much as a reply from her, and only  'i'll get the info to you as soon as i have it' from her staff, it was after 2 pm  on friday. i had till 5 pm that day to get this done and i still hadn't heard anything.  So i called the branch manager, asking if perhaps he could forward the info. he didn't have it, but he must have contacted the HR contractor, because, magically, she called me only minutes after i spoke to him....  she was more than a bit huffy because she's a very busy, very important person who can't be chasing stuff like this around.  she cancelled a client meeting  in order to get the info to me in time.   so everybody got paid .  
But we had to have a phone meeting to discuss this issue, and find out what the problem was.   so she scheduled  a conference call.  in the course of the ensuing discussion, i explained to her and her employee, the problem was that the payroll clerk didn't have the payroll info that someone had been sitting on for 2 weeks,  and the person who had the info wouldn't answer my calls or emails.  there followed a long explanation about how blameless she was, and how terribly busy, and how inappropriate it was for me to have bothered the branch manager about this.  so, what, i wondered aloud, would have been appropriate?  perhaps not paying the employee would have been appropriate?  no sooner  had i finished the sentence, than there was the sound of her vehicle making its 'open door' reminder sound.  "excuse me", she said, i'm just filling up the car on the way to taking my sweetie to the airport".   
(that's appropriate)
there followed more self-important explanations of how she didn't have time for this sort of thing and how it wasn't even really her job - she was just doing the boss (my employer, and, incidentally, hers) a favour.  what then, i wondered (with my inside voice this time) WAS her job? the 'busy' thing rankled. i was impertinent enough to suggest that we were all very busy, and there wouldn't have been a problem if the info had been sent to me in the first place.  it was a stalemate. though she was adamant that she wasn't trying to blame anyone, she was extremely  displeased that i wouldn't concede that i was the party in the wrong. 
so, early this week, when my immediate supervisor called (also the boss' wife), and wanted to discuss the issue, i knew i'd  been 'reported'.  i could only explain that  the person i was told to get the info from,  after numerous attempts to make contact, would not so much as reply. it had, at the time, seemed imperative to look elsewhere for the info if the new employee was to receive a paycheck.  my supervisor clearly did not believe me. "well, i never have any trouble getting in touch with her," i was told.  "that," my mouth replied before my brain had a chance to edit, "is because you're not a minion".  i could tell by the long, pregnant pause the words invoked on the other end or the line, that this was not well received. 

 when they called me in to the boss' office this morning to fire me, i asked if this had anything to do with this HR person's displeasure with me. the boss pretended not to know anything about it, but his eyes got very shifty and nervous - he couldn't look at me - when he said that no, he didn't know what i was referring to; i reasonably certain he was lying.  "it just doesn't seem to be a good fit," he said.  
it was the word of a minion against the word of someone much more important. i must be a trouble maker, so i had to go.  

after i got home and had a good cry, i couldn't help but notice that the sky hadn't fallen in, and the world was much the same as it had been before this calamity happened, so i had to concede that, surprisingly, it isn't the end of the world.  when my daughter come home to find me there hours before i should have got off work, i swallowed my humiliation and told her i'd been fired.  her look of disbelief was worth the humiliation it cost to speak the awful words.  when i told her i thought it was about the payroll thing (which i'd ranted to her about the day it happened) she said, "that wasn't the right job for you anyway".  

and she's right. the structure and hierarchy of big biz is not a good place for me.  they were right.  it wasn't a good fit,  for reasons they didn't even comprehend.  with 2 mortgages to pay, being unemployed scares the hell out of me; i've already applied for unemployment insurance.  i'm doing my best to believe that this is the beginning of something better.   when i began this job i was very close to a complete mental breakdown from the previous job. i went from one very stressful job to another very stressful job. i don't think i deserved to be fired, but, on some weird level, it feels a bit like a blessing.  i CAN do a 9 - 5 desk job, but it takes a very big toll on me. perhaps this isn't a crisis at all, but an opportunity.  with any luck i'll be able to get unemployment insurance long enough to have a bit of a rest (while looking for another job).... a rest that already was badly needed 6 months ago, when there was no opportunity to take it.  

" I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."

there has been very little joy on the dipstick of my life for a very long time.... lately, just barely enough to get a reading..... i'm reminded of the importance of magic, and that magic is closely linked to joy. i'm pulling up to the pumps now.  fill 'er up! 

many thanks, Susan

would you let me know if you hear of any job openings for a smart-mouthed fiddle player?


Cicero Sings said...

Oh Granny, I'm so sorry. My job was pay and benefits and I am SO, SO, SO glad that I was able to leave that world behind. I so understand the management issue. Where I worked the management was the pits, especially at the end. There was no fairness! You are better off out of there but I can't help you as to what you can do next! EI will sometimes retrain you. My friend got retrained as a hairdresser (from working in a bank ... you do NOT want to work in a bank!) and they even helped her get started in a business of her own ... which she is still doing ... 4 days a week. It is an avenue to explore ... the retraining ... hair dressing may not be your thing but maybe there is something else they will retrain you for. Sometimes there are grants available for people starting out in business etc. My friend built a salon in their garage (very nice it is too) and has no other employees. Just easier that way. I do hope you come up with an alternative. It is awful knowing you have bills hanging over your head.

gfid said...

Thank you, luv. Scary, but i'm doing my best to believe i'll land on my feet.

susan said...

Although I'm happy to know my post brought you a smile and perhaps even a little inspiration I'm very sorry to hear that this happened. Your review of what led to this unfortunate circumstance is very clear and yes, I agree it was cruel. It certainly seems that in all fairness you could have at least been warned rather than fired right off the bat. Isn't it strange how an employer will hire you based on your intelligence and ability only to show you the door if you use those qualities on your own initiative?

The one thing I learned over the course of many years working in medicine was the necessity of documenting everything. When I was no longer involved in direct patient care and had shifted to the financial side, the documenting habit was inherent. I was praised for being aggressive with recalcitrant insurance company representatives when it was necessary but when it came time to dealing with people in other hospital departments who were well above my pay grade I stuck with documenting my attempts to get things done in a timely manner. Showing my manager a list of unanswered emails got him off my back and on the telephone pretty fast. I only tell you this in case you find yourself in another office.

The thing with technocrats is that they are very thin skinned. They're probably even more aware than you are that they don't deserve the amounts of money they make and the perks that come with their positions (driving your sweetie to the airport during business hours being one of them). Because they're essentially useless, the only way they have to protect themselves is by banding together against anyone who dares question their competence. Pants down? You didn't see that. Go thou and never darken my door again.

You see I would have let the sonofab*tch go without his paycheque. I'm sure he would have raised a stink all by himself :-)

I wish you well, my friend, and a good rest while you go about looking for that next place that is sure to be out there waiting for someone as competent, clever, and funny as you.


susan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gfid said...

Su - thank you for your wisdom and kindness. i'm licking my wounds at Miramichi House for the weekend. Tonight a girlfriend will come over to play violin duets with me, and tomorrow i return to the city to join a girlfriend in the evening at a formal 'event' where we've been invited to play bit parts in a party scene for a movie a friend of hers is making. Life goes on. One day we'll laugh about this....

clairesgarden said...

sorry this has happened to you. hope you get something else you like soon. xx

gfid said...

claire - plan 'A' is to get back into teaching violin

linda said...

teaching what you love seems wise to me.... i am far from your world and THAT world for me was let's see... omg, 40 years ago! yes, i am old... and i was fired as a legal sec. more than once for being "too smart for my own good". and i never kept my opinions to myself. why should i? i had been silenced my entire life as a child and not about to do it in my "adult" life too.

anyway, susan is right and wise. and take your time, get the unemployment and take advantage. you will find what's right in the long run and maybe it will be teaching. maybe there's a demand for it? i have no idea but feel strongly you need a rest and am so happy you have your sweet abode now. what a lovely thing is gardening, planning, fixing up and enjoying the fruit of your labors-i've already read ahead! :)


gfid said...

Linda - there's some sort of weird comfort in knowing someone i admire and respect was once fired too... thanks for 'fessing. i still have occasional panic attacks, but i'm mostly over the shock now. it will take some time to build up a teaching studio, but i've done it before, so feel confident that i'll pull it off. i've joined the community orchestra to get my fiddling 'chops' back in shape ...and i'll work on my drawing, perhaps finally do those children's books that have been bubbling on the back burner of my brain for years. the world is full of possibilities.