I found the pieces last weekend, broken and empty on the floor by my chair. The egg had fallen out of the nest. There was nothing but half of the shell left. It was a sign of the week to come. A violent end of the safety of this small vulnerable life was a signal that last week was going to be a beast and it was.
At this point in my life, one would think that being vulnerable had less traumatic effect on me. But if anything, opening up only to be crapped on has not lessened its devastation. It comes at a higher cost to me now because of the quantity of this happening to me thought the ages.
The week began with a visit to my Mother-in-law in the nursing home. I never ever want to end up like that. She is a bag of bones, lost in her own mind and lonely and scared. The place is filled with folks just like her. I watched as one lady with a full glass of some red drink fell asleep and dumped the whole glass down herself. In the time we were there, no one came and cleaned her up even though she repeatedly asked for help. She was invisible.
On Wednesday, I gave a presentation to the whole management group. I was then to drive forty miles one way to present it again. I was extremely anxious about it all. There were a lot of other issues that played into why this was so difficult. I did the presentation. I shook like a leaf and could not breathe. People said it was fine but for me, it was the longest fifteen minutes. Just before I was planning on leaving to drive to the next meeting, the CEO said that the other presenter and I could present via video conference. I was as cool as a cucumber and relieved. But I had medicated myself to not have an issue with the bathroom, since it is my normal response to have the galloping craps when I am nervous. Wednesday night, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible pain and new I had given myself diverticulitis. I called in sick on Thursday for a mental and physical well-being day. I was glad I did.
On Friday, the CEO came over to my office and explained that there had been a decision made as to how they were going to move the program along that I have been spearheading for 10 months. I knew by her tone that I was not going to their choice. Sure enough, they had selected five other people to take the Leadership role and be supported through the certification process toward practitioner. However, it seems in this clandestine meeting, my name kept popping up and the group requested that I be brought into the fold. The CEO was very vague but it seems that I will still be doing a lot of the organizational pieces but not part of the group per say who is being ‘promoted’. Now ain’t that a slap in the face? She couldn’t understand why I seemed confused and a bit upset.
My boss never told me anything. If I had been there Thursday, I would have been totally blindsided by this as the meeting was well known by others. I would have found out that I was not selected by gossip. Matter of fact, this whole selection has a few people very upset including one of my peer managers in HR. We report to the same VP boss. She is ready to quit and I will not be surprised at all that when she comes back from her vacation she does.
On top of this, I got a nasty phone call from the current coach who ripped me a new one for standing up for someone. She felt the person should have come to her instead of me. The person came to me because the coach was part of the problem. But I was an idiot. I trusted that the person was going to come clean and explain to her and two VPs involved what had happened. But she didn’t. This person has a lousy reputation, but I took a chance to help her. Truthfully, she was on the way out as her program funding was ending. It is a long story but my heart was in the right place and I trusted that she had changed. Nope. And the gist of it is she left me swinging and I am sure that had a lot to do with what happened.
Maybe. The facts are that the people they picked are all very young. They all have not been with the company for very long, and they are definitely climbers. I get the building Leaders and I support that effort. But not on the backs of others.
The bigger issue is that this program is one that is supposed to be a culture changer. They want the frontline people to get involved and work on change processes and come up with their own initiatives. I believed in the concept whole heartedly. But they have now done a very damaging thing. By not allowing people to self-select into the program, it will shut participation down. 16 people have completed the course work and nine identified they wanted to move forward. Only two were in the group picked. It is what they do every time. They say they want the front-liners to step up but when they do, they stop them. This is the third time in the five years I have been there that a major patient engagement and culture change project has been railroaded.
I am admitting the fact that I am extremely hurt. The past months have been grueling for me. On top of my normal Director duties and running three programs, I took this on. Well, I was asked to and then also I was told that I would be continuing in the Leadership role after the Coach left. I have taken all the classes twice in anticipation of becoming the new trainer. I am involved with many of the on-going projects and captaining a big one. The Coach has been very unsupportive of me. She is not a good coach and many people felt that she dictated their projects instead of letting them do them. This is where I made my mistake by standing up to her.
But also, my boss never said a word. I found out in a very uncomfortable way. She is the one who recommended the HR person who is in the elite group. She never said that this was coming and I am not sure how long they knew. As of the week before, she had been telling me I was the chosen one and to keep working hard at it. She just requested I do another small presentation to a global staff meeting. But my trust in her is gone. She also did not even think how the other HR manager would feel, especially since she is a senior member of the HR team and also the co-captain on a project with the girl they chose.
This is one of those weeks filled with lessons for me. On the same Friday morning, very first thing, before all the other crap happened, someone on staff who I know is very sick came to talk. Seems her count is up, which means her cancer is spreading. She had some more tests done and on Thursday found out this was confirmed. She is going to have to go on a very powerful and nasty chemo treatment. But she also confided that this is probably her last chance. She was diagnosed over five years ago and life expectancy is about that. She is a rock and a role model on how to deal with adversity. I got the few of us who know about all this and we planned a luncheon filled with fun before she starts all the chemo. This is what is important.
Also this week on Tuesday, we learned via email that two people were fired. It was very unprofessional way to let the company know they fired a 25 year veteran and also a well-liked manager over budget numbers. They were gone in a click of a button. I had just met with the manager that morning and then she called me later. She knew it was coming but not so quickly. They made this decision with no back-up plan and within three hours the director positon was posted and also sent out via email. OUCH!
I have to face that I am at the end of my career. It is a weird feeling. I am tired and I admit that not having to continue with this certification to practitioner is actually a big relief. The whole stress of having to work with the coach and the anticipation of having to go to the Med Center for classes and meetings is over. I did not enjoy much of it but did it because it was expected. It brought out so much anxiety in me. And true to form, I left myself wide open and vulnerable and got smacked down. It is not any easier than when I was a kid and things like this happened to me. I am aware of all the turmoil this stirred up and I was wise to take care of myself first on Thursday. I am working through this in chunks. One minute I am worried about others, next I am pissed and then I am remorseful for trusting people.
The bottom line is the world moves on and no matter what I think or how I feel, it will not factor into anyone else’s plans or feelings. I can only take care of me. I am not sure what that entails yet other than to focus on not grieving over the loss of this “Leadership” role. I think I still am going to have a hand in developing others to that role and actually, that is what I love to do the most. I am angrier at myself for trusting the girl I was trying to support…even when I knew better. She stayed true to herself and fucked me over. I am on a very long list of people she has done that to. Someday, that will catch up to her. I am hurt by my boss’s lack of disclosure but again, not the first time with her either. My workplace has been a hot mess for a longtime and I do not see this changing within my tenure there.
For now, I need to focus on me and my next steps in life. I need to plan for financial independence which is a fancy way of saying working at a job I like, when I like, and for who I like or not work at all because I have enough money to be able to do that. I have been working for 48 years, since I was 14, in jobs that I hated or thought I loved only to have them turn sour and hated eventually. I know this is common, but I also know life is short and I want mine to mean something.