The Bravest I Can Be

Today spiraled into a shit-storm of epic proportion beyond my wildest dreams.

In the interest of confidentiality, I don’t write in detail about my job or my line of work, but if anyone has read my recent posts, they know that in my day job I’m your average midlevel manager with an advanced degree and many years of management and administration experience under her belt.

What you don’t know is that two years ago, budget cuts forced my department to cut our administrative assistant position, and because my little morons couldn’t have imagined a world in which they didn’t have a secretary to demean, and to protect their fragile enormous egos, I, the female manager, was demoted to secretary in all but title and salary (because I was still expected to do my job too, of course).

One year ago, the other and last position I supervised moved to a new job and I was then doing what had been three full-time jobs only a year before. Everyone talks these days about how much more responsibility they’ve been tasked with in their positions and how much more they’re taking on, but I am the only person I know who has been actively demoted to doing the two lower-level positions that she had previously supervised and delegated responsibilities to.

The transformation felt complete now somehow – I now spent the majority of my days fetching office supplies, scheduling meetings, compiling data in spreadsheets or entering it into one of our many databases, and forwarding calls and voicemails to my much more important colleagues.

While I certainly respect people who choose to make a career as an assistant, this was like a death for me. Each time I was referred to as the admin or administrative assistant, it was as if those words were cutting right through me, and I would double-over in pain. My pride, my self-respect, my soul, my whole sense of self was chipped away, piece by piece. This job had killed everything that made me me, and I was, and continue to be, a mere shell of a human being.

Several months later, I was allowed to fill one of my positions, but that turned out to be an exceptionally large mistake on my part. Hiring an internal candidate I had known for years, but who I apparently hadn’t known at all, was my last straw, because she saw my exhausted, broken soul, and instead of stepping in and stepping up, she decided to manipulate HR policies (read: loopholes) on attendance and performance to her advantage.

After I sent her a gently worded e-mail regarding my expectations two weeks ago, she went completely off the rails. She is now known to be a person without a conscious, and people like her are what make living in this world a dark place to be. There is literally nothing she won’t do to hurt me professionally, all because I politely asked her to better-adhere to her schedule. How dare I, right?

Well, fast-forward two weeks to today, after I have just spent 20 hours writing up documentation and a firm letter to establish expectations, when I receive a notification that this person has been approved, by HR policy, to be in and out of the office intermittently for the next seven months. With an option to extend, of course.

Meaning she doesn’t have to work. Meaning she’ll continue to collect a salary, and we’ll hold her job for her, and I’ll be expected to continue doing 100% of a three-person job – all so that she can stay cozy at home in her pjs all day, everyday, laughing maniacally at how good she got me.

But, the jokes on all of them, because I won’t do it.

A time comes in every woman’s life, when regardless of the consequences, she stands up for herself and says NO MORE. Do what you will, but I will be taken advantage of no longer.

And, those are the words I will be saying to HR tomorrow when they fail to sufficiently address who is going to be doing her work for the next seven months (and beyond), because it sure as hell won’t be me.

So, I guess what I’m in need of now is a solid Plan B. You know, what to do when they fire me, what to do when I’m homeless and I remember that food actually matters a lot more than my pride or my soul or my self-respect, because those are all long-gone by now anyway, as previously explained.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Fabulous connections to a literary agent who will help me take my rough little novel and make it into a best-selling sensation? No? Well, a girl can dream, I guess.

And, just being brave enough to put it out there – to put my dream out there and to dare to hope it will be realized, well, that’s going to have to be what gets me through this next transition in my life, and it’s going to have to be enough. It’s going to have to be everything to me, because most certainly tomorrow I am going to lose everything else.

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