Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday - Don't you hate it when ...

... You spend your time decrying the rampant, ravaging vulture of stupidity just before you find out that you, yourself, decrier of stupidity, have done something stupid?

Thus is my day.

Today, I discovered that I've done something really heinous to someone, without even trying. I did it without effort, without malice, without intent, and yet, here I am again. I'm in the soup, and this time it's probably
not going to just blow over and be all right. The person involved doesn't strike me as a "let it blow over and be all right" kind of person. I'm not angry or anything, but I'm very frightened about the prospect of what consequences may bring.

Most likely, I'm going to lose my job. I'm probably going to be fired because I've now presented myself as a liability that exposes the company I'm working for to a great financial risk, in one context. On the other hand, what I did was done in the spirit of jocularity and in the same tone that I've shared with all of the other members of this department. I don't exactly mean to say there's one in every crowd, but I assumed a level of familiarity and comfort toward an individual with whom I had absolutely no business being comfortable, and with whom I
certainly wasn't familiar. That mistake, made over a period of a couple of months at least, has come back to roost in spades, and it has allowed me to present myself in a position of liability to the company I worked so hard to impress.

As things are right now, I won't be terminated immediately. The company's recommendation is "no action" at the moment. That's because the department is running on a skeleton crew, and every member is a crucial component. If we lose any
more people, the department is in danger of not being functional. I perform a function that involves routing work and assisting with problems in completing requests from our customers (internal only). Since there is no one that can easily assume that position as well as maintain their own responsibilities, it behooves the company to retain me. That is, until such a time as a replacement can be located.

The manager's been interviewing. I imagine that appeasing the individual in question involved asking them if the situation was tolerable until that replacement could be obtained, and at that time I will be released.

Now, I'm guilty as charged in all the things alleged; I made sure that I was clear about that, and about not wanting to minimize the severity of the allegations or the individual's feelings about the events in question. I didn't want to try and make the situation less than it was, neither the individual who felt this way about me. I was also clear regarding my intent -- or lack thereof -- in the situation(s) and the circumstance(s) involved. In the end, I was told that, perhaps nothing would come of the situation; it was possible that things would just "move forward". That's the phrase that seemed to be today's corporate buzz-word: "move forward". Moving forward means, of course, that I am to proceed as though
nothing occurred whatsoever, and I am not to apologize for any reason, and I am not to speak about this situation to friends, family or co-workers. Mm-hmm. I see.

What this all means is that I'm to sit down, shut up and say nothing until the client company is in a position to replace me. I spoke of staying home from work tomorrow and looking for a job; they advised against that course of action. They "recommended" that I come in to work tomorrow. Not showing up would be an indication that everything is
not all right and dandy, and that would not bode well for me. It would look bad for me, they said. So, I can sit tight and wait for the company to bide it's time and get rid of me, or I can become proactive and begin my own job search so as not to be caught flat-footed. Again, this was discouraged. Of course, the final judgment is, the decision is yours. But we would recommend you take the slow poison so that it won't look bad for you and you won't be terminated before you're terminated.

Of course, I
could call that bluff; I don't believe that I'll be terminated before a replacement can be found. So staying home tomorrow would get me a good talking-to from someone -- likely my manager -- about just "moving forward" and what I need to do to make that happen, but I'm willing to bet the client wouldn't allow the placement firm to let me go. Not yet; they're not ready to pull that trigger yet.

I actually had delusions of being hired on full-time with this company. My performance has been exemplary, I've tried to provide "above-and-beyond" service, and I've worked for my clients (all internal of course) and have provided as much assistance and instruction to my teammates as I could. I thought that, if there were a chance of a full-time position coming open, I'd be a forerunner for it. Now, of course, I'm going to be the next one out the door.

As usual, the accuser has basically assumed the position of power in this entire situation; nothing can be done to that person in any way, or the threat of litigation will loom large indeed. And that person
is popular with the manager, who believes that the job being done by this individual is being done well. I can't speak to that; it seems to me that this is someone who needs a lot of management to get the simplest things done, but I'm an outsider in that. Simple concepts like replacing headcount are beyond their grasp, but perhaps what matters is what I don't see. Frankly, I don't care; for me, this assignment is over.

And nothing, naturally, that I say will have any influence or impact. I've seen how stories like this one end. For the accused, it's going to end badly. In this case, it's just a matter of
when that bad ending will come.

Nothing like anencephalic behavior to bring home irony, is there? The worst of it is, I know better; I'm not some young, inexperienced whelp who's still wet behind the ears. I've been in corporate America long enough to have known better, and I did it anyway. I didn't mean to, but my complacency, my laziness, my lowered guard, allowed me to take this one right on the chin and it's the biggest one I've ever taken. My job here isn't the only thing impacted; this could potentially follow me for the rest of my life.

I bid you adieu. When this is all settled, I'm going to name names and state allegations, because I can. And it makes me feel better. Pbbbt.


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