Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Where am I?

I can’t blog when I’m really depressed or pissed off. Usually if I’m aggravated, I can pull myself out of it enough to blog. My blog is my catharsis, a way for me to reflect upon the funny or absurd things that happened throughout my day. Yesterday I wasn’t able to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It was a day fraught with some serious irritations on nearly every front and while I’ve been on a slow boil for a while now, the memories of the previous night’s fight with Blogger was more than I could stand. I fought for two hours to get those two posts up… I had another completely chewed up by the system and then it just “Poof” disappeared. When blogging throws me over the edge, it’s time to quit. I don’t have 2 consecutive hours to waste in a day, and that’s exactly what I did that night.

So last night when it came time to blog, I was in a horribly bad mood and the thought of fighting with Blogger was more than I could stand, and not being able to pull myself out of my deeper than normal slump, I just didn’t post.

Today, honestly is not much better. I’m posting to vent a little and also because the very first post about SoA, I deem very important. If you're looking for a funny story about my kids today, this isn't it. You may want to scroll down or look in my archives. As for today… as if things were not making me angry enough… my ultimate job hit a snag. It was bound to happen, right? I mean to have such a great opportunity thrown your way, has to have some strings attached, right? And today it happened and so I am a anxious mess as I await the outcome wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into, knowing the worst case is I have to walk away and the best case is they will listen to me and it will all go away as quickly as it appeared.

The job I’m doing now is something I dabbled in for 7 years at my old company. It is nothing taxing, but it keeps my brain moving as I look at the blueprints, figure out how everything works, how it goes back together, working with the different groups from hazardous materials to tooling, to make sure what I’m working on is correct. Very basic engineering stuff. But I knew that going into it and said nothing. During the 7 years I dabbled in this job, I also had a lot of other responsibilities, some of them pretty hefty, and so I never did JUST the mundane, but as I said, I knew this going into it and said nothing, but was instead thankful to have such flexibility and to work with such awesome men. I’m not looking for a career move, here folks. I’m looking for 10 – 15 hours a week of using my brain. I’m not looking to run the company anymore. I’m not looking to impress anyone with my intellectual prowess. I’m not looking to retire from this company. When you get laid off… you view everything as temporary. I worked for a company I thought I would stay at until I turned 65, but it didn’t work that way and now, I no longer look at any job as a lifetime job, as nice as it would be.

The very last job I held at my previous company, I held for a 2 ½ years. I thought it would be the job to beat all jobs. I threw all managerial thoughts into the wind, just wanting to work hardcore engineering. I was warned by a director to watch my move, that it might not be the best for me, but I ignored him. I wanted the real stuff and this job… this job had so much potential. Essentially, if you’ve seen the movie Top Gun, it would have been a somewhat similar job to that of ‘Charley’. I just didn’t know the guy I was going to work for was going to be abusive. I don’t mean ranting and raving lunatic. I’ve worked for those guys... what you hear is what you get. I’m talking passive aggressive, undermining, male chauvinist, full of mind games. Evil, with the big capital “E”. He was my mentor and within 6 months, I realized what I had gotten myself into. He would take my work, put his name on it, and publish it. He would take 100 hours of analysis, stand in front of the customer and claim the work as his, answering any and all questions… never once deferring to me. He would make sure I wasn’t invited to the technical meetings so he would have to dole out what he thought I needed to know. And it gets worse. Much worse. I started to feel half insane… like I had caused it… because I had fallen into a victim’s role at the hands of a manipulative abuser. I couldn’t go to HR. First, I don’t like others to fix my problems. I can handle my own problems. Second, he could deny it all, although I was documenting anything and everything. He could say he just forgot. When I would confront him, he would say it was all in my head or that I was making too much out of nothing or he didn’t see what the big deal was. When I would reply, “If its no big deal, then you shouldn’t have a problem giving me the credit for MY work.” He would laugh, shake his head, and walk away.

I went to my 'real' boss. Turns out, they were best friends and my boss was spineless. He did nothing.

Finally one day a female engineer probably about 10 years my senior, and very well respected, asked me how it was working with this person. I finally had the guts to say it was not well. Turns out she had worked for him. She started telling me everything he had done to HER and it was all the same. I had been validated. I knew it wasn’t in my head. The kicker for her was when he could control her no longer and he grabbed her by the arms and hurt her, creating bruises on her upper arms. She filed a complaint against him. The company took no action, as they very rarely do, although I have heard times have changed.

I took this to my boss… again. And now I am getting louder and less tolerant of his inaction. Finally I walked in one day and said, “I know what happened to E., if you don’t get me away from him, I am leaving. I will find myself a new job in another department.” He was horrified. He didn’t want to actually LOSE an employee. It’s all about empires you know. So he put me on another project. And then the plant closed. And then we all got laid off if we didn’t move.

The End. Or so I thought.

Seems my old group needs help. I kept this story to myself other than a couple girlfriends and one co-worker, and of course the female engineer who provided validation to what was occurring to me. Nobody else knew. I took what I saw was the high road, after all, a complaint had been filed previously and NOTHING was done and there was actual physical contact that time.. I’d seen women get chewed up by HR, by our male dominated business.

And then I walk in today and I am told, “BTW, they are looking for help in your old job. We put your name in.” I must’ve turned 4 shades of white. I replied, “You what?!” and my buddy K, said, “D., you do not belong in this job. You belong in a better job, doing something more. I put your name in since that is an area of expertise and they need you.” I asked him who I would have to work with and he named the abuser. I told him I can’t go and I finally sat down and told him the entire story.

Needless to say, my friend is not happy that 1) all this occurred to me and 2) he may have put me in jeopardy. I have asked them to withdraw my name, but I am afraid it has made it too far up the chain. Now I am afraid that they are going to tell me that as of 1 January, I have to transfer over, which I won't do.

I am VERY angry nobody consulted me first. I am VERY angry that someone else thought they knew what was better for me. I am angry that I could end up losing my job over this because I won’t go.

So that is how there ended up being a glitch in my job. An evil ghost from my past has reared his ugly head. As I said, it could go nowhere or it could be the end of it. It is the unknown that is making me anxious. This may not be rectified until Tuesday and although logicially I fully understand it does not help to worry, I am. Period.

Too bad I didn't have Karate tonight. I would have enjoyed punching someone.


Blogger Harvey said...

[sets up tackling dummy]
[runs to safety before the hitting starts]

12:16 AM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

Damn. I really wish I lived down there, Bou. All macho B.S. aside, I think Littlejoe, T1G, and I would have to seriously have a bit of a chat with this guy.
The definition of someone who pulls that kind of crap on people I care about is "future parapalegic".
Bullies are cowards at heart.

2:38 AM  
Blogger That 1 Guy said...

Damn right, Grau. Though it's probably a good thing that I'm not there. Me being the incredibly happy soul that I've been lately. :)

Sucks how someone trying to look out for you, put you in the middle of the interstate. We know that no harm was intended, but for crying out loud, ask a person first.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

It's funny y'all should say that. When I first got married, I had JUST come back from my honeymoon, I walked down an aisle at work to talk about some problem and one of the guys in the group asked me if I was wearing pants to hide rug burns on my knees. I took care of it, but I found out later that a couple people told him if he ever spoke to me like that again, they would take him out in the parking lot and beat the ever living crap out of him. Who the hell needs HR when you have people that will defend you! *Big Grin& He was quite the gentleman after that, but he did get laid off next lay off cycle.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! I got into comments! When I try and leave a comment it always takes so long I end up having to leave.

I'm sorry about your abusive former boss, not a good spot at all to be in at all.


7:34 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

I know where your coming from and it sucks.

HR is no help at all, most of the time they just make it worse and they are the reason I quit Ford.

I was being harrased by my female boss *gasp*. I went to HR and they told me basically that it was my fault and must be something I am doing wrong. It got to where I couldn't take her anymore and I found a new job and quit. I recently tried to get back into Ford or Visteon and come to find out when I quit the HR people put into my file that I was fired, but no reason was given as to why I was fired. If your fired you can never work there again and I tried to get it changed but short of getting a lawyer it just isn't going to happen.

So now I am bitter about it and will never trust an HR person again, ever.

People say women have some many more opportunities and the "good old boys" network is dying. Well that is just bullshit, they maybe be dying but it would be like bleeding to death from a paper cut.

8:07 AM  
Blogger VW said...

Bou, I actually remember all of that. I also remember telling you to point him out and let me at him. Sigh. I hate when stuff like that happens.

I remember pulling a VP aside after a meeting and telling him that it would be nicer if he looked at my eyes and not my breasts (I was the only female in the meeting and I was not dressed inappropriately). I thought my boss was going to die, but my co-workers stood up for me. We all worked just fine after that. The VP stayed away and we got our work done. Grin.

Yes it still happens, and the only time I heard our old HR doing ANYTHING about it was when it was a simple joke that only ONE person decided was 'wrong'. That poor manager ended up with stuff on his records and everything. Though myself and others were called in to see if we found the joke 'off color'. So it was about S.x. Big deal. And the worse part to me, was he was a decent manager. Sigh.

Enough ranting. UGH!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Caltechgirl said...

Well, Bou, look at it this way, at least you know what you might be walking back into and you know to be proactive this time. If you do have to go back, try this: Document everything you do at work, and where every hour of your time goes, and also write down all of the things he says and does that are just plain wrong (like stealing credit for your work) to the best of your knowledge. Then, when you can't deal with it, go to his boss and drop the avalanche of your documentation, your previous situation, and the other woman's problem. Threaten an attorney if you have to. If they need you, they'll fix it. Also, alert your team members to the fact that you and this dude had past issues, even without going into specifics, so they'll be on the lookout for you too. They've probably had the same experiences.

Sadly enough, this happened to a friend of mine. After 6 years and a hell of a lot of work, her advisor threatened to throw her out of grad school simply because she wanted to ask her dissertation committee to let her graduate. He wanted her to do his work instead.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LW Here:

Count me in on the group wanting to "have a little talk" with the abuser. He is a coward, a thief, and worse in my book.

FWIIW, I do understand how you feel right now. I had a friend, with all good intentions, bring my name up to an abuser. I had had to report to that person before, and had no intentions of every getting in any situation regarding him again. The friend meant well, but... What made it bad was that I had talked to the friend about this particular person before, and they did it anyway with all good intentions.

As it worked out, I was able to duck. May you be as lucky!

4:18 PM  

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