Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fear and Loathing at the Office

Here's something to keep in mind: if you've been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, don't listen to the voices.

I just thought I'd start this post out with a bit of sound advice, since it goes on to be fairly rambly and disorganized; also, if you're on psychotropic medication, right now would be an excellent time to dose up. Ready? Here we go!

Office politics are jerking on my marionette strings pretty fiercely this week. I am teamed with a consultant who's a nice lady - we'll call her Karen - but she's such a disorganized, high-maintenance, nervous, overbearing micromanager that she's absolutely driving me around the bend. And nice as she is, I just... just can't stand her.

I have an opportunity to escape within the company, though it's a bit iffy. One of the other consultants, Suzi, just lost her assistant. And she wants me. She loves me!

Suzi is the woman who originally hired me for this company. She's great pals with the president, Tiffany, who is the niece of the CEO, Ursula, and she gets away with things that any normal person at any normal company would get fired, and possibly sued and/or arrested for. Suzi is cute, energetic, dynamic, and engaging; she's also so monumentally disorganized that trying to communicate with her feels like you have a learning disability. She can't do anything for herself. She looks a lot like Jennifer Aniston.

Going from Karen's team to Suzi's team would be, in some ways, very much an out-of-the-frying-pan, into-the-other-frying-pan kind of proposition.

But the thing is, Suzi is what she is. She doesn't labor under the delusion that she's something more. Karen thinks she's the only person at the company with any degree of professionalism. And if she actually had any degree of professionalism, she'd be absolutely right.

Tiffany cannot stand Karen. Can't stand her.

When I got in trouble, a couple of weeks ago, for various assorted things that really weren't my fault - that really were mostly Tiffany's fault, so she needed a scapegoat - she had Karen write me up. And Karen felt terrible about it. So I feel really bad about asking to move from Karen's team to Suzi's team, because how do you think Karen feels about Suzi?

All together now! Can't stand her!!!!

Enter Tiffany's executive assistant, and a dear friend of mine: Magda. If my company were a Shakespeare play, Magda would be the Nurse: a little older; wise and funny; earthy, raunchy, nurturing, kind; above it all, yet in the middle of everything. I love Magda, but don't completely trust her; anything she hears may well get around to Tiffany. Magda is my administrative supervisor, even though for all practical purposes, Karen is my manager.

Magda knows that Suzi is agitating for me to come work with her. But she knows that I am agonizing about confronting Karen about the whole thing, and about effectively kicking Karen when she's down, seeing as how Tiffany makes life very, very, very unpleasant for those she can't stand.

So Magda comes up with a subtle approach. She doesn't tell Karen I want off her team. She doesn't tell Karen that Suzi is trying to steal me off her team. No.

She tells Karen that, since Suzi's assistant was let go and they need someone new, that someone new doesn't necessarily have to go on Suzi's team. The teams were very recently formed; they're still in the process of being reshuffled for the best fit. Why, perhaps Karen could have the someone new. Would Karen like to consider this? Would Karen like to interview the Potential Someone News?*

Yes! Yes, Karen is a little taken aback by the idea at first, but rapidly comes around. She would like to interview a Potential Someone New! She would!

Magda comes back and tells me this, and while part of me giggles gleefully at her masterful handling of the situation, part of me rears up its indignant little head and says - Hey!

Guess she couldn't stand me either (sigh).

*Band name alert!


At August 15, 2007 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm traveling back in time to 2005 before I even knew you to say "hello from the future!" You will come to find out i'll be just another weird friend you'll have in life.



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