The panicmonger has at long last been forced out - unless you want to believe the official story, which is that she resigned voluntarily, suddenly, without any notice, and without another job lined up.
I suspect the former.
Ernest, who is almost unbelievably still working there, came over this afternoon to give me the scoop. The group has been divvied up, the spoils of office politics, between the two rival managers in the section. I wouldn't want to work for either of those guys, especially the cheese-ass used-car salesman who runs the IT branch for the division. Ernest will be working for that massive tool now. He's excited about the change, which I suppose is a fair indicator of how bad things had gotten.
So I told Ernest a story today. I told him of the genesis of the Three-Martini Break Group.
When I started in that division, I told Ernest, our branch was deeply invested in a particular project. However, due to unforeseen technical issues (which really, really, really should not have been unforeseen), the project was on hold. We couldn't work on other projects, because that would entail updating data which would then be overwritten by data from the first project, when/if it ever got going again. So we were at. A. Complete. Standstill.
This is a bit of a hardship when you work for an agency that allows zero personal use of the internet.
So I learned about all kinds of things going on in the agency, or at least whatever was published on the agency website. Also, we're allowed to look at NOAA.com. I learned a lot about the weather. My coworkers - all intelligent, and terribly underemployed; all young, healthy, and funny; all energetic and all just marking time until they could make something better happen - my coworkers took the simple, 15-minute, twice-daily break and developed it into an elaborate art form. You know - kind of like a Japanese tea ritual, only with a lot more sexual innuendo.
Things weren't so bad for me. I was still shellshocked from the vicious day-to-day machinations of a small, family-run marketing company unexpectedly headquartered in Imperial Rome. A little boredom was not a bad thing; besides, pretty much all my new coworkers were young, male, and cute. Life could be a lot worse. A LOT worse.
We were dead in the water for months, so our boss - the panicmonger's predecessor - under increasing and hostile pressure from HIS boss, tried desperately to fill all that empty time with meetings, cross-training, and documentation on documentation on documentation. Nothing was enough. The project we were all waiting on was eventually scrapped altogether, and we all had to start actually working again. Not too hard, though. Every break was still an epic event. But 3MBG members began dropping like flies from sheer boredom. Still, I have to think those first few months after I started, when I had nothing whatsoever to do but spend hours every day hanging out with a bunch of bright, funny, dishy men, were some pretty darn good times.
And what do I have to show for all that now? Nothing, that's what. Well, except for a couple of years of happy memories, several ongoing and deeply rewarding friendships, and a busy, fun, challenging, but not stressful job among pleasant people.
Call it an object lesson on the pitfalls of ambition. The panicmonger doesn't even have anybody to go on break with.