I guess I was pretty cranky yesterday, because Bee and both the cats avoided me like the plague. Can't say I blame them. I would have avoided me, too, if I didn't actually live in my body and head.
There's nothing like being laid off to set the tone for the holidays. All my plans for gift giving are out the window since I'm back to pinching pennies again.
My cup of gall runneth over.
I want to kick the cat. Repeatedly.
As Viscountess Nancy Witcher Astor once said to Winston Churchill, "Sir, if you were my husband, I would put arsenic in your coffee."
See what I mean? Grinchiness has set in.
I don't (and won't) miss my job or the person who supervised me, but I might miss a couple of the people I worked with. More than them, though, I know I'll miss saying hello to Jeremy, the parking garage guy. I'm going to have to make a point of stopping and seeing him the next time I go downtown to meet my brother for lunch. And I miss passing the woman hawking newspapers at the intersection of Massachusetts and 9th. Of course, I've wanted to interview her for some time now and haven't had the time. Now I do, so maybe I will.
I keep trying to figure out where I've gone wrong as an employee in this town for three different types of organizations. I haven't had your typical Washington career track. I didn't start out as a legislative assistant or intern on the Hill. I haven't specialized in one pixel of the period like so many do around here--start out focusing on solving world hunger / ending nuclear proliferation / fighting for women's rights / curing AIDS / whatever and end up specializing in minutae.
People keep telling me I'm highly intelligent and destined for great things, but those are becoming words, as Shakespeare wrote, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Nothing. I can't do anything with that. I've tried three times now and three times I've failed.
I was smart and intelligent and driven at a trade association where my team and I accomplished forward momentum on recycling policy, achieving things that hadn't been for more than three years. And yet, I'm told I'm redundant and I get laid off.
I was smart and intelligent and a bridge builder at the non-profit where my team and I increased contributions as much as 67% over previous years. And yet, I'm told I'm tedious and I get laid off.
I was smart and intelligent and a great fill-in-the-skill as an independent consultant. And yet, I can't get my clients to pay their bills on time or return calls.
I was smart and intelligent and highly overqualified at the lobbying offices for a Fortune 500 company, hoping to move from an administrative setting to a policy position. And yet, my failure to grasp the heady world of booking travel, scheduling meetings, and filing papers precluded me from the possibility of participating in the more mundane tasks of working on environmental issues and I get laid off.
Do you know my favorite part is in all of this?
When the person who's laying me off starts out by saying to me, "I just want to say that I've always really liked you. You're an incredibly intelligent woman, a lot of fun to be around, and you have a great sense of humor."
And? That gets me what?
Oh, I know. These situations are difficult for managers. I've been a manager. Human relations and dealing with people's feelings is never cut-and-dried easy. But still, don't patronize me. And don't say that shit, because you're only saying it so you'll feel better about yourself. Like you're a decent human being or something.
I believe, unless an employee is egregiously insubordinate, embezzling the company, or going postal, or the company is going belly up financially, that there should never be a reason to lay off any one ever. Laying someone off is as much an indictment on management's performance and vision as it is on that of the person being sacked.
This is a town that requires kissing ass, snapping smartly to attention and saluting, and not asking any questions but just doing what you're told. Even if you're hired because you think outside the box or you're highly intelligent, don't believe it.
The bottom line is, in today's McKinsey'ed, corporate, dog-eat-dog world, managers and bosses don't want you to be forward thinking or innovative or practical. They'll tell they do, but they don't. They want you to march to the beat of their drum, even when there's no sound coming from that drum.
Oh, I know. I know. It's not unique to just D.C. This kind of crap goes on everywhere. But guess what, boys and girls and managers and decision makers and power mongers of the world? Guess what? That doesn't make it right.
Let me repeat that.
Somehow, somewhere, we've become a working class that values politics over delivery, ass-kissing over actually getting the job done, arrogance over humility, backstabbing over collaboration.
We're squandering the time, talent, and abilities of hundreds of thousands of people with this negative, counterintuitive, counterproductive behavior and culture.
What a sick, sick culture and attitude. Sick. And wrong.
Okay. Climbing down off my Grinch peak.
It's a beautiful day. I'm going to update my resume and start looking for my dream job. Whatever that means.
P.S. FWIW, the only true and living version of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas worth adhering to is the original. The Ron Howard/Jim Carrey/VISA version: sacrilege.
P.P.S. I think I'm going to watch all three of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies next week. I think what corporate culture needs is a little more Jack Sparrow and a little less Machiavelli. "But why is the rum gone?"
P.P.P.S. No, I am not falling off my rocker.
P.P.P.P.P.S. Scratch what I just said about Ron Howard/Jim Carrey/VISA and their version of the Grinch. It was hypocritical, given everything else I just wrote. They're version is fine. It was innovative and outside the box. And it worked. Now, where's my rum?
Photo/image copyrights: Who knows. They were scattered all over the place on Google Images. Ultimately, ownership belongs to Dr. Seuss and his illustrator. They did the work. Let credit fall where it's truly due.