"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for March, 2020

Into the Abyss

Today started off great. I had a good mindset even though I still report to the office. I realized how blessed I am to have a job, caring coworkers and more. I realized that part of my mixed feelings includes guilt. My life is still pretty normal, especially when you compare it so many others. At the end of the day I got a text from Taz that dumped a bucket of ice cold water on my mood.

Earlier this week I found some full body coveralls with booties and a hood. Four mediums at a Lowes. A coworker’s brother had found masks at another so I had been looking for N95 masks, but found those and safety googles instead. I bought them all and sent Taz a text asking if ehe wanted them.

She sent a calm text that no she didn’t need them. She had her scrubs. We joked about my tendency to overbuy when anxious. Her overbuying is groceries. I was holding the coveralls with the thought of giving them to my apartment maintenance guys. Until today, two days later, I got Taz’s text. “No, I lied. Send them”. I immediately overnighted them.

I called my son-in-law thinking I wouldn’t be able to talk to her. She picked up the phone. I told her that the coveralls and my citrus shipment would arrive tomorrow and I would send her the tracking numbers. Then I asked the dreaded question – who are they for? They are for her.

They are putting the surgeons into the COVID units beginning tomorrow. They do not have the proper respiratory training to keep these patients alive. She insisted on training because she doesn’t want patients dying because her team hasn’t had training. They have promised to train them. She will now go into a hellish rotation that includes 24 hour call several days a week with several days in the COVID unit. She knows she will get COVID, and will transmit it to her husband.

I am terrified. Absolutely terrified. I am living a mundane normal life compared to the absolute shit show my daughter is living. I cannot imagine. I know the best way to support her is to stay strong. To love and support her no matter what. To tell her I love her. I sent her a quick note in the box telling her how proud I am and how much I love her. I want to do more, but I am at a loss.

I want to call every person I know and collect PPE for all the healthcare workers. Harbor Freight is donating all their masks to hospitals. I told Taz to have the hospital sign up. I know others are working on this too, but I want to do more to help.

My daughter is an incredibly responsible adult. She has a kind heart, great sense of humor and is beautiful inside and out. She is a highly trained surgeon who graduated at the top of her class since high school. She graduated from a top 5 med school and is in a top 5 residency for her specialty. She is amazing. She wants kids and they had planned to start trying this Spring. She has such an incredible future in front of her. She has spent almost a decade getting the training necessary to be at the top of her field.

Please, God, keep her safe through this. I pray to you with all my heart to keep her safe. Please Lord, keep her and those other healthcare workers safe. Their selfless sacrifice is the bravest thing I have seen. Please, Lord, hear my prayer. Amen.

Changes Every Day

Things continue to change around here as everyone is trying to adapt to our new alternate reality.

One development this week is that my trash valet service is suspended.  I live in an apartment complex that charges a small fee for a third-party service  to pick up garbage from your doorstep five nights a week.

I am not surprised this stopped.  It is not safe for those guys to be hauling off everyone’s trash.  People around here are slobs though, so I anticipate a mess.  Now my neighbors will have to dump their own trash.  They can’t even dump their recycling correctly, so this is going to be awful.  The property management is already WFH, so I doubt how much they will be keeping an eye on things.  Anyway, now I have to schlep my own trash.  No big deal, but timing will be key.  I need to figure out when trash is picked up so I can go immediately afterwards.

Walmart is keeping me healthy by not giving me any chocolate.  My Walmart pickup this week was chock full of healthy veggies and nary a chocolate.  It was also full of coffee, so no matter what I will be caffeinated to the max.

I managed to pick up the rest of my stuff at Publix. I have not been inside a grocery store for about 4-5 weeks.  What a shocker.  Empty shelves, everyone wearing a mask and gloves (except me).  People social distancing.  Cashiers insisting people step back.  Wow.  It was surreal.  I got all the staples I was missing, so now I am good for about 30-40 days at least.  If I plan it, I could probably go up to 2 months with only minor sacrifices.

I think about Taz all the time.  I am so worried for her.  She has a paper bag to carry her used N95 mask home from work.  That tells you a lot.  Please pray for her and all the healthcare workers.  I don’t pray much, but these days God is hearing a lot more from me because prayer equals hope and we all need some hope these days.

General observations:  Harvey Weinstein has COVID, as I am sure you all know.  I immediately thought of him when I heard it was at Rikers.  Now he is in a prison in upstate New York.  He is in poor health already and his money can’t help him now.  Rand Paul, what a selfish douche.  He is a frigging doctor, so he knew the risks.  He is so arrogant that he swam, went to the gym, used the dining area, had meetings all while waiting for his test results. What a selfish, self-centered jerk.

I am a bit worried about my son.  He is a bit of a hermit by nature, so loneliness might hit him unexpectedly.  I need to keep checking on him.  One roommate has returned home, but he still has another.  He has been hit with quite a few major changes with school going online, his fellowship evaporating, his internship fading.  He will be OK, but I know right now it probably feels pretty scary.  I sent him some fruit – LOL.  My answer to everything is to send a gift because there really isn’t anything else I can do.

I have a call this week with my company’s prepaid legal services so I can get my Will and Living Will/Health Directive started.  I am overdue about getting that done.  Nothing like a pandemic to get your affairs in order.

The neighbors below me, a lovely young couple, had a knockdown, blow-out fight tonight.  I thought I might have to call the cops.  Furniture was being moved around, yelling, doors slamming.  Wow.  Stress is getting to everyone.  It is calm now, but wow.  I think we will all see a lot more of that.

Time for bed.  I need to continue thinking about my schedule and habits.  Time to get back to some more structure.  This new normal is going to be awful as South Florida approaches our surge.  April and May are suppose to be a shit show for sunny SFLA.  I am planning on being home and inside for the most part.  I don’t need to be any part of any drama.

In the meantime, enjoy “Let It Be” by the Beatles.  The link goes not only to the song, but a great write up about it.  Here is a quick excerpt:

On the face of it, “Let It Be” is just a shatteringly gorgeous song, an extended contented sigh about getting through a shitty life period and finding the acceptance that certain things are out of your hands. McCartney’s vocal is plaintive and simple, and his central melody is an all-timer. McCartney knew, of course, that most of the people hearing the song wouldn’t know it was about his mother. They’d hear the name “Mother Mary” as a religious reference, and McCartney steered into that.

Best wishes for your continued health and safety, Dear Readers.  My prayers for you and yours.

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

What Will Be, Will Be

I have been thinking about my upcoming discussion with my boss when we implement Work From Home (WFH).  It is coming.  A senior leader needed my help formatting a document that outlines the guidelines. I couldn’t read much of it, only the title.  I also overheard him talking to another senior leader about out of our top 30 competitors, we are the only one not WFH.  Damn.

My problem is that my boss, being the loyal lieutenant, isn’t a fan of WFH.  I have to figure out how to discuss this with her when the time comes.  She treats the situation like it is on hourly accountability.  I am an exempt employee, so I am not too much into the “tit for tat”.  She is from the world of billable hours, so she is.  I was hired for my expertise, not so much hired to be a butt in a chair, although I do that to make her happy.  She hasn’t managed someone of my level before.  She typically deals with admins and the like (no slight to them, it is just that they tend to be more task-oriented which is not my situation).

Plus I have to consider that it will come to light that I really don’t have enough work to fill a 40 hour week.  I had mentioned it to her before, early on, but she didn’t come up with more responsibilities.  After two mentions, I shut up.  Why shine a spotlight on it?

I need to prep for this conversation and I am not too sure how I want it to go.  Plus we are headed towards massive national unemployment, so this prepping could be for nothing. Since I am overhead, I could easily go early.

The result I want is employment.  I could compromise and reduce my week (and salary) to 32 hours.  For the interim, perhaps I could use PTO to make up the missing 8 hours.  I would like to keep my full salary, but I think everyone needs to make sacrifices.

If they decide to fire me, perhaps I could make some $$ with them as their consultant.  I have to be flexible.  Nerves are frayed, so who knows what will happen.  During the Recession, they managed to navigate it without laying anyone off.  They reduced hours, but the company was smaller then.  The CEO does know how to navigate tough times, however, these are times no one has ever endured.  He is freaking the fuck out.  The weight of the company and everyone’s livelihoods rests on his shoulders.  I do not envy him one bit.

Today I have a zen acceptance that what will happen, will happen.  Work will end up as it should.  My credit card balances are zero except for one.  I do not owe the tax man a penny.  My only debt is that one credit card balance of $1,500 and my car payment. Financially I will be fine.  Not great, but I will be OK.

What I really want more than anything is for my family to come out of this intact and healthy.  Say a prayer for Taz who is on the frontlines of Brooklyn.  I think about her all the time.  She is so brave, so calm, so reassuring when we talk.  Her stress reliever is to order groceries and watch stupid shows like “Love is Blind”.  Then she gets up and heads back to patch people up.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  What a remarkable woman.  I am so blessed and lucky.  What will happen, will happen.  Karma is in control, not me. I have to remember that and stay positive.

My wishes for your continued health and safety.  My prayers for any of you with sick family and friends.  My love for all of you — love and kindness are what will pull us through.

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Photo by Joel Henry on Unsplash

Happily Mundane

I wrote this last weekend, but forgot to post it so it’s a little out of chronological order. Whatever….it’s my blog 🙂

I was very quiet this weekend.  The apartment is sparkling clean, my laundry is put away along with the groceries.  I read a little, watched a little TV, ran my 30 minute 5K training run on Saturday, took a walk on Sunday, got my final haircut and color done, did my Census questionnaire and a few other mundane tasks.  I didn’t meal prep.  I just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t listen to the news or radio.  I kept things very quiet — almost eerily quiet, but I enjoyed it.

I will have to make some bread because I can’t buy any for the life of me.  I refuse to go inside a store and Walmart doesn’t have my Ezkiel bread that I prefer.  It is always out when I order it.  Sigh.  I have some tortillas, Texas Toast and a few frozen biscuits, so it’s not like I will go into “bad carb” withdrawal.  I am just having a minor jonesing for some PB&J.

I want to keep on my 5K training because I am on Week 9 or 10, so I want to finish the dang thing to prove I can do this.  My plan is to run a 5K on the day of or the weekend around when the 5K was originally scheduled to celebrate this accomplishment.

I fret a little about running out of certain staples of food, but that is the overbuyer in me.  I simply need to relax.  I will not starve.  Groceries are available.  I guess it is something I feel I have some control over, so my overbuying tendency is popping out all over.  I have been spending more $$ than usual including a very large tip to my hairstylist since the salon will be closing soon due to the non-essential business closures.  I bought nice citrus for the family to brighten their day.  I need to step away from the online shopping carts – LOL.

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Spring is Here!  Photo by Freddy Marschall on Unsplash

 

Alternate Reality

My new normal for now is so strange.  All of my great healthy habits are slipping.  My gym is closed, my 5K is canceled.  I am staying up an hour or so later, so I wake up later.

I can’t really exercise in the early morning.  Maybe I can if I did some workouts in my apartment.  I miss my gym, so I need to regroup and keep going.

I have continued to lose weight.  I am averaging 0.64 pounds a week so I have lost over 10 pounds since January.  I have trimmed down inches all over as well.  My clothes fit better.  I have two pairs of jeans I bought for the holidays that are so big now I can slip them off without unzipping them.  VICTORY!  I don’t feel like I am dieting which is good.  I am simply making better decisions and cooking my own food, so my diet is much healthier. It will be really healthy for the next two weeks since I have a bunch of fresh veggies and limited protein.  I need to blanch and freeze the veggies so they do not go bad.  Food cannot be wasted these days.   An example of my new healthy ways is before turning on the laptop, I thought about making something sweet.  Naw, too much trouble and it’s getting to late to be eating.  Extra calories avoided through sheer laziness.

I do need to get out of my head a bit more.  Read more, get outside to exercise.  Summer is coming which means soon we Floridians will retreat inside to escape the brutal heat (and giant mosquitoes that sometimes carry Zika)  This will especially be the case since we won’t have pools or beaches for the foreseeable future.  Ugh.

Tonight I talked to two girlfriends.  One has a son in Brooklyn – sigh.  She is facing unemployment as her profession has dried up due to COVID.  Her spirits were good, but she is worried primarily about her family.  The other is happily unemployed from the insurance world and watching that world crumple along with everyone else.  I called my son who is facing a rapidly changing world.  His grad school is now online.  The foundation that he is interning with just learned that a major source of their funding has evaporated completely.  He will be fine, but he may not know that yet.  I told him just to focus on school.

When I was talking to one of my girlfriends, I described what we need to do for the next 4-6 weeks as “surfing the tsunami”.  We just need to ride the gigantic wave of awfulness that is approaching us and stay afloat.   This COVID situation is stripping away everyone’s mask.  The greedy, the panicky, the noble, the scum, the desperate, the calm.  Everyone’s mask is being stripped away and true colors are being exposed.  So what’s next?  Time will tell when we have finished surfing the tsunami.  For now, we have to come to terms with our new alternate reality.

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Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

COVID Update

Time for another COVID-19 post, so if you aren’t up for it, please enjoy these funny cat videos.

Taz is working in Ground Zero — Brooklyn.  She was at the hospital yesterday for 24 hours straight trying to save a person injured in a horrific car accident.  We FaceTimed today and she looks exhausted, but her spirits are good.  The person survived but faces additional surgeries later this week.  How that patient will avoid COVID is anyone’s guess.

Taz has several other residents that are either pregnant or have a pregnant wife.  One doctor is 8 months pregnant.  The head of the program put her on early maternity leave.  Thank goodness, but it leaves them short-handed and these pregnant wives exposed.  Taz is a Chief Resident for her specialty.  She was awarded this high honor right as the virus was entering the US. Lucky her.  She has always had impeccable timing for this type of thing.

I feel so helpless.  I sent them a large carton of Florida citrus from my favorite citrus farm.  I also sent some to my Dad & stepmom plus my son.  Nothing like a Vitamin C boost, I hope.  I told Taz that I will send her some funny memes, videos, pictures, etc. via text message so she has something silly to look at when she needs a break.  She loved that idea.

This corona virus is nasty.  Her hospital is about to be overwhelmed by it and they are converting OR’s into ICU’s because the OR’s have ventilators.  Another hospital is already at that point.  The tsunami is upon them.

A cousin of mine had a friend die in New York of COVID.  He was a middle-aged father.

I am not going to talk about politics in this time of crisis.  I have a lot of thoughts and opinions, but they aren’t going to help the situation, so I will keep them out of my blog.  However, I did find a good explanation of social distancing.  Dr. Emily Landon is a University of Chicago epidemiologist and as the Illinois governor was decreeing their shelter in place order, she spoke about it.  The whole social distancing is so hard for some people to understand, but I think Dr. Landon said it best.   She said that if we do this social distancing and shelter in place correctly it will feel like an overreaction.  That means it is working.  She said that you may feel silly sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, but by doing so you are preventing the spread of this horrible virus.  If you haven’t watched her speech, it is well worth the listen and please share it with any idiot who thinks that this doesn’t apply to them.

I am finding that each day for the past 3-4 days I tear up and cry for about 5 minutes or less.  I now just go ahead and have my cry so I can put it behind me and soldier on.  I am going to have to draw my line in the sand soon at work and start working from home.  I just don’t understand why we can’t work from home.  I think the CEO 1) is terrified the company will go under and 2) vastly under-estimates his professionals.  I think #2 is his Achilles Heel.

We received two emails over the weekend from Senior Leadership.  One is the CEO telling us that they are monitoring it and doing what the CDC and WHO recommends.  He wants us to make our health and safety a priority.  He also added that the mandatory stay-at-home orders thus far to not apply to our line of work and “maintain performance” (preferably in the office).  Sigh.

The other email was a flow chart that shows what to do under four scenarios – the first two are if you have direct contact or you have symptoms, then stay home.  The other two make me shudder.  If you think you visited a location of a positive case but had no contact, still come to work.  If you visited the location of a suspected case, still show up to work. That is where they lost me.  I think I need to send the leadership team Dr. Landon’s video.  They don’t get it.

I may have to make a very hard decision this week.  I think I am going to have to draw my line in the sand and start working from home.  I was trying to let more senior people fight the fight, but with 1,000 cases in South Florida (and add a multiplier of 5x to 10x for a truer count), I can’t risk my health on someone else’s bad decisions.

On a funny note, I did my Walmart groceries through their pick-up app.  Did I get my chocolate — no.  Did I get tons of coffee like a hoarder, yes (I picked a couple of brands just in case and got them all).  I will be well caffeinated in the coming weeks.  I didn’t get any of the meats I wanted, but I got all of my fresh veggies.  I will be eating a healthy mainly vegetarian diet this week whether I wanted to or not. LOL.

Stay healthy, my Dear Readers.  Keep your social distance and remember that if you think you are over-reacting, you are doing exactly the right thing.

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Enjoy Spring – Photo by Joel Holland on Unsplash

The Ocean

Hello Dear Readers, I am on a COVID roll.  Govern yourself accordingly.  If you aren’t in the mood and want to escape again, try these bloopers from my favorite show, The Big Bang Theory.

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We cannot control the ocean.  I was thinking about the ocean during my day at the beach.  It is incredibly deep, massive, ever-changing and always in motion.  The winds, the moon, the sun may influence it, but the ocean remains itself.

Man can only adapt his behaviors and responses to the ocean.  We cannot control it.  We can sail on top of it, dive beneath it, build some seawalls, but we will never control it or contain it.

We have to change.  We have to create ways to cope with the ocean.  It is massive, mysterious, beautiful and wild.

COVID-19 will eventually be contained, but until then we have to adapt to it.  Modify our behaviors so we can get ahead of it.  If it was like the ocean, we would be SOL now wouldn’t we?  This is where Karma has blessed us.  The herd will survive.  Long live the herd.

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Photo by Jorge Tung on Unsplash

Ramblings of an Anxious Mind

This post is about COVID and my anxiety about it.  If this is a trigger for your own anxiety, please do not continue reading.  Click here for a funny animal video instead.

The anxiety has been weighing on me for weeks.  The past two weeks it has been picking up.  Last weekend I went to the beach.  A beautiful, quiet beach I had never visited.  I brought pen and paper so I could release the anxiety.  Since I cannot control the worldwide and local chaos around me, what can I control? I can control my activities, my rest, my exercise, my food and hopefully my mindset.

I am prepared.  I have toilet paper!  I bought a bunch weeks ago along with a large bottle of Tylenol, a thermometer, Gator-aid and chicken soup in case I get sick.  I have plenty of food and added a bit more using Walmart’s pickup service.  I even have some wipes, hand sanitizer and the ingredients for DIY hand sanitizer.

As I journaled, I realized that Karma sent me to my new home and new job to put me in a safe harbor to weather this storm.  I have good health insurance.  I just got my physical and routine blood work so I have a primary care doctor inside a large healthcare network. Hopefully that will count for something.  I am signed up with Teladoc if it comes to that.  There isn’t much more preparation I can do at this point for healthcare. I need to make a will and healthcare directive though.  I will tackle that next. Legal services are another benefit perk from my job.

The day before I went to the beautiful beach, it hit me.  Loved Ones.  We are all going to lose friends and loved ones.  It’s inevitable due to simple statistics.  Who will it be?  My 83-year-old father?  The Hunter’s father who is in poor health?  My daughter on the front lines of NYC hospitals?  The Hunter who smokes?  My Ex who has CPOD and smokes? My estranged brother who just turned 60? What friends will be lost?  I have a dear friend who has pulmonary issues.  Who at work will be stricken?  When will I get sick?  How sick will I be?

Let’s face it.  The odds of us getting this are great.  My goal is to either hopefully get a mild case or pray for a flattened curve so healthcare is available.  Can I avoid it until a vaccine or treatment are figured out?  That’s my goal.

And let me continue my panicky thought pattern because I need to release it all to keep it from fermenting inside me.  What about the economy?  My 401k looks horrific.  I actually peeked while I adjusted future investments.  Ugh.  I just have to ride the rollercoaster.  The big question is do I have enough time to regain the losses?

Besides retirement, what about jobs?  Oh dear Lord, we are going to have a nasty recession.  Restaurants — gone.  Attractions, movies, stores — gone.  Hotels, cruises, airlines, travel — gone.

When I say gone, I mean hammered so hard that massive layoffs and re-structuring are inevitable no matter what type of government bail-out is offered.  Student loans and the shittiness of those personal loans will rot and the financial markets will have to come to terms with the shit they have dished out to Americans just like they had to do with their shitty mortgages.

We are facing a massive reset.  Fascinating how young people are relatively unaffected by this virus.  Now information is surfacing that might not be the case, but for the most part they are more resilient than older people.  Older people who have been in power both in the economy and government.  Civilization will be re-structured with younger people stepping in to replace an entire generation in these leadership roles.

I do not think I am exaggerating.  I wanted to write this out so I can re-visit this post in a year and five years.  None of us have ever lived through something like this.  Hopefully we all make it to the other side.  Hopefully the world is a better place from the very hard lessons we will be learning.

We cannot bury our heads in the sand, only our toes as we try to regain balance with a day at the beach.  Preferably a deserted beach with plenty of social distancing….

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Not my toes…..  Photo by Claudia van Zyl on Unsplash

No Escape

This post is about anxiety over COVID.  If that is a trigger for you these days, please do not continue reading.  Instead watch Emily Blunt be amazed by a kid magician.  My heartfelt wishes for your continued health.


 

My job right now involves monitoring COVID-19 all day every day.  I follow the news, watch press conferences and provide information to senior leadership.  I suggest cost-cutting ideas for both immediate spending reductions and long-term.

I discover things relating to business continuity where I can help to streamline things.  I gather information all day.  I talk to people outside the company about their plans and how it will affect our company.

All of this occurs at my work because we are not telecommuting at this time.  The CEO isn’t a fan of it.  He hasn’t seen the need yet, so we continue to show up.  At least anyone who sits where he passes by.  It is very stressful.

Some days are good and some days aren’t.  Yesterday, St. Paddy’s, was a good day.  I put on an elegant green dress and heels from my former professional days to sashay around a business casual environment.  I was one of the few wearing green.  Today I teared up when I was minutes away from the office.  It’s from stress and fear.  I calmed myself down, reminded myself to be strong, dried my tears and marched into the half deserted office.  My young millennial colleague who lives in my apartment building is already working from home.  The CEO never sees his division.

After work, I went for my training run along a beautiful area beside the water.  The breeze was lovely, the view stunning and it lifted my spirits.  I had been thinking about blowing off my exercise, however, I reminded myself that it is critical for my health (physical and mental).  I am so thankful I did it.

Senior leadership doesn’t have a clear path to navigate through this crisis.  It is tough.  Even though the company is on sound financial footing, there is only so long any company can survive if income is not generated. Senior leadership is fracturing over differing opinions on the company’s course.  Lists of who will be laid off are quietly being made “just in case.”

I am 100% overhead which could easily make me expendable.  I am working hard to be a resource, but that will only last so long.  I can survive if they reduce my hours and salary, but not forever.  I calculate I could do half salary for just over a year if absolutely necessary.  I have run the numbers for a barebones budget, calculated my savings and have a plan for hunkering down.

COVID-19 is not an overnight problem.  We are facing months of chaos and hardship.  Folks in South Florida tend to panic.  Thank goodness I am out of Miami — I can’t even imagine the panic down there.

I don’t see a bright future right now and I am the poster child of optimism.  Every day I dread heading to the office, but I realize that it is one more day of full pay.  One more day of not using my PTO.  One more day to interact with my colleagues who remain.  One more day to try to make a difference.  One more day immersed in the COVID drama.

When I come home, I am exhausted and seeking pure escapism.  I have no concentration to read, so I try to find light, heartwarming movies.  Instant Family with Mark Wahlberg was awesome.  Sometimes I am exhausted and just head straight to bed after dinner.

I am very fortunate.  I have a job.  I work for and with good, kind people.  I am not on the front lines of a hospital.  My stress is nothing compared to theirs.  My daughter is right in NYC.  She is a surgeon.  She knows she will be getting COVID-19 at some point and she will give it to her husband.  She has suggested that he leave the city, but he won’t leave her.  He’s scared.  She’s fatalistic.  I’m scared too because there is no escape.  We are on the rollercoaster and there is no way to get off. I fucking hate roller coasters.

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Photo by Rodolfo Marques on Unsplash

 

Sh#@t is Hitting the Fan

Naw, I am not going to write about Covid-19. We are all crazed enough. Instead, I will entertain you with some work drama to lighten your day. I have been sitting on the sidelines watching the drama unfold. Mesmerizing. I love workplace sociology and this Passion Play has been chock full of players who play, play, play.

Now do I have your interest? OK, here we go. My boss calls me. “What’s up with this project?”

I reply, “I’m not sure, but perhaps it is related to the XYZ project from last year.” She nods and subject drops. Several hours later she calls me into her office.

“Are you aware of this upcoming mid 5-figure expenditure? Is it in your budget?” Nope and nope. I am actually flabbergasted because I have no room in my budget for that and we don’t even need it. “Did Missy tell you about this? She is the one behind this.” Nope again. “Her boss approved it.” Her boss far outranks me and is maybe one rung higher on the corporate ladder from my boss. Missy and her boss are both located in another office several states away.

Yep, Missy was secretly working on a big project and hid it from HQ. Her boss was approving check requests, so Accounting was paying the vendors without checking in with me. I don’t fault Accounting on this. We are a rapidly growing company and establishing checks and balances is part of my new role.

My boss calls Missy, who promptly threw our admin under the bus. My boss, with Missy still on the phone, sends me to fetch the admin. Remember, this is my passive-aggressive admin who has a love/hate with me. Lately she loves me much more. As we walk to the boss’ office, I whisper, “Missy is throwing you under the bus, be ready.” However, my admin pointed out that Missy failed to submit an approval form that would have landed in my admin’s InBox, so we are all in the clear.

Missy’s whole defense crumples. It ain’t good. But it gets worse for her. My boss wants all paperwork which reveals the full extent of her planning. She had been working on this project for almost 6 months. It revealed those who aided her — several thought we knew about this. It is a complete clusterf#&k. It is a lot of money we don’t need to be spending.

At first, my boss was going to wait and talk to Missy’s boss face-to-face. She thought perhaps he was unaware of Missy’s secrecy. But then the next round of high drama begins.

My boss is the CEO’s most trusted lieutenant. They are in a Crisis Management meeting. I am guessing cash flow was a topic because she mentioned this pending expenditure. Fireworks. The CEO lost his sh#@t and this is a quiet, soft-spoken man. He is one of those people who exudes his power through his quiet ways, however, this piece of news caused him to slam the table.

The two of them end up on the phone with Missy’s boss and his boss (who also had no knowledge of this secret project). Major part of the drama? Her boss had no budget for this. The money has to come from my budget and it’s not there. The CEO declared I am the expert and guardian of this budget. Wow. He knows who I am! What do you think Missy’s boss did? Yep, tossed Missy right under the double-decker bus.

Today has been the aftermath of the storm. Missy is faced with picking up the pieces, but she is petulant and slow. She has not once admitted she was wrong. She did apologize to our admin, who now has a vendetta against her. She told my boss she had no idea this project would have fallen under my domain or budget. Two of her co-conspirators have been severely reprimanded by their HQ boss.

Oh boy, Missy f#@ked with the wrong women. Between my boss and admin, she is toast. Unfortunately for her, the more she opens her mouth, the farther her foot becomes wedged. She called me to ask how to handle a reply to my boss’ email for more information. She was cool as a cucumber and had nothing to say outside of her inquiry. She still screwed up her response.

I tried a little experiment with a minor co-conspirator today. I thought I had a great rapport with her. I have been flitting around doing a few behind-the-scenes projects for that office that don’t include the local folks, but occasionally I need the admin’s help. About two weeks ago, I had emailed her and her team leaders about a little process I needed them to follow. Very minor, but it could save the company several thousand dollars a year. Crickets. Today, I sent a follow up to all three to see how they would respond. Team leaders say nothing and she responds saying they aren’t even using the equipment. Interesting. Everybody and I mean everybody uses this equipment so my process is key.

What does this tell me? They obviously are Team Missy and they have no idea that is the losing team. They have no idea that I far outrank Missy and that I am responsible for all these projects – including this cancelled one. I’m going to have a fun phone call tomorrow because now my boss wants a full explanation on why they have not followed my process. And it will not end there. I had previously suggested another project for that location that could save our company tens of thousands of dollars. It might go forward now because of all this drama.

I just have to rein back my inclination to go in for the kill. I still have some nasty predatory instincts at times. When my boss, admin and I were discussing where we could find the money for the now-defunded project, I snakily said, “We could always use Missy’s salary”. That wasn’t nice…but my girls cackled….

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