Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tales from the Cupcake Hood, and Other Employment Atrocities

Apparently I'm not the only one who recognizes the type of female coworker I call the Cupcake. Cupcake just works, because I mutter something like, "Get over it, Cupcake," Get a grip, Cupcake," Get over yourself, Cupcake," "Get a clue, Cupcake," after encounters with this type.

I must say that after yesterday's little scene, the Cupcakes were fine today. So perhaps they dug through the undies drawer and found those big girl panties, and all will be well. I really hope it all works out smoothly, because I really like the new VP and we could have a lot of fun if we don't have to deal with Drama.

Speaking of Drama, the job I fled last year has degraded to the bottom of the septic tank. My former Boss and my sort-of replacement have been traded to a different office, one that is run kind of like the Playboy Mansion, if the Playboy Mansion was an ugly gray cube farm where they count the paperclips, watch everybody's every move, have never heard of a Bates stamp, the manager of the shop is Lumbergh and the staff is known for their perky asses but can't prepare a subpoena without an outside service to do it for them. I am so very, very glad to be gone. My replacement emailed me and I sent out an APB to my contacts, and instantly got a nibble at our outside counsel's firm. They want her resume and want to talk to her. I hope it works out, that would be too sweet.

I haven't talked to the Boss since this little drama played out, but you know, I don't know what to say to him that I didn't scream in his face for two years. If he's willing to accept this level of degradation, I am out of words.

But here's what he told my replacement when she ranted at him about getting the hell out of that office, and it's the exact same thing he told me when I ranted at him about how sucky and dysfunctional it was: "I have a family to support."

I cannot tell you how much this pisses me off. It pisses me off on a cellular level, to the point where I am not sure I can remain friends in the same way with this friend of nigh onto 15 years. We've stuck together through a lot of shit, but that is just so absymally pathetic and clueless and INSULTING in every way, and now that I see it is his stock answer when he tries to explain his Issues to a Woman, I just can't stand it.

I'm involuntarily single, paying off Living with Cancer in the Family Debt with two mortgages on my luxurious 1600 square foot house, I live basically paycheck to paycheck, I'm my sole support. He has a wife with a decent job, my husband died leaving me in debt, my friend hasn't been married. In that she is better off than I am, she isn't still bailing the rowboat after a family disaster.

He has a JD, we are just expected to act like we do, but he earns a JD-level salary and we don't.

He has savings, mine were almost entirely burned by 2 years of terminal cancer (my 401k was the sole survivor). We, as single women, have just as much responsibility as he has, minus the lawyer income and backup spousal income. My replacement and now friend is where I am, single, mortgage, over 40 and on her own. How dare he use that incredibly insulting, "It's different for me, I have a Family?" What the fuck does that mean? Does it mean that we, as single women, don't have to pay our bills too? We shouldn't want nice homes, cars, retirement savings and the occasional vacation, because those are Married People Things? When my husband died was I supposed to lower my expectations for my OWN life? What the fuck does it mean, "I have a family?" I am not suggesting that he quit his job in protest, but what the fuck does that have to do with not SERIOUSLY, earnestly looking at improving his place of employment? "I have a family," is not an answer. It's a lameass, chickenshit, wimpy little weenie excuse for not trying. And he should be very ashamed that the women around him, who have far less to go on than he does, have the balls he apparently doesn't have to get out of that crappy job.

I feel better. I composed the rant I will rant at him the next time we do happy hour. We were all supposed to go out this week, but now he's ducking out, because he doesn't want me and my friend screaming the above at him in stereo.

This is why I left a year ago. After like 13 years of working together like the perfect machine, closer than a lot of siblings, the job just sucked for both of us, we hated it, we vented, we ranted, but he was too inert to budge and I couldn't wait for him to figure out where he left his balls and get out of there. I went without him and I have no regrets about leaving - many questions about what I got myself into at the new place, but with the new VP I'm most encouraged that this wasn't a bad move. Today was crazy but I left feeling invigorated, thinking of solutions to problems instead of brain-dumping it all in the parking garage. It could be good.

Edited to add yesterday's horoscope, which I didn't get around to reading until this morning:

Tired of having a front-row seat at your friend's personal drama? Tell them that it's getting out of hand. True, they may not react by changing their ways, but you'll feel tons better at getting that off your chest.

I do feel better.

I want to buy yarn. This time because I feel good and I want to reward myself with Bright, Bright Colors. I'm trying to stop myself, but buying yarn is a drug. It's what we do to celebrate, to console ourselves, to plan for the future. I'm glad I do it instead of eating a pie, but considering how I restrain myself, I'm pissed that I'm not thinner. Damn this perimenopause thing!


dragon knitter said...

what theBoss is, is stagnant, and afraid of change. i've not been through the trauma that you have, but when it came down to it, if i was that desperately unhappy in a job, i'd quit. i did it twice, once without a sure job ahead of me (i had interviewed, but didn't have the job yet, but i was desperate). go ahead, you can scream, but he's probably just going to pull his head back in his shell.

Aria said...

I can amen some of what you've said - I've not gone through anything like you have, but the world really just is not fair to single women in many ways still...

(My current rant on that topic? We got a cost of living increase...that put me in the next tax bracket, so I actually got a paycheck 6 bucks SMALLER than before the payraise... and apparently this worked out this way because I'm single and the tax laws work against single people or so I'm told...)

Anyway - the odd thing on his answer is that he probably has MORE reasons to find another job because of having a family - I'm sure that his family would much prefer him to be happier at a better job, wouldn't you think?

Annie said...

Well I hope you feel better after getting that all off your chest.

Catherine said...

The thing about the "I have a family" issue - he has a wife who works and one kid in public school. He's not an uneducated laborer supporting six people and just grateful to be working, he's educated and among the best in his field. It's the disconnect between his ability and his willingness to stagnate in that job that I just cannot fathom. Some people would rather complain than take action to do anything about it. I am SO glad I left, it has been the best thing for me, personally, financially, and in terms of getting my life moving in a better direction.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment (which may well not be relevant to him) but there are many middle-aged guys whose identity is so intrinsically linked to their work and their role as 'provider' that they fear to move away from that. It takes a lot of guts to quit a decent paying job for uncertainty... and let's face it, lawyers aren't the best with taking risks anyway.

Catherine said...

I have never suggested that he quit a decent paying job for uncertainty! I just can't understand why he hasn't been seriously looking - he claims he's looking, but not with any real effort, and there's a litany of excuses about why he's not trying, none of them make sense. If he wants to settle for working in a place that would have to improve to be mediocre that's his business, but he shouldn't be surprised when his friends get pissed off and leave him there.

Anonymous said...

You have enlightened me. My assistant is a cupcake. Her projects are the most important in the world and if I don't drop everything and listen to her I am not being 'supportive.' She is wedded to the way they have always done things and thinks this one huge event she does (a piece of institutional navel-gazine) is the highlight of her year.

I am going to have to write her up for insubordination and unprofessional behavior and it's not going to be fun. I do not have time for the drama.

The kicker? I'm 37, she's closer to 50-something.