Office Drama

Clearly I’ve been out of corporate America for far too long.

Since I was laid off at the end 2008 and said “screw it” to trying to find a regular office gig, I’ve mastered the nuances of stay-at-home mom drama. At the end of the day, mommy drama is no big deal. My kids’ needs can be satisfied with a cup of milk/juice, a snack and a Curious George marathon.

Last week I started a contracting position with a company that makes industrial tools and have been tasked with rewriting their web content. It’s great money, and provides me with what I assumed was a much needed diversion from my life as Just Mom.

You know what they say about ASSumptions.

*These people in this office are crazy. Let me just make that very clear.*

I am part of a team of 3 contractors whose skill sets float between sales and marketing. As we found out on DAY ONE, the director of sales absolutely loathes the marketing director. While passing him in the hallway, I’ve heard him utter her name and the words “ill”, “wretch” and “vomit” while indulged in conversation with another senior product manager. One DAY TWO, she herself minced no words about her feelings towards him.

“Al Gore invented the internet, and Martin Ashcroft invented the X website,” she said in mockery during our training session.

Okay….?

3 days after we began our training, the other web content developer up and quit. She said she could not handle what we were being asked to do…which was nothing. At the time there was no plan of action, goals, or benchmarks. WE have to develop all those, which is what we’ve been doing for the last week.  The team has been involuntarily trimmed down to me and this huge Serbian guy (who I absolutely adore), who is steering the SEO campaign.

Now, as it turns out, the marketing team absolutely hates him and me, because they see us as competition. Dude. I’m on a 6 month contract. How am I competition again?

Behind closed doors they gossip about and berate us. In our presence, they tell us they want to give us the tools to succeed, and then when we ask for them, withhold information (CRAZY!). During our first status meeting with the marketing team, we laid out our plan of action and work flow process. Theresa (the director), a slender woman with porcelain skin, hawkish eyes and perpetually pursed lips, informed us that nothing we had presented was anything new to them. They were well aware of the challenges and have been banging their heads against a wall with trying to get the owners to make changes. For real? It’s been two years…and no changes have been made. Spare me. Clearly you haven’t been trying THAT hard. I could see why Martin despised her so much. She’s hardly a marketing professional – or any sort of professional for that matter. As someone who has a degree in BSery, I could smell her crop from a mile away. She’s fond of using $5 words like “ubiquitous” and “optimize” and “maximize”, throwing them against a wall and waiting to see what sticks – which is generally nothing. But hey, it’s worked well for her so far!

The transition from diaper changer to bullet dodger is proving not to be such an easy one. I have to brush up on my diplomacy skills, because there have been far too many close calls. Like yesterday, when I caught myself staring at Theresa like she was a complete idiot. It’s the same look I give my kids when they do something asinine, like color on the TV or my sheets. If I keep treating upper management like they infants they’re acting like, I’m going to be taking my leave faster than need be. Why do I feel like I’m STILL changing diapers?!

Someone really ought to develop a training manual for BS navigation after reentering the work force. It would be a best seller.

  • Girl..the only thing I miss about corporate America is the steady pay check…and this is one of the reasons why I despised Amistad..I mean corporate America ..you nailed it——–> “Behind closed doors they gossip about and berate us. In our presence, they tell us they want to give us the tools to succeed, and then when we ask for them, withhold information..”

  • Girl. I can’t wait to blog about today’s fight! The electronics team got INTO it! When I say crazy???

  • Mia Haywood

    yet another common thread sister, we both lost our jobs at the end of 2008 and are just recently returning to work…

    i too am searching for my BS manual, ugh! if only debtors took dirty diapers as payment 🙁

  • If they took dirty diapers as payment we’d both be millionaires and would have NO debt.

  • Nana Ama

    Malaka you just wrote the first chapter of the BS navigating book. My daughter is in charge of the webdesign team at her place and if its any consolation, snap! its the same scenario on this side of the pond!

  • And the BS only gets deeper and thicker by the day!