Some of you have asked me for an update with my office bully situation. I’ve been trying to think of the most efficient way to tell the story, because there are oh-so many elements and layers competing for dominance, each one as important as the next. There are 3 new characters to introduce to the plot. Of course you already know the Banshee and the Troll, who combined morph into a serpent. Now included are Semper Fi, a marine corps veteran turned recruiter, Kat the Project Manager and C-Money, the Director of Sales and Integration (or whatever fancy title he bestowed upon himself).
How can I do this? Aha. The only way I can possibly tell this tell and to do it any sort of justice is to go into…
**** MOM Mode!!!! *****
The email was sent at 7:03 am. Why was ANYONE on company email that early in the morning? It was from C-Money, sending a hastily typed note concerning our next team meeting. I didn’t know about anyone else, but by Wednesday I had had about all the meeting fodder I could stomach. I rubbed my temples and read his request.
I think you guys should have an agenda laid out for each Team Lead meeting and appoint someone to take notes. Once these are completed, please send them to the Project Managers for review. Without structure, these meetings can become counterproductive and turn into a “complaint session.”
No sooner had I finished his email, a reply from the Banshee popped up on my screen. As far as she was concerned, our Team Lead meetings were always productive, and the last one was ‘taken out of context’.
Whatever. She’s proven herself to be a few fries short of a Happy Meal and her opinion means less than nothing to me. I prepared myself for a long day ahead of sourcing for impossible to find candidates and reports comprised of fabricated data and pony poo. That’s when Kat came by.
A pale, slight woman with mousy brown hair, Kat speaks with the authority of a woman who has spent the last few years corralling toddlers with a cattle prod. The quality of her speaking voice is sing-songy and ominous.
“Malaaaaka! Would you like to come with me to my office please?”
Sure, I replied. I’d be right there.
She told me she had heard several different versions about what was going on. She wanted my account. I gave it to her dispassionately. By this time, now three weeks into a series of incidents, the whole affair had become comical.
“I already told Wes I have written my resignation letter,” I informed her. “I won’t lie: it’s pretty uncomfortable out there on the floor.”
Of course, she made it plain that neither she nor any of management wanted me to resign. She pledged to speak to Yvette (the Troll) about the issue come Monday.
“She’s a valuable member of my team, but this will not be tolerated,” she said in that Mommy-smack-down way I’ve employed so many times before myself.
I nodded and left her office.
Whatever she said to Yvette, it must have been effective. I didn’t hear a word out of her all week…that is, of course, until the Team Lead meeting.
We settled into our seats and I settled my chin in my hand, deciding hours before that I was neither going to speak nor react to anything said. A leggy girl with a pierced tongue named Ava took notes. Aggie Gold, the most senior Team Lead, kicked off the meeting adhering strictly to the agenda. To my surprise, everything went relatively smoothly, save a number of snide remarks from Chanell and Yvette who prefaced every suggestion with:
“I don’t mean to be aggressive, but I think we should…”
“I’m not trying to be a smart a**, but 11:00 am isn’t afternoon. It’s morning…”
“I was just making a joke now…don’t nobody take that out of contex’!”
Ugh. It’s “context”; with a ‘T’ – you silly chicken wing eating hedgehog. Obviously, the chat with HR and Kat had included these specific adjectives and behaviors which she was expected to refrain from.
At last it was time to address the bane of every meeting, the topic that causes collective angst, the ONE THING that puts knots in my tummy every time it’s brought up! We had to talk about the closing schedule. Now that our numbers had swollen to 11 leads, the schedule wouldn’t be quite so tedious. We quickly partnered off to pick a closing day, but the odd number left one person out of the loop. That person just happened to be Jennifer, Semper Fi’s subordinate. He explained that because of her work schedule, he would take responsibility for closing the office on Friday. This displeased The Serpent to the point of vexation.
“Nuh uh! Now wait a minute now. If she a Team Lead, den she gon’ hafta close one day a nigh too!”
Semper Fi offered the demonic duo a half smile and repeated his intentions. Jennifer often works early hours and he wasn’t going to put that pressure on her if he didn’t have to.
“Well just hol’ on a minute! I get here at the crack o’ dawn many days myself on my project!”
“You don’t know Jennifer’s hours. I do!”
“I’m just saying if she’s a lead, she’s gonna hafta close on a day too!”
Semper Fi half-snorted and half-laughed in her direction before looking at Ava, who was waiting for the final outcome so that she could make a note.
“Put me down for Friday to close,” he said with finality.
His eyes were cold and fixed on the Banshee for ages before finally cutting them away. It was the most brilliant shut down I’d ever witnessed in an office environment, ever. That should have ended it, right?
“Malaka, why didn’t you follow up with me after the team lead meeting?”
Dumfounded, I stared at my Project Manager in utter confusion as he explained that a flurry of emails had been exchanged between him, Kat, C-money and The Serpent until 10 pm the night prior. Apparently, they did not approve of the closing schedule and Semper Fi’s maltreatment of them and had gone to management to complain about it. Seriously? I looked around his office to make sure Ashton wasn’t going to leap out from under the desk or that David Duchovny and his ever-present portentous gaze was indeed absent from the vicinity. Was this the X-Files? Who does this?
I explained that outside of the minutes he had received in the email, I had nothing to report or add, except that I bet my left nut that this was just some sort of childish ploy to deflect from their silly behavior.
“But you don’t have a left nut, Malaka,” he pointed out.
“But if I DID, I’d be willing to bet it,” I retorted.
True to form, Yvette brought her hefty frame over to my end of the row and commenced to caterwaul and kvetch about the details of our closed door meeting to the general recruiting population. I watched her with apathy, as one watches laundry drying in the wind.
Keep on girl. Keep on. You’re going to find yourself on the street talking to homeless folk if you do! The one thing I’ve learned working with Georgia employers is this: just because you see the duck gliding smoothly on top of the water doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of activity going on underneath.
Have you ever worked with an absolute idiot? Have you or a co-worker ever shut another down with such brilliance it was worthy of an Academy Award? And more importantly, can you believe these two???