Thursday, 13 October 2011

OK, I Can Take A Hint!

Sometimes I need to get kicked in the ankles before I do, though...

My day job has been so intensely busy since June that I've let my future slide. I got caught up in the professional pride of exercising a set of skills that very few people in my company have, buoyed by the acknowledgement of my peers at an IT conference.

Well, pride goes before a fall.

Today, I endured the humiliation of sending an apologetic email to the entire team after the team manager told me to do so. The reason? Because a team member who should have known better chose to take some general advice as a set of explicit instructions, and did something he shouldn't have done. Not only that, but his defence was "I was only doing what Anna told me to do". The fact that I hadn't told him to do it, that he was endangering the stability of mission critical systems and that he wouldn't listen to my concerns, led me to raise my voice in public.

Now, I'm not excusing myself here. I know better than to shout at another person; I should have taken the conversation into a separate meeting room. I didn't because this issue was sprung on me. Not good enough. The team manager was right to criticise my conduct.

Unfortunately, I left the meeting with the team manager knowing that, yet again, my concerns were being ignored. I was threatened with a negative performance review and a block on my applying for other roles if I did not send an apologetic email to the entire team. The fact that I'd already apologised in public to the team member was deemed inadequate.

To say I'm heartbroken is not overstating the case. I'm good at my job; I take pride in my skills and have confidence in my technical abilities that is completely lacking in almost every other area of my life. I feel like I've been staked out in front of a firing squad who have the ability to take potshots at me whenever they feel like it.

I get the sneaky feeling I've added another 50 points to an already dangerous life stress score.

But there's another view I can take on this whole mess.

I originally started my Kleeneze business due to issues with my day job. Since then, I'd forgotten how bad I'd felt about getting passed over for promotion when I knew I had the ability to do an excellent job in the new role. I'd forgotten how much I hated the office politics that sprang up every few weeks whenever certain people saw me as a convenient springboard for their ambition. I'd forgotten the sinking feeling I experienced as I realised that being myself was not good enough; that I was expected to behave like a demure little doll instead of a vibrant, passionate woman.

I can't be something I'm not. I've tried, professionally and personally for over 30 years and all I've got out of it is two divorces, an abusive relationship and day jobs where I'm treated as a doormat when I'm not being vilified for not being girly.

I want a life where I succeed on my own terms, where I am responsible for who and what I am and where I am able to look other people in the eye and say, passionately, I am proud to be me.

Today, the universe gave me a reminder that I'm not there yet. But I will be. Watch me soar.