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Monday, January 14, 2013

New Experiences

You know that phrase sometimes when a door closes a window opens.  Well last week a conversation with my boss was more like close a door and push you out a window.  I have to admit I was reeling after a conversation where my boss explained his myriad of problems with my performance.  Let me see if I can remember them?

1) I know too much about water and that makes my co-workers uncomfortable.
2) I am too passionate about what I do, too animated when I speak.  Apparently that is off putting. (Please read this in a monotone while absolutely still and staring ahead.  I would not want you to be offended.)
3) I do not say  "I don't know" when I do know the answer a co-worker or customer is wanting.  Apparently this is preventing them from the fun of a day long wild goose chase in search of assistance. (By the way the reason I know is because I study water and our system on my own time to make sure I am a valuable resource to my organization.  What a loser!)
4) I don't make enough mistakes.  (Lucky for me he had a remedy for that.  I should just admit to a random mistake even if I did not actually make it.  "It makes people feel better."  I guess this is how I am supposed to kick off meetings from now on.)

All of this was the prelude to him telling me these characteristics mean I have no future at my utility and it was in that moment...okay not exactly in that moment.  I can admit after he told me all of this all I could think about was that I had just received an exceeds standards in my review in every subject area he just told me has ended my advancement.   I was also mourning the nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations I put off my husband, friends, and family to answer e-mail or return urgent phone calls.  Apparently that kind of attitude will not tolerated in local government.  I mean come on!  We have to draw the line somewhere!  It was in that room in that moment (after I caught my breath)  I realized why Government workers have such a bad reputation.  It is because the leadership drives out the over achievers to make sure everyone is on a level playing ground! 

I can say with absolutely certainty they did a good job with me.  This conversation was Thursday.  Friday I had a meeting of other sustainability professionals and I let my network know I was looking for a new opportunity.  All of this may sound bad, and I have to admit Thursday night and most of Friday I was dumbstruck and depressed.  Then I remembered I had been feeling the square peg in the round hole syndrome for over a year. 

Over the weekend with some wine and a great husband, I realized that I no longer felt that guilt about moving on.  In fact today was a first for me, and maybe I even understand some folks better.  Never since I started working at age 14 have I ever gone to any job, any day of work and thought "I do not give a #$^& about this place."  Today I did.  It was liberating.  I just did what they pay me for no more no less.  I was working 7-4.  I answered my phone I attended my scheduled meetings. I did not worry about how everything made us look or what precedent this decision was setting.  The best part was telling my boss when he asked about an important customer referred by one of our political leaders "I don't know."  I mean he should be proud, right?  That is what he asked me to do.  He did not look as happy as I thought he would!  The job hunt is on for me.  I have a preliminary phone interview on Wednesday. 

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