Saturday, August 06, 2011


Does anyone wonder what happened to me? I got no desperate pleas from readers to account for myself or return to form. So, what can I say? I’ve been really, really, REALLY busy with work. Things are going into a slight ebb as I get ready to leave town for my “vacation” but I think I’ll return to huge pile when I get back.

And, things have deteriorated further with my supervisor.  Hard to believe, right? Or maybe not. Everyone who advised me to get out was absolutely right, though I still stand by my reasons for staying. I’m at a critical career-making juncture. I’ll never get the chance again to have this much say over so much meaningful and high dollar value work (high dollar in the research world sense, not the building jet fighters sense).

This is it, it’s my moment, and this ridiculous, insecure, controlling woman is ruining it. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing, discouraging disheartening—all the “dis” words, in fact. She is driving me to distraction and provoking the worst possible behavior. Yes, I say it IS all her fault, but I must take responsibility for my behavior—for my anger and loud voice (ahem: YELLING)—and that is all I can do. She has now semi-officially threatened me with a reprimand. So, while I’m not done with getting irritated with her (just happened yesterday when she insisted on speaking to me WHILE I WAS ON THE PHONE), I have to be done with ever yelling at her again—or even doing what she interprets as yelling. With her, even the very slightest change in tone, something that often happens when I speak and I’m adding emphasis—I can be HAPPY and have my voice get louder—is instantly interpreted as “yelling.” OY VEY. So, she gets to monitor my every move and that means, when I’m around her, I have to monitor myself too.  I have vowed to simply walk away from her the next time I’m tempted to yell. It’s promise I will keep. Even leaving mid-meeting will be better than raising my voice with her.

I continue to be befuddled by her critique of my work and behavior. It used to be that my bosses actually rated me on my work. This boss seems to rate me on my personality. I mean, if I’m not getting work done, and it’s because of my personality, fine, let me have it. But to hear her tell it, I’m the hardest working person in the office! (I would never make such a claim.) But, then again, I don’t listen to my co-workers. Um, no, I listen to my co-workers, I don’t listen to HER. Sheesh.

“[Jamy] brings tremendous clarity of thought, creativity, skill, and expert knowledge and know-how to the implementation and oversight of social science research. She is unfailingly consistent in delivering quality, thoughtful work that reflects the high standards she sets for herself. She is also generous in sharing her experience with newer staff, she is a great teacher!”

Sounds good, right? But watch out! See what lurks beneath….

“Sometimes, strengths can also be weaknesses and [Jamy] is sometimes very quick to react to her colleagues and this sometimes has a dampening effect on allowing other voices to be heard. As a leadership goal, I would like to see [Jamy] work on developing richer listening skills, and working harder to encourage other voices to be heard, particularly when she finds herself either leading discussions, or as, the "knowledge broker" in the room….”

Isn't it funny that she wants me to have leadership goals when it's quite clear she doesn't want me to have a leadership role in our office? And, what does it mean that I’m “very quick to react” to my colleagues? Is that necessarily a bad thing? What if I were asking a clarifying question? Also, I know how brainstorming sessions work—and we haven’t had many—so the contention that I have a dampening effect is beyond insulting. It simply isn’t true. If I’m actually LEADING a discussion, how can I do that if I don’t encourage others to be heard? I have no idea what she’s talking about because I lead relatively few meetings. The last one I lead, I made it a point to speak last.

Anyway, if I have a clear, strong opinion—in a meeting I’m NOT leading—I shouldn’t express it? Perhaps I should be more ladylike? Perhaps I should be more like her! What with her waffling, uncertain, unclear presentation full of hemming and hawing and extreme numbers of caveats…is that really it? That I’m too much like a man? (Or not enough like her?) I’m pretty sure that if I were a guy, none of this would be an issue. In fact, the guys who are like me, full of ideas and strong options, have risen to the top positions in our office. HEAVY FUCKING SIGH.

I want to promise that I’ll stop writing about work. I promise to try.

Grateful for: the return of perspective.


  1. Yes, I did wonder what happened to you. A month without a post must be the longest you've gone for a while. I hope that your work situation solves itself somehow, I can't give advice but hope that you keep your sanity while you're with your boss.

  2. Glad you're back and I also wondered. Sounds very tough at work. My last job seemed to have a big sexist factor -- but it involved support staff. Older females unable/unwilling to take direction from me, younger (but not young!). Insanely frustrating. No problem when it's a guy though. And this has happened to many other females who were in that role before me. My best fix -- to just get the f out. Really hope it works out -- maybe you could circulate her resume and she could leave for a better opp and you could work the job you love?!


  3. I was also getting concerned about you. I empathize with your work problems, and hope that you can accomplish what you want to despite your boss. I don't know what to suggest, except to keep re-weighing the costs and benefits of staying versus leaving. Best wishes.

  4. This is a painful reminder of why I left the best job I ever had and went into retirement. It's very hard not to be appreciated or valued. Good luck with your career decision.

  5. Does your office have an ombusperson or other mediation function? Sometimes getting a third party to listen to both of you can help, and maybe help you get the tools you need to manage the situation. A friend of mine is using our ombuds office to manager her supervisor and it is helping her get past years of frustration. I have been there too and I ended up leaving (not because of the woman but she made it much easier for me to go).

  6. I think that old bag needs to get laid more often, then she may leave you alone. Career change? You know we're always in need of new drivers here at Diamond Jamy!

  7. I want to thank all of you for your kind, supportive comments. I feel so much better now that I've been away from the office for a few days. I will find a way to solve the problem.


Anonymous comments will be rejected. You don't have to use your real name, just A name. No URL is required; enter your name and leave the 'url' line blank. Thank you.