And so she listened…
Weird, how a week or two ago I was filled to the brim and overflowing with stress and anxiety and this week? Total turnaround.
If you didn’t read the posts and wish to spare yourself, I wrote three posts; one about how stressful my workplace is and the bosses that make it all the more difficult; one about my son and his disabilities – looking forward to the future and having his abilities retested and so much raw reality hitting us all at once; and finally, there was a post about family, my general health and the stress connected there.
A while back, the bosses were eating me alive on a daily basis. I had many days that I ended up in tears in my office, scrambling to get everything done. I worked many free hours, and was ultra exhausted, trying to keep up. Dayne had some very late nights at work so I was stuck being the only caregiver for Colt and that made it all so much harder. I used the time to clean though, and wow did I ever get this house clean. Last week I ended up being the on working late and Dayne picked up nothing at all so it’s all still sitting here waiting for me, but my back is hurting so much today I don’t think I’ll bother. Small burst seem to work best.
Anyway, the bosses. Boss number one, the aggressive one, lost a close family member at the end of last week. Not only did I take over everything I could for her, the support team and I managed to attend most of the meetings, rather than cancel. It was hard and I had a lot of my own job to do, but in the end, it all (mostly) got done and she thanked me so sincerely I nearly fell over. One of the other coordinators and I went to the viewing on Friday together, through the day so it would no be so busy, and the hug this boss gave me was so real. She held onto me when I tried to pull back….that kind of hug. She whispered in my ear a thanks for keeping things okay at work and for letting her take care of life without worrying about the rest. This is extremely unheard of with this woman..she is the Queen of Micromanaging and spends half her time checking over every task everyone else does just to be sure sure sure it’s all as she’d like it to be. I got over that years ago, feeling untrustworthy and like she was hunting for mistakes, but she let go of everything and handed it over to the three of us, my colleague, my other boss and me to take care of. Mind you, when she comes back on Tues there might be hell to pay but I was there at the right time and to me, that’s what I’m proud of.
This department that reports to her had a conference last Wednesday that went off really well. The staff loved it and even the catering was great. My boss got a call on her personal cell mid way through the event to be told about her family member entering the ICU and she left the conference, letting my colleague and I run the show until it was over. The one thing she did before she left was awarded the “Staff Recognition” awards we hand out each year. They nominate their colleagues and we usually have one winner and two nominations that had enough votes to be considered ‘runner-up’. First runner up…as expected; a staff member who has had some amazing achievements over the last year; becoming an associate professor at the medical school, heading a few very good studies and authoring several papers. Second runner up was being announced and the boss was doing her little slide show thing, highlighting the great things done by this person, when I heard something about Excel and HR stuff….welcoming to new staff, a dependable, knowledgeable and talented person who went way above and beyond to ensure the program was run like a well oiled machine….and then she called MY name. I was in the middle of jamming a nanimo bar into my face, camera ready to take a photo of the winner (I was the photographer for the event) and I barely knew what to do. The place erupted with cheers and applause, like I’d just been nominated for an Emmy and I gratefully accepted my certificate that was delivered with a GIANT hug from the boss. I later discovered that she had pushed my nomination up so I would win. **here come the floods of empathy** It was the next day her family member passed and then all of the previous info happened so, for now, I feel very lucky to work with the team I have and I feel deeply appreciative that the boss went out of her way to make sure I knew I was respected…even by her.
There was another entry, some time ago, about the second boss, the passive aggressive one, who came into my office mid-morning and tore me a new one after she got bitch slapped by boss number one. She took every drop of frustration out on me, reducing me to sobbing tears, trying to calm down and remind her of how much work I had been trying to keep up with. It was all over an unscheduled meeting, by the way….and not an urgent one in the least. She did apologize…twice that day and then we met to discuss how to work better as a team. She’s been pretty understanding since then and delivered a flower with a card the following week thanking me for all I do for her. She wrote that she realized how she sometimes forgot how much I do for her on a daily basis and wanted me to know I was appreciated and she was very thankful to have me supporting her in any way possible. It mended fences. Nothing else has changed in my workload, aside from making it less possible to accomplish, but the gestures were appreciated very much.
So. Work is okay again. For now. I have no expectation that things will go perfectly but the fact that they both went out of their way to make me feel appreciated (whether it was a plea to not turn them over the HR or otherwise) helped greatly.
The best part of last week, even though I was working nonstop for up to 12 hours a day, was that everyone in the department of staff who pretty much hate boss number one, all cared enough when she suffered a family loss. It’s been said over and over again … she’s a crappy boss, but still a pretty good person. We ended up collecting over 500$ for her – some went to a gorgeous flower arrangement for the viewing and funeral, filled with flowers from the country the family originated from. The support team and I went in on a gift certificate to a lovely nursery so she could pick out and plant a tree or flowers in her garden in memory of her loved one. The rest has been transferred to a pre-loaded VISA card so she and her family can donate to whatever charity they wish, in whatever denomination. There are five cards I’m collecting on Monday filled, inside and back, with messages from her staff. She’ll feel loved….that one is for sure. Many, many people went to the viewings and it felt like family; in fact, the flowers we sent had a card attached that said: With love from your (Department name) family.
Just that moment of watching so many people drop their grudges to reach out to a fellow human in need melted me. I’m so proud of the team….she treats a lot of them rather poorly in the workplace but each of them recognized the pain of losing a loved one and wanted to be a part of the healing we were trying to provide her.
We’re all the same after all. Under the walls we use to cover our fears and the behaviours we adopt to do the same, we still all love and with love comes loss. When people rally together to support one soul who has lost another….it’s pretty magical.
Update on Colt coming up next…..