2.07.2008

child of trauma in the workplace

I wanted to post something positive and happy and educational today, particularly since it's my birthday (!) in two days, but this post needed to have it's marquee time so that I can be done with it and let the Greek Furies have it.

I am a child of trauma. You can call it "child of divorce," "child of verbal abuse," "child of physical abuse," "child of racism and No, You Cannot Live Here, We Don't Take Your Momma's Kind Said the Leasing Landlord," "child of a bad 'hood," "child of marital abuse," etc., fill in the blanks. You get the idea. I am a survivor. Fight or flight, I'll do both, but usually flight is my preferred choice to save my kid and my wits. I got out of the situation I was born and married into -- alive, educated, and for the most part, content.

How does being a child of trauma translate in the workplace? Well, let's see.

I've been "let go" more than once (did I mention that I live in a hard town?) and this has perhaps conditioned me to check out my bosses' reactions a little more acutely than most employees. I will do a mental check: Did she smile? Did he like my work? What is being said about me? I do not ask myself this every day or every week, but if I sense something is severely "off."

And I do it not for vanity. But to survive.

My boss mentioned something in passing about an enormous amount of people being fired at a certain division at our company. I, in turn, mentioned something in passing later in the day to my co-worker while we were getting coffee yesterday, something that went like, "Well, I just hope I don't get fired," and she rolled her eyes. Just like that. "You've got to stop being so paranoid," she said. I realized that this was a conversation that I brought up more than once and genuinely annoyed her.

The thing is, I'm not paranoid. Jobs are transient. We're in a recession. My kid, however, isn't a transient and I intend to keep him that way. I need to provide. If the poop is going to go down, I'll pack my bags and look for something else to feed and clothe my child (and feed my dog). But timing is everything...I like to hit the ground running, and I am a bit of a super-preparer (can you tell by reading this blog?).

Today, a person in our legal department (who I will call Morisa Fockauer, or MOFO for short,) called me.

[Ring]
Me: This is LaMai
MOFO: Yeah, I'm really disappointed with you. I'm going to have to give your name to my boss and everyone, including the CEO.
Me: I beg your pardon, MOFO? What is going on?
MOFO: You f&*&d up the filing of our 10-K.
ME: [Wondering why the Traveling Ingratiator lassoed me into this project in the first place -- oh yeah, so he could go to a vacation spot in South America for a week] Why do you say that?
MOFO: You were supposed to edit the entire copy of the mobile division's entry.
Me: Erm...no, I have in my notes here you wanted the site metrics for the online radio show. Your quote: "Online radio show's metrics. Provide edit to sentence." I did that and sent it to you.
MOFO: I NEEDED THE ENTIRE SECTION. WHO DO I NEED TO TALK TO GET THIS DONE?
Me: You need to talk to the mobile division's press person, Princess.
MOFO: THANKS FOR TELLING ME NOW. I WILL MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS YOU RUINED OUR FILING. CLICK.

Oh SHE DIDN'T hang up on me? (The conversation made me sufficiently nervous that I began to reach for a stash of yarn and a pair of knitting needles that weren't there.)

And did I mention that my position garners the least respect with the most amount of workload? I am not in a position for people to suck up to me, unless they want a signed t-shirt from that late night T.V. guy.

On closer inspection, coupled with the above daily dysfunctions, I can say with confidence that my job has NO up side. Top this off with the fact that I am a child of trauma. Do the math.

In the end, I sometimes wonder if I should only have friends who are children of trauma, and who are also parents, so I can avoid people suddenly rolling their eyes at me as if I've said something insignificant or flippant or stupid.

For me, stability and family are everything. Right now, I have both, and I intend to keep it that way. MOFO or no MOFO, job or no job.*

*I still have my job. I'll report on this next week. :)

4 comments:

PrincessEnnui said...

My latest idea is a vineyard in Argentina. What do you think? Lets us escape any number of things, including corporate america (which does not deserve the respect that capitalization implies).

la Maitresse said...

Oh, Princess, I am so with you. A vineyard in Argentina or France or Sonoma Valley sounds grand.

Manda said...

Well, for one thing, happy belated birthday! And for another, I want in on the vineyard. But thanks, too, for the reminder of why I left the "big" companies, even though I often have issues with the very tiny one I currently work for.

wendy said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

I am a child of trauma and am a parent, too. I would not have rolled my eyes.

I hope you have good news to report this week.