Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Quit or Not to Quit Job 1

I've been really unhappy at the MEC for a while now. I loved my job, I really did.....but the last time that I really felt any joy at work was just before our conference on the 16th when I was prepping puppets for my art project breakout session. It was the first time in a very long time that I was having fun at work.

I thought that part of my fornlorness had to do with my boss retiring. And to some degree it was.... but now that she has been out of the office for a couple of weeks, I know that wasn't entirely it. I dread going to work everyday. I hate the fact that I need to get approval on things that I am working on, and that I can't get anyone in the "adminsistration" to give me the time of day for that approval.

First of all, I have zero tolerance for BS in the workplace. I have my job to do, and I work to get it done. I expect others to get their work done, and not impede me in doing mine. I admit that I do indulge in the odd bit of office gossip.... but I shy away from participating or even creating office drama. And I have no respect for those who lie. The personification of BS in my office is our program manager. Instead of telling people that she doesn't know the answer to something, she says that it is either "illegal" or that "it cannot be done" as if it is written in stone. Normally when these situations happen, it is only a task that she can do. So you end up going back to your office and fume, or go back and start calling anyone you can think of so that you can find a way to get the task done. By the time you've figured out how to do the task, the program manager comes back pretending that she has just discovered some miracle cure to your problem. She thinks that this makes her look like a hero..... but when she has been doing it for almost everything you come to her for.... it backfires horribly. Sometimes, she doesn't even bother to look for the answer and you have to go back into her office with university policy. When it gets to this point she can't escape from having to do the task, but she will also do everything in her power to stop you from making her do it. For instance, she didn't like it pointed out to her that she needed to fill out a requisition form to pay the Homestead for our conference next year Even though we had approval to sign the contract by the interim director and the new incoming director...she had a fit and made the incoming director put a stop to it. The contract wasn't signed......it was months of work and a negotiated discount of over 4000 dollars, all down the drain- for the sake of her pride.

She's also on this major power trip.... or rather she is on this trip to make it look like she has all of this power and authority over the staff. While I was trying to meet with our new director on the Homestead contract, she refused to let me make an appointment with him. She acts as if his schedule is super secret and only her and the office assistant has clearance to know what he is up to. I can understand wanting to control access to him, it protects her....at the cost of alienating the rest of the staff that make her look good.

Compound this situation, with a director who insists that you email him with requests.....that he never fricking answers. When he does answer your email it is just to tell you to do something- that he would realize was already done if he had actually read the email to begin with, or that you did something wrong that is unrelated to the email subject. I feel like I am being treated horribly.... that's not a complaint I can voice to them however. I guess that I can say that administration has laid the weight of three positions on me without extra compensation. Administration has promised support but denies it in reality. Administration has made promises as to a pay raise and increase in job status, and has fallen through. Administration has made me feel marginalized, overworked, belittled, and worthless.

I can hear Esther in the back of my head telling me to calm down and be patient.

I have been dealing with an unstable work environment for over a year now. I've put up with it because I was working towards the goal of being Outreach Director.. something that I have talent at and something that I want to make my career. But is it really worth going through all of this? I am not even sure if there is going to even be another Outreach Director... and no one will even answer my questions about it.

I kept getting to work earlier and earlier each morning. The goal of this is so that I can work and not deal with people, and that I get to leave the office earlier in the day. I'm getting in so early, that my 6 hours are up by lunchtime. I also just sit and bitch about work to anyone that will listen. It has hit a crescendo this week. Monday I started looking for job openings, and this morning I wanted to quit after reading an email from the new director. I'll never really wanted to quit a job before.....never wanted to give notice and walk out the door. Libby suggested today that I do just that. At first I just said that no, it wouldn't work....until I started to run the numbers. I normally don't count on GV money, just treat it like a happy surprise check in the mail..... but if I start counting on that money, and up my hours at job 3 from 30 hours a week to 40 hours. I could quit the MEC--- still keep my apartment, cable, therapy appointments, and piano lessons. So I have some options, which is quite empowering:

Option1: Give notice at the MEC immediately and have my 30th birthday (july 30th) be my last day at work. I can apply for other jobs if I like (and there is one at the children's museum that I am going to apply for anyway) but if I don't get extra employment along the way, I'm fine. Still could afford Christmas, but I might take a temporary Christmas retail job in order to pad up my non-existent savings.

Option 2: Give notice at the MEC and have the last day in September be my final day. Still all of the perks of option 1 except I can purchase a new computer for myself. That way, the netbook can be used for Job 3 and I could use the other computer to work on without the fear of it getting some horrible virus and dying. This would actually allow me to set things aside so that I could write, or work more on GV, or a myriad of other things that I have always wanted to do. I guess the perk of having three jobs and being used to working 70 hours a week is that when you arrange to have your schedule go down to 40 hours you have a ton of more free time.

Option 3: Get another job, and quit whenever.

Option 4: Stay at the MEC, but only under certain conditions. This is the one that I really need to think about. I am not sure if I want to stay at all anymore....even if I did get everything that I wanted. Even if I got the title and responsibility that I wanted, the pay that I deserve, etc. I would still have to deal with the administration and their absolute determination to make things 8 million times more difficult than it needs to be. Do I really want that stress?

So it comes down to, really, what do I want to do with my life? Is the fight to the position I want really worth it in the long run? Is that position what I want or need in my life right now anyway?

Option 2 is in the forefront, option 1 is being held in reserve for that instance where I totally lose it and quit. I need something to change, and soon. Heck, I am so dissatisfied that loosing my health benefits pale in comparison to continue dealing with this stress. I don't care anymore that a major component of the Center is in my hands....because even if that reality is true, the new administration live in their own little world, oblivious. They remind me that I am worthless to this program anyway, I might as well relieve them of their burden. I can be replaced and I am not responsible for the health and longevity of the MEC.

What do you think I should do?


Libby said...

I like options 1 and 2. Also, who knows how long Mr. Director will be there at the revolving MEC. You could quit now and bide your time. Go back to Outreach at the U if things line up better for you.

Kerrith Black said...

I would recommend lining up another job first. I have been job searching since October and actively job searching since April. Even with three BAs an MA and most of a PhD I have had one interview after submitting about two dozen applications.

Fred said...

I agree with the second poster. Never quit a job without another one lined up and starting date set.

Anonymous said...

Your description of the actions of the program manager and to some extent the director suggest that they are uncomfortable in their jobs.

Incompetence? Lack of imagination?

A good manager enables their employees,these people aren't doing that.Never ask for anything without giving them the answer.

Don't give them three months notice.You will lose what little leverage you have and they will turn you loose at their convenience before your ready.
Fred is 100% right.

Glenn Kelley

Ann said...

My instinct tells me to say, "QUIT! QUIT! QUIT!"

However, the ever-prepared person inside says to wait until you get a new job.

Damn responsibility!