Saturday, July 21, 2007

Out with the old and in with the new

After two weeks of Dante's flames, my micro-managing control freak of a project manager has burned her Kwai River bridge and quit. The company upper management tried to do right by her by giving her some paid leave to perhaps go off and clear her head, but she threw that back in their collective faces and was quite disrespectful. What's worse, she called the client manager (with whom she is VERY social outside of the office) and tried to undermine the whole team. The client manager called each of the members of the team to try and make some sense out of it all (a rare thing and usually something that will get an account cancelled), but that didn't lead to anything that would change what had already happened.
As a result, there were many late evening phone calls and meetings, a ton of added stress, and more than a few emails. The project manager has sent more than a few hate-emails, so I've blocked her from sending me email (at least to my work accounts). It's over now and the team has regrouped with the help of upper management. As a result of my level-headedness (not my words, upper managements) I've been named project manager.
I never intended to march up the corporate ladder in this fashion. I was quite content being a team member until the former project manager decided to make life too miserable. I haven't detailed all of the strife in my previous posts, but there's enough there to give you an idea. After all is said and done, I've managed to stay above water. Now all I have to do is sail the ship (and try to save face with the client).


My new job stinks

Well, its been nearly two months (since early May) on my new job and from what I can tell you, it is really stinking right now. It seems that I've walked into a real hornet's nest. Over the course of the months of June and nearly all of July, I've found out that one of my teammates and the project manager can't stand each other. I've also learned that the project manager is a micro-managing control freak that keeps information from the team so that she can be viewed as the only thing holding the project together.
The fact that my one teammate (a white female in her mid 40s) and the project manager (a black female in her mid 40s) can't stand each other was pretty much a forgone conclusion between them as I arrived on the scene. Over the time I was there it got pretty apparent and vocal between the two of them. I hated being in meetings with the two of them. The icy tones and the rigid body language made for tense and unproductive meetings. The project manager accused her rival (at one point, the white woman was being considered for the project manager position) of being a loose cannon and only doing what she felt was necessary. The teammate accused the project manager of purposely holding back information, talking poorly about her both behind her back and in front of her teammates, and yelling and screaming at her when they were alone or speaking on the phone.
The real problems started when the project managers lack of leadership started to affect my job. We were already pigeon-holed enough because the project manager required everyone to publish all their work through her before going to the client, but when it took days to get work reviewed, it started to become frustrating. When work was reviewed, the changes requested were more cosmetic than substantial. The other team member (a black male in his late 20s) privately made comments and then when he'd heard me make a comment, he called me in privately and agreed with them. Information was starting to be held back from me, information that would have made my job easier. One afternoon, the project manager started to talk to me privately about some really difficult private matters (matters that probably shouldn't have been disclosed). After listening to it all (and feeling pretty bad about feeling negative towards her) I suggested that she take a couple of weeks off to collect her personal life, reorder it, and relax. With all of what was going on at work and her personal disasters, I felt that it wouldn't hurt. I don't think she minded me making the suggestion, but a few days later when I asked her if she'd considered taking the time off she simply remarked "yes". I knew then that she'd never take time off because she was too much the control freak.
The last straw for me was when she embarrassed me in front of others by not telling me about some unwritten rules that I should have been told about before going into a meeting. What's worse, it happened twice in the same day! I finally complained to upper management (the white woman had been complaining for months, so now she had a compatriot) and they took things under advisement. We'll see what happens. I think that the client and other contracted employees are noticing, so I think our account here (and my job) are in jeopardy.


In true Grizzwold fashion

My dearest Ellen took my oldest daughter to one of her away tournaments this past weekend (June 23-24, 2007). The middle daughter came along for the ride. As is typical for the Grizzwold family, mayhem ensued.
During the prosecution of the tournament, the middle daughter decided to go back to the Grizzwold Family SUV for some much needed escaping from the heat. At some time during the hour or so period in which the middle child was in the car, some facets of the electrical system were used. When my dearest Ellen made it back to the vehicle to start it up, she was met with a whole bunch of NOTHING! It seemed that the battery had been stressed to the beyond its ability to start the vehicle. Several parents stepped up to help by removing some corrosion on the battery terminals with Coca-Cola and checking over the fuse boxes to see if perhaps a burned fuse was the problem. At the point where people were searching around for jumper cables, a man in a big pickup truck pulled into the empty parking space next to the Family SUV. Interrogatories ensued (something like “hey, is your battery dead?”) and it so happened that the pickup truck driver had a battery charger! Less than an hour later, the Grizzwold’s were up and running again.
The story does not end there. At the point where Mrs. Grizzwold entered the sports complex, she had more than enough gas to get back to the hotel where they were staying. It was a short ride, maybe 5 miles or so. As soon as she got the vehicle up and running, she decided to take it for a ride to charge the battery up and to refuel. Shockingly, the once ample fuel supply had been rendered to mere droplets! The computer display showed ZERO miles left in the tank, the needle on the dash was on “E”, and the “Low Fuel” light was on and blinking. Not knowing what else to do, she pressed on. She knew there was a gas station across the railroad tracks on the main highway leading to the sports complex. It was no more than a mile, she estimated. Surely she had enough to go a mile. Not this time. In true Grizzwold fashion, the truck ran out of gas on top of the railroad tracks! My dear Ellen was panicked as she expected that a train would be soon upon her, smashing the Family SUV to shrapnel. Being that she was in Southern Virginia at the time, another pickup truck pulled up behind her. Interrogatories ensued (something like “hey, is your truck out of gas?”) and it so happened that the pickup truck had several gallon sized gas containers on board. Fortunately, one of them had gas inside. The pickup truck driver was nice enough to give my dearest Ellen enough gas to get off the railroad tracks and proceed to the gas station.It’s puzzling how it was that the gas disappeared like that. The middle child had the keys to the vehicle, but claims only to have turned on the key to run the radio and turn on the lights (which explained away the battery situation). More than likely, there was less gas in the tank than there was and the computer did not accurately display the number of miles left in the tank: Garbage in, garbage out. In true Grizzwold fashion, she ended up no worse than from where she started.