Sunday, May 15, 2005

Check the title... I am committed.

Yes, I quit my job. It was a strange experience. I had confessed to the office manager while the boss was out of town that I thought I had to quit my job because I couldn't afford to work there. Understand, I'm not stupid, but she was crying over her boyfriend dumping her so I thought we were just chit chatting about life and how it sucked. And before I knew it, the boss called from out of town and asked if she could call me at home because she heard I was thinking about giving my notice. Panic. After I hung up, I went to talk to, let's call her, Karrenn to tell her that she had no right to tell the boss. She said, "Oh yes I did. I'm the office manager and she had a right to know. What if we need to run a want ad?" I said, "I'm a big girl, and I should have the right and responsibility to decide when I'm telling, let's call her, Cathy." She was adamant that she had every right and the responsibility to talk to the boss. And I disagreed. I reminded her that maybe she could have spoken up if (a) she thought I was going to walk without saying anything or (b) it had been longer than 5 days. But 2 hours? Come on!

So Cathy came back into town and called me into her office to talk. All was cool. She understood completely and asked if there was anything she did. I said no. It would have been easy to decide had I not liked the job or the people. It was purely about money and the benefits (or lack, thereof). I did say I didn't think it was Karrenn's right or responsibility to talk for the above (a) and (b) reasons. I would never just walk. I am an adult. The boss said she understood that I had lunch with, let's call him, Jay, and, let's call her, Robin, and that she hoped that they didn't influence me. I said, "I never had lunch with Jay, and the reason everyone can go to Robin to talk is because she listens so well and doesn't interject her opinion." I knew that Karrenn had opened her mouth and wasn't just talking for me but was starting rumors. That was influencing my decision more than anything. She obviously couldn't keep her mouth shut and now she was making up stories. The boss offered me more money, but trust me, she would have to have doubled my salary for me to change my mind. She said she would give me until Wednesday to decide.

Wednesday came and by that time, I was avoiding everyone at work so the beotch of an over-zealous, power-that-goes-to-your-head office manager could make up any lies. I shopped at lunch, ate by myself, walked around. But I did go in and give my 2 weeks' notice. All my buddies (that's YOU) had supported me in my decision before I even went back into Cathy's office. It was the right thing to do. My face never flushed. My heart never raced. She asked if I would freelance for the paper at $12 an hour because she could never afford my regular rate. I agreed, much too hastily, but thought a sure 25 hours was better than weeks or months where I may not get any work from my old employer. The newspaper part of my job, the recruitment (or hassling) of authors (lawyers and doctors) was least favorite part of the job. Why had I agreed? And for a measly $12 an hour?

I continued to give 100% of myself. The squirrelly guy they hired at the same time they hired me would take over my job. I was to train him. Cool. I did my job and taught him whatever I could with a happy face. I never had another conversation with the office manager for fear my words would get mangled. It wasn't worth it. By Wednesday (2 days before leaving) I had lunch with Robin, and we talked about so many things. I had really grown to like her. She was going to be careful, too, with her closeness with Karrenn, never trusting her again. There was a discussion about the non-compete agreement that Cathy wanted us all to sign, and now I would sign the independent contractor version. There was some wording about not working for a publisher that might be considered competition. I felt uneasy about it, and after e-mailing the paragraph in question, my lawyer told me not to sign it. So I went into work early last week and tried to tell Cathy that I couldn't sign the agreement and, therefore, could not work as an independent contractor for the newspaper. Because I could not get into her office all morning, I e-mailed her with my decision so she did not waste time on an addendum with my job specs. Little did I know that Robin was giving notice that afternoon. It was turning into a soap opera.

By Thursday I took the IT guy who was to replace Jay, let's call him Ray, out to lunch. All I said was that he needed to be very careful when talking in the presence of the office manager (who thinks she is the HR department of 1). He said that he might come off as naive, but he had already figured out that she was the mole. Smart guy. I really really liked him. He is amazingly brilliant and so very kind and would go out of his way for anyone. I didn't want him walked on or hurt in any of the office politics. He assured me he was well aware of the atmosphere. I was impressed with him even more than I already was. What a neat single dad who was there because of the flexibility. I assured him he could find that flexibility with more pay and not so many rumors in a lot of companies. Don't sell yourself short, I told him. I redid all the client files and taught my replacement a lot of the new chores I had learned, but had not finished showing him everything. That would have to wait till my last day. By the end of the second-to-the-last day, the office manager, who I had been civil with for the past 2 weeks, asked me for my card to the building and key to room. I thought that odd and asked her how would I get into the building on my last day. She said I could park and come in the front. I said, "Yah, I guess you're right." She said, "And this way we won't forget tomorrow."

The next morning on my last day of work, Cathy called me at 7:30 in the morning to tell me she wanted to give me a gift and decided to give me the day off. I hate driving on Friday the 13th and told her that was a really thoughtful gift. I never got to say good bye to Robin or Jay or Ray. When I hung up, I told my husband I thought it was a little strange that she gave me the day off as a "gift." I was glad I had brought everything home that I had at the office, a few books, my pens and a cup. Nothing too big, but things I would have obsessed about had I left them. Then I remembered that Karrenn had asked for my card and key the day before. I really couldn't have stayed away had I still needed to return those. Was it coincidence that Karrenn had asked for those items on Thursday so I never had to return? I think not.

Glad to be away. It was a good experience in that it taught me to get my ass out of bed in the morning and go to bed at night like real people do. It taught me that no matter how far away I am from an office job I can pick up where I left up and hit the floor running. I was so down on myself and thought I could never do that again. It also taught me I hate office politics and mean people who kiss ass. But it also taught me that I truly like working from home and being close to home. I am very lucky to be able to have that opportunity, and instead of pissing and moaning about being unemployed, I was going to rejoice in my good fortune. And by fortune, I do not mean riches. I mean how lucky I am to be able to work from home.

Thanks to all of you for reading and listening and offering your support. You can reach me at home. I'll be busy working!

18 Comments:

At 8:02 AM, Blogger steve said...

More power to anybody with the guts and moxie to live without the steady check. I'm a coward; I could never do it. Hopefully you'll be as busy as you want to be. Working from home deffinitely has some allure. And to think, you can do it butt naked if you want to!

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like you, like being in a soap opera. You will be better served staying at home where you can not hurt other people’s feelings. Learn to ask for what you want the first time so you don't have to feel bad and blame others for your lack of courage in front of the boss.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Debbie said...

I don't know if this will get to you as I am inept at this computor s...! Tell anonymous to kiss you a... You are couragous, bright and funny. Worse than anything, that job took your humor. Get back home, get centered and create the life you want. As you have learned, what you say you want isn't always what you really want. You and your hubby are going through a terrible time. you will make it through because you have many people rooting for you and sending their love. How about everyone reading send a happy thought to this wonderful redhead!

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Redhead Editor said...

Thanks, Debbie and Steve. Wow, I have never had an anonymous comment. Part of me wants to delete it, but part of me wants to keep it so others can see the cruelty and stupidity in others, esp when they don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Frecklehead said...

Hey Ellen. If you wanna see some mean anonymous comments, let me know and I'll show you some of mine. I have a few "fans" who like to leave mean things on my blog as well. It's really difficult not to let it get to you.

Now that that's out of the way...CONGRATULATIONS to you. I think it's very admirable that you stood up for how you felt and refused to let office politics make YOU the bad guy before you left. Good luck to you in all your endeavors

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous is full of shit! The problem with that office is the office manager. She appears to be a manipulative and insecure person with too much power and too little control. My favorite question is "What do you really want to do?" It appears that the only positive part of that job was helping you answer that question. Most of us never have the courage to create our own destiny – Carpe diem!
Lana

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger Redhead Editor said...

Thanks Lana!

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I apoligize for my english.
Hi All. Hellen it sounds like you were not huppy at your work. I work hard like you and rewards are not given. I too are unhuppy at my job. I am treated like a office tool in a mans world and this tool is where I dont want to be. I hope you have the strenght to overcome your troubles and also not be a tool. I offer not my poor english but my insite on people. My advice would to be quit and not soil others. Be one with your anger and extinguish all that you need to overcome. I hope to hear reply - Best wishes, stand strong - Tatayana

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger Sarahlynn said...

Fuck off, first Anonymous. Ellen, I know you and hope you realize what an ignoramous first Anonymous is being.

I recently had my first blog-related hate mail. Some idiot who blogs as something like "The Evangelist" sent me links to his website talking about the evils of abortion and stem cell research. He must not be reading me very closely . . .

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger steve said...

I'll bet 9:15 AM anonymous is your ex-office manager. Goofin' off on the job to boot!

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you found me out. I'm the real anonymous, not the ex-office manager. Your all a bunch of liberal crap heads who have never been challenged on your pathetic thoughts or concerns for the sanctity of life. I can tell you respect for life is so little because you were so disturbed by the flags being lowered for the head of state.

Your so self absorbed in your own pathetic world that you can't even respect the life of a man who dedicated himself to helping others.

You know many wars were started in the past because of your "Queen" and all that crappy royalty which oppressed many generations and cultures over the centuries.

I hope you all choke on a turd. Because shit is all that comes out of your mind and your mouth. Oh by the way you can not polish a turd.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Diann said...

Well, I guess I came in on the tail end of some ugliness. I am choosing to ignore the blog above mine. What's to say? But for you Ellen, Way To Go Girl!! I'm envious of your butt naked working environment! Hope you enjoy the hell out of it and that this is the beginning of some really good stuff for you.

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger steve said...

Dear anonymous,

I'd rather be a liberal crap-head who's honest about life than a coward that takes refuge behind the cloak of anonimity any day.

Who shit in your Wheaties to give you such a poor outlook on being a citizen? Or is this just a religious conviction you feel strongly about? Love Thy Neighbor!

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Redhead Editor said...

Thanks, Steve, for speaking up. Obviously this anonymous idiot has no business reading my blog if s/he can't stand the message. I suggest s/he never ever read my blog again because it is not for his/her eyes. And perhaps 9:15 anonymous has checked out all my favorite blogs and found out we all think alike so s/he needs to do the right thing and stop reading or adding a message. This has gotten way out of control, but not because of my friends and supporters but because of this narrow-minded conservative angry person.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger Leesa said...

Boy, there's a Karrenn in every workplace isn't there? I'm so thankful too that I don't have to be in the workplace anymore.
How great that you get to work our of your home now!
We'll be able to chat more! (off hours, of course :o))

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger Tatayana said...

Now Mester Unknown is talking about a turd I dont understand the meaning. He sounds mad at somting. I wish I can help all but only want to wash you Helen of these problems. I see Mester Unknown well not show her him name so I wanted to speak. I am often told I am not beauty but I care and that all that counts. Helen you should care about your self and not shine your tord. I am finish letter. Again sorry for bad english. Tatayana

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger Sarahlynn said...

I think that Anonymous is a joke. Otherwise, why would someone with such bad grammar post on an editor's blog? Que Idiota.

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger steve said...

I miss anonymous.

 

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