"You outgrew your job," Erin said to me yesterday. We were sitting in a coffee shop talking about my career and where it needed to go now.
That remark hit the nail on the head. Three years ago, timid little me walked into work with dreams of perfect customer service, of making a difference, and of having a point to my employment. Actually, I did all of that pretty well. I've a number of clients who will deal only with me and who refer me to their friends. "She's the only writer you want if you deal with Martinson," is the refrain. "She gets the results you want."
The economy being what it is, however, sometimes causes people to change their spending habits. We've dipped in clients numbers and revenue in the last year, and the powers-that-are are holding their pretty little necks and waiting for the home office to start swinging the axe. Poor management being what it is, they hauled the lot of us into the conference room yesterday and let the CEO read all of us the riot act. The problem is that the reasons for a lack of repeat business are not related to my department. We lost one account because the owner of the business died. Another company moved out of state and took its money with it. A third business owner had a daughter that just graduated from the university and she took over what he'd hired us to do.
According to the CEO, it's our fault the guy kicked it, the second left town, and the girl was intelligent. Gosh. Didn't know I was that powerful. Wonder if I can stop time and move independent of Earth's gravitational pull, too?
Sarcasm aside... I've head enough guilt in my life. I don't need more. Those events are not my fault, and attempts to cultivate guilt for their occurring is a tactical error on management's part. If I hadn't wanted to give her the satisfaction, I would have walked out of the meeting and let the CEO fire me right there.
How dare you! I wanted to scream. How dare you accuse us collectively! How dare you play the self-assigned role of mother! I wanted to remind her of the numbers game that everyone in management likes to play. I wanted to ask her about the "bonuses" that our sales people got -- despite pulling in clients who had no intention of paying a single bill. Instead, I stared straight ahead and tried to think about anything but what she was saying.
Dismissed after a very long 20 minutes, we trudged back to our offices. Annoyed, I pulled a bag of chips out of my desk and tried to calm down. There are four of us in this office. The two women, the ones who died 20 years ago, were re-hashing that waste of time. One thought it was appalling; the other thought it was long over-due.
Thus immersed in their chat, relishing the opportunity to gossip about the other employees and speculate on who was actually at fault, they ignored me hiding in my corner -- something that's pretty easy since I long-ago "hid" my desk behind some file cabinets. Unless you make it a point to look, you won't know I'm there; sorta like the loft I'd had in college. I've an affinity for privacy and life rarely affords it.
Our fourth officemate is Liam. Tall and dark-eyed Liam who acts like nothing has happened, who acts as if he doesn't remember taking me in his arms and kissing me. I didn't really give him much of an answer as to what was making me so angry. I didn't want to get into a discussion with anyone, including him, at the moment. The best answer was "everything."
I've outgrown my job. Yeah, she's right. I'm too confident now. My opinions are forming, solidifying, and changing -- I no longer need to hide from the professional world. The hellacious beginning I had when I was fresh out of college is long past. Who cares now? I try not to. The point is, I'm ready to leave. These next two months are going to go by very, very slowly. Then again, I'm leaving Liam. They'll go by quickly.