Being Cassandra

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I spend far too much time in meetings. Most of that time in a quiet state of simmering rage. Being that I handle regulatory I often have to advise on the law. Fun! This would be frustrating for anyone but it’s only compounded by the fact that I am the only woman on the team and I am perceived as being considerably younger (less experienced) than the rest of the team.

Imagine, if you will, sitting every week and reading the FDA food code and translating it into the vernacular. I tell them we need to do XYZ to be compliant. They go into these long yarns about how it was done some other place they worked. Right! Because regulations never change over time. I reiterate the importance of following the code and explain the consequences if we don’t. I’m ignored. Then, lo and behold, it comes to pass that a visiting official writes up the very thing I was expounding upon.

It sucks to be the prophet. Legend has it that Cassandra went insane. I believe that. I often feel the need for medication so I can just stop caring. But I was cursed not only with knowledge but also integrity. Pity us, the ones that persevere when faced with a wall of ignorance and ego. We try. We always try. It’s just that we are never believed.

Know that each time you see a product recalled in the news that there is a quality professional throwing a pile of papers in the air wishing that she could shout “I told you so” at all the useless ass-hats she works with. But we can’t. That would be unprofessional. And I am nothing if not a fucking professional.

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VWW- Exculpatory

Exculpatory:

tending or serving to clear from alleged fault or guilt

In general use this is a positive thing. Most people would directly assign this word to a situation where one was wrongly accused and their good name cleared. That was my first impression. Giving it a bit more thought I realized there is a darker side to the usage of exculpatory.

It brought to mind all the individuals who consistently causes disruption and then spins the events so they are shown in the best light. Then they twist the facts so that an innocent party looks to be at fault. Finding and applying exculpatory evidence seems to be their life’s mission. Unfortunately it is one we are all too familiar with, usually in the work place.

The worst part is that this is often done by a person in a position of power. A supervisor, manager, and hell, I’ve even seen HR do this (J nick named her Cuntalicious). It’s disheartening that there is so little integrity, so many people too frightened to step up to the plate of responsibility and admit to an error. I guess that’s why I always get odd looks when I tell my boss I made a mistake, I caught it, and here is what I am doing to rectify that error. I thought that is what adults do.

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Oh, despair.com , how I love you and your products

Silly Underboob! No, no, no! Adults waste as much time as possible at work. The higher your position, the more time you waste. The more time you waste, the more fearful you become of losing your position and the illusion of power that comes with it. The more fear you permit in your life, the more defensive you become. The more defensive you become, the more time spent trying to justify your position. The more you need to justify your position, the more you need a scapegoat.

Just writing that was exhausting! Wouldn’t it be easier to just do your job in the first place?

When Men Talk About Feelings

It is a widely accepted dogma* that women like to discuss their feelings. Men are all about remedying a situation and have no desire to analyze. The conjecture is that this creates much of the disparity between the sexes. It has been the basis of books, sitcoms, and countless comedy acts. Even with our progress in LGBT issues and greater acceptance of the gender spectrum this bias persists. I have stumbled upon an exception. I know that another common axiom is that the exception proves the rule. That is rather faulty logic.

If there is one place that men love to discuss thoughts and feelings it is in meetings. There is one constant to every single meeting I have ever been involved in and that is there will be men gathered around a table blowing hot air. Place a bunch of male executives at an overpriced, highly lacquered table and present them with something new and they will dissect it like a twelve-year-old girl with a text message from a crush.

There will be meetings, committees, subcommittees, and action plans. None of the action plans will be implemented until each member of each team has gathered data and presented it in power point. They will utilize charts, graphs, pivot tables, and the never-ending litany of meetings. Meetings where we talk about how the project feels, what each executive and manager thinks about the project, and what possible road blocks could present to impede progress. It will take a minimum of three meetings, spaced no less than a week apart, to decide on a plan of attack.

In the mean time, the women involved in said meeting (usually just me) are watching the deadline inch closer and closer. The women (me) wonder how we are going to have time to implement anything if and when we ever decide on a game plan. First there is the sense of exasperation as the women (me) are forced to listen to each executive voice their concerns (fear of change) in turn. Then there is aggravation as no one ever wants to hear a different point of view unless it is a new reason that the project won’t work (justifying the fears). Somewhere around meeting number three the women (me) will take notes and formulate a strategy. They (me) will then begin to quietly but assertively execute that program. By meeting number four it is apparent that change is happening and the project is taking shape. At meeting five the men congratulate each other on a job well done. The women (me) get asked to type up all the minutes and compile a report on the project.

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The woman in green- I make that face every meeting

I hate meetings like this. I am a list maker. There is always a list, either allegorical or prosaic. My goal in life is to cross items off of those lists. Now, I don’t ever want the same thing to enter back on to the list therefore I am a big fan of getting it right the first time. When I am presented with a new task I want to find out what I need and just make it happen. Discussion ad nauseam is infuriating. Let’s just get to work and get it done. But we can’t. Because everyone has to feel 100% comfortable with every bit of minutia before we can effect change.

This is when I really want to break out the radio-active nipples and shrink those whiny ass, disconnected, blow holes down into binary and incarcerate them in the phone app. The talking would stop, I would not longer have to deal with the egos, and there wouldn’t be a chain of command in my way of progress. Because nothing sets off executives more than stepped upon toes!

*Disclaimer: I do not personally subscribe to the gender normative behaviors that are prevalent in western culture. I don’t think that anything is inherently male or female, masculine or feminine. My interpretation is that these are gross generalizations of accepted segregation of roles based on social labels that are outmoded. 

Where are you People Working??

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Every morning as I leave my house at seven (realistically, it’s closer to 7:30) I see people out on the street jogging. When I get home at 6:30 (closer to 7) the alien dog will drag me through the neighborhood for my daily allotment of fresh air. I see the same people either out running again (why?) or participating in some form of leisure activity.

Where the hell are you people working?

I start hitting the snooze button at 5:30 and drag my sorry ass out of bed by 6. Shower, coffee, feed the beasts, take out trash, attempt to look presentable, and dash out the door. I eat a granola bar in the car. I may or may not get to work by 8. Seriously, I am pretty low maintenance.

So if you are still out jogging at 7:30 that means you have to finish your run, shower (please, I hope you are showering), get dressed, and commute. How do you do that? Does time move differently for you? Or do you have a job that starts later than 8 or 9 AM?

OK, lets explore that possibility. How do you then get home and involved in an activity before I do? Does everyone but me work part-time? Are they all underemployed? There are far too many of them to all be stay at home parents, especially in this economy.

Please, please, please explain how this works. I want to have time to exercise and have fun before collapsing on the sofa.

Vocabulary Word Wednesday (VWW)

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    When I first had the idea of Underboob I knew I had to start writing again. Many years of writing technical manuals and regulatory documents had atrophied my creativity. The repercussion of that was me sitting in front of a screen wide-eyed and drooling with a brain on short-circuit. Shit!
    So I signed up for a Word a Day in my email. I figured it would refresh my vocabulary and I could use it as a spring-board to revitalize my inspiration. Each day I would open my email and get my word. I would then sit and write about it. There is some wild stream of consciousness stuff in that file! I thought I would share.
    I picked Wednesday because it worked as theme (see title). And because I loathe the concept of Hump Day. I tried to make it WTF Wednesday where we all post pictures of the People of Wal-Mart, but it never caught on. If we are going to be here we may as well learn something. So here is the first vocabulary word:
    Truculent:
       1: feeling or displaying ferocity: cruel, savage
      2: deadly, destructive
      3: scathingly harsh, vitriolic
     4: aggressively self-assertive : belligerent
    This sums me up at work. I have little to no patience for ineptitude and paltry excuses for sub par work. I am the one who tells the emperor he is naked. If you can’t or won’t do a task just own up to it and all is well. Try to play games and it’s on! I am scathingly harsh. Or rather, as Truman said “I don’t give them Hell. I give them the truth and they think it’s Hell.” Yep, that’s me. I mean, we are not here in the office for play time. We all have tasks, let’s get them done and get on with it. We don’t need to talk about our feelings, or our family history, or our tale of woe. We just need to get from point A to point B and go our separate ways until next time.
    It’s not that I am cold hearted or hell-bent on not socializing. On the contrary, I love having fun at work. I spend so much time here I better be able to have some laughs. But when there is a deadline or a project and all the other players have no sense of urgency or feel that their time is more valuable than mine, or that my project (usually involving government regulatory agencies) isn’t a priority than the truculence emerges.
    Most aggravating of all is the manager who thinks that if he fails to perform his share of a task someone else will get frustrated and just do it for him. I am no ones wife, maid, or mother. You sir, are a grown man holding a VP level position. My expectation is that you will outshine lowly middle manager me. If you can’t then I expect the items and tasks completed on schedule, at a minimum. Fail to do so and I will not only let you hang yourself professionally but I will make popcorn and giggle at your twitching legs as they sway in the breeze. Yes, I am savage.