I think that in the last year or so, I’ve really come to appreciate my boss. She can be a real 5-foot terror in flats sometimes, but lately, as we junior associates in the department have become more aware of the politics of senior leadership, I am starting to empathize. Each week, the four of us who make up our tiny department have a meeting to discuss the upcoming agenda and I get exhausted just hearing of how much has to get done. Surveys and papers and proposals and meetings. And then, more surveys, papers, proposals, and meetings. Rinse and Repeat. And the Boss Lady is the one who has to oversee everything.
I laugh when we get more work handed to us from the Invisible Council, or when my boss is told that she needs to apply to more grants (which means doing more work) in order to pay our salaries. And all along, she constantly has to defend the legitimacy and importance of our department. I love the work and the people I work with, but the politics are getting madly infuriating.
Last night just about broke the camel’s back. I attended a farewell happy hour with some coworkers, old and new. My friend on the meeting services staff was leaving. When we first got news of it in an email sent from the Executive Director about a month ago, the language was suspiciously vague as to why she was leaving, and I found it odd that there was no mention of an afternoon staff gathering to see her off. She had been with the association for about 5 years, and is one of those awesome forces behind assembling and hosting that really big Annual Meeting every year.
Something was up. I told my coworker that I was sad to see her go, and she quietly told me that it wasn’t entirely her decision. As she would tell me last night, they just fired her. But, of course, no one likes using that dirty word: fired. Instead, they say, “we have decided to let her pursue other interests,” or “we have decided to separate from you.” It’s like a text-message break up or something! The long and short of it was that a cash-strapped association is now forced to lay-off staff and they made a shoddy excuse to fire an employee. Worst of all, they gave her the news before everyone left for the winter holidays. She would have the option to resign (I imagine so they wouldn’t have to pay a severance or unemployment) because you know, being fired looks bad on your record. But, as she told them, this is no time to be out of work, and she’s at the mercy of unemployment checks until she can find something else now. That her boss and the executive staff didn’t even get everyone together to wish her well, even if only pretending to part on good terms, was a total and absolute slap in the face.
Quite frankly I’m so soured by the whole thing. I always thought we were that good, happy little association.