The Childfree Life

When having it all, means not having kids
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 Post subject: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:38 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I’m not sure why I’m writing this all out; I’ve not posted for a bit but I guess I just wanted to update everyone.

So I’ve mentioned in a couple other threads that I was up for a promotion - for the first time in 8 years - and I didn’t get it. I put in a strong interview, I was passed over in favour of a friend of one of the executives. Yep.

When my boss first told me the news, I handled it like a goddamn champ. Took it well, even made a couple of jokes, everything was good. I waited until after work for the day was over to do the crying, had a fun bout of insomnia, consumed self-pity beer, self-pity scotch, and self-pity marijuana, and ended up with a self-pity hangover.

At work, I was ok. Behind the scenes, I was not handling it well. At all. Lots of crying, self-doubt, not sure what to do next. It's funny, because I'm not someone who's ever defined myself by my career, but it really hit me much harder than I thought it would.

A couple of weeks after I was told the bad news, I was having a bad day. I'd been asked to sit on panel discussion that a student club was hosting. The topic? "Incorporating sustainability into your life" (paraphrasing, I can't remember exactly how they phrased it). I was excited to sit on the panel, and decided that my topic would be childfreedom. I'm now past the point where I can pretend that we can all change our light bulbs and everything will be OK - it's now time to take a really serious look at what can reduce our carbon emissions. Not having children is the biggest step one can take to reduce your carbon footprint.

So I made a powerpoint presentation - it included a couple of funny cartoons, some stats about population and some scientific studies about how reducing the number of kids you have is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. The second slide literally said "I am not trying to make anyone's reproductive decisions for them. The decision of whether to have children or not is deeply personal. Having children is the right decision for many people. Not having children is a valid decision as well."

I emailed the powerpoint to the panel organizers - and got kicked off the panel. Yep. They emailed me back at told me my topic was "controversial", "sensitive", and asked me for a presentation on campus sustainability initiatives instead.

Needless to say, I was unhappy, and not necessarily in the best frame of mind to deal with it. I walked over to the office of a faculty member who's my friend (and was also on the panel), told her I'd been kicked off the panel, dropped into the chair opposite her desk, burst into tears, and sobbed out that I didn't get the promotion. She comforted me (gave me a big hug), told me she was taking me out for a drink after work. But then she had to run, because she was on the panel and had to show up for it. So she offered to let me chill in her office for the rest of the day (this is what my life has become: hiding in other people's offices until I can leave work).

15 minutes before quitting time, I get a call. It's my boss, and he needs to talk to me. So I told him I'd come over to his office. Head over there, ask him what's up. He tells me the new person, the one who got the job I applied for, is starting on Monday, and he's in a meeting in the morning, and so can I show her where her desk is and introduce her to everyone?

Now, I always try to be the bigger person. I try to be professional, and courteous, and not let my emotions get in the way. But this really felt like twisting the knife.

So I said "Sure, I can absolutely do that", but even as I said it, I felt my eyes well up, and I knew there was no stopping it. I just lost it and started crying in front of my boss.

To his credit, he did offer to cancel the meeting so he could be the one to show her around. And TBH, I think I took him by surprise; I don't think he realized exactly how upset I was at not getting the promotion. But that doesn't make it easier, or simpler. And it doesn't change the situation.

I ended up telling him that I was OK, and that I would show her around and everything. And I fucking did it. Met her when she came in, showed her around, introduced her to everyone in the office, told her where to get her parking pass (because the new person drives to work, unlike me, who actually gives a shit about sustainability and rides my bike).

That was about all I could take, though. I ended up taking the following week off and running away from all my problems to Ottawa, where I have friends - one of whom left sustainability, and the other who is still in the thick of things. I'll post about it on the 2020 travels thread, but it actually really helped to clear my head a bit.

Office politics are an absolute clusterfuck right now, thanks to the change of high-level executives and some other interesting development. So I'm trying to figure out my options; stay with my current employer but change departments, go somewhere else, leave post-secondary entirely, or leave sustainability entirely. It's a tough decision, but I don't think stay where I am is really an option, unless I feel like waiting around for another 8 years to either be passed up again for promotion or let go.

I have an appointment with a career counsellor in a couple of weeks, I'm meeting up with a colleague who's moved departments a lot for coffee, and I've been speaking with my therapist about this. But at this point, I'm really not too sure where my career is going from here.

So that's why I haven't really been on here much over the past few weeks. I'm not sure what I hoped to accomplish by typing all this out, but commiseration is welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:40 pm 
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Wow that really blows. Especially them getting butthurt and kicking you off the panel.

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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:26 am 
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Oh wow, I'm so sorry to hear that H, I can understand how upsetting this is for you.....

I hope being able to write all this down is cathartic for you (I often find that, just writing what I'm thinking and feeling acts as a kind of release valve).

I don't know if this would help you, but I find starting to do something often helps (even if I don't follow through) as you mentioned; talking to colleagues who have moved departments, or looking for other jobs, talking to your career counsellor is all good stuff which allows to to feel that you're in control or taking back control of the situation.

It's OK to decide not to make a decision just yet, don't beat yourself up about that, maybe this is a sign to be open to other possibilities and opportunities.

Anyhoo, sending hugs and positive vibes from across the pond and sorry again this has happened to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:14 am 
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Wow, sorry to hear about everything you’ve been through lately. I am just recently out of an awful work situation that had some similar dynamics as far as office politics, so I can definitely empathize.

It definitely sounds like you need to find something else either in another department or another organization. I think you are taking the right steps to figure out where to go from here.

Best of luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:32 am 
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Glad you're back on the forum. I assumed you were taking a little funk break when you dropped off for a couple of weeks.

Managers can be fucking clueless, amirite?! "Hey, you know that job you really wanted and didn't get? I'd like you to sponsor the person we did hire, you know, the one we liked much better than you. What do you mean, that's a problem?"

Duh, asshole! :x

I go through that, in one form or another, every damn month with one of my managers. Completely and totally blind to any kind of interpersonal complications in our work interactions. To him, it's job, job, job, that's all that matters, and isn't that how everyone feels, and it's always left to me to be the one to clue him in.

Anyway, nothing wrong with exploring your options. Even if you stay out, it keeps your resume-writing and interviewing skills polished, and keeps you informed of the current job market.

You got done dirty, and I'm hoping everything starts looking up for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:52 pm 
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Oh man, what a run of shitty things! Getting kicked off the panel, AND being asked to show your replacement around. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Here's to something better, even if you don't know what it is yet. I'm sure you will land on your feet.

Hugs!

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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:17 am 
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I hope you have some great things going on with your personal life to counter the crap at work. Sometimes these things get us moving toward looking for other opportunities as they present themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:46 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Thanks everyone, for your kind words and virtual hugs.

CarryOn, like you, I was pretty shocked that my boss thought it was OK to ask the me to show the new person around. I guess because I handled it so well when he first told me, he figured I was fine? Not sure what his thought process was there. He most definitely learned that I wasn’t fine when I broke down in his office, though. I don’t tend to cry at work frequently, and on the rare occasions when I have, I’ve usually been able to make it to the bathroom or do the back-to-the-coworkers (facing my monitor) silent cry (I did this a lot when I was grieving my old cat’s death). So this was a little out of character for me.

After talking to a bunch of people (colleagues, ex-coworkers, and my therapist), the goods news is that I have options. I’ve already applied for a couple of jobs with my current employer, but in different departments/different location. We’ll see if anything comes of them - I am struggling a little bit with the concept of leaving the sustainability world. Sustainability is really all I’ve ever done, it’s my passion, and it feels weird to even consider leaving it behind...but I feel like I might have to do that to advance.

The tough thing about this is that, despite everything, I really do like where I am. My current department (where I’ve been for the past 12 years) is a total clusterfuck right now, but overall, the company is a good place to work. So switching departments would be ideal, but...I’d probably have to leave sustainability to do that.

The other option that I am seriously considering is taking a year off work (I could probably take a leave of absence so my job would still be there when I got back) to do my Masters. The school where I work just introduced a 1-year intensive masters degree in sustainability, so it’s totally doable. I just want to make sure that if I do it, there will be a payoff (i.e. I will actually advance in the future if I go this route).

I am seeing a career counsellor later this week - my company actually has one on staff, so I think she’s only allowed to counsel people on how to advance their careers within the company, but hopefully it helps. I’m generally feeling better about the whole thing, but also still feeling a bit stuck and unsure where I go from here.


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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 5:00 pm 
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Quote:
It's OK to decide not to make a decision just yet, don't beat yourself up about that, maybe this is a sign to be open to other possibilities and opportunities.
I'm not a believer in The Secret and the whole manifestation thing, but I am a believer that sometimes it takes a rude shock. to open our eyes to the fact that we're not where we should be and it's time for something different. Maybe it's that time for you now. Eight years is a long time to be in one place, and while it might have been a great ride, all the signs are pointing that it might not be for much longer.

I went through something similar before I got my current position - changes in the company meant that I was doing stuff other than what I'd been hired for, and I really wasn't enjoying it. And then a few things performance related things happened and it crystallized that I really wanted/needed to move on. I'm glad I did. I love my current position and I'm really happy I made the jump.

I'm glad to hear that there's definitely other options in the pipe for you. That's great news. I'll keep my fingers crossed that something comes up.
Quote:
I emailed the powerpoint to the panel organizers - and got kicked off the panel. Yep. They emailed me back at told me my topic was "controversial", "sensitive", and asked me for a presentation on campus sustainability initiatives instead.
"rolls eyes until she can see her brain" Jeez, dog forbid academia should be somewhere to discuss anything controversial and sensitive. What a bunch of brain lazy wallflowers. Well, I hope that this whole virus thing has been a wake up call for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Update, sort of
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:15 am 
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Quote:

I'm not a believer in The Secret and the whole manifestation thing
I'd not heard of that, I had to look it up

I do believe that if you set yourself goals e.g. I'm going to change job, you'll start to 'see' opportunities. But that's more down to the fact that you start looking for them (or recognise it as an opportunity when you see it) and then actually doing something about it. :lol:

I think any manifestation of a universal law of attraction has a lot more to do with just being proactive than any kind of preternatural intervention i.e. it's amazing what turns up when you start shaking the trees.

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