RHOCA: Always Fourth (or Fifth) Best

hi-haters-animateComing back into the world of Corporate America, I knew all hell was about to break loose. I mean, I hadn’t left on the best of terms with a few people (okay, just one) the last time around.

I’d heard through the grapevine (you remember my work bestie Party – otherwise known as “Fiesta” – right?) that a certain individual wasn’t thrilled I was coming back and was determined to stand in the way as much as she could. But who? Who couldn’t possibly love working with me?

Why, none other than my arch-nemesis Idaho, that’s who.

And no, her name isn’t really Idaho, nor is she remotely a ho at all. She’s a good Christian woman who loves the Lord and hates all things involving alcohol, drugs, sarcasm, and remotely homosexual in nature. 

Ever since I’d left Corporate a year ago, Party had hounded our boss trying to get him to bring me back on like he’d said he would the minute there was an opening. Four new-hires later, I still wasn’t back. Finally with the opening of yet another contract position, we’d both known it was high time I get back in. My bank account and resume were in desperate need of some fluffing.

bethenny-frankel-cocoa-puffs-giphyOf course, however, getting past Idaho would prove to be a hurdle. For over a week I sat around twiddling my thumbs, waiting to hear back from my boss after I’d emailed him to squash any preconceived notions of unprofessionalism and tension – at least on my part – if he decided to bring me back to the team to help out. Throughout that week, he had conversations with the senior designer and program managers – one of which was Miss Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs Idaho herself thanks to a long-overdue (in her mind) promotion – about bringing me back. Idaho kept saying no while everyone else said yes. Typical. Some things never change.

How do I know this? Party is never one to leave me in the dark.

Needless to say, when I was hounded my first day back with questions of “Where have you been?” and “What have you been up to the past year?” and “Did you know such and such happened and so and so got fired?” everyone was shocked that I already knew what had happened. If anything I knew more gossip about that office than half the people working in it thanks to Party. So of course I knew Idaho had been trying to sabotage the second coming of Christ a.k.a. my return to Corporate America.

So why, on earth, did they wait almost a year to bring me back after telling me before that I’d be the first call they’d make the minute they were out from under their “hiring freeze” that conveniently happened right at the end of my contract nine months prior? Why did they proceed to bring on four new people – permanent team members rather than contract workers for that matter – less than six months after I was gone?

Not to mention I found out later that they had interviewed several other candidates before me for the contract position I got hired for. Shockingly, no one with as much experience as they were wanting was willing to give up a position (or was unemployed for that matter) for a 3-month contract gig even if it was for a Fortune 500 company. Smart people don’t do things like that. So naturally, they resorted to the fourth or fifth (or forty-third) option: me. Why? Depending on who you ask I’m sure you’d get a different answer.

If you’re asking Idaho, she’d be the first to say she has no idea and that she doesn’t understand what people see in me and why everyone seems to think I’m amazing. Trust me, she had emailed Corporate HR the last time around after she’d been snubbed for promotions multiple times over the past seven years she’d been with the company and only ever moved laterally and never vertically — even after getting an “Executive MBA in Project Management” she only got a made-up title change in order to shut her up thanks to our old director. I kid you not. You can’t make this stuff up. I mean, the proof is in the emails.

Lesson One: Don’t leave your stuff sit on the printer overnight where anyone can pick it up with the documents they printed without realizing it’s theirs. Your emails are only as confidential as you allow them to be — especially without any sort of a confidentiality disclaimer after your email signature.

I mean, come on. Who emails Corporate HR to go over the heads of your boss, your boss’s boss, and your boss’s boss’s boss because you don’t understand why people think the new guy is great and then casually throw in that you’re unhappy that you’ve been passed up for numerous promotions? I mean, why not casually insert a bullet-point list of everyone who’s been hired after you, what high-profile projects they’ve been given, when they were promoted (and how long after their hire date it’d been), then explain that you’ve furthered your education (with a Master’s Degree that has nothing to do with design despite the fact that you work in an interior design department of a major corporation) and that your advanced degree should clearly be worth a promotion based on that alone? Oh wait…of course you’d spell all that out.

Right. Let’s get real sweetie. If you can’t take a hint — from being passed up for promotions, not having been given any increased responsibility, and an email response from HR that screams “Is this lady seriously for real right now?” — that you might not be what they’re looking for and maybe it’s time to move on to bigger and better things where you’ll “be appreciated” and “respected” as you feel you should be.

But I digress…

Idaho’s feelings aside, I was the perfect candidate for the position. I was:

  • highly overqualified for what they wanted me to do,
  • willing to deal with the BS there,
  • already knew the drill with everything and wouldn’t have to waste valuable contract time learning all the ins and outs of their procedures,
  • annnnnnd, above all else, I had no issue with only coming back for a short period of time because I’m moving to California.

tumblr_mjtvi5SEgp1renc44o1_500In a nutshell: How can you even say no to someone who’s that gone-with-the-wind fabulous.

Oh that’s right, you can’t.

Take that, Idaho.

And just like that, I was back……..and being given every mind-numbing task in the book. It was the grown-up big-kid-world version of being given busy work to do by a substitute teacher on inside recess day due to an April monsoon.

“Can you make folders on the server and pull documents from these four different locations? Oh, and they also need to be printed too. And three-hole-punched. Folded a specific way. Oh, and while you’re at it they need color-coordinated file folders too.”

Sure. Let me get right on that. Less than 48 hours later: documents for 60+ stores? Done. You’d had these for four weeks and couldn’t do that? Hmm. Interesting.

“Can you velcro down all these materials into trays? We fired the girl who was doing it before.”

Oh you fired her? That’s nice. Was she the unpaid design school intern? No? Wait, she was making close to a six-figure salary and doing this? Okay. I get it. Great use of company time and assets. No wonder you nixed her. A chimpanzee could do this. Or I could. Despite the fact that the last time I’d been there I was managing 15K to 250K renovations I would be more than happy to. By all means, allow me. It would be my pleasure.

“Please fork over your first-born child. We need to use it for product testing since we promised we wouldn’t test anything on animals.”

Not really, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. At this point I could only be caught off-guard by one thing. Less than a week in, the bad news came. Party was leaving me.

tumblr_ltizr2ZwUh1ql5yr7o1_r1_400Don’t get me wrong, I was overjoyed for her — especially since she took a phenomenal position with a great company that actually values its employees — to be taking a huge step up in status, pay, and benefits. At the same time, however, I couldn’t be more disappointed. She was my rock. My island of sanity in the ocean of crazy there. The eye in the center of the hurricane. I was about to be all alone in a whirlwind of stupid.

On the bright side, however, I’d be next in line to take over her projects and away from the depressing world of velcro and three-hole-punches. Hell, maybe it’d even mean *gasp* that maybe, just maybe, I’d finally be offered a permanent position. For the right number of numbers after the dollar sign and the right benefits package, I’d totally be willing to push my move out a year. Any amount of BS can be tolerated for the right price. After all, that’s why whiskey was invented.

But no. False alarm.

Sure enough….a severe case of the “forty-third-bests” strikes yet again. It was announced we’d be bringing on two new contract workers – one of which would be taking all of Party’s projects.

I-Forgot-Real-HousewivesBecause it makes total sense to give a brand new person who’s never worked for the company before a boat-load of projects with deadlines in the closely-looming future when you have someone sitting there velcro’ing down material samples to a plastic tray who is more than qualified, willing to give (and has previously given) 120%, and who has already worked with the majority of the people involved with the projects? Right.

Oh, Corporate America, you are one twisted biotch.



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