This isn’t a blog post but more of a diary entry, so it may not sound as profound or professional. It may lack humor and even curse words. But, there is a need to be able to write this down because I do, after all have the overwhelming urge to write.
In November of 2017 I began the job that I thought was “the” best job I’d ever had. I seriously and consciously believed this. From the moment I began, in that cold November morning as I walked into my new office, I believed that everything I had worked so hard for was finally in my grasp. Even though the first week I spent sitting at my desk reading a book because my supervisor hadn’t contacted IT prior to me starting to get me a computer, login, printer etc. She’d walk into my office and apologize a thousand time and say that she’s so busy that she can’t keep up with everything that’s going on. Being new I smiled and told her that I understood, because after all a new employee should be able to navigate their way on their own for a while (or should I say a new departmental employee because I had already been with the university for over two years.) To be able to train, guide, mentor and help me gain the knowledge I’d need to do my job successfully was going to take time. And with her being so busy and all, I knew that I’d sit idle for a while.
And sit idle I did, for over two entire weeks, even though I had finally gotten a computer, three monitors, a printer and scanner I had no idea what I was supposed to do. But being the self-motivator I am, I began to watch webinars and read articles on research administration. When my director came into my office she asked if I was ready to work on my first proposal, I said of course but that I hadn’t gotten access to the research portal our office used to work on proposals. She was surprised and said “You mean Alexis hasn’t gotten you access?” and I nodded no. She left my office and then five minutes later the IT guy was at my desk granting me access. My supervisor came in and apologized again, something she’d gotten really good at since I started.
This was only my first two weeks, and I dismissed my supervisor’s lack of attention on the fact that she was overwhelmed at work and now that I was there I’d be able to take some of that responsibility off her shoulders and do what I was hired to do.
That was three years ago, and today I find myself even more frustrated than I was those first two weeks when I had no computer, no access no nothing. Now I have access to everything, I have memberships to research administration societies, I attend webinars and online conferences and to date I am exactly where I was three years ago. Trying to find solace in the fact that all my experience and education that I worked so hard for isn’t being utilized for a good reason. I work, and when I say I work I do, but that doesn’t mean that I have confidence in my abilities. Because when one tries to establish oneself in a career that one has been working towards and sees that nothing is coming of it, what can one do?
I am one of four research administrators, and one of us only works part time and you all know her as Thing 1. She’s a nice lady in her late 60’s and sometimes she does get on my nerves, but I can deal with her because she’s a genuinely good person. Then there is Thing 2, who has previously worked in research administration but with a faculty member in his lab. Then left to get married and have a baby and got hired in my department after I did. She gets paid more than I do because of her previous experience with federal submissions. She’s a smart cookie and a really nice albeit naïve girl in her early 30’s who still loves to plan things like baby showers with themes and decorations and stuff. I am no longer in that stage in my life, I’m older and much wiser (so I like to think). Now I mentioned that she gets paid more than I do, and I realize it sounds like I’m complaining about this. But I’m not, I’m stating a fact that experience is valuable when it comes to doing ones job and should take that over education because it doesn’t diminish ones abilities…….in some cases. Remember I said that.
Then there is the bitch that I’ve come to loath, that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns, Baby Kermit. This stupid bitch came from my former university and left her department right when a federal audit and inquiry into mishandling of federal funds began. I still maintain that she was a strategic hire, and my director knew it because it was her former department as well. She too only has a bachelors but how and why I think of her differently than Thing 2 is because of my sheer hatred for her. Yes I realize that I sound bias but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll hate who I want. Anyway, she too has experience in federal proposals but that doesn’t mean she’s been doing them right. My director boasted when she got hired that Kermit submitted over 220 proposals in one fiscal year. And my thought was, she submitted that many but how many of those were done right, got funded or were rejected?
And not so much the fact that I hate her for doing her so-called work. But I hate her for doing other annoying things, like her high pitched stupid childlike voice, her constant gerping in the office (and on our online meetings) the fact that she is just nasty as hell with her hippy commune fashion and her annoyingly long, uncut, un-kept hair!!
In any case, since working from home, which is now going on week five, I’ve been trying to stay as positive as I can about the entire situation. The work from home, the COVID19 and how many states want to open up before we’ve hit the peak of this virus. And watching the idiots on the news that are protesting in state capitals that they want our state governments to lift the shelter in place orders because (and I quote from a dumb bitch on camera in Austin Texas) “we’re all going to die, its nature.” And I’m sitting here thinking to myself, okay bitch if you want to kill yourself go right ahead because if your that stupid to think that way, especially about a virus that hasn’t gotten a cure yet, by all means you dumbass idiot kill yourself, BUT you’re not taking me with you!
Then having to work remotely dealing with my supervisor who since she got pregnant has micromanaged my work to death since this work for home shit, is really getting to be more than I can handle. Since beginning the WFH, I can’t send out emails to faculty or sponsors without me sending the draft to her first, then she sends it back to me, rewritten in the language that she uses, and tells me to send out the version she wrote. Also, working on proposals I have to completely give her all my drafts now, for her to “review” then she sends them back to me rewritten, tells me to submit the version she sent and then has the audacity to complain that she has so much work on her plate. Which makes me wonder, does she do the same thing to Thing 2? I don’t dare ask Thing 2 because she and my supervisor are very close, and I’m afraid that Thing 2 might inadvertently say something about this.
But it goes farther than this micromanaging, since beginning this working from home shit, everyone else has attended a lot of paid webinars or virtual conferences, who get Continuing Education Credits because of their attendance. I sent my supervisor an email to let her know that one of the societies I belong to will switch over a registration fee for a conference I was supposed to attend in early March to several webinars and virtual conferences. That was two weeks ago and have been completely ignored with my request.
Then I have been asked to create a work report for everything I do during the day, and I’m seriously thinking….are you fucking kidding me?!?! I am to say the least, very unhappy with this job, the job that I believe was the best job I ever had….at first. A job that I believed that I would be able to advance in, that I’d be able to learn and grow my experience and education on research administration. A job that when I was hired, was told that I was offered because their first choice turned them down. Yep, you heard that right, when my supervisor called to offer me the job she told me (inadvertently) that they were offering me the job because their top candidate had turned down the position because they couldn’t meet her salary request.
Now I think that should have been a red flag, but I desperately wanted to get out of my previous department because the department chair is Satan’s concubine, a bitch of total bitchdom, someone I wouldn’t mind finding out she was fired for being a bitch!
And I’ve learned so much on my own that I’ve tough Thing 1, Kermit and even JP when he was still here, our new software for proposal submission AND taught them how to create sub-awards and contracts in the new system as well and I don’t even work with SUB-AWARDS OR CONTRACTS!!! I’ve learned a lot about our universities operating procedures, mostly those that might have an effect on grants, proposals and contracts that certain faculty members might violate. I’ve schooled myself on things that staff in my department call other departments to get information on!
It wasn’t so much jumping out of the frying pan into the fire but a change of being in a complete departmental dictatorship to joining a completely passive aggressive type of management. Hence why I am beginning to second guess myself, my education and my abilities. This is a feeling that I am not familiar with and I totally hate feeling like this. I know I’m professional and capable of doing my job, I’ve excelled in all my other positions in spite of the obstacles that I’ve encountered. And not once have I felt as discouraged and or questioned myself as much as I have since beginning this entire working from home shit, and working in this department. My supervisor is completely ignoring my requests, emails and when we have our “weekly” meetings because she wants a progress report on everything I’m working on. Not that all the daily work reports tell her exactly what I’m doing…..the constant redundancy is infuriating!
And with 90% of all university employee’s working from home, there is a reduction of human resources hiring for jobs that have been applied for, like with my application and subsequent interview with JP’s department. But all is not lost, because I began to feel like this way before working from home I began to apply for other, better paying and seemingly more lucrative positions that might help me be able to use all my education and knowledge. Since JP’s department emailed me that they had to put their applications and previous interviews on hold, I didn’t hold out any hope for that position. I had applied for four other jobs, and one came through on Tuesday. I got an email from the University’s Office of the President for a video interview on Friday. I had applied for an Executive Associate to the President and when I did I thought of it as a complete long shot. That’s because I was still questioning all my abilities and one of my friends told me I had nothing to lose by applying and the worst that would happen was that I didn’t get an interview and I would move on.
But, on Tuesday I got an email requesting an interview for the position of Executive Associate to the President of our university. I am excited to say the least, and I hope that this will lead to something better for me. At my age I don’t have time to be working in a department who doesn’t value my experience, education and everything else I have to offer to micromanaging, passive-aggressive management and/or supervision. And in turn make me question myself all the time, so I am looking for other opportunities.
And whether or not I get this job, I’ll still be looking, and now I’m all fired up!
This is the Huntress, stay safe, over and out!