Living Out Loud

People, Ugh, What Can You Do

Workplace tension

My employment history according to the Social Security Administration dates back to 1980 when I paid taxes for the first time on a landscaping job I had as a high-school freshman. In the intervening 44 years, I've been continuously employed and although I've had several side hustles through the years doing IT work, tutoring and writing, I've never been self-employed. I've always had a boss. There have been several gems in the mix, real people-oriented supervisors who had management styles grounded in good personal relationships who were motivational and fun to be around. Those people are easy to work for. Then there are the bosses who are in the middle tier, not antagonistic, but not people oriented, concerned mostly with keeping their own boss happy and not getting real involved with their staff. Then there are unpredictable, unhinged, scattershot human beings who somehow managed to be put in charge of others - to everyone's, including the company's detriment.

When it comes to co-workers, because of where I live, near Ft. Liberty (formerly Ft. Bragg) I've always had a heavy contingent of ex-military and military dependents in the work force. I'm a vet myself. In my career job, as an IT specialist in the public school system, most of my long-time co-workers were 15 or so years younger than me since I didn't enter the field until my mid-30s. Until I learned to relate to them, there was occasionally some friction that in hindsight, I could have avoided if I had been a little less assertive and listened more than I talked. Today, almost a quarter of a century later, we are still friends, which says a lot about my capacity for change and their capacity for forgiveness.

In my current job, I'm as lucky as I can be for the most part. I'm fortunate to have a pension from my public-school career, so there isn't any big financial pressure. I chose a low-pressure job doing something I enjoy, helping end users with their IT issues doing desk side support. During the summer we work 36-hour work weeks and a flexible schedule. We are adequately staffed and the CIO of the organization, my boss, is a good manager with above average people skills, all wins.

Lately I've been frustrated a bit as we've been making some changes to SOPs that haven't been communicated that well internally or to our customers. And same old story for me, we hired a guy who is younger than my own children and he challenges my patience in a variety of ways until last week I reached the "I'm not getting paid enough to put up with this BS" stage. In talking it through with Wonder Woman, I was inclined to take ownership of the issue and just try and come to terms with the guy's ways, but she encouraged me to address some of the egregious stuff with the boss to try and dampen the organizational impact of his shortcomings. So, I wrote a detailed letter and laid it all out there.

Hopefully some positive change will come about. I sure don't have any unresolved issues any more from holding my feelings in. Even if it totally backfires and the boss is incensed over my being the bearer of bad news, I could resign and be like "Yay, more time to blog!!!" I don't want to leave or anything, but I really, really want this job to continue to be low stress. I don't have any ego attached to my position. I'm not trying to climb any ladders. I just want to work a few more years until Wonder Woman can retire with me. We will see how it goes.


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