Monday, June 06, 2005

what goes around comes around, and today it came around...

This might be a bit long, but it's juicy.

A definition of the law of karma that I found online here. "In Buddhist teaching, the law of karma, says only this: `for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful... Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that responsibility for unskillful actions is born by the person who commits them."

So in plain talkin, what goes around comes around. Buddha was just a whole lot more descriptive. Sometimes it takes sooo long to come around that it just doesn't seem like it's going to. Well, some of it came around today.

About 5 years ago, I took a job. The job posting was for an engineer. The folks liked my resume and all, and it was a great fit, but I wasn't done with school yet. So, they gave me the job, presumably at a much lower pay than they otherwise would have, and just wouldn't give me a formal title. (EEOC stuff and all. Qualifications have to be proven if anyone asks.) Now, there was a fellow engineer who had been with this company for a few years, and happened to be the one who typically got assigned to working with interns when the company took any on for the summertime. We'll call her Crotch, to be appropriately discrete. Now Crotch really got into the intern thing. Most of them were boys. (engineering students usually are, statistically speaking.) Crotch had many pictures of herself hanging out sipping drinks with these interns. In fact, she once went to Florida to visit one of them. She also spent weekends at the college of one intern when his time at the company was finished. Oh, I should mention that Crotch was (and presumably still is) a married woman. Crotch, IMHO, was a stinking whore. And I actually found e-mails to prove it. I copied them before I left that company. They were ammunition. If she did just one more thing to make me miserable, those e-mails were going airmail to her husband's place of employment.

Anyway, back to the story. So in all fairness, Crotch was currently mourning the loss of her last intern who had left as the summer concluded and headed over to Europe for three or four months, also on his parents' dime, as if the tuition wasn't quite expensive enough. I was hired in September. Crotch was told that someone was hired for the position, and it was being reclassified, at least temporarily, low enough to overlook the absence of a degree. Thus, Crotch believes another intern is coming. Innocent. Then, Crotch is asked to be a buddy and show me the ropes. Crotch then believes she has a new assistant, which is really great because her last one is riding a gondola or some shit. So up until now, Crotch is believably not being the least bit horrid.

Then I start work. Hello Crotch, nice to meet you. Crotch quickly obtained my resume for her own research efforts, and commented sheepishly that I'd done quite a bit in my career. Why thank you, Crotch. I appreciate that.

Then the fun began. First, Crotch was really rude. If I were on the phone, whether it be to a customer or to my sister at noon while I ate microwaved frozen veggies at my desk, Crotch would stand unbelievably close to me and wait until I was finished or put the person on hold. She was extremely haughty. Always. She wasted no time bringing me "tasks" that had nothing to do with my job. She would ask me to create spreadsheets for her, and maintain them. She would ask me for my notes from a meeting, I'd share them, and she'd give them back with red pen on them adding details she felt were necessary, then ask me to type them for her. I was understandably confused. What was up with Crotch? I don't mind helping her and all, but this shit was really weird.

Now I promise you all, from the bottom of my heart, that this was not me avoiding a funky political responsibility to be initiated into a certain culture. Kissing Crotch's smelly ass offered no advancement of any sort. It only offered, potentially, a special friendship with Crotch so that pictures of us sharing a huge strawberry daquiri with two straws could be added to her cube wall. What it really did was waste my time and make it harder to complete the work that I'd both been hired to do, and would be evaluated on. So Crotch lost. I was very gentle at first, then a bit more direct, then came right out and said things to her privately like, "I'm not sure this is what I should be doing with my time." Crotch was not receptive. So I got a bit more catty, and made sure her red pen marked task requests were out in the open when I met with my boss a few times. It didn't take him long. Boss: "Hey - what's that?" Me: "Oh that's just something Crotch asked for a bit of help on." Boss: "What?" Then boss takes papers away and Crotch is really steamed. Crotch gets a talking to, and is really pissed off. She takes a few vacation days.

About three weeks after this, Crotch asked me to meet with her in a conference room. Sounded fine to me. I grabbed my notepad and pen, and off we went. She sat across from me and began to describe to me the wonderful reviews that all the interns received who had worked for her thus far. When they were done with school, they all had very lovely opportunities awaiting them with the company, based on her recommendations. Now Crotch had crossed my invisible line. I told Crotch that I was glad she trusted me, but didn't think it was appropriate that she share details of the interns' evaluations with me, as I'd not been any guidance to them and really hadn't even worked in the building simultaneously for any of their stints. In fact, I added that I really only knew of the interns through the pictures she kept on her wall. Crotch looked crestfallen, then recouped and came back for more. Crotch dared to go a step further. Crotch chuckled a little, and said, "No, you don't understand. I can offer the same for you if we work together correctly. I want you to succeed here." At that very moment I realized the extent of her fear that I would continue to show her up at the office by doing better work than she did, and knew this was a careful, albeit daring, attempt to establish some control. Was she f-ing kidding me? I leaned forward and told Crotch that I was confident that my own work ethic and accomplishments would speak louder than her recommendations ever could, and planned to focus more on my projects and building customer relationships than I would on cultivating any special friendships at work. We were, after all, there to get a job done. And with that, I left Crotch to smolder in the conference room.

I was sickeningly nice to Crotch, but she got nothing she wanted from me. In fact, her three huge attempts to get me fired all backfired on her. She hated me because I had big boobs, invaded her spot as the only one in the office who anyone notices, and I wouldn't be her special pet.

Crotch had a very close friend at work. We'll call him Anus. He was the kind of work friend that would stay an extra moment or two and watch her walk down the rest of the hallway. Be reminded this is an engineering environment. There were three females in the whole damn building. Crotch was no prize. In fact, she literally had no chest at all. None. Anyhow, Anus was smitten and thought he was really lucky that Crotch would share a lunch room table with him and give him an ounce of attention a few times a week. I soon found that Anus even had a very special private nickname for Crotch. How inappropriate. Anus handled some of the test requests I had to submit. His job was to schedule and perform these tests, then gather the data and give the reports to the requester. Anus, who had immediately started to snub me in an obvious way after the conference room Crotch fiasco, would simply never have time for my stuff, wouldn't talk to me directly, and even the slightest questions regarding my work he'd take directly to my boss, as though he was too good to work with me directly. My boss even mentioned this to me and wondered what Anus' issue was.

Not only was the workplace terribly hostile, but I was going through the mother of all divorces. So I was likely even less tolerant of Crotch's shit than I otherwise would have been.

Eventually, a new employee was hired over in the CAD department. She came all the way from Florida with her whole life packed in a little white car, and not a friend in the state. Her plan was to stay in a efficiency studio until she had settled, collected a bit of savings and had found a place she liked well enough to kick her shoes off there every night. That was not an easy plan. As there was a serious cost-of-living difference from where she came from to here, and I had a huge 9 month old home sitting empty save for me and one cat, and I was really lonely anyhow, I invited her to room with me. She did. It was perfect. She did her thing, I did mine, we were great friends. Still are. Anyhow, Crotch got wind of this arrangement and she and Anus suddenly were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were lesbians. It was all over the company in 45 seconds flat. After all, as the rumor went, I never did mention dating anyone. There were no pictures on my desk. It had to be true. I was mortified for about 10 minutes, and then decided that we should just start hanging up gay pride stickers and go along with it. Life at that job got worse every day, and all of it was related to Crotch. She was livid anytime I got nice feedback for any of my work. I was given a special project that she didn't know the details of, and it just about killed her. I caught her snooping around my office a few times. She had no shame whatsoever.

Now for the record, I hadn't mentioned anyone at work because I was technically dating and still legally married to someone else, because it took 2 and a half years to get divorced. Not exactly stuff you want broadcast at work. Now before you all go and get excited about how horribly immoral that is, think about this. If a 24 year old girl lived with a guy for 2 years, unmarried, and then they break up and she moves out, is it wrong if she dates again? Should she wait longer than a year after they separate? Hell no. Life is too short. Now what difference would it make if they were married? A coworker of mine has a daughter who caught her fiance cheating. She moved out, and had a date with someone new the next Friday night. Nobody thinks anything of it. As well they shouldn't. Now had they been even a minute past her wedding date, and she decided to go out on that Friday night, she'd have all sorts of labels to wear in society. I waited plenty of time after separating from my ex and eventually filing for divorce before I dated anyone. In fact, I regret losing what time I did while waiting. I should have left earlier, filed earlier, and ultimately got on with life earlier.

Now I've moved on from that job times ten. I went on to grad school, and have a job I absolutely love. A bonus, a car, the works. I am blessed. I worked extremely hard for it, but it still feels like a gift anyhow. I take nothing for granted for even a minute.

Crotch up and quit that job about a year or so after I parted ways. She did truly hate her job. That's a story for another post. This one is already five times too long. Not too long ago, I found out that she'd never found another job. She was now working in an ice cream shop, scooping and serving cones. You go girl. Get on with your bad self.

Today the other side of the cake was frosted. I had a special class to attend based on a big project I'm doing with a customer. Guess who else does too? Anus. He sold out to a competitor a few months ago, who supplies to the same customer I do, and is still processing test stuff and measuring samples. Anus, you go on with your bad self too.

Anus and I spent 8 hours in the same room today, and he wouldn't make eye contact. Maybe he didn't like my suit. We'll be doing the same thing tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday. I think I may ask him to lunch. In my, um. company car. Oh, and I'll be sure to tell him that my best friend, who was a lifesaver throughout my divorce, especially given the difficulties I faced at work, is now happily married and expecting a baby. I'd mention I was getting married myself, too, but the ring is probably fairly obvious. And best of all, I hear his friend Crotch is scooping ice cream. That sounds like lots of fun.

I'm never catty like that. But... These people made me miserable for a very long time. I think I'm entitled to a few hours of gloating. I'll be nice tomorrow.


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