So it seems that the funding for the project I work on, and by extension my job, won’t be renewed this year. As of May 15th I’m out of work. Yesterday morning I was offered a lateral move to another section of my department which would ensure that I’m still employed past the original contract date. The job would be pretty much what I do now – with a slightly different shift in emphasis. I’d spend more of my time doing stuff I don’t really enjoy and less time doing the stuff I’m most fond of. I was apprehensive and the boss gave me a few days to think about it.
I spent most of the day considering my options and sent the details to Drew via email. His response was to take the job and, if I hated it, I could always quit and go looking for something else. I’d pretty much decided to do so depending on the responses I received to a few questions today.
Needless to say I didn’t get the response I wanted. I figured I could survive the job and the addition of weekend and evening support as required. I’d find someway to juggle the requirement to be available to our instructors and students during certain periods of the year that could have severe negative impacts on my own course commitments and education. I’d work around that as best I could when the time came. I also decided I could accept the lack of pay raise and lack of possible future movement until my degree(s) were completed. Hey, I’m used to working like a dog for little return. My make or break item was the reporting structure. If I continued to report to my existing boss, or one of the managers immediately below him, I would have accepted the position in a heart beat. Unfortunately, the position reports to a woman I just can’t see myself working for.
I have issues when it comes to reporting structures. I know I have issues. I’ve had some horrific bosses over the years. Ones who verbally berated me in front of dozens of other employees for things I had no control over. Like the boss who screamed at me in front of a client that I never notified him of a specific software issue despite my telling him verbally and informing him in writing (memo and email). It appears he forgot the conversation and trashed the memo as “useless” and had set up a filter on his email to send anything I sent him to his trash. And people wonder why I have email archives that go back 10+ years…
I’ve had bosses who scheduled me to work 18 hour days for weeks on end. Ones who had me so screwed up that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I’ve been sent to foreign countries and my hotel reservations cancelled by managers while I was en route so that I had to scramble to find a place to stay upon landing (long story, thank the gawds for Boo!). I had ulcers. Developed horrible insomnia. Got so stressed out that I had to psych myself up just to come into work. The thought of certain work assignments had me running to the bathroom to vomit my guts out. In the end, I found a new job and the bosses from hell who played a starring role in my nightmares were replaced with a wonderful female supervisor who described me as shell shocked and displaying behaviours similar to those of a battered woman. Not exactly the way you want your working life to be remembered.
After having reported to a good boss phenomenal supervisor I decided I was never going to knowingly place myself into a situation similar to the ones in my past. I’ve been pretty successful over the years. I’ve had great bosses and relatively benign ones. Even new boss has been pretty impressive. But I can see that all ending if I were to have accepted the lateral move. I’ve worked with this woman as a supposed equal a number of times. I know from those experiences that we would not be a good fit. Without going into details I’ll just say that the thought of having to report to her made my stomach start to churn and my stress levels to jump through the roof.
She might be the nicest woman on the planet outside of work. But. I. Can’t. Won’t. Work. For. Her. There’s no way in hell I’m willingly giving her that kind of power or control over my employment future or daily working life. I’d report to anyone else in the department without complaint. But I’m not in a position where I can report to her and “survive” the experience.
And I have no idea how to tell my current boss any of this without looking like some sort of fruitcake or whiner. I did ask if there were any way the reporting structure could be modified without going into any details. And got the expected answer: No. So I’m going to have to suck it up and go looking for work elsewhere. In a recession.
Here’s hoping my headhunter can find me something – anything – before my current contract runs out.