Friday, February 12, 2010

Six feet from edge....?Choice?

After yesterday's dustup with the assholes at my job, I had a quiet day today. I didn't see either of the morons who decided to fuck me out of 20 percent of my  paycheck. I appreciated that, but it didn't mean I had a pleasant day. Fighting with my Department head(chucker) yesterday made me tense all day in preparation for a similar confrontation today, and I had a wicked tension headache by the time I left that hasn't completely subsided even after yoga, Advil and a hot shower.

Standing up for myself is a relatively new feat for me. My mom has been on my case for years to be more assertive, but now that I'm taking her advice, I'm not sure I see the benefits. Obviously, my goal in standing up for myself yesterday was to be told they intended to make good on their promise that I could make up the hours I missed due to the blizzard. That didn't happen. My mom insists that there was still a benefit to standing up for myself, but is that true?

I obsess. It's the main reason why I have a blog in the first place. Once everyone I know is tired of listening to me go on and on about something, I can pour out my feelings here. I don't enjoy obsessing. I don't get anything out of it. I do it because I can't not do it. I literally can't make my brain stop thinking about something once I get started. I thought that standing up for myself might provide a release valve for that whirlpool of unwanted thoughts, but it didn't. I'm not obsessing over what I should have said or how I should have insisted they keep their word, but I'm obsessing over my indignation that they didn't, their rudeness, their dishonesty in telling me I could make up the hours and then going back on it, their dishonesty in explaining why they broke their word, and whether I should quit. Rather than curtail the obsessing, standing up for myself just pushed the focus to something else equally unproductive.

I may now be seen as combative or a troublemaker. Had I meekly accepted the cut in hours, I would still have suffered some rudeness from my direct supervisor, but we could have avoided the scene in his office that his office mate witnessed. The fact that my hours  were cut this week without warning makes me worried that they will have more temps than work not just this week but going forward. It's shitty of them to hire people they can't keep occupied full-time (a fact I'm sure my recruiter noted, since it deprives him and his agency of money as well), but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. If they have to let someone go, it will be me at the moment since I'm the thorn in their collective paw.

Maybe standing up for yourself is an exercise in finding out who has the upper hand. They can cut my hours without warning, explanation or remorse. They can also fire me. I can complain, and I can quit. Those are the cards we each have to play in this situation. They don't know that I have another full-time job, which gives me some latitude to tell them to go pound sand, even in this terrible economy. I don't know what internal politics are motivating a decision to cut hours that hurts them as well by lowering the number of hours they can bill to their client.

Maybe standing up for yourself is about demanding respect from yourself and others. If I hadn't confronted my two supervisors about this hours bullshit, I would feel bad about myself. Even though I didn't get what I wanted, I feel like I did the right thing. (Unfortunately, I'm concerned that doing the right thing for myself might lead to being fired, but I have to remind myself that my overall self-esteem is worth more than any lame temp job.) I don't think I succeeded in getting the respect I demanded from my supervisors (based on the fact that they have no problem lying to me or breaking promises to me or treating me shabbily), but they know I'm not a pushover.

I guess what my mom is trying to teach me here is that standing up for yourself is about nurturing and improving your overall sense of self-respect and that that self-respect is more valuable than any one job (especially when I will have many jobs in my lifetime and this job is temporary by its very nature). Maybe standing up for yourself is about not always caving in to the hundreds of compromises you're asked to make to your values every day. Maybe there's also an element to it of trusting in the universe (or God, or whatever higher power someone follows) to provide you with another chance to make money that doesn't involve letting someone else shit all over you.

So, that leads me to the question of whether or not it's worth it to quit this job. One thing I can't stop obsessing about right now is going into my supervisor's supervisor's office next week and giving my notice. I keep thinking about what I would say. Truthfully, it's not an opportune time to quit. I'm halfway done with that task right now, which is an achievement I'm proud of, but that still leaves half that I'd like to pay off.  So, at this very moment in time, I don't plan to quit. That said, it's incredibly nice to know I have that option. If I go in next week, and my supervisor gives me the same hateful attitude he gave me yesterday, I have the freedom to tell him to shove his job up his ass. A lot of people don't have that freedom, especially in this economy, and I'm grateful that I do. For now, I'm just going to hold that knowledge close to my heart while I smile and do my job and pretend not to hate them while hoping they don't fire me.

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