Friday, September 21, 2007

transitions are messy........


Lake George Road, Sept 2007
Finding myself on this road today I wondered about my own destiny. As much as I've tried to fit into a place where I felt I could provide and share of myself.......to help other human beings find their way in their journeys, it was made clear to me today that I'm not wanted. No, I wasn't fired. I was told that many find me difficult to work with.
Though I have had clashes with some over the mistreatment of the citizens whom we serve, I have never heard this before. In fact up until I was moved out of my office, away from my colleagues and into another building and a new group of people who had no idea what to make of me, I was Miss Congeniality in the office. I have the mug and the photo to prove it! I was a mentor to the younger staff, I was a well respected trainer, counsellor, consultant. I was respected and my opinion and feedback was sought by many staff. I had many referrals, helped many people and was productively an integral part of a team who respected me. Well, except for one it turns out. And that made all the difference.
I'm difficult to work with. Yes, I do confront. I will demand that we own our own mistakes. I will go to bat for someone whose needs are perhaps outside of the normal realm of policy. Why not? Why would we not consider human contrived policies a living breathing ever evolving piece of legislation? These are debated daily in our courts and political forums every day!
I will also be the voice that isn't being heard. Turns out I irritated too often.......AND I irritated the wrong people........the ones who work underground to besmirch one's integrity. They did a good job because the virus has spread. I am to be avoided I guess until I go away.
When the "feedback" was given to me.......it felt like a kick to the teeth and a punch to the stomach. But, I knew this "label" had adhered. I could tell by how I was being treated, and how I wasn't being included in discussions or meetings in the past. It made complete sense to me, though I had prayed that I was just being paranoid..........that their treatment of me was simply because they didn't have the time or energy to find the best place for me. Not so.........and now I know. I WAS dumped from my old job into another undefined one and left to rot.
I'm a threatening person to work with..................It had begun as a couple of seeds planted by a few whom I have been an irritant to over the years as I challenged and advocated on behalf of a client or a staff member (which BTW is part of my job).
Now, I have been labelled this way. I'm too over the top. Scary I am, I am!
And guess what? While I have tried to find my own way in this job I was dumped into with no direction, no workplan, no emotional support or a speck of anyone going to bat for me, I scrambled and scraped and became more and more distrustful. I reacted, responded and continued to ask questions. I started by just being diplomatically direct......assertive.........but alas, it was perceived as bitchy, threatening.........I was stepping out my place of honour. By so doing, I fueled the fire. I played right into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes........I reinforced the notion that Im difficult to work with. I didn't play the game. I guess if I knew I was into the middle of a game, I would've tried........ but I just kept thinking........ they must see what it is that I offer.
I don't offer what is required. ooooops.
I thought if I owned my own feelings, and mistakes...........if I verbalized honest feedback and shared my feelings about how I was being "used" that someone would see the good I had to offer. Instead, I guess I continued to scrape at their own wounds they were trying to cover up. I revealed their incompetence. I was too much of a pain in the ass to help.........ignore me and I would go away. In so doing, I dug my own grave.
And yet............when I reflect on the week.............
This week, I have met with several individuals. I have listened and counselled and done my job well. How do I know this? Because the people who shared their deep wounds with me, who spilled their tears while revisiting past abuse, addictions, and depression and suicidal thoughts, because these special people thanked me, hugged me.............dried up their tears and felt better.....who left with smiles on their faces..........who called me afterwards to thank me. I didn't dream this. It happened all week long.
I also had several phone messages two of which were from two gruffy old men with very serious health issues whom I had met last spring on separate occasions to welcome me back to work..........to tell me they missed me.......to ask for help...........and they called me "Dear." When I first met them, they were defensive and distrustful of the system. Now, they are reaching out when they need to.
I had two emails from individuals whom I had helped years ago........touching base now that September is back and we're all getting back on track. They both thanked me again for "being there" for them.
I also had staff who sought me out...........to talk about a certain case........to ask about my family and how they are doing...........to welcome me back........one asked me to help her with writing out a job reclassification because she trusted that I could find the words to describe what she does in her job. Another wanted to tell me about a situation which rattled her, made her question her ability in doing her job. I reassured her, and told her that I would be there to help with this case when the next meeting rolled around.
So, I must be doing some things right..........right?
I met another person who works in the system, who travels the same back roads and who often meets with the same people as I do but in a different capacity. We spoke the same language....the language of serving citizens.........and began a new link to one another so that we could provide a more cohesive service.
I planned future appointments......some in my office and some on the road. And, I also advocated.......loudly to no avail for a person looking for a place to live.
In the evenings............it was a busy week............I chaired a meeting, found a new executive for my son's Home and School............began the planning of a Christmas Bazaar. I met with all of my daughter's teachers so that they would know that she is supported at home and that we take education seriously. I also took part in a wonderful group organized by a colleague who has just experienced a 21 day spiritual meditative course in India. She gave us all "oneness blessings" after she shared her life altering experiences.
Gee.......maybe I need another one of those oneness blessings........
SO many positives which fight for attention. Unfortunately, my goose has been cooked. Even though I was just TOLD this in a blanket statement with no specific examples or situations identified and with no names attached to the victims of my apparent bullying, I am not a stupid person. The writing is on the wall. I won't be receiving any direction or help to find the right fit for me in this work environment. I have been made redundant in their minds.
I have no other choice but to redirect my attention on a career change and get out of there. AT least I finally know where I stand and that my paranoia was justified.
Today, after receiving this news, I got in my van to drive out to see a couple who live in the country, who are in need. Afterwards, I took the long route home to enjoy the beginning of the fall colours.............to clear my head, to think of my journey, to reflect on what mistakes I made........which ones I own, to find some perspective, and to step out onto this quiet road to look for a new signpost.
Let's hope it's just around the bend. I have faith that it's not too far away.

10 comments:

Robert said...

dana oh my are you ever doing some things right. Those gruff older men and so many others either ones in person or via the phone and internet whom you have blessed by your love and caring and service just around the corner I pray will happen sooner for you lovely sweet misfit lady!! Thank you for sharing and for letting us in on your world so we can let you in on ours cyber huggsssssssssss rest and peace be yours in the midst of the storm!!

Awareness said...

Thank you Robert. It means a lot. I didn't know if I would write anything about it, but it turned out to be good head clearing therapy. I know I own some of the issues and perceptions, but I also know that I obviously trigger them in a way that perhaps they aren't open to seeing in themselves. The problem is that when it comes down to the tactics being used to ruin my reputation......to make a subversive attack on what I earn my money doing, I can't fight that.
I sure hope it won't be a long transition. If I can learn anything about this, it will be to know my own triggers more clearly, to go with my intuition and not simply put it down to paranoia, and to understand that misfits can be very very frightening to others.

BTW.....I was asked to deliver a workshop on Conflict Resolution by the same people who have labelled me difficult to work with. How's that for crazymaking? perhaps I'll use myself as an example and we'll do some role playing.

Charles LeBlanc said...

Traffic heading your way!!!! They don't wish to have people who ask some questions in there.

Very sad indeed because you are a very good person.

Don't ever forget this line - Good things happens to good people!!!

You are a very good citizen!!!!

Hang in there!!!!

Awareness said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Charles. I am actually seeing the positive in this. I needed to learn this lesson in order to seriously consider my own next steps in my career. It may have been a kick in the gut, but I am grateful to have finally been told what was happening over the course of the last couple of years.

So.....thank you.....you too are a very good citizen. Good things will happen, that's for sure....for both you and I.

cheers.

Tori said...

Dana,

I wish that I could give you a hug right now. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this but I believe that your courage, strength, authenticity and goodness will allow you to prevail and there is something incredible waiting, just waiting for you. Hang in there, know that I send my love,and try not to give thought to those that do not lead their lives with an authentic heart.

The House on Big Island said...

MUSKIE!!

I have so much to say about all of this!!! ...but best that I don't monopolize your comments section.

As I was reading your blog, at 5:00 AM (this morning), I heard the following song - an angel was around, I think. (the small additions are mine but the words are Jimmy Buffet's and they are oh, so TRUE!!)


So you're looking for a hero
That you can see with your own eyes
When they don't wear the mask and cape
They're hard to recognize

Even though these are cynical times
Bear it in mind

Good guys (gals) win
Every once in while
Full grown (wo)men
Get to learn from a child
Now and then
Just when you think it won't happen again
The good guys (gals) win

Trouble all around us
Dirty tricks at every turn
Seems that we historically
Refuse to live and learn

You start to wonder if all
Hope is gone
You would be wrong

Good guys (gals) win
Every once in while
Full grown (wo)men
Get to learn from a child.
Now and then
Just when you think it won't happen again
Good guys (gals) win.

State of confusion we're so disillusioned
You turn on the news and
Good guys (gals) win
Now and then
Just when you think it won't happen again

Good guys (gals) win
Every once in while
Full grown (wo)men
Get to learn from a child
Now and then
Just when you think it won't happen again
The Good guys (gals) win.

…Jimmy Buffett

...and Dana, you are one of those Good Guys!

Awareness said...

Thank you Tori.....I do know there is something.....heck if I know right now where it lies or what looks like. I'm trying to keep many tributaries open...we'll see.
It hurts to know that I'm unliked by some because they consider me difficult. Complicated, sure but difficult?
I have been weighing various things in my head all day.....remembering SO MANY times when I challenged someone because of the unfairness of treatment. I also can balance that with the fact that I was told I was needed and wanted by the head honcho not too long ago.....however i fear this isn't his sentiment anymore. I fear his feelings have been swayed by the feedback he is receiving from his direct in line staff (middle management)....despite knowing me for 15 years, I have to acknowledge that the ones I freaked out and "scared" manage to somehow smear my reputation. It's dirty.....definately, and I could kick myself for not seeing it earlier.

Ian.......those words brought me to tears......the very thought that angels sing Jimmy Buffett songs means that all is right in this world. Thank you for believing in me and for reminding me that I AM one of the good guys dagnabbit!

I was so glad to see your name and comment, Daisy. I tried, didn't I? I thought I had chosen the right place to be after last fall's interview for that other job. I guess I needed to learn a few more things or something before I got it....nothing like a hammer on the head.
Perhaps I should run for the Tories in the next election? Too bad I have two friends vying for candidacy already......

thank you Daisy.

Carmi said...

I so feel for you. Experiences like this explain why I ultimately left the wonderful world of financial services. It seems that passion for one's role and a desire to make a difference often position us in diametric opposition to the bureaucratic forces of inertia and conservatism.

Leaders intent on preserving their base of power often cut down those with the courage of conviction, the ones who dare to raise their heads above the canopy of the forest, the ones who challenge mediocrity, the ones who aren't content to simply go with the flow because that's the way it's been done for years.

Frankly, I'd rather hang around with those agents provocateur. They're infinitely more interesting to know, scars and all.

Looking back at the naysayers who made my own life a living hell and who remain in their old roles, I realize what sad, small people they really are. Time proves that their strategy is one of stagnation. Yours is one of growth.

Awareness said...

Carmi....If you were a little closer in proximity I'd hop in my van, find you and give you a hug. I had a feeling you had experience this as well......

I like the sound of agents provocadeur....a wonderful name for a cool club....perhaps with a motto "proud of our scars" And it would be a positive think tank full of open minded idea people ready to give each other a boost....ready to live and work outside of the parameters of the proverbial box.

It would also be a title of a great book......yes.....one that would include a chapter for each provocateur to tell their story!! Gee, I bet there are enough bloggers out there to pull together this intriguing book. hmmmmmmm.......wanna meet halfway and map it out?? How about a cafe tucked in an alley of la vieux Quebec? Merveilleux! Bring Deborah!

Robert said...

Merci dana had to throw in a wee bit of francais just wanted to stop by again quick and tell you that you sure are one of the good guys and this is only a bump in the road not a dead end. Also,did you get my email?? No hurries on responding just wanted to know you got it Blessings be yours agent provocateur :)