Irv missed a week of therapy because his writer was splashed with drama.
A bit of explanation first:
WHO IS IRV PODOLSKY?
There’s the weblog Irv who is presently taking on a universe of insecurities so we readers can get past them.
There’s Irving Podolsky, the author, writing various fiction using that pen name.
And then there’s the other ME, with another identity working in another industry. It’s that other me that took heavy hits this past week, and an emotional ski jump that ended with my getting fired off a colossal project.
There were good guys and bad guys in this play. I watched the acts unfold from a place where I saw the wreck coming and tried to avoid it. I couldn’t. I got hit from behind, adding a blinding headache to my other bruises.
And now, a few days later, I realize my prodded exit was the best bailout that could have happened. Working on that job had become intolerable.
I was dodging bullets from every direction, most of it friendly fire, but there were big blasts I could not avoid. My work was being undermined by a woman reporting to me and my clients were barely expressing their intentions. Yet my crew and I were suppose to make those wants come to life – psychically I suppose.
Beyond that, my partner was selling me out for the third time and the demands of keeping up with the daily changes were overwhelming. I tried delegating, and did. It still wasn’t enough.
The client would come up with an idea, a new concept and demand that it be carried out behind the curtains within hours. No excuses would be excepted if it were late. The mandate: Just do it.
You see once a client looks into the process of what he asks for, he owns it. He must take responsibility for all the actions, people, money and time it takes to make it happen. He doesn’t want that. He just wants what he wants because his job is on the line, and his next job if this project doesn’t pay off.
My job is to help him make his project pay off. And with that obligation comes total loyalty every minute of every day. I’m supposed to check my emails constantly, even on Sunday nights for directions that must be resolved by Monday morning. My computer is never turned off.
Why did I stay planted in this volcano? Once I commit, I don’t give up. I give it my ALL. That’s what they’re paying me to do. That’s why I stay employed in my industry.
So I took the heat of the project while being hampered by a devious power-trip employee and a partner who had turned into my boss refusing to back me up. I drove to work every morning in a fog of apprehension tinged with depression. I was alone in this, except for my adoring wife who got ear-loads of stories night after night as I decompressed.
But then last week my emotional armor cracked in the presence of the client. I stab followed quickly. Has it happened to you? Here’s the details.
My team and two others were putting together a massive presentation on a huge recording stage. We were into our forth sixteen-hour day and more changes were coming in hourly. I was tense. Really tense. I didn’t have help organizing this because only I had the overview.
But I was holding the line…until…my hard drive crashed inside my recording stage computer. And with that break-down went the digital files I needed to do my job. It was the source media I referenced when my client changed his mind and wanted an alternate version of what he first loved.
Of course I had back-up drives, but they were on my office computer – a two minute walk from the stage.
I had to re-group. But before I could that, more requests were handed to me with illogical notes. I needed to go to my office to figure them out, and I needed the client there with me to explain them, and I needed to remain on the stage too. I started to unravel.
The client didn’t want to hear about hard drives crashing. The client didn’t want any glitches at all. The client was in the fire himself and he did not want the temperature raised…by me.
The client and I walked to my office to work out the new concept, and that’s when I realized I had left my notebook, my bible of the project, back at the stage. Naturally I got a call from the employee who hated me. The mixers needed more materials I was supplying and I had to tell them where they were. But I couldn’t. Not without my notebook. And not with the client sitting next to me.
I told my employee to find the stuff and take care of it. Now SHE was under time pressure and I could hear her anger through the phone. She did find the material because I had set it up to be found. But I think some negative repercussions came out of that.
So I finished working with the client while I exposed the anxiety zinging through my veins. I find it difficult to hide my emotions. I don’t know how other people do it. Or how my client does it. He had a bag of stress as well and I now know he didn’t want me to be sharing mine.
Still, since my nerves weren’t getting in the way of performing the tasks, I didn’t think it would prompt the man to demote me the next day from project manager to a helper of some sort. He did this through a chain of command. He wouldn’t do it face-to-face. Nobody gets fired face-to-face in my line of work.
I was utterly shocked. I never dropped the ball, never said no to him, met every deadline. And now the woman who fought me from day one was given my job, which meant I would be reporting to HER!
Although I predicted fall-out from the mess in the project, I never expected THIS. And not one person on my team, or the people in top management who knew me and my reputation, defended me.
I was hurt. I know that in business, betrayal occurs frequently. I’ve seen it happen to others. But it’s still a blow when it sideswipes you.
Yes, betrayal happens everywhere. It’s hard to avoid. Yet I think most betrayal is not premeditated. I think it’s defensive. I think people sell out their friends to protect their own behinds. It’s a state of weakness, not maliciousness.
I’m not defending malicious acts. They still cause harm. But I understand why they happen. And in this last job, as much as I wanted to hate the people who let me fall, I couldn’t find that emotion. It just wasn’t there even though I expected it to be.
So in the end, rather than work for a woman who hates me, I left the project four weeks early with a small severance package.
My wife feels I was grossly wronged and was ready to make calls and send emails on my behalf. She wanted people to know and understand my story, what contributions I had made, and how I had avoided crises after crisis with practical management.
And more importantly, my wife wanted to make a call to the woman who fought for control until she got my position. That employee didn’t need my wife’s punishment. Landing in the heat was not her objective. We traded a space in Hell that came with my job. If I wanted pay-back, letting her take on my stress and pressure is plenty of retribution.
So I explained this to my wife, adding it would be fruitless to seek revenge. No player set out to be a bad guy, except maybe my female employee, and even she rationalized her behavior. In her world she was right. I could never change her mind.
To be honest, I was warned about this drama before I stepped into my role. I hoped to rewrite the script. I could not. People had been fired before me. People will be fired after me. It was a risk tempered by a high salary. I was paid to do battle. I fought the fight, got knocked down, left the field. How I can I blame anyone for that?
Tomorrow a new week will begin and I will once again look for my next project, knowing as bad as it can get, it always ends.
Then something new starts…just like life.