by Linda Cardillo
I'm not feeling good about myself today. For the first time, I feel like an old person preparing to be put out to pasture. I'm not old. I'm 67. A youthful (so I'm told), vibrant, fun-loving 67. So why am I feeling like old news?
Recently one of my coworkers quit. (I'll call her "Jane.") Since our administrative staff had been cut in half over the past several years, she and I have been carrying double loads, and she was burned out. It would have been a disaster if she left, so our new director got her a promotion, a decent raise, a new title and new responsibilities. She now does a lot of communications work - Twitter, Facebook, Mail Chimp, Eventbrite, that sort of thing. Things that are, in today's world, essential to a company's infrastructure. (BTW...my Bachelor's degree is in Communications and I haven't gotten a raise in nearly 7 years. Just sayin'.)
During a recent meeting about our individual "goals," I was told, "No offense to you and what you do, but what "Jane" does is key." That statement came after being told we could have future staff cuts or our office could be closed all together. Put those statements together and it equals, "If we have administrative staff cuts, you're out." (Some background facts: I've been with the company 17-½ years. "Jane" has been here for 10. I am a widow with one income, no family to help in a pinch, a mortgage and property taxes. Jane has an employed husband and no mortgage.) Life isn't fair.
That's it in a nutshell. The unfairness of it.
I do not begrudge "Jane" in any way. She's excellent at her job and we're great friends in and out of the office. As coworkers, we complement each other and we have both won the highest award given to administrative staff for outstanding performance. So, why me?
First of all, she quit so she got the new job, the promotion and the raise. Second, the manager hasn't been here long so he doesn't know my strengths or credentials, which I probably didn't convey very well during our too-soon get to know you one-on-one lunch meeting. Maybe he just didn't ask the right questions. I blame him for what he doesn't know about me. It's easier than thinking I didn't read the signs and should have sold myself better. I didn't know I was supposed to. That's on me.
After years of being told, "this place couldn't run without you," I am now non-essential personnel. I arrive every day to a colossal volume of work, but because I'm not Tweeting or revising last month's E-newsletter, at the end of the day, what I do doesn't matter.
I'm not feeling good about myself today.
Linda Cardillo is a full-time working widow who loves to create mixed media art and cuddle with her perfect, precious yellow lab.