04 September 2007

Workplace Changes

Things have been crazy since Friday - and it's only Tuesday.

My workplace is undergoing changes right now: funding is being negotiated, organizational structure is being dramatically altered, historical alliances are shifting, and many people, for reasons of their own, in key positions, just happen to be leaving at the same time. As a result the stress levels are high, the workload shifting and a bit unpredictable, tempers flare, and the meetings are ongoing and exhausting (& if you listen really hard in one you might just figure out what's really going on).

Photo taken near Denali by a friend of mine in 2003

One of my colleagues in my "lab", i.e. on the same research grant & project as I am, is leaving at the end of this week. I hate to admit it but I must - I am looking forward to her going. This woman has not exactly been welcoming. I have approached her to ask her how to follow a certain protocol without her turning her head from her computer or even acknowledging my presence until I forced her to by repeatedly asking her if she has time. She is very capable of her job and this week everyone is singing her praises which I am sure she has earned. Meanwhile, I have been assigned to take over some of her tasks when she leaves and getting the required information from her feels like pulling teeth and leaves me feeling incompetent and frustrated. Working with her or around her makes me feel like I'm in high school again, complaints arrive to me through gossip, if I ask a question she stares at me as if I'm daft, and she is the leader of her own little clique.

To be honest, I don't mind that she doesn't like me, we are colleagues and one cannot be liked by, nor like everyone, and honestly, I don't need friends like that. All I'm hoping for is to make it through the week patiently and with some of my sanity intact. And I sincerely hope that the atmosphere warms a bit when she leaves. I have plenty of other crazy things going on that must be squeezed in between the transitioning chaos from prepping all the field collections we took on another oceanographic trip on Friday and cleaning the gear to taking over many of the shifts on the glacier cam counting seals now that our crew is down from 5 to 2 all the while continuing to do my other projects. (And having my computer go down!!)

And today, when the day was done I bicycled home against the wind, watching the wind whip up the waves into furls and the sea gulls wheeling in the air. I took my dog out for a walk through the forest where I snacked on blueberries, raspberries, and salmon berries, admired a purple mushroom I have never seen before, and stared at a waterfall until the sound drowned out the noises in my head. We came home and Cat crept onto my belly and pawed Dog's nose. The grind of the day fades away as I remember what is important in this life and how lucky I am.


  1. While things sound like they are getting hectic, this woman leaving seems like it will relieve some of your stress in the long haul. I've worked with people like that - tho not as bad as this person, admittedly - and I know the frustration you feel.

    I liked that the waterfall soothed you. Nature does that for me, too, but I am not even close to living in her gaze like you.

  2. I've never understood, nor had much tolerance for, workplace politics. That woman sounds awful and it will definitely be an improvement when she leaves. When someone has no people skills, all the rest pales in comparison ~ no matter how educated, bright or talented she is.

    That ride home sounds wonderful though! :)



  3. i can relate to so much of this right now - i wonder how much of it is due to financial issues, all the organizational stuff...i am glad that chick is leaving, it seems like the last sort of energy you need to be around when things are so difficult.

    and all of it will pass. take care of you during.

  4. I think THAT woman (or a male version) works in every office. I hope her contributions to the program outweighed her negative attitude.

    It sounds like you had a very productive evening with the Disreputable dog and the Disreputable Cat. At least they get involved in office politics.

  5. Thanks for all of your support! It is true that there is often someone like this in a workplace and that there may be reasons that aren't visible that make them the way they are and in the end it will pass. The key, I think, is remembering that it will pass during each interaction - that it is only a small thing that vanishes.

  6. ugh. work politics.

    So nice that you have something so real and so soothing to come home to.

  7. an excellent end to your day, and your post

    TGIF indeed

  8. I absolutely agree with jen , above. I'm so glad you were able to let the wind and the waterfall and your animals bring you back. It is hard to be centered with people who try to undermine you and your expertise. I love the fungi photos but don't feel the need to post twice.

  9. crazymumma ~ it is indeed. Thank goodness for the small things.

    painted maypole ~ thanks!

    sally forth ~ thanks, it is. And I'm glad you like the fungi photos.

  10. What a beautiful ending to a horridd day. I love your vlog, it is like sitting in front of a log fire on damp driftwood. Sorry, can't explain it better than that. I just love it here.

  11. dj kirkby ~ awww...THANKS! I'm so glad you like it.

  12. I managed to miss this post.... I love the last bit, too. There is something so right about finding gratitude when life is yucky. Love cat pawing dog's nose. So sweet....


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