you’re the one to make me cry.

Day 44 | Dry as the Sahara | Fighting Off Taking a Deep, Blissful Dive into a Pot of Pasta

Red-faced pseudo-identity is riding me hard today. With temptation. I’m hungry. “Thirsty.” I’ve got me a serious hankering.

Weather’s turned cold. From 90’s to 50’s. I’m wearing flannel pj bottoms, a turtleneck and a cardigan sweater. I want rotini with meat sauce, piping hot, doused in parm and warm bread. Red wine to wash it down. Lots of it.

Aw, hell.

All this despite the good news.

EMC extended an offer.

Finally other candidates in the running are hearing, “they went with another candidate.”

[from the drunken chronicles]

I finished up a 6-month contract at EMC last June [2016]. Previously, I had worked for Pam and her small consultancy Quik-Mark; the third time she’s recruited me to work for her. This last time had ended badly—I got fired—just following the annual company meeting.

The preceding year and a half under her employ, I continued to admire her [Harvard MBA, MIT Undergrad, former Olympic gymnast]; had hardly seen her. I sent her a mountain of chocolate at Christmastime, a tea set and assorted teas for her birthday. She rarely returned my phone calls or emails regarding pressing business matters. Working remotely I was in no-man’s land, untethered. Her ignoring me was nothing short of dehumanizing. She treats everyone that way, but I had hoped for more since I was her personal assistant.

The annual company meeting had started like this.

I came by way of Amtrak from Boston into Penn and Pam and our colleague Tina met me in front of Friday’s in the chaos of the filthy station. I was thrilled to see Pam, but hugs were exchanged in transit. We’ve got to hustle for the LIRR. I recall seeing the back of her, the air in her hair, her satin blouse, her bumping her suitcase through the turnstiles.

Tina had trouble navigating and keeping up the pace; she’s 5′ feet tall, a tad heavy and has matchsticks for legs. Her wheeled luggage kept losing traction and toppling over through the myriads of people. We boarded the train and scrambled for a 4-seat sitting area [quick! grab the seats!]. Pam threw elbows and pitched her petite ass underneath a considerably-sized businessman. He moved over to the next seat, practically unperturbed.

We’re there, the three of us and instead of chatting and catching up, Pam is listening to voicemail and Tina is texting. This is where I thought Pam and I could save face, rely on yesteryear, speak about the time I told her I slept with a colleague renown in Boston academia and aghast, her eyes teared up and her jaw formed a giant O until she broke into laughter. We only see each other in a great while, we’ll have fun over the next three days, make it last through the mundane times.

That’s what I figured.

But it feels shitty and I want to turn around for home.

Where it’s not filthy and stifling and rushed and impersonal.

We’re up at our stop, following Pam’s directive. I’m helping Tina gather her things and Pam is swiftly breezing through the sliding doors. Tina and I hit the platform, being pushed about in the throes of commuters, and instead of waiting for Pam’s fiancé (an attorney who’s yet to begin divorce proceedings with his wife) to pick us up here, we’re racing down the platform towards the station entrance, out of the parking lot.

Poor Tina is having a hard time keeping up and I’m thinking, what the hell is the big hurry, when her heel gets caught in a crevice and she flies forward, topples over her luggage and awkwardly lands on her wrist. I help her up. Her skin is abraded and it bleeds; she holds her arm like a broken wing.

The incident manages to break Pam out of her New-York-Frantic-Idiotic-Pace and she says, “oh, Tina” and brushes the pebbles from her skin. Tina fibs, says she’s okay; she had a lousy upbringing and her parents didn’t impart pity or compassion. Pam gathers Tina’s suitcase, Tina holds the broken wing close to her gut. The New Yorker resumes the lead down the platform. My eyes glare into her back. Tina is silently choking back the tears.

We get to the end of the mile-long platform and Fiancé, come to find out, is back where we disembarked. Pam tells him on her cell to come and get us.

Fiancé! Great to meet you! [not]

Fiancé drops off Tina and I at the hotel.

I’m in the bar within fifteen minutes.

We don’t see Pam until the following morning for a day of Fun and Games—go-karts, rock climbing. I’m the one who set it up; a fat girl who has no interest in that type of shit and who’s pined for team-building exercises. At lunch, I go outside and smoke a cigarette with the Russian accountant. I’m rebelling—smoking, no rock climbing, no go-kart. Pam texts me in the limo. She sits just behind the front seat, I’m hiding in the far back.

What’s wrong. Everyone can see you’re unhappy. Smile.

We stop in at her house in Cold Spring Harbor and I meet her dog. He makes me smile.

By dinnertime I’m dying for a drink, the anesthetizer. I’m the first to arrive to the Italian restaurant and into half of the second Ketel martini when the others begin to arrive. When Pam shows up, winded, I’m starting my third. I saved her a seat next to me and when she pushes in close the table I put my arm around her and blubber, “how come I never see you'” and “how come we never have any fun” and “I’m so unhappy…with you” with tears running down my face.

She talked and laughed with the others, thinking I have a lush on my hands!

The following morning Husband and I meet up with Pam in a quaint little bakery and discuss my job status [my being unhappy]. Pam offers to relocate me to Long Island. Husband has a job in Cambridge and for us to relocate on my salary doesn’t make any sense. I tell Pam I’ll commute to Long Island a couple days a week. She says that doesn’t promise us working together in person. She tries to sell me on relocating again, a promotion which includes doing HR stuff, she’s expanding the firm. I hate HR stuff. We decide I’ll leave Quik-Mark at the end of August and I’ll train my new replacement.

Which, incidentally, Pam already has in place.

The staff returns to their respective hideaways across the Northeast. A day later, a young female consultant [she lives on Beacon Hill] who I’ve been graciously booking accommodations and attendance at golf tournaments across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, asks me to buy a monitor for her. I had asked for a monitor weeks ago so I could work in the nearby office with Pam’s Managing Partner, Al, but was denied it—”not in the budget.” Monitors had been approved for staff at the company meeting. Pam and her partner figured, gee, we should give our staff what they need to efficiently do their job. So Miss Cute Rich Blond Consultant is put-off when I tell her discreetly, please, just order it yourself. The monitor-thing is a sore subject with me.

She rats on me to Pam.

Pam emails me, this isn’t like you. I email Blondie, angry. Blondie forwards my email to Pam. Pam asks me to apologize to Blondie. I tell her I won’t. Pam says [over email] you’re dismissed—you can quit this very moment or wait until Natalie comes on board and you’ve trained her.

I say, I’m out of here this instant!

Pam: You still have to apologize to Kitty.

Me: No.

Pam: Yes.

Dearest Kitty, please accept my most, humblest apologies for rumpling your fragile and well-bred feathers. With deepest sincerity, Ginny.

I got out of ordering the monitor.

The bridge with Pam is burned to hell.

[gulp, gulp, gulp]

she will have her way.

Day -99 | Keep the Martinis Coming | Oh, and Miss? Extra Jalapeños on My Nachos

I walked out of the temp job located in the Center of the Universe.

In a fury, mind you.

I wrote an article depicting the debacle and when I finished it, I fussed with the title:

“Drizella and the Evil One” or “Cambridge Firm Touting Reputation Metrics for Renown Brands Denies Temp Her Service Animal.”

I settled on “The Center of the Universe is Goddamn Cold.”

I approached every Boston media outlet and no editor would pick it up or assign the story to a reporter to corroborate the facts.

I mean, really.

How can it be libel and defamation if what I wrote is the truth?

I want to share the story with you and have taken out some the HR best practices stuff, which I had in there to frame the story.

[BTW, my meter to tolerate bullshit hovers pretty low—I ain’t a kid anymore.]

The third day into my temp-to-perm job at The Quark Group, I send an email to the HR Director. Tricia is feather-thin and blond, dresses like the snotty girls did in high school, and wears sleek pumps that go tap tap tap as she flits about the place with conspicuous purpose. This affable woman is typically found in her office, wearing an expression that reads “unapproachable,” and her person happens to be obscured by two monitors in the same ratio the world ocean occupies the planet.

Sabrina. “Good girl.”

In the email, I go for political correctness and “ask” if Sabrina, my certified service animal, can accompany me on the job. My digestive track had been re-plumbed following a nasty car wreck and I wrestle with Crohn’s-type symptoms. Sabrina, adept at picking up the episodes, leans against my thigh, mitigating the wallops of intestinal cramping I endure.

She is, without a doubt, my “medical assist.”

Why hadn’t I brought Sabrina when I interviewed for the role, as I did when I interviewed at Sun Life Financial in Wellesley and TJ Maxx in Framingham, where Sabrina’s presence was fully welcomed?

Because Quark is headquartered in Kendall Square. How could I appear compromised in Cambridge—despite my Winthrop MBA—the so-called Center of the Universe?

I send the email and copy my two supervisors—Darren the CMO and the Tony the Creative Director. Darren never sees the note, he resigned the day before, adding to the considerable personnel the firm is hemorrhaging. Odd for a consultancy that’s engaged by renown brands to run metrics depicting trends in customer satisfaction.

Just after 4:00, Tony receives a response to my inquiry. It’s elaborate. “Tricia says no about your dog.”

My jaw gapes. I didn’t tell it to gape, it did it on its own. I assimilate her intention, her inflicted power, her mean-spiritedness. I want to bust into her office, thrust my arm through the two monitors and stick a fork in her eye. “She can’t say no,” I tell him. “ADA.”

He shrugs sorry.

A week creeps by. The monotony of populating a lean list of Canadian contacts in Salesforce, entailing the tedium of copying and pasting an endless array of l’accent aigu and l’accent grave, is eroding my brain like the elements that beat on the dunes along the Lower Cape. My harried commute, one hour and forty-five-minutes each way, and trips to the restroom, are unaccompanied by my dog. In my head, the screech of the Red Line sounds. It’s not deafening, but it’s not subtle either.

One morning my mouse is not where I left it, it’s out of my personal comfort zone; someone’s signed onto my laptop, the password is there written on a post-it. My temp coworker, Laura, who is doing a similar task as the one assigned to me and after a perm position, asks Tony if she can divert for a bit—set up email campaigns, support the one-and-only sales guy—anything but the list building. We’re informed there’s several iterations to the list building.

Laura is pleased to leave for a doctor appointment at 12:45.

At 2:30, “Tank” the CEO, who resembles the playground bully and whose nasty reputation appears in volumes on Glassdoor, talks to Tony and asks if “she” can run a contacts report in Salesforce for him. The exchange between the two persists. I keep hearing him say “she” and my pride refuses to belief “The Evil One” is talking about me as if I’m not there. Why not ask me my name? Aren’t we professionals, working in the Center of the Universe? Ginny, could you run such-in-such report for me?

Mais bien sûr, monsieur!

An hour previously, Tricia, despite my email expressing a firm interest and ideal qualifications for one out of five roles in Marketing (she has to recruit entire teams due to the profuse bleeding), had not responded and appears before Tony giddy as a schoolgirl about a candidate, waving a printout of her LinkedIn profile as if she is cheering on runners of the Boston Marathon. She remarks, she doesn’t fit any one of the roles specifically, gushes but I LOVE HER! and exclaims, you must interview her before she commits to a job elsewhere!

“Tank” the CEO. He walks away and my pride wins. I tell Tony I won’t tolerate the guy’s unprofessionalism; Tricia’s discrimination. I bid him goodbye, a meek guy who was promoted to VP the day after Darren vanished, an obvious tactic at retention, and vacate the premises with my personal peripherals that I needed to do the job. I hop the Red Line to Harvard Square and my husband and I drive out of the Center of the Universe to our humble home in Metrowest.

What does it say about an organization whose management doesn’t embrace what’s important to its employees? Walk the talk? Pays the enormous cost of attrition?

Laura called me this morning.

She told me an analyst and a consultant newly resigned. That makes five people who have quit in two weeks. By the end of the day, Tricia will be waving a printout of me and Laura’s email exchanges about The Evil One and “Tricia is a bitch” in Laura’s face and although Tricia claims she was going to offer Laura a permanent role that very day, she’ll be dismissed and leave the place in a tantrum of tears.