Just when you thought it was safe to go to work…

     Remember, you three faithful readers, when I said I was going to remind myself of what I like about my job and I was sort of trying to be nice about the fact that I work with a bunch of catty bitches? Remember that? (See: last post) Well…Monday turned out to be such a thrill I haven’t been able to sit down and share it with you here.

     Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

     I start thinking about Monday morning at 4 pm Sunday afternoon. It looms like a guillotine blade. This last Monday morning it was raining, traffic was a disaster, and I was running late. I worked from home Friday afternoon and was toting a laptop and assorted sundry items – umbrella, purse, lunch bag, coat, self.  Keep in mind, it’s a 1/2 mile walk from my parking space to the building.

     Just as I set my things down on my desk at 9:20 am my manager swoops in and invites me for a personal chat. SHe’s visibly rattled. In an empty conference room, she proceeds to tell me that “some members of my team” had been wondering where I was. Had been angrily and shrilly suggesting that unexplained tardiness is grounds for termination. Had been fretting loudly that I would probably miss my ten o’clock meeting with one team member – let’s call her Princess – and Princess would have to reschedule another meeting. Had been repeatedly condemning me and my tardiness. Oh and Princess can’t see my on-line calendar which is just beyond the pale in terms of Things That Shouldn’t Happen to Princess…EVER.

    Manager seems irritated at Princess and the other complainer – let’s call her Unhinged – and recalls that they have nary a leg to stand on when complaining about other people’s lateness. Both Princess and Unhinged are regularly in after 9:30 am and leaves before 5 pm. I am thinking, as Manager speaks, that I am very sorry I was 20 minutes late. I apologize, promise to call in the future should I anticipate tardiness of any kind.

     I am not usually late. I turn my work in on time. I make all my meetings. I do my work well. Boss says that if you’re going to be later than 10 am, you should call and let someone know.

     For the rest of the morning, both Princess and Unhinged are perfectly nice to me. I am in fact, not late for the meeting with Princess, and her performance at said meeting was typical of her meeting behavior – bossy, uninformed, and rude.  Since Manager seems to feel their behavior was uncalled for and that I am not in trouble here, I am having no trouble playing nice. The knives sticking out of my back don’t even hurt. This is surprising to everyone else who witnessed the tantrums. Three observers, two of whom stood up for me, by all accounts, continued to voice their disbelief in the behaviors. They tell me it was ugly, unprofessional, stupid, and out of control. I’m told that Boss knows about the tantrums, not because one of the team members informed her, but because someone else on our floor was distracted and complained about the ruckus Princess and Unhinged were making.

      I’ve been documenting everything of late. I write down when Princess comes in to work. I note that she spends hours shopping on-line, looking at her profile on dating sites, and talking with her mother on her work phone. And I noted that last week, Princess took a two hour lunch and was 45 minutes late for a meeting with me.

     I have to remind myself what’s going on here. This is a scary time for people with jobs and we’re all afraid of the state of the economy and what it means for us personally. Combine that with women who are not only out for themselves to get ahead, but who have no problem throwing you under the bus when its convenient. I’m not a bit surprised about this little flare-up. It was only a matter of time, really. It takes a lot of energy, however, to look to the future while you’re constantly watching your back.

     Stay tuned. I”m sure there’s more to come.