Archive for ‘Mow?’

February 13, 2012

The Schoolyard

So, in my field there are several large organizations that will … with much hard work, and even more money … provide you with training and certifications. Big, fancy certifications. Certifications that provide you with acronyms that you can attach to your name on business cards and email signatures. Fun, right?

In discussing my goals with my boss, we got to disecting a recent promotion announcement … figuring out what about the woman who’d been promoted (totally deservedly, lady ROCKS) GOT her that promotion. The announcement kept coming back to classes she’d taken in her time with this company. So, we looked into the classes. 3 required for a certificate, 6 for the full-on certification. 

The goal is to get my full certification by the end of 2013. And my certificate by the end of 2012. Last Wednesday was my first class: Budgeting and Accounting. Oooh, fun. *

I was the 4th to arrive to my class, and sat down to open the book.** Across the table from me were two women … one much older than the other, but clearly trying to appear younger. Ok, there are plently of women like that, right? Each was dressed in a black blazer and many necklaces, and had perfectly manicured nails.

As I sat down, they looked up. I was in a blouse and cardigan combo … no blazer to be found. The younger of the two looked me up and down, and huffed … loudly enough that the entire room could hear her. Then she turned to her friend, and they both started laughing.

Well alright then. Asshats.

Class filled up (about 15-20 men to 6 women … not uncommon in this industry), and we began. It was immediatly clear that while I may be one of the youngest in the room, I was also one of the most knowledgable. I thought nothing more of it than to heave a sigh of relief (I was terrified I was going to know NOTHING) and continue answering questions. I’d made a point to sit directly across the table from the instructor, so I could make eye contact … and as a result, she addressed a lot of quesitons to me. Fancy.

About halfway through, though, I started noticing the same two women, this time glaring at me. When I finally answered which company I work for, the glares got more intense. I attempted to ignore them, and went on doing what I had been doing. But now it was awkward.

WHAT IS IT about women that makes us so catty? Why was it that my clothing/workplace/age/knowledge should be subject to open ridicule? Why should I be made to feel ashamed of my acomplishments? And for that matter, why should the one thing I remember (besides her behavior) about the older woman be that she was trying to look much younger?

It feels like we’re back in high school, and the cliques are at war.

I don’t get it, and I don’t like it. If this continues, it’s shaping up to be a very uncomfortable class.

Do you have experiences like this?

 

*Please note the scarcasm. I mean, my undying enthusiam.

** Book is a bit of a misnomer. It was a fancy 3-ring binder with the pages shrinkwrapped, hole-punched, and ready to go. That stupid shrinkwrap took AGES to get off. Ugh.

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November 16, 2011

Brat

Stumbling around on FB last week I came across a post from an acquaintance saying roughly (I cannot find the post again to save my life, it may have been taken down) that “Military Brat” is not a term of honor, “your kid is a brat because you’re not there to teach them not to be.”

Now, this struck me as odd, and as a misreading of a common term. I was put off, but ignored it.

But then this popped up:

I think it’s irresponsible to make babies and war at the same time. My dad was gone a lot when I was a kid, and my mom was busy, and I grew up feeling alone in the world, with the belief that nobody was there to take care of me. I wondered if my dad had another family in Germany, and I wondered if terrorists were going to kill my mom today, or if the bomb threats were just rumors.

I don’t want that for your kids. If you are unwilling to wait to the end of your contract to start a family, that’s your choice. But if you pretend your kids aren’t losing out by not having you around, you’re delusional.

I’m sorry, what?

I am not a child of the military, though several family members have served. I have many friends in various branches, some on contracts, some career. Some with families, some without. And that post struck me as insulting. (Judging from the response she got to it, I wasn’t the only one to feel that way.)

I mean, look, I get that because your dad was a military contractor he was gone a lot. And I can sympathise with being a little girl with a wildly active (and morbid) imagination. But guess what? For the first 7 years of my life I barely saw EITHER of my parents, because of their work schedules. I didn’t spend my entire childhood in the same house. And I’m fine. I wasn’t traumatized because my mother wasn’t there to help me with my homework, nor did I feel like I was missing out because my dad wasn’t around to play catch with me.

I guess what’s bothering me is the presumption that because she had a bad experience with being a military child, it’s ok for her to condemn military families as “irresponsible” or (as she later said in the comments) “selfish”. Because seriously, who the hell are you to tell someone when it’s ok for them to have children?

It’s a step off the whole “you can’t have kids until x” conversation that pisses everyone off so much. And I won’t stand for it. You can have opinions, but you sure as hell can’t go guilting someone for doing something you don’t like. ESPECIALLY when it comes to having/not having children.

And taking it a step further, it feels like a condemnation of single parent families. Which REALLY gets my blood boiling. You can’t presume to know the reasons/motives/situations that brought about any particular family unit. You can’t honestly believe that your experience is the experience of everyone in a similar situation.

And you certainly need to stop portraying your opinions as fact. That type of arrogance makes me lose whatever respect I had left.

October 25, 2011

That Awkward Moment

… when people don’t think things through.

So, inspired by Sarah’s tweet this morning, I thought I’d share my story of good intentions gone oh-so-wrong:

My in-laws are HYPER religious. So much so that we did not allow anyone other than a dear friend to speak during our wedding ceremony, for fear of what would be said (remember, they weren’t quite on board with the wedding) … and the toasts were planned: Skye would give a toast, my dad would do the welcome, and … in an effort to not leave him out, should he want to … husband’s dad would give a blessing before the meal. You know, once everything was already said and done.

There are always mishaps when it comes to toasts: My dad, for example, wished us “good luck” when he meant to say (he later told me) “best wishes”. Skye slipped in a few extra words she hasn’t been planning on (her face when they slipped out was hilarious!). Funny incidents, and no foul, right?

Well, my father-in-law decided he DID want to give the blessing. And so, he was handed the mic. As far as blessings go, it was long-winded, but lovely. And then, he veered off the road:

“And Lord, if there is anyone here today who does not know you as their Savior, touch their hearts, and turn them away from their path of wickedness…”

My eyes flew open, and stunned, I stared straight at a table full of my friends. My friends, who were Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and atheist.

He was still talking, but I was too stunned to hear him. I sat there, horrified, until one of my friends (he’s Jewish) looked me in the eye … raised an eyebrow … and started to  laugh.

I lost it.

I have never in my life been so grateful for the ability to laugh silently.

October 13, 2011

FRAUD

*** DISCLAIMER ***

*** This is going to be a rant. Strong language will be used. I will not be offended if you skip this one.***

 

So … I do property management. It’s a fluid business, and things can change nearly without warning. Take for example, February of this year. In January, we were told that the company I was working for had lost the contract on my building, effective March 1st. They weren’t yet sure if they had a place for any of us, but would keep us updated.

Three weeks  passed with nothing. Then the games started. The “HR liaison” (because their HR is outsourced) told me there were a bunch of different opportunities. She saw (for the first time, no doubt, though I’d been working for the company for 10 months) that I had EA experience. Well, there was an EA post opening up! Would I be interested? Oh hell, why not. OK GREAT! Let’s talk again on Friday!

Friday rolled around (3 weeks out from the end of the contract now), I showed up for our chat, and was thrown into an interview. You know, in my Casual Friday jeans. ::sighs:: Luckily it was with the outgoing EA, not the boss, and we had a good chat. Then the CFO wanted to see me.

That man sat me down, and told me I wasn’t cut out to do anything as “difficult” as an EA position. But, he DID have a receptionist post … at a pay cut. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

I looked for other opportunities. Found one, with a FANTASTIC company, in my field, and I’m super happy with them. We made the transition fairly peacefully, and all was well.

Or so I thought.

In March, I logged into my old HR account to retrieve all my paystubs (since no one gets paper copies any more). And there, in the middle of several stubs, was one for $1000 of “Supplemental/Bonus Pay”. $1000? I’d never received that! So, I called the HR company. They said it had been mailed to the corporate office, and probably had been overlooked. They’ll find out and make sure it gets to me.

A week later, nothing. A week after that, nothing. And so on.

I contact the company directly, and left a message. At least twice a month, from April – August. Totally ignored. Hmm … now this is seeming like less of an oversight and more of a willful withholding, right?

In August I had a friend who is a finance lawyer draft a letter saying if I didn’t have resolution by September 1st, I would be filing a fraud charge. (The willful withholding of salary coupled with the fact that they’d reported to the IRS that I’d RECEIVED THE PAYMENT when in fact I had not, is open and shut fraud.) No answer. So on September 1st we started that filing. In DC, we have to provide the company with proof of filing, and then they have 30 days to remedy the situation.

October 1st came and went. I sent one last email to everyone (everyone being the big boss, the CFO, and the HR company rep who’d been helping me) letting them know the filing was going through. The HR company called and begged me not to, as it would affect them as well … when they had done nothing wrong. A fraud charge on a company that provides payroll services is a business-ender. She told me that since it had been 6 months the check was dead and she’d cut me a new one, without waiting for approval. Sounds like a good plan to me! I’m on board with it.

Yesterday I got an email from the CFO asking if I can give him a call. Now, so far, I’m upset and I’m irritated at their shenanigans, but whatever. I can deal. So, I call him.

This fucker spent 20 minutes talking in circles. Here are a few highlights:

“The check was reversed on July 26th, it should not show on your W-2.” – FALSE

“You were not entitled to it because it was not in your offer letter or any other correspondence that would have led you to expect it.” – AND YET ONE WAS CUT TO ME

“Bonuses are discretionary, and we decided not to give you one.” – AND. YET. ONE. WAS. CUT. TO. ME.

“Our policy is that you must be an employee on the date the check is handed to you, or you forfeit it.” – IDIOTIC POLICY

“We cut all the checks at the same time, but give them to different people at different times.” – ALSO IDIOTIC

“No one from your team got a bonus.” – COMPLETELY FALSE

“The check was a mistake, you should never have seen it.” – BUT I DID SEE IT

Basically, he spent the time telling me that I shouldn’t have ever expected a bonus (even though they announced that they would be giving them), and that anyway their policy was to cut one for everyone and then hand them out as they saw fit. When I pointed out to him that I’ve BEEN an HR Coordinator and I would never NEVER cut a check I had no intention of handing out, the idiot had nothing to say.

But he DID go on and on about how they made me what he felt was a fair offer to stay, but I chose to leave, so too bad.I told him it sounded like he was saying “If you’d stayed, you’d have gotten the check.” He said that wasn’t at all what he’d said.

BULLSHIT. WHY would you bring up your offer if it had nothing to do with the bonus? Bullshit bullshit bullshit.

Then he told me that it was a mistake because “payroll and taxes are all automated in DC”. Um, no. I’ll give you a lesson, asshat – you have to manually call in and pay your payroll taxes EACH WEEK in DC.  And once a month in Virgina. Don’t try to tell me you know better than I do when you’ve never done payroll at all, and I did it for a living.

I explained to him that a bonus check cut on February 11th is for work performed in the prior year. The year I was an employee, and as such I WAS entitled to it. He had nothing to say, except “I’m sorry you have hard feelings about this.”

::fumes::

So basically, they’re stiffing me a grand. Those assholes have no IDEA how hard we worked on this building. Hell, we worked so hard on it, another company hired us to stay! Everything he spouted to me was bullshit, everything he gave as a reason was a lie. The simple truth was that SOMEONE fucked up. Someone allowed a check to be cut, and the stub to be provided to me, and didn’t want to make good on it. So they hid and they lied and they stepped over TOO MANY lines.

If he’d been honest with me I would have been pissed, but not like this. But to LIE to me on top of committing fraud?

That earns a big fat FUCK YOU.

I’m contacting the HR company in the morning. If they can confirm the tax payment was reversed, I’ll send a letter to the company owner throwing the CFO under the bus for his fucking games. But if that payment WASN’T reversed? I’m filing for fraud.

Hope your current  business and financial dealings don’t get TOO messed up when that happens, fuckers.

 

* !!!!!!!! In the time it took me to write this, the CFO sent me a screen shot of the “reversal”. First off, it’s actually a dead check, not a reversal. Secondly, IT. HAD. MY. SS. NUMBER. ON. IT. You  know, something he should NOT have access to. Who do I contact about THIS?

October 10, 2011

Family

 

Alright, here goes.

Over the weekend I was perusing facebook and discovered my mother and sister had attended the bridal shower of a close family friend. So close a friend, in fact, that she’s considered family. (Her older brother and I are the same age, and have been close since we were 3. That’s 25 years, people.) I hadn’t known about the shower, but that was nothing shocking … I do live on the opposite coast and all.

The thing that hurt was that I didn’t even know she’d set a wedding date … much less one for November 2011.

So, I complained on Twitter, and then called my mother. Who proceeded to let me know everyone else had been invited (sister + fiance, brother + guest, parents, aunt + uncle, grandfather) but me. And then she added, when I explained how hurt I was, “Well, Sarah, you have a NEW family now.”

::blinks::

Can someone explain to me how getting married, and creating your own baby family, meant giving up your birth family? Can someone explain to me how my mother would get this idea in her head?

To be honest, it didn’t start when we got married. It started when I moved out of my parents house for good. College was one thing, because I came back. But once I was out, it was like I didn’t exist. My mother would mention to acquaintances how nice it was to have her “whole family” together for dinner … when I was in my own apartment 50 miles away. When my grandmother was dying I wasn’t contacted AT ALL. I drove up one night to sit with her and be with the family. My mother asked me what I was doing there.

I’m glad I stayed, even with the awkwardness. My grandmother died the next morning, and I’d been able to say goodbye.

Since moving cross-country, and getting married, it’s gotten worse. My grandfather is still holding a grudge from a nasty fight we had 3 days before the wedding. (I spent an hour and a half apologizing (for something that was as much his fault as mine) and laying it all out there, in March. His response was to say “Now it’s up to me whether I forgive you or not. We’ll see how that goes.” He hasn’t spoken to me since. He hasn’t spoken to my husband since the wedding. That’s OVER A YEAR now.) My mother continues to talk about how her whole family is around her. I’ve lived in DC for three years now, and not one member of my family has come visit us … even though they are visiting my cousins in Ohio several times a year.

I’ve thought honestly about it, to see if this is a situation I’ve created. Did I distance myself, and this is their reaction? And each time, I come back to the same answer – no. This is NOT something of my doing. I spend as much energy trying to be a part of their lives (with the exception of my grandfather … that’s just too much hurt) as I do with my father and sister … two people who DO still consider me family. I’m not doing anything differently with them than I am with anyone else.

Apparently it’s just easier to forget I exist.

During that horrid fight with my grandfather I told them all how I felt like I wasn’t a part of their family anymore. And my mother and I discussed it at length later that night. She told me I was being silly. I told her I still felt it, so it was valid. I thought it was sorted out.

I, apparently, was wrong.

This weekend, faced with another slight, I lost it. I cried and cried and cried to my husband. My poor husband … who has no real idea of the “family” I’m looking for … because his own birth family had such a different relationship. He doesn’t know how to help, or how to try and fill the hole in my life.

Is anyone else dealing with this? Have any words of advice? Anything?

 

* The photo is of my mother’s family (all those who were at the wedding, anyway), just over a year ago. Of the entire group, only 3 have talked to me in the last 6 months, of their own free will. And only 5 of them have talked to us since our wedding.