Off the Record

I am a fairly open person. It's both a great strength, and possibly my biggest weakness.

On Thursday the whole work situation exploded again. I was in a routine meeting with my manager (the semi-annual quarterly meeting we are supposed to have), and I expressed my concern over how a situation was handled. I expressed concern over the perceptions it left me with, and how I felt about the situation.

It quickly became apparent that my manager was going to blame my supervisor, for everything. Now, neither of them are great, and usually, blaming my supervisor would not be unreasonable. She's, frankly, a little outclassed.

But probably more than that, she's miserable. With the onset of the new manager last March, things seem to have gone from really bad, to well, worse than really bad. And we all see it. We see the hunted look, and we know who's doing the hunting.

So, after meeting with my manager, when it became quite apparent that my supervisor was going to be blamed, I took my supervisor out for coffee. Left the building. And I told her what happened, what I said, and what I thought was coming. She took a sip of her water, and she started telling me that she knew. She told me she was miserable. And I, truly trying to be compassionate, suggested that maybe she should think about finding a new job. I wasn't implying that she wasn't competent, I wasn't implying that I thought she should leave, but she was and is clearly miserable.

And somehow, out of all of this, I wound up in a Vice President's office with my manager, accused of:


Yeah, I know. I'm a bit perplexed. Mostly because I truly meant it with compassion.

But more than that, as the VP threatened me with a letter of reprimand, there was shame. I have to confess, I was fired once, long ago, but I've never been reprimanded. And I still don't get it. I could see a charge of manufacturing dissent, of being disrespectful, but insubordination? And a threat of a reprimand without the supervisor or even someone from HR there? And a threat that did not actually materialize? What do I do with all of this?

And this leaves me confused. I was truly trying to be compassionate. And realistic. It's just that I can't reconcile how speaking the truth in this case, could possibly be insubordination.

I sucked it up. It seemed, in that office, looking out over downtown, that this was not the time to suggest the context of the conversation made the comment something less than disrespect, and something more than simply being human.

But here I stand, accused of insubordination, and more than a little confused.