These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Woe is me ... yeah, a feeling-sorry-for-me-and-getting-better post

My last few weeks have been less than fun. Work, which I really do love, became very stressful, and I was reaching the point of not wanting to go in every day. It's a long story, and I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say that I'm just glad it is over.

A light overview .... There were two situations going on which were rough. One didn't involve me directly, but the ripples impacted on everyone in the office. It was ongoing for about three weeks, had everyone on edge because of the unprofessional actions of one person. This was punctuated with the death of a coworker.

Fortunately, that seems to be healing now with the absence (permanent) of that person, and general balance appears to be coming into the workplace again. There will still need to be some healing time for those closer to the core of all that, but hopefully it will come.

The second situation absolutely included me. I was under attack by one person who had called into question my professional decisions and actions, and who has chipped away like an ice carver with making a statue out of an iceberg! It was over petty things, but she hammered and hammered on them until I thought my head would explode. My decisions and actions were sanctioned by the administrator, but even that didn't resolve the issues. No solution passed muster with her. And of course, she did all this with the sweetest smile on her face and an "I just don't understand" about everything.

I have an open door policy. I invite anyone to talk with me about differences, things not understood, suggestions, etc. Repeated offers to sit down and work it out were ignored, but more than once a blind-side attack occurred, including mentions of how "others" felt about my method of leadership. Those "others" were never named; hinted at issues were never clearly voiced. I felt that I  was fighting against an unknown, and indeed I was.

I do things differently than my predecessor. But I've been careful to stay within appropriate guidelines. I've been a Social Worker too long to not recognize that change is difficult for some folks. It's damn near impossible for a few! But I am who I am, and while I try to be a true "team player," my style is to simplify, streamline, and remove as many stumbling blocks as possible. In doing that, I cause change, and even if it is simpler, some will push against it.

I frequently doubted myself during the past few weeks. Seriously, it became that strong. Coworkers and the administrator assured me that I was doing right, doing well, but you know how the chipping away can be. It undermines even the most capable after a period of time.

Today, it ended. Or I think and hope so. The administrator came to the meeting to sit in, to listen, to answer questions, and ultimately to say this is the end.The meeting ended on a high note, with the administrator and me talking about this putting misunderstandings and confusion behind us and looking forward to updating our guidelines as discussed (we found several outdated items in the policies and procedures). And when my antagonist raised (for the umpteenth time) her "concerns," I was able to point out that the issue had already been discussed and resolved.

Would you believe this person is a volunteer? I work hard to make volunteers feel appreciated and valued, treated professionally, etc. This was very difficult for me. I've felt she didn't like me; I learned in the last couple weeks that she was strongly attached to the previous coordinator, so it would make sense. Anyway, I'm so glad to have the administrator's support and the support of the rest of the volunteers. Well, a couple others are debatable, but they at least voiced support. I hope it will turn around now that the "questions" are answered.

Throughout this, I have been dealing with the worst siege of fibromyalgia (FMS) I've had in several years. It hasn't been enough to take me to bed, but certainly has been a constant discomfort. Of course, this makes sense .... a major trigger for FMS is stress!! I was having some active FMS symptoms before all this arose, but it exacerbated the pain many times over. I'm hoping that the release of stress will also function as a release for FMS symptoms. I'm already better; I would say my discomfort is at a moderate to light-moderate level, meaning it is pretty constant but light enough to be relatively unnoticeable while my mind is occupied.

I was just thinking about the past few months. It is mind boggling.

My year in review ...
  • Jan - new job; two daughters in marital distress and would be over the next few months
  • Feb - extreme cold spell and ice storm
  • March - water heater leak destroyed my carpet, my house was in a mess until May
  • April - stepson moved away; I disassembled my office so he could take a few pieces of furniture with him.
  • May - mixture of things, preparing for trip to Mexico
  • June - The big trip, a good thing, but also stressful; the deck roof blew off, then back on, many repairs and fixes ensued
  • July - I spent the whole month trying to secure Jazi for her own safety (remember, she was a wee Houdini, escaping the confines of the yard for several weeks); we were in the throes of a drought and horrible heat spell, and I was exhausted
  • August - the above conflicts began at work; I finally began to organize the tubs of office supplies and arts & crafts that resulted from disassembling my home office.

No wonder fibro is kicking my arse!!

Onward and upward now. [relieved sigh]


  1. I'm glad you got thing resolved at work. I hate those kinds of conflicts. I don't anything is more stressful. Hang in there. Take care of yourself.

  2. Just remember, they hired "You." I know it's hard to be disliked when you feel it is unjustified, but now that it is becoming apparent that this person was so close to you predecessor, you can more easily understand her attacks.

    Remember you can please everyone all of the time. Keep true to your own course and above the petty.

    If you really believe this person is done causing unrest, I've go a bridge you might be interested in buying.

  3. Oh, I am sorry that things have been so tough. It sounds really horrendous. Someone chipping away at you can eat up your life, can't it. I hope things turn around soon.

  4. RET, thanks. It's good to feel supported and to be able handle it in a professional way. I just don't get people who do such underhanded things. I know from my logical side that they may not truly realize what they are doing, but from the emotional side, it just sucks!

    Merikay, it's not that she is guaranteed to be "done," but that the boundaries are clearly established, and she knows this could lead to her termination as a volunteer. If she cares, that speaks volumes; if not, she won't mind leaving. And as for understanding .... as I said above, the thinking side of me does get it, but there is no place for the emotional warfare from an adult in the workplace, among adults, over an absent 3rd party. I understand her pain, but since she is still involved with that person elsewhere, what purpose is there in doing this? If I'm uncomfortable in a situation, I LEAVE IT! I struggle to understand why she stays on.

    Jenny, I'm usually pretty good about overlooking conflicts and just going on with life. This has been persistent enough to break down my own resolve. I feel re-energized, though. I'll be OK, and thanks.

  5. I hope your problems at work are resolved. I know from experience that the stress situations such as you described cause can really affect a person. I hope with calmer times your fibro will greatly improve.

  6. Well I hope the Fibro starts to calm down. You have had a heck of an eventful year! Keeps things interesting I guess. But maybe not the kind of interest that your looking for!
    Regarding the person at work, it seems that there is one at every job. Hope things settle down for you now Lyn.
    Love Di ♥

  7. Subtle and not-so-subtle attacks are especially hard on folks like you who try to give colleagues the benefit of the doubt and to resolve conflicts amicably. The times I had experiences similar to yours made me especially thankful for a boss and several other top administrators who stood up for my professionalism and competence, once in the venue of a formal meeting (I was not in that meeting) when another administrator quite a bit lower on the university food chain launched an overt attack.

  8. SBV, I hope they are, too. Time will tell. Thanks.

    Di, yes, it is calming already. I'm doing better, thanks. You're right, there is one of those everywhere. mumblegrumble....

    LC, you said it very well. But even if we have support, the headache is quite personal, isn't it?

  9. I hear ya on the fatigue! I have CFS and am really dragging my tail. Going to look into more natural eating.

    As for your "thorn in your side"... I think it's time for her to take a walk and stay gone!

    A bad apple in a barrel can ruin the entire barrel.

  10. The thing I enjoy most about retirement is not having those petty squables at work. They're usually like a gravel but feel like a bolder. I can't tell you how much I hated those.

  11. Nan, CFS and FMS are so similar! Yeah, I'll bet you do know!

    I rather suspect the thorn will go away. Don't know for sure, but I think she's put herself in a hot spot. Since several of the other volunteers have made a point of telling me they like my style, they appreciate what I do, etc., I think the barrel is OK. :)

    Linda, I agree with you. When I was retired, it was pleasant, but I also enjoy most parts of my job.

  12. I empathise with the hard and difficult work of being a social worker. I have to deal with my disabled son's social worker and it seems to me that she is in an almost no win situation, given the financial status at present.

    Just to add a note about the fibromyalgia - I have acknowledged privately in my journal that it is causing me troubles right now; but I'm not brave enough to put anything about it in the blog. Thanks for showing the way.

  13. My wife has FMS and it can be a real bear to deal with. It took many doctors many years to figure out what her problems were.

    I read through your story, and then was stopped cold by the fact the unhappy person was a volunteer! The old adage that you can't fire a volunteer is true, but you can certainly suggest he or she take their "talents" elsewhere!

  14. Anon, to be honest, there has not been a "good" time to be a social worker; the financial constraints are always there. I agree is it probably worse now, but ....

    Gosh, I hope you can begin to accept your health. It won't change it, but it will help you to reach out and find your path to what works for you. That is a big step. Good luck!

    Bob, I had FMS before FMS was known. The doctors were all thinking I was plain nuts. I was SO relieved to finally get a diagnosis, several years later.

    Actually, the volunteers can be, well, perhaps not "fired," but they can be dismissed if found to be unsuitable. We covered that fact in the meeting. I'm hoping she got it.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!