The View From Here – Lessons in Perspective II

by Gig Girl on August 17, 2010

Duck or Rabbit? It's all how you look at it...

Post II in Gig Girl’s Perspective Theme Week (see Post I here) involves my pre-retirement/pre-leap-of-faith self.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, my former place of employment was not exactly a “family friendly” work environment.  The demanding hours which often included late nights and weekends, the raised eyebrows and heavy sighs over vacation request forms (when they were even approved) and the overall attitude and corporate culture handed down to us from our executive leaders made the message crystal clear to all of us.

And while I pride myself on being a rule-bender, on some levels I’m still the stereotypical approval-seeking first born with a solid work ethic instilled in me from both of my industrious parents.  Translation: For the most part I fell into line with what was expected of me.

Sure, there was the occasional circumvention of protocol and procedure.  Once, I requested to work from home so I could watch O play Baby Bear in his kindergarten play.  The request was met with awkward silence…and reluctant approval.  The next day I arrived in my office to find a voicemail from one of my bosses telling me that essentially “we don’t want to make a habit of this…and I’d rather you didn’t work from home this Friday, but I will leave it up to you for this last time.”

I listened to the message and quickly calculated:

1) Missing O’s play was not an option

2) The company had just slashed everyone’s salaries mere weeks before Christmas due to poor quarterly projections

3) Despite my thinner paycheck, I was still working roughly 50 hours a week (including nights and weekends…aka my “family time”) consistently so what was the freakin’ big deal???

4) I sit two doors down – Who leaves a voicemail for stuff like that?

Needless to say, the play was fabulous – O clearly gets his dramatic flair from my side of the family…

But, as much as I’d love to boast otherwise, these episodes of deviation from me were rare.  I worked long hours, I worked exceptionally hard and, at times, I had to sacrifice unrecoverable moments with my family.  The Hubs often had to pick up the slack (and reap the benefits of these moments with O) as my hours were just so unpredictable.

Adding to this, I had one action-item-addict boss with boundary issues. He would consistently come into my office five minutes before I was due to leave to assign projects that “had” to be done before we could leave for the night.  On a personal level, he was one of my favorites…but professionally, like me, he too was far too wrapped up in the company mindset of approval and achievement.  So there we’d sit, cranking away and getting done what needed to be done.  By the end of 2009, I received a stellar annual review that actually included the comment “It would be nearly impossible to replace Gig Girl with one normal person.”  Yay, me, right?


I still keep in touch with a lot of my former colleagues at this company.  A few months back I heard from several sources that, despite having left the company only 4 months earlier, my main boss can no longer remember my name.  He never says anything rude or disparaging (that they’ve fessed up to anyways), but my name completely eludes him so he’s taken to referring to me as “That Other Girl” whenever I come up in conversation.


So for those of us keeping track;  I worked crazy hours, nights and weekends, I got stellar performance reviews, I sacrificed precious, irretrievable moments away from my family…essentially, I danced like a silly little monkey on a string jumping through the proverbial corporate hoops for a man that four months later could not even remember what my first name was.


How’s that for some kick in the pants perspective?

Interestingly enough, my successor also recently quit from that position.  After only four months, she decided to leave to go to grad school (it’s important to note that this company offers full tuition reimbursement…so leaving to pay for it on your own in this economy is definitely an interesting development).


So now, it begs the question: Does this now make me “That Other, Other Girl?” Just wondering…

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn from For Love or Funny August 18, 2010 at 6:52 am

Uhg – my heart crumpled to hear that your boss couldn’t even remember your name after all that you’d sacrificed for your job. By the way, I think the new girl who recently quit should be “that other, other girl.” At the very least, you deserve top billing as “that other girl.”
(Stopping by from SITS!)

Gig Girl August 18, 2010 at 8:08 am

It was a tough lesson Lynn – but it was one worth learning, that’s for sure!
Thanks for stopping in!

Trish Gillis August 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

Been there. Second job. Learned.

Jenn August 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

As you and my husband have discovered, working for yourself is, for the right person, the ultimate job. You’re investing in the RIGHT company – a company with values. Know that not only will your “boss” remember your name, but it is guaranteed that the hard work you put in be recognized, not only by your clients, but by your family and by yourself. The sense of well-being you’re getting is better than any pen, clock or pat on the back you may (or may not) have gotten from a former boss. Keep up the great work. Love your insights.

RebeccaC August 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Hi!!! Excellent post and excellent perspective. May I share from my father’s perspective? Dad and I have never been close — I loved him, but he just wasn’t around much — always working, making ends meet and caring for his family in his way. By the time I was 10 or so, I had decided that Dad didn’t really care much about us kids. His work was much more important. Kids just don’t understand the whole “I’m doing this for you” idea.

About 20 years ago, I finally had a chance to really talk to him adult to adult. Y’know what he said? He said that his whole life he worked to provide for his family — to show them how much he loved them. At the time he thought that entertaining all the salesmen and wining and dining the execs was helping to improve things at home, but it ended up that he lost his kids in trying to win them. His exact words were, “I never see any of those salesmen anymore. And I hardly ever see my kids either.” He said that if he had it all to do over, he would have quit the high-paying, high-stress job and gone to work at the golf course or as a janitor somewhere so he could have had time to attend our school plays and VBS pagents.

He was a guy who probably was in your former boss’s position some 30-40 years ago. Don’t feel bad that he doesn’t remember your name. Feel bad that he’s probably going to come to the same realization that my dad came to: He missed out on what was really important and discovered that you can’t go back. Sad.

You, on the other hand, made the right choice! Your family will rise up and call you blessed!!! ;^)

Gig Girl August 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Wow Rebecca, talk about a new perspective. Thank you so much for sharing that. I still have moments where I get mad at myself for not leaving sooner…but deep down I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to leave at all. Everything happens for a reason and maybe had they been a more family friendly place I would’ve stuck it out. My six year old loves that I’m home so I’m thankful it all turned out the way it did!!
Thank you for checking in!

Heather August 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

My heart feels for you… at the end of the day, work is the place that pays you at the end of the month, but your family will always be there for you..

Natalie at Mommy on Fire August 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Oh, my. How ridiculous. I’m so sorry you spent so much time with people who are missing the point so obviously. I completely understand how you could have gotten wrapped up into it – I’m just so thankful you saw the light and realized it wasn’t worth it. How courageous of you!

At the end of his life, will he be happy he spent his precious time the way he did? I suspect not. But you? I think you will.

And yes, I think you are now the other, other girl…SO FUNNY!!!!!

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