When I began to compose this post in my head it was definitely going in the direction of a harangue. A righteous screed against the nefarious forces of evil that control and heartlessly manipulate the destinies of everyone…who works in my office. Upon a little further reflection, I understood that this was the wrong tact to take
But let me back up and give you an idea as to why I felt a screed was warranted, besides as an opportunity to use the word “screed” repeatedly.
After Lily was born, my employer was kind enough to let me adjust my schedule so I could have Friday afternoons off to watch the baby. Since our lavish lifestyle requires that both Jen and I work full time, it was necessary for Lily to spend time in the care of a combination of day care and grandmothers. We had all the other days covered except for Friday afternoons, so the schedule adjustment was a great answer to prayer. Its been great fun to have mandated daddy/daughter time and Lily and I have enjoyed excursions to the park, playing with friends (hers and mine), or just relaxing at home on those Friday afternoons.
This past week, noon on Friday could not come fast enough. Lily had been sick all week and I was extremely busy at work trying to move our legal department to a new courthouse and adjusting to a new and quite idiotic office supply distribution system which increased my workload unnecessarily, all in the name of cost savings. By my estimates we stand to save an astounding sum of $36.74 for fiscal year 09/10. That’ll stave off layoffs for at least ten minutes. The point is, I was glad it was the weekend.
The weekend was great. Jen’s birthday was Friday and we celebrated all weekend by going to the park, taking drives just for fun, a BBQ with family, and general relaxation. Right after church on Sunday I spoke with my boss, a fellow communicant and great guy to work for, but unfortunately he bore some bad news. After I had left on Friday the janitorial service had some supplies delivered. Normally I’m the one to allow vendors in the building, but when I’m not available, my boss is called, and if neither of us is available a tertiary person is called. Well, we all happened to be out when the janitorial supplies arrived and evidently chaos ensued. When my boss made it back to the office, he was informed by his boss, the department head, that it took no less than five people to let the supplies in and they even had to help! Gasp! As a result of this she informed my boss that I would no longer be able to work my current schedule and would have to go back to 8-hour Fridays. Because of one delivery miscommunication and the fact that five grown adults (all managers by the way) could not figure out how to have one person hold the door open while the delivery guys brought in the supplies. I should mention here that I work for the county government.
Now, I don’t expect special treatment from anybody and I realize that a department director’s job is to see that the department runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Had this delivery fiasco been a recurring problem, then I could certainly see the merit in shifting my schedule back. But this is a one time deal, easily correctable by a simple phone call to the janitorial service. Instead, I may lose out on daddy/daughter time and we may have to find someone else to watch Lily on Friday afternoons. Even if it ended there, I wouldn’t have liked it, but I could accept it without too much grumbling. But it didn’t end there. When my boss tried to talk to the director to get her to ease up a bit, she claimed that other staff had been complaining that my reponse time was slow and that some things weren’t getting done as quickly as they should. This came as surprising news to both me and my boss. When I get someone something they need, I get a lot of, “Thanks! You’re the best!” comments. Maybe I’m not picking up the sarcasm, but doesn’t that usually mean someone is happy with you? The bottom line is, the director is always right, even when she isn’t, and if you prove her wrong, she’ll just find something else to nit-pick.
So, I may have went border line screed there, but that’s not what I want to do and I’ll tell you why. How do you think my co-workers would react if I were to gripe about this? I have no doubt that the ones I know well would think I am totally justified in grousing about this. If I stomped around the office for a few days and snarled at everyone, most wouldn’t think that I’m too out of line. But what would that do to my testimony for Christ? Most everyone in the office knows I’m a Christian, or at the very least that I go to church or my wife teaches at a Christian school. Even if they agreed with me, is that the attitude I should be displaying? Am I not supposed to be different?
As I was running over this whole scenario in my head, I wanted nothing more than to go to my friends here in the office and say, “Guess what the director just did?” Then I’d whine and complain like everybody else, and not without reason. But just because there’s a reason, that doesn’t mean I should. Let me tell you something: its hard. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m upset about this. Less about the actual possible schedule shift than in the attitude in which its being delivered. But I’m praying that God will give me an attitude of teachability; that I might learn something from this and it’ll make me a better person and a better Christian. I probably grumbled too much and gave too many details in this post already, and its rather bold, I suppose, to be complaining about a job when a lot of people don’t even have one right now. But if I can learn from this, maybe someone else can too.
(FYI, I haven’t officially been shifted back yet. My boss is still wrangling for me.)