Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Listening to rush and hannity yesterday I was stunned that people during Obama's town hall meeting were asking for new kitchens and bathrooms and more money to compensate them for their MickeyD job that they have had for four years, free gas, free this, free that.
Honestly.
A new kitchen?
Some people don't understand what this whole stimulus package is supposed to be a-stimulatin'.

But those rascals did it again! Caught me believing them! Crazy ME! This is hannity/rush SPIN!
The kitchen/bathroom request? Comes from a homeless woman that made a desperate plea for someone, anyone to please address the fact that hundreds of thousands of people, mostly children, are without a place to sleep, to live.
The compensation for a job? That was from a college student that is trying to work and go to school and is worried about not getting a job when he is done.
The free gas? There they go again. It was in snippets from someone talking, taken out of context in order to promote this obama-worship / Messiah gig that they believe everyone is falling prey to. Everyone but they, of course.

It's so funny how people like hannity and rush who are entertainers and nothing more, can sit around guffawing about other people begging for assistance. So immune. They rail about NATIONALIZED HEALTHCARE like it is the Chernobyl to the American Way. They are completely oblivious to the fact that this would help businesses by relieving the burden of insurance and it would assist our citizens in reaching their full potential as human beings - healthy and strong. They don't care. They're covered.

I listen because I need to know what is being said. It nauseates me, it infuriates me, but I didn't realize it would sucker me. It did. I stand corrected.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

History
I have always had an issue with "corporate" America...being involved in it. Maybe it's a pride issue. 
Maybe I can't stand having people consider themselves better than anyone else or "dog and pony shows". 
Maybe I can't allow others to take credit for my work. 

I want to believe that I have avoided the office environment for all my adult life because there is something in me in regards to my sense of justice and fair play that makes existing in that environment too unnatural, too damaging to who I believe myself to be. When I write something like that it makes me shudder a bit thinking how that might sound. I am by no means a person that has lofty opinions of herself. I actually admire those that can work within the system to get things done. That has been a sense that I have gained since my current employ. I admire and yes, envy a little, those that can play the game and move forward...without undermining their integrity OR become slimy and slick in the process. 
I wish I could control myself enough to be that person. Someone that can work others' egos to the benefit of what is considered to be a worthy issue. But I am too emotional. Too frank. I don't do flowery sugar coating. I can't stand being dishonest. And  I don't seem to have the ability to talk myself into believing the bullshit in order to advance the cause. It annoys me, actually. I have been able to do it...I think twice. And it had to do with a frustrated mom and a kid that was on the verge of being abused. You can see.  The escalation past what we all know to be acceptable. I know that others see it but it is terrifying for some to step in. Terrifying because we are taught to mind our own business, especially when it comes to parents and their children. You don't know how that person will react or if you'll make it worse or if everyone around you will look at you as if you are insane. Confrontation is a scary thing. But those two times, I did it right. I kept my eyes on the kid and offered help and empathy instead of distaste and judgement. It worked both times. I didn't lie or schmooze. As objectionable as I find big people beating up on little people, I was able to consider that selfish and pushed the child's need ahead of my knee jerk reaction to go and knock that momma out. 

I have been with the city for going on three years and I frankly have never had an experience like it. I immediately felt at home. Usually, it takes me time to warm up to people to get over that shyness and allow others to see me. But within the first 15 minutes I was letting everyone see who I was. I felt comfortable and loved the environment. I do love my workplace. My department is absolutely the best one in the city if not the state. We have a great leader. We have great people. It's awesome. There have been not so great times but I never had the inclination to quit or walk away. It wasn't a corporate games type of place. I always felt it was honest and straight up and maybe that's why I was so comfortable.  I got into GIS and feel for the first time in my adult life that I have found what I want to do. Challenging, technical, there are days I feel like I am so out of my league but I never ever feel like quitting. I just feel more determined to get it, to rise to the challenge and master it. I have been in my element. Happy in my work place. 
But I have come to find that I think my team, maybe my "team leaders" have been sheltering me from the very corporate rules/game/ bullshit is indeed prevalent and well established within the city. I laugh and joke and get teased a lot about my "power to the people" mindset, but it is as my veganism, the essence of who I am. It appears, if were to take a backward glance over my shoulder, that pretty much everything I do and think and live by has its core principle rooted in human and animal rights. I can't stand to see anyone being treated unfairly, unkindly. Especially the least of us. And that's so condescending. What I mean is, those with the least power. And honestly, power is everything in this world. It's what drives everything  - it drives policy, whether people live or die, eat or starve, receive medical services or not, succeed or fail. Those of us with the least amount of power rejoiced when someone who came across as a person who recognizes this social fact surged to the presidency on a wave of support by the "little guy". Obama, to me, appears to be someone that has what I have but has been able to do what I cannot...work within the system and put the cause in front of his feelings. 

I digress.

Have you been on a really hot beach, I mean like tingly skin heat hot beach and you are under an umbrella within the confines of the shade, happy, feeling the breeze and then suddenly the umbrella catches the wind or becomes unstaked from the sand and you are exposed? The flash of white light, the deathly slow realization and adaptation but serious wake up call? 

That's how I feel right now. I thought talking to the director of my department about it would help. I thought putting additional thoughts officially in writing and sending them to my director a day later would help. But to no avail. I am still reeling. I don't want to be over dramatic. But this is a value shaker. I feel that a foundational belief I have firmly planted on secure limestone holding up the 46 year old home called me has had a 9.0 earthquake shake the living shit out it. I'm not down, per se, but I am shaky. 

How naive am I? Ok. Here goes. I thought Human Resources, you know the department that takes applications, establishes benefits, insurances, etc. was a department dedicated to the resources know as humans. The workers. From directors to technicians to caretakers. You know. Like the Parks department is about parks, Planning is about planning, and Finance is about finance.  I really thought that up until about 36 hours ago when my husband, who has been a player in the corporate game, yo, for 20 years informed me that no. Human Resources has nothing to do with caring for the worker. Human Resources is about covering the ass of the corporation. The higher ups. It's about towing the company line. At first, I was stunned. That can't be true. That makes no sense. I mean, it's one thing if you are in the private sector. You're subjected to continuous competition. There are all kinds of different reasons for the private sector to justify what they do. But I am blindsided by the realization that it has seeped into the public sector. 

Essentially what happened was my department had a "mandatory" safety meeting. The entire department congregated in the Streets Division. And for the next 90 minutes the director of human resources told that us that we are not doing our jobs, that we get paid only for the hours we work, that we don't know the mission statement, don't expect a raise for your crappy job performance, there are 250 applicants waiting to take your job from you. You get the picture. It was terrible. I mean, he was talking to the front line. The guys who go out every freakin' day in the ridiculous heat , the rain, the freezing cold, in emergencies, in all kinds of situations and circumstances and physically work their asses off. And here's some arrogant ass who sits in an air conditioned office screaming at his staff, exercising his authority abusively telling guys that are getting paid a fraction of his pay that they need to work harder, be thankful for all the city has to offer them and grateful for a job. I was so angry. I don't like being threatened. I don't like my team being threatened. I don't appreciate being told that I don't work hard enough, that I don't put out a quality product, that I should be bowing and scraping to upper management for all that they do for me. Is it pride? I don't think so. It is more of an assault on what I know to be true and right. I don't believe there is ever a reason to talk to people, especially people who are less powerful. Who are subordinates. 

I am still so affected. I'm angry. I'm upset. I feel I am on the verge of tears. And I struggle with how ridiculous that is. Why cry? Why be upset to that point? It's work! It's not world peace. It's not the Gaza strip. It's not puppy mills or factory farming. It's not gitmo. It's work. It's some guy that came and condescended and threatened for 90 minutes. Big deal. I think that and it registers. I get that perspective is important. But at the same time, I am wounded. I am wounded that my team has been threatened. Has been cajoled by someone that actually had the audacity to throw something at one of the street techs.  I found out about that later, I didn't witness it. But the director actually physically threw something at a subordinate from another director's department. Mind blowing. 

I guess there have been times when I have felt this way before. When I have seen animal abuse, or a child being abused or being exposed to a tragic event. I have had that jarring stab to the soul that sends me reeling for days. Finding out Paul was sick was one of those moments. Or my dad. Or when I had to put my dog down. Or 911. Or seeing dogs skinned alive. Soul shaking brutality. Stunning assaults to my sense of what's right and wrong, what's acceptable and what is not, what is expected and completely out of nowhere. I guess I am entitled to reel. I think it's my continuous wagging finger at self for not reacting in a way that I conceive is acceptable. A lot of times when I allow the emotional part of me to become the soul insurgent speaking out and ignoring the political suicide, later I cringe a bit. I think of other more effect courses that should have been taken, what would have been more productive. Maybe I am justified in reacting in a way that shows my indignation at the purposeful affront to my sense of justice and sense of righteousness. And I think it has been that honesty in my reaction, the fact that no one around me has to question what I am thinking or how I feel. No one has to guess about my motives. No one  has to wonder where my loyalties lie. I am not self-promoting. I am not egocentric. I am team player. And even though I call things based on a personal belief system and I reference incidents of personal affront, I don't wish to speak for others. I don't claim to know how this particular meeting affected my coworkers. I only know how it affected me. But my feelings are intrinsically tied TO my coworkers. It matters to me that others attempt to disrespect them. It offends me when my coworkers are minimized or disregarded. It is not common human decency. I have this huge intolerance for it. 

So that's where I am. Up and down. In and out of these feelings. Feeling ok and then thinking all is ok and then seeing some ridiculous slight or indiscretion or injustice that I would otherwise not even recognize and I get completely bent out of shape.  I went off on some guy that threw a cigarette out the window. How many times did I do that when I was smoking? A million? Probably. Where do I get the balls to criticize someone for what I have done myself? What an asshole. But I know, I KNOW, it is residual anger from what I have not reconciled yet. 

Sigh.

That's where I am.