Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay so I can finally talk

The reason I was crying, etc. for hours last Thursday at work is ....

my boss is leaving me!

Okay that's a bit melodramatic but it's true.

Last week Thursday we had a team meeting and 15 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end, he says, "we'll have to hold over the rest of the items til next time because there's something important I have to discuss with you".

In typical team style, we start talking rubbish, guessing what it is and he starts getting super serious.

I start getting a bad feeling.

He first tells us about some internal changes (which I did know about - yay!) but then announces that he's been shortlisted for a position elsewhere in the company and will probably get it.

His position will be up for grabs and his second-in-charge (new lady who started with us last Sept) is also the preferential candidate and will probably get his job but of course, anyone is welcome to apply.

So he says, "did anyone have an idea?" and one person (the one who complains about her husband a lot) says "yes, I had a feeling something was up". I am 80% sure she's lying just to appear "in the know" (don't you hate corporate sometimes?!)

Another says "yes" - I trust her and know she didn't lie.

No one else answers except me and so I say (this is where it's bad to be an extrovert as you just say whatever's on your mind), "well, I had NO IDEA!"

Everyone laughs.

Some chit-chat ensues - it's as if from a distance because I truly am in shock - and finally he says, "if any of you want to chat to me, of course I'm available" so again I say (why don't I have filters?!), "Liz, please book time for me in his diary" and again they think I'm joking.

I was so not joking.

I told you I had a few minutes at my desk and then had to go to an outside meeting.

Soooo upset. Crying, thinking, crying, more thinking.

I even got a bit lost going there (no, I still don't have GPS) and didn't even mind because it gave me more time to cry in the car.

I am such a saddo.

I spoke through some of my issues with the soon-to-be new manager at our meeting. Initiated by her.

We work together well. She is highly demanding though and I've had to manage her expectations a couple of times. But this is good because we get one another now.

However, I have serious baggage.

I worked with someone at a previous company (wonderful working relationship) and then had to report to him when another wonderful boss left me (for Australia, no less!) and things literally hit the fan.

He was the same but not good manager material as he wanted to be friends with everyone and wasn't managing/ leading properly. As we all know, if you lead a team, you can't be a people-pleaser. Some will walk all over you and some (like me) will totally lose respect for you.

As an aside, my longest ever performance appraisal was with him. I fought for my rankings for about 4 hours with him once, but that was the first one, and the stage had to be set up properly. I don't take vagueness when it comes to my deliverables and competence.

So I'm slightly wary about now reporting to the new lady. I told my boss (only for another 13 days!) this story so he is aware of my issues.

Our PA set up a meeting for me the next day (yay!) and it was a good meeting since I was much calmer (all cried out) and had gone through some of it with New Lady, and D, so my thoughts were clearer.

I really was worried about my instincts because I thought I'm losing my touch if everybody knew. Turns out only two people knew - New Lady and the one colleage because someone asked her something outright. My instincts were right about the other lady wanting to appear in the know.

Best of all, he said he was approached and asked to apply for the position (which made him think "are they unhappy with the way I'm running the dept?" - we all have issues) - he wasn't unhappy with us. Somehow this makes me feel better. How weird am I!

I reminded him that two years ago when he was seconded to something else while I was on maternity leave two years ago, we had an agreement that if he moves, I move with him too :)

Seriously, what he's going to be doing is in marketing around authenticity/ consistency and other very exciting things that I would love to be a part of, so I told him (and gave him some teaser ideas so he knows this is a passion of mine) yes, I would absolutely be ready to move.

I told him (again) that my work environment (people and other) are verrrrrrry important to me and I want to say, once again, because I write these things in the cards for Bosses Day and his birthday, that he is an awesome boss - supportive, encouraging, always has my back, thinks I am awesome, etc.

He made me promise to not just go look for a new job if I'm unhappy once the changes take effect because there is definitely space in the organisation for my skills.

So that's where we are.

The official announcement came out today and again I'm sad. Because now it's not just a 90% possibility, it has happened.

You'll be proud to know I actually said to him in front of 3 team members (again, where are my filters?!), "I will be big about this", went over to him, kissed him and said, "congratulations on your new role!"

You'll also be proud to know I didn't cry... although I am close again.

I think everyone around here  knows I'm the hardest hit by this because I work closest with him and we've been together from the very beginning of this dept (6 years). I was working with him even before his son was born... he's now 6 years old.

He really is the best boss I have ever had. Second on the list is the one who moved to Australia (that one was the same but stretched me a bit more so I grew a LOT working for him).

What do you think? Do you think I'm overreacting? Are my concerns about New Lady valid?

Who was the best boss you ever had?

to cheer myself up, here are some pics from Ireland 2009. At one point on the tour, I said, "no more walking" (remember I was 23 weeks pregnant with the twins), I had a cup of tea and D went exploring with the camera.


  1. Change of management is so hard. One place where I worked, it came to a point where I left. I was not allowed to perform my job the way that produced results (politics got in the way, and boss says "I've never done it that way) Then when I became the boss, I re-evaluated the bosses that I had, and tried to learn from their mistakes. My last job before retirement, practice manager for a neurology clinic, was so enjoyable. My CEO--the doctor--was the best. She let me have free rein, as long as I got results. I have tried to remember that my way isn't necessarily the only way.
    You have to be happy with your job. Give your new boss a clean slate, and see how she does. Then after a fair trial, rethink your position.

  2. Thank you for that! And I forgot to mention in my post, the new boss said to me that she has HUGE shoes to fill so is also a bit anxious about that. I will support her 100% but am very sad for my loss (I know it's a bit selfish) :)

  3. Oh, I completely understand how you must feel, Marcia. I was so lucky to work for the same boss (through all his promotions and mine) for six years, as well. I love that man.

    In the time that I've been away from the company, he's moved to a different division. Oh, and I don't much care for the person who took over his responsibilities.

    Of course it doesn't truly matter to me right now, since I'm home with the girlies, but I can put myself in your shoes very easily.

    I'd say...don't lose touch with your current boss. He can still be a mentor / colleague, even in a different department.

    Give the new person time and space and respect. My rule of thumb is to give the new situation a really good period of time to least six months. During this time, you're still in touch with your former boss, but just see how things go. After you've given it a true period of evaluation, then you can consider your options (looking at the department where your boss is, etc.).

    I'm proud of you for holding it together! :) Hang in there, and take it a day at a time. Glad you can finally talk about this at least! :)

  4. Am so sorry that your boss is leaving. I know that you have a brilliant working relationship and that it is much easier said than done to just move on. You are definitely NOT a saddo. Just human.
    So no, I don't think that you are overreacting, your concerns about new lady are valid - am sure she is also VERY anxious about her new role.
    My best boss EVER was my first one who was a female - I wrote about her a few weeks ago in this post: - I refer to her as Boss A.
    Hang in there darling, things will become clearer and these feelings will pass.

  5. Ai, I understand now! It is so important in which environment you work and the people around you. We see our staff as our second family - and really, that is how it should be. I regularly get comments from ex workers about how great it was here etc. Although in the same breath, there are some that left unhappy. I think that I have learned a lot in the past years. My best boss ever - my current partner. GOsh, he pushed me, but gave me lots of responsibility and free reign. I have learned so much from him. Although I do think I am better with the staff than he ever was. And I think it partially boils down to being a woman.

    Good luck with the changes - maybe she surprise you? And I do know you loved your boss.

  6. I too get like you when we have a boss change. My husband always tell me that I am overreacting regarding things like these. I always say that he does not understand until a few months later and then I need to say sorry to him because he is right.
    I get why you are like this regarding your situation. I do.

  7. Reading this just made me realise that I would never, ever be able to go back to corporate.

  8. Change sucks, but it's inevitable. I think it's all in how you approach it. We can't tell if you're overreacting or not b/c you have to see how it plays out. This is one of those times that you wish you had a crystal ball, but have no such luck. Try to approach it with an open mind.

    I, too, will never return to corporate.


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