Not “no” but “hell no!”

Since i’ve started the new job, one of the biggest challenges has been working with a remote division.  It’s not just the geography that is the challenge, these folks have operated in an entirely different research culture for decades, and there isn’t much common philosophical ground. 

We both have pieces of a substantial program, and for the most part have been working to serve our corporate masters well – albeit with differing views on what is best.  Their division, however, has been slated for ‘divestiture’ in 2011 and the folks there have the option of moving into our home office, or leaving corporate service.  Needless to say, they are cranky. 

It falls within the realm of my new job to orchestrate the program for my division, and it has become increasingly obvious that we need to develop a unified strategy to best feed the corporate interests.  In the absence of leadership, it has been my style to fill the void.  And i have attempted to do so since arriving at the new digs in mid-June.

Apparently, i have upset some of the fucking dinosaurs senior leadership at the remote division.  For the past month i’ve heard rumblings that they are unhappy with me in the new job.  Nothing direct, nothing documented, just an apparent behind-the-scenes smear campaign.  i assured my management that i’d be happy to address concerns, and would welcome face-to-face discussion, but haven’t gotten the call.

This afternoon a trusted colleague, SS, stopped by my office.  Like me, he is pretty direct in these matters, and asked me point blank about my history with these folks, and what i might have done in the past to piss them off.  We’ve crossed paths before, and i did not hesitate to call bullshit out items for further evaluation when i disagreed with their approach.  Generally, i knew they didn’t “like” me, and could give a flying fuck that we’d never be friends.

After a long conversation about our current stalemate — they are actively slow-rolling any attempts i’m making to develop a joint strategy for the program — we discussed ways to get things moving.  It was a brainstorming session between two people trying to figure a way out of a quirky situation. 

daisyfae:  i can put the history aside, even suck up to them and pretend like the work they’re doing is scientifically relevant.  What can i change about my approach to get this moving again?  Direct confrontation?  Work through the management chain?  i’m open to suggestions…

SS:  Well, you know, if you let it slip that you thought they were doing this because you’re a woman, that might pinch the loaf for good…

daisyfae: [steam sprouting from ears] What? Are you fucking serious?

SS:  They are a bunch of uptight white men*, grasping at straws to keep from working with our division.  We could throw their tactics right back at them…

daisyfae: [flames blasting from nostrils]  Never!  i have NEVER thrown that flag in 28 years of my engineering career, and i’ll be fucked like a drunken monkey if i’m gonna start now!

SS: I understand that, and everyone who works with you knows that.  But we were looking at ways to shut down the bullshit and get to work…

daisyfae: [eyes rolling in head, which is now rotating 360 degrees, “Exorcist” style] Absolutely no fucking way!  Even if it IS why they are doing this, i can’t play it that way… it sets everyone back.  Fuck… but it would shut them up.  Fuck…

In the end?  i decided to go home.  i was vexed, to say the least. 

The proverbial bottom line:  Playing the game their way — by tossing out unsubstantiated allegations of bad behavior — would allow us to most expeditiously get on with the program planning and integration.  Which would best serve our corporate masters. 

But the daisyfae bottom line: No fucking way. 


*SS is an uptight white man.  But a creative thinker…

26 thoughts on “Not “no” but “hell no!”

  1. There are other ways – just take SS’s suggestion, but remove the word Woman, and insert some other word such as Bi/Curious or Blogger or Flatulent or Adventurous Diner or something. Something that would make them WISH you HAD said Woman, haha! Good luck and hope you find a way to work together in harmony – the good of our nation is at stake.

  2. Stick to your guns on this one Daiseyfae. What is being suggested is a bastardization of bedrock principle.

    You are 100% right to say hell no.

    Give ’em hell every way you can, but never ever at the cost breaking your own principles.


  3. Well, shit. I may miss lunches out, dressing up, not having to clean up anyone’s spilled milk. But I DO NOT miss the fucking politics of any job.

    You’ll figure it out. And the solution will be brilliant. Of this, I am sure.

    • Hear hear! I just couldn’t agree more. Like Ginny, I don’t miss the boardroom politics (but a loverly long sushi lunch followed by a few corporate cocktails wouldn’t be so bad right now …)

  4. Hmmmmm…. to get annoyed over any group of antiquated and bitter employees is likely to be akin to giving them power over you. Don’t get mad.. get medieval.

    On your next visit to Hicksville, call a meeting with all of the departmental heads.. smile nicely as you inform them that it’s your way or no fucking way at all, and ask them to decide amongst themselves which one of them it is that will be leaving the company on Friday.

    I’m a firm believer in ‘thinning the herd’ as a swift cull will always bring a rapid cooperation from the remaining members of any group.

  5. mstngsal – not a bad tactic. might have to use “estrogen challenged menopausal” as the adjective string for “woman”. that might put the fear of the ovaries in ’em for sure…

    TAG – after sleeping on it, i am wondering if they started the smear campaign at least partially to get me to blow a cork, showing my hot-headed loose cannon passionate nature, which can be inappropriate in the workplace. hmmm….

    renal failure – oh, if i only could… these guys are keen on the union lawyers sitting in on management meetings. not that there’s anything wrong with strong union representation, but when the legal beagles are used as a means of intimidating management with weak sack structure? taking their balls off might not be noticeable…

    gnukid – perhaps looking at my calendar, counting up the days left til they are either assimilated or evacuated? i could make a paper chain out of pretty construction paper links, tearing one off each day…. THAT’S a fine idea…

    unbearable banishment – there are moments when i would volunteer to do it. my job is about 75% mind-numbing boredom, bureacracy bashing and dealing with fucking eeejits. But that other 25%? Beyond fascinating, and i consider myself fortunate to be part of it… All things considered? That ain’t a bad ratio. The old job, it was “100% Suck My Dick” by the time i left…

    ~m – ding, ding, ding! you are correct! i need to keep from melting down. perhaps all that natural childbirth breathing training that i couldn’t really use during two c-sections can be kicked into play?

    ginny – i really don’t like being puked on. and now that the poor dude with alzheimers (who refused to retire) is finally gone, we don’t have to clean up poo in the hallway (it was SOOOOO sad….). but yeah… this part sucks it hard…

    tNb – you, my good woman, are onto something! i think i need to drink more martinis during lunch! oh, wait…. i’m still trying to drop 20 pounds. crap. then again, skip food, drink lunch. repeat as necessary?

    cindy – welcome to the park! thanks for stopping by! it’s frustrating, but i’ll have to adopt the 10,000 yard stare of ambivalence and loathing and just keep my cool. i also need to talk to my boss to make sure no one else suggests it’s an ‘ovaried engineer’ issue. i can’t throw the flag, but i don’t want it out there muddying the waters… and associated with me in any way. Ugh.

    jimmy – in an ideal world? oh, yeah… but i am no longer supervisory. i am an “advisor”, which means i do not have direct personnel hire/fire authority. i’m basically a fucking tool. a herd thinning is in order, but the line managers are so afraid of a lawsuit that they’re just putting up with this bullshit. i will pull my team forward, keep the boat anchors “in the fucking loop”, let them spend their time spinning in circles, and get at least our part of the job accomplished… with a smile. yeah. right.

    nursemyra – it involves picking parasites from your partners ass-fur while flinging poo… not a ‘good’ position…

  6. From memory there is a certain Diva who needs a dose of some of that anti-BS aggression. Let it hang out there in the dress rehearsal. As for the remotely intelligent, pick your target amongst the dinosaurs and begin a reverse smear based on the facts.

    I know you won’t do either but they would be good thoughts to have on your fourth martini 🙂

  7. A dilemma indeed. Where work was concerned I preferred gathering allies on the sly until my opponents realized I had won the war without participating actively, but I wasn’t above throwing cards. The sexist card. The widow card. The single mom card. The racist card (I worked with a lot of minority kids and I threw that one on their behalf when necessary). Cards are a last resort, and the long-term benefits have to vastly outweigh the short term pain.

    Tough call. I feel for ya.

  8. Walk tall and smile–alot..Smiling seems to scare them, kinda like when your kid does something wrong and is waiting for the ball to drop. The more you smile the more they fidget.
    good luck…and like Annie said..gather allies very quietly.

  9. It’s hard not to let the scruples slip just a tiny bit sometimes, especially when it’s for one’s own benefit. And it may even cost you the fight to stick to your guns. But I find I sleep a lot better when I stay true to my Popeye nature: I yam what I yam. And as my ex-father-in-law says, in a hundred years no one will give a shit.

  10. archie – good plan, but i’ve been smacked down by the director for losing patience with Her Royal Suckiness. we spent an HOUR monday as she had to re-learn (for the FOURTH FUCKING TIME) the same dance steps in the opening number… alas, i shall keep my energies focused on doing my best, and trying not to be seared by the flames on stage as she crashes and burns…

    stephanie – it was in the spirit of brainstorming, but yeah… idea has been discussed, and dismissed by all on my side of the fence. all’s well…

    annie – when cornered or threatened, i typically hunker down and do my homework, build alliances and strengthen my position. can see that in some situations, however, use of such cards can be a viable option – as you say, when the good far outweighs the bad. but in this case, it would likely follow me through the waning days of my career… just couldn’t do it, nor could i let anyone else toss it out there on my behalf…

    hisqueen – yep, for me the smile is rare, though. i deply the “blink, blink… ‘thanks for sharing your unique point of view with the group'” tactic more often!

    steve – i was laughing (a little) by the end of the day today after assurances from the line management that we’d play it ‘above’ rather than sling mud back…

    uncle keith – fuck! you’re right…. as always….

    nursemyra – i’m not a big fan! you can have the hairy ones!

    chris – your ex-FIL is a wise man. that is increasingly how i gauge my degree of passion for an argument these days. “Fuck all y’all” is my inner mantra.

    • Actually, I think the biggest sexists in the profession are the female managers who assume a man with less education and experience can do a better job in a supervisory post. If you hire some guy with an AA fresh out of school to be a supervisor, over me with a Master’s and 25 years under my belt, you’d better explain to me what he has that I don’t. And it better not be a penis.

  11. Pingback: Dances with Dinosaurs « Trailer Park Refugee

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