It’s always something…

My immediate supervisor is a black woman engineer – known in some circles as a “unicorn” because of the rarity of the breed.  Last year about this time, she was recruiting me to be her technical advisor.  There was a big smelly program lurking, and i had sufficient experience and credentials to get it done… plus, i was looking for something new.

JT:  One of my side goals?  To create the most diverse branch in the entire organization.

daisyfae:  Wrong goal.  You need to create the best branch in the organization that happens to look like a fucking rainbow.

JT:  Yep.  Let’s do it…

Well, about three months into the job, i realized that while JT was off recruiting the best and brightest, the other branches in the division had unloaded their most worthless and troubled employees into her branch.  We now have a mixture of “young, enthusiastic and bright” combined with “broken, toxic and incompetent”.  Ain’t happening anytime soon…

Good thing i believe firmly in the concept of ‘Goal Modification’, or i’d be cutting myself on a daily basis.

The one that really got me this week is SR.  He happens to be an occasionally sharp PhD engineer, who also happens to be black.  Rather than spend his time on his actual work, though, he has spent it in the realm of ‘self promotion’ – spending his time traveling, giving presentations covering the work of other scientists, and nominating himself for every award imaginable.  Prior organizations tried to correct his behavior, but he was quick with filing a grievance, so the white male engineering managers generally backed down.

Not JT.  After SR was parked in her group, she established a position of “Zero Bullshit Tolerance”.  That didn’t work well for SR’s continued efforts to self-promote.  JT was direct and relentless in her pursuit of performance improvement – and as a result, SR filed his annual performance grievance in January.

Having my own frequent and annoying interactions with SR, i was still flummoxed yesterday when he sat through a group meeting with the Organizational Development Specialist, shitting his unique blend of toxic stupid all over the room.  He claimed that we had not provided adequate direction to the group about organizational changes.  Stated repeatedly that he’d not been offered opportunities to learn about the rationale behind program changes.  It was a transparent attempt to make it seem as though JT and i were completely incompetent.

JT and i were patient.  The magic happened when the rest of the group started busting him for it – one by one, they piled on “No, SR, you were there for the Big Investment Strategy Meeting, where daisyfae laid this all out…” and so on.  He finally shut the fuck up, and in the end it was a nice team building exercise for the rest of the group.

The real mind-blower?  i found out today that JT has been patiently going to Alternative Dispute Resolution meetings with SR since January.  He is still claiming discrimination – mind you, JT is also black, so this surprised me.  She explained it to me today…

JT:  Oh, he’s claiming that I’ve got problems with black men, and that I’m unfit to supervise him because of it…

daisyfae:  What?  How much more specific can he get?  You’ve got problems with black men, who wear mismatched sportscoats that are two sizes two small and are named SR?

JT:  No worries.  The personnel people have already told him he’s full of shit…

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