“Joyce” at work is the “EO” (executive officer) and I can tell her job means the world to her because I looked on her hand and there wasn’t a wedding ring. It was a huge assumption to make “You’re not married – so your job is everything to you” – but it wasn’t a big leap to make because everything “Joyce” is – is her pride in working for the Minister.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I struggled with all the bullying and intimidation she brought with her to the work situation. Her muttered, nasty comments about me and to me, the way she leaned over me when she constantly told me off at work – her hot breath on the back of my neck *shivers* and the way she always made me feel so unwelcome and unwanted. Joyce put me down a lot, made me feel worthless and stupid and every day I had to get up to go to work – was a day I dreaded.
One day last week, Joyce took her bullying and threatening up a few notches and I couldn’t take it anymore. I sent an email to the HR Department, asking to be transferred to a new position within the building…and the next morning, I was told to report to HR. I got there and was told that I was being moved from the Minister’s office to Finance on the 6th floor. I was to ‘quietly see out my day’ that day and ‘pack up my desk’ that afternoon – remove all trace of myself from the office…as if I had never been there. It was awful. I know I started this whole thing by asking to be moved, but the way Megan and Jane did it – felt like a severe punishment. They were really nasty to me. Cold and confronting. They wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to explain about Joyce’s bullying – I had examples written in a notebook of dates/times/things said but they stopped me – saying they’d known Joyce “a very long time” and they “highly doubted” she would do or say any of the things I “was accusing her of”
Joyce’s power reaches this far?
HR won’t help me with a serious bullying complaint?
I’m being moved and I have NO IDEA what I’ll be doing, who I’ll report to, what happens to me in the future – Megan and Jane refused flatly to answer any of my questions. They “shushed” me a lot, demanded my ‘quiet acceptance’ and strongly urged me to “just go with it – don’t ask questions”
Scared and in shock – I did. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t demand answers…I just went back to the Minister’s office in a daze.
I worked steadily throughout the day, wondering what on earth was happening.
At 4:30pm…I started to pack up my desk.
It was one of the most awful things I’ve experienced in a long while…sourcing an empty cardboard box from the photocopy room and putting my things inside – my heart and thoughts racing the entire time “What am I going to tell Alun? Am I fired? What does my future hold? How do I carry all this stuff home on the bus? Does anyone else know about this? This is so wrong and I feel so very alone in this“
I texted Alun who met me and took me home – boxes of my work things in the backseat. I didn’t say a word, I just cried. Alun squeezed my hand “We’ll be okay, Gorg” he offered comfort.
Would we, though?
What on earth had happened to my job?!?
I couldn’t sleep that night and worried the entire time – asking God for His guidance. Trying my best to trust in Him even though I didn’t know what tomorrow would hold.
I got an email later that evening from HR – with the name of a man in Finance “to report to” and that I should be there at 8:30am the next day.
Scared and anxious, I got dressed and went to work.
And that’s where my life changed for the better 🙂
Because I got to meet my new boss – let’s call him “Andrew”. He’s about 50, Italian and very, very sweet.
He has a calm and a friendliness I warmed to instantly. He welcomed me into his office – mostly windows so that everyone can see what he’s doing at all times. He had a kind smile and gestured to a chair near his desk. His office was neat and had pictures of his family and friends everywhere. It had a welcoming feeling. There was a lot of technology about but everything was stacked up neatly – cords tied up nicely – it was actually a really lovely office.
“Take a seat” he smiled. (I found out during the week that Andrew smiles A LOT. I really like that)
“Andrew” my lip trembled and tears threatened to come – I had NO IDEA what I was doing in FINANCE of all places when I have 10+ years in RECEPTION. I tried to still my heart and calm my nerves. I went on “Listen, I don’t really know what I’m doing here”
Andrew smiled. He has a daggy, friendly “Dad-like” face and put me at ease right away “I know this will all be new to you, Janet” he began “You’re from the Minister’s office so this will be an entirely new field for you but I think you’re going to fit in really well and I see a lot of talent in you already”
“Tell me – what are your strengths?” he asked, raising his eyebrows and smiling even wider. His smile reached his brown eyes and crinkled them at the corners. It softened his face and made me feel so much better. It made me feel important and that he actually really wanted to know my answer.
“I uhhh” I bit my lip.
I what? “You’re useless” Joyce’s voice rang in my head.
“I’m good at writing, I majored in English in High school and I work really, really hard” I burst out.
Woah. Where did THAT come from?
“Good at writing, you say?” Andrew smiled again “Brilliant!” he clapped his hands together and got up, pacing excitedly as he spoke.
His happiness and excitement was catching and I found myself smiling as I followed his movements around his office.
“I’ve got a lot of projects I need your help on, Janet. We’re involved in Finance and IT and we’ve all been doing it so long that we forget how to structure documents to people unfamiliar with tech dialogue. I think your input would be great and putting documents, emails and memos into ‘Laman’s terms’ for us would really help us out”
I could do that. Sure!
“We’re creating a Memo for the Premier right now and I’d love your input on it”
“We’re meeting to finalise the draft in 5 minutes – why don’t you join us, Janet?” Andrew invited, smiling again and going over to a cupboard in his office.
“Here” He said, handing me a small iPad “You can take notes on this and we’ll check in with each other after the meeting – come on, kiddo – let’s go”
And just like that, I found myself sat at a round table with Directors from the Government – all working on a MEMO TO THE PREMIER.
Hmm. I’ll probably get myself jailed or something for writing the above – maybe I should delete this? Am I breaking some important confidential law writing about this???
I don’t know.
I’m going to go for it and hope that whoever reads this won’t dob me into “Intelligence” or whatever.
There were about 3 pages in the Memo and then 5 attachments. It all seemed very ‘wordy’ and complicated.
I tapped quietly on my new bosses’ iPad and took notes – most sentences ending with a question mark as a lot of the terminology used went over my head. It was like these guys spoke a different language.
“Now that we’ve gone over the brief” Andrew said “I’d like to invite Janet to give her take on things – are there any improvements we could be making before we send this to the Premier?”
And 3 pairs of very important eyes were on me.
And God was with me.
AND I SHONE.
I cleared my throat and gave them my honest opinion “It is a great memo and the attachments are very informative” I started. All the men nodded at each other and smiled, pleased this was a good start.
“However” I began…and I spent the next 20 minutes pointing to the screen, giving examples where things were repetitive and overly complicated. I gave examples of sentences we could cut from the memo and examples of making the information we presented simpler to understand. More concise.
And some of the most important men in Government LISTENED TO ME.
They nodded. They “mmm”ed and “ahhh”ed.
And my changes – were made. My suggestions were accepted. Not only that, they were encouraged.
Sentences were cut and re-structured until the Memo transformed from 3 pages – to just one.
The guys at the meeting asked again and again “What do you think of this, Janet – what if we word it this way…or that?”
And I answered “Yes, that would work” or “No, because…” and cited some pretty convincing reasons.
WHICH GOT ACCEPTED WITHOUT ARGUMENT.
It was honestly probably the BEST afternoon of my life.
At the end of probably just over an hour, the documents had been changed, saved and agreed upon – with the Gentlemen in the meeting SENDING ME A COPY via email TO LOOK OVER AGAIN that afternoon and GET MY ‘OK’ on.
“Great job, team” Andrew said – to us ALL.
“Thank you Janet for all your input” – ALL THE MEN AT THE MEETING SAID.
I had to remind myself to literally shut my mouth – because everything in me just wanted to open it wide in happiness and shock – WHAT IS GOING ON?!?
And the rest of my week in my new job – has been much of the same. Andrew asking my opinion on really important things and acting on them. I’ve been set up at a desk right next to Andrew’s so I feel like I’m almost his Personal Assistant in a way – and I like that! A lot!
My email will ‘ping’ and there Andrew’s name will be in my inbox – starting with “Janet, can you…” and I’ll be given new documents to read over, edit and change. Or a job to ‘oversee’ because Andrew thinks I’d make a great PROJECT MANAGER and has sent group emails – cc’ing me into them – introducing me to the group AS THE MANAGER and asking people to report to me, include me in “new developments” and asking me to manage and update Andrew on the progress of whatever assignment he’s given me.
AND GUESS WHAT? I’M REALLY GOOD AT THIS.
I’m surprised by my strength, my logic, my reason and my bossiness (haha)…surprised that I am blooming and blossoming in this new role…and LOVING EVERY SECOND of it.
AWESOME you guys!!!
Everyone in the IT/Finance department is REALLY nice. Genuinely nice. They’re nice to each other and go out of their way to include me. There is no resentment. No “Who the hell are you?” or “What do you think you’re doing – MANAGING me?” – there’s just friendliness, laughter, jokes and lots of hard work.
I find myself constantly going into Andrew’s office – tapping on the door and asking “Andrew – can I just…” because I have a million questions about something he’s given me to do…and you know what? Every time, Andrew smiles. He gestures to a seat near him and we talk.
I ask and he listens. He smiles. He gently guides and suggests and he always builds me up.
I get praised for everything I do. I get encouraged to try new things. I get thanked continually for my input.
I get dressed in the morning now – and look forward to what the day holds.
I’m so thankful, Father God.
IN YO’ FACE, “JOYCE”.