On failure


These were supposed to be black-bottom cupcakes, as seen here. I made them in anticipation of a girls’ night in I’m having here at my house tonight with some friends from school. Kind of a big difference, no? I think that the combination of using mascarpone instead of regular cream cheese and overfilling the muffin cups led to this spectacular baking disaster.

Okay, they’re not THAT much of a disaster. I tried a quarter of one last night and it was quite delicious. It even had the tiniest suggestion of the cheesecake-y “filling” in the center. But because they’re nothing like I had intended them to be, I consider them a failure. But it’s one I can laugh off.

This has been a difficult week. Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much (because I haven’t had much time to cook — there have been a lot of sandwiches and thrown-together meals around here lately) is that I have been working a full-time job at Pearson (ach! my values!) since April 25. My job requisition is through June 30, and we had made plans for the rest of our summer accordingly. But about a week ago, my boss came to me and told me that there was a way to extend my job requisition indefinitely, by having me support an admin whose boss had just gone on maternity leave. I accepted because I like having the extra money. We’ve been fortunate enough that I have been able to sock most of my pay from this job into savings (well, a nice portion of it. There has been *some* shopping!). So, we signed the Big Kid up for more camp and I made plans to take one day off a week to finish my dissertation revisions.

I supported this admin for three days, then noticed on Wednesday morning that someone else was helping her. I asked my boss about it and she told me that this young woman found me “unhelpful” and that she “didn’t feel comfortable” working with me. So she had been assigned someone else and my job requisition would not be extended.

This stung. Oh, did it sting. I won’t go into all the gory details, but I am guessing that she found me “unhelpful” because I questioned the efficiency of the things she was having me do. (Make binders, then take everything out of those newly made binders and move it into other binders, among other vague, ill-defined instructions.) Basically, I thought this girl was an idiot (not quite sure why I’m using past tense there), and didn’t do a very good job of concealing those feelings. At the end of the day, it was a personality conflict and no one is the bad guy in situations like that, but I still feel like I’ve failed. It’s demoralizing to realize that someone disliked you enough to tell your boss’s boss that you suck rather than tell you to your face.

So, like I said, a rough week. This happened on Wednesday, which meant that I spent the rest of my work week in a pit of self-loathing, wondering what I could have done differently to keep my good reputation there intact. I have endeavored to do a really good job there, and I get along really well with all of my colleagues (save this one guy, but I learned very early on that *everyone* hates him). This also stirred up extremely bad memories of past job failures: I have been fired from more jobs than I care to admit, all from when I was in my 20s and had an extremely bad attitude. I have worked very, very hard to be a better person than the one I was 10-15 years ago, and this incident just churned up all of those long-buried failures back to the surface.

But this is not a complete tragedy. Because the Big Kid is now signed up for camp through July 15, I will have two full weeks to dedicate solely to dissertation work (plus an exciting freelance story). After he’s done with camp, he and I will do all sorts of fun things together: bike rides, pool trips, bowling, trips to the school library for storytimes, and so on. (There will probably also be some summer-bridge-style homeschooling, but he doesn’t know that yet!) I will be able to resume my morning runs. I can go to aqua fitness at the Y at a time that works for our families. I won’t be spending $25 on gas every two or three days. I can catch up on my sewing projects. I can get started on an article and work on my job-market materials. This development is a good thing, for me and for my family. But I still feel like a failure, and I guess only time can help me get past these ugly feelings.

Time, my family, my friends, and ugly cupcakes.

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3 Comments

  1. sorry that happened to you! just know that you are totally awesome and it is definitely their loss!!!

    Reply
  2. Marcee

     /  June 20, 2011

    I’m always a bit befuddled when I hear of you having a rough time with people on the job. I think you are amazing, and I have a hard time even seeing the person of your twenties that you sometimes allude to. I believe you, I just think you must have changed a lot. Sorry about the ugly feelings. I love you!

    Reply
  3. I am so sorry that happened. First of all, way to go with your positive attitude about the opportunity this will be for you and your family. That having been said, this sounds like a crappy situation since the person who made the decision isn’t usually in a managerial role at the company. I can totally see why your feelings were hurt.

    Reply

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