Friday evening, I was released. And by released, I mean fired from Lost.
I saw it coming. In the month that I was under my new manager's supervision, there were countless warning signs. Anything I did, correct or not, was negative. Any question I asked -- most often to clarify how things were to be done -- was seen as a direct confrontation or as a challenge to her absolute rule. It didn't matter how hard I tried to make her transition to our show smooth or how hard I tried to make her happy. It wasn't within my power.
Aside from simply being negative, that negativity was directed almost solely at me. The people that she hired (as I was last season's leftovers) were generally well-treated. They were allowed mistakes and stupidity. They were allowed to slack, to ask questions, to have fun.
At first, I thought that it might be all in my mind. I thought I was being victim of my over-active cynicism that slants the world against me. But then other co-workers approached me and asked what was going on. Others noticed that there was something crooked happening in my office -- but unfortunately, everyone agreed that short of switching departments or leaving all together, there was nothing I could do.
I tried switching departments and my manager prevented me from doing so. And I wasn't given the chance to leave.
It's really quite frustrating. When my manager "released me," she said basically that I had a bad attitude. And that despite liking me as a person, that we couldn't get along.
While I agree that we weren't getting along, I was appalled that she would chalk it up to my bad attitude. Little did she know how much I'd sacrificed personally in trying to get along with her.
As you all know, I'm one who rarely holds my tongue. I talk back. I sass. I give smart-ass answers. I make punny jokes. It's part of my charm that is either loved or hated by those who know me. And I fought every day to say nothing. And for the most part, I said nothing. I saw all the disparity and didn't defend myself. Didn't point anything out. I tried to stay humble. I tried to tell myself that I didn't know everything about the master plan. Instead, I'd go home to Kira (my cat) and cry out my frustrations to her.
I was wrong in doing that. The work environment my manager created wasn't healthy and I should have taken the advice of the many who look out for me (including my manager from last season) and removed myself from the abuse. I didn't. I thought I could take it.
On the day of my release, there was a misunderstanding between myself and my manager's right-hand woman. I made a sassy joke and she took offense. Rather than tell me that it wasn't cool, she went straight to the powers that be. I was pulled aside and told that I need to show both my manager and her right-hand woman some respect... and that it was the last time she'd talk to me about my poor attitude. I said that what I had said earlier was a joke and that her warning was duly noted.
That, coupled with all the exchanges I'd had with my manager in the previous weeks -- which included her calling me a liar and also being told that my assessment of a co-worker who wasn't pulling his weight was "wrong"-- could only mean that the end was near. I just hadn't realized how near it was.
At the end of the day, when she told me it'd be my last day working with Lost, I brought up my concerns regarding unfair treatment and biased behavior. My manager basically said that I was entitled to my opinion, but that I was "wrong." Of course she would say I'm wrong. That was part of the issue from the beginning! That anything I expressed, correct or not, was wrong.
I packed up my belongings and left. I drove to the Kahala Mall parking lot and just screamed. And cried. And my sister joined me and sat in my car with me and let me scream and cry. But the tears weren't for sadness, they were from frustration. Everything I'd held in and hadn't spat back out at my manager came out in those tears.
So now I'm jobless. But I'm free. I'm free from the dread of waking each morning knowing that I'd be enduring another day of hell at the hands of a woman who can't see her own fault. And knowing that even though I'll be living on my savings for a time, that I'm better off for it... because it wasn't my bad attitude that made things so difficult -- it was hers.
Because in the words of my beloved manager from last season... "I'm really quite something." And I am. Damn straight. And I'm released.