February 5, 2007

Workin' for a living

I'm good at my job. Because I am good at my job, sometimes I am called upon to do some functions for other departments. Sometimes help is needed because of the scope of the event or meeting (such as the annual conference in September, in which I provided meeting support services- registration desk, banquet oversight- as well as supporting my typical group). Sometimes help is needed because a department is short staffed (such as my upcoming tasks at our smaller Spring conference, since there is a vacancy in the meetings group).

There is a group of upper level consultants for whom there is not dedicated administrative support. All of these consultants will be overseen by a new corporate officer beginning late this year, but at this time they are overseen by our CEO. The CEO has requested that I, as well as three of my administrative peers, provide this support. Natalie has already stepped up to the plate, and she and I have already formulated how we can manage the level of support needed while still maintaining the level of work we already accomplish in our current positions. One of these ladies is willing to provide some support, but anticipates that she may not have the technical background necessary to do a great deal. And one of these ladies is a psychotic mess. Not "psychotic all dressed up as cute" the way I am, I mean full blown crazy.

She is livid that we are being asked to provide support for anyone other than our very busy bosses. She is convinced that all of the upper management staff have no respect for all of us as intelligent, professional women and that we are being treated as interchangeable cogs with no actual value. She continually berates me for "demeaning" myself by fixing coffee before meetings, or keeping a candy dish at my desk, or coordinating the sending of flower arrangements from the execs for hospital stays or condolences. She expends a great deal of energy worrying about how some of us are not demanding the "respect" of having a full height cubicle instead of a desk with a receptionist shelf.

And what is my take on this whole situation? Well, there is a reason that I (and in many cases, Natalie) get called upon to support other departments. We are called upon because we do a good job and are realistic about the fact that the organization as a whole needs us. We take on projects as we can, and request back-up for projects that we cannot handle alone. And we do with without bitching. And how many people in upper management think Shrilly McBitchalot is a pain in the ass to work with? Almost all of them. How many think Nat and I are? Almost none. So who has more comments and praise being bandied about at review time? I think we all know the answer to that.

News flash- just because I wear high heels and pretty make-up doesn't mean that I don't know how to be a smart woman in the workplace.

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