At one point I must have fallen over to the other side of Alice's mirror, because things around me can't possibly be this crazy. Here I stand, trying to make sense of the insanity around me but nothing seems to fit. To put it simple, I'm working at this department where we have quite a simple job, nothing really mindblowing. Get the requests from A, pass them to B or pass them to our different sources, get the replies, fit them into one coherent reply and then send it back to A. Over and over again. We don't work with anyone's requests other than A's. We are the portal through which A talks to us. In my opinion, it's a little much to make a whole department to talk to A, but hey, this is how this rolls.
Within this department there have been several issues from far before I've got here. Nothing all that exceptionally, no massive coworker suicides due to stress or anything of the sort, it's just simply some turmoil (quite contained, if you ask me) result of adding a small sphere of tasks and poor managing. Some would say that's also a result of creating an area with the rejects of other departments, but I won't stand for that because I can't vouch for that information. Anyhow, a year ago this exploded into a "situation" with Human Resources intervention and everything, which was quite poorly managed. There was a whole mixing and twsiting of the results, and in the end, The Powers That Be decided to "make something about it", and took a peculiar road for it: instead of actually solving what was the problem, decided to walk around it and make the problem "everybody's problem" (but that who's problem really is), and came up with a series of projects aimed to divert the attention, but also to serve as escape goats once it's proven that they don't work. What am I saying? Yes, well, it's like A is bullying B and C, and so B and C complain and they make a research and the result says that F bullies B and C. So A decided that, in order to solve B and C, they should do "team spirit building" activities and force them to take part of some activities A decided work for that. All the while A keeps bullying them, and says that if they have anything to complain about is because they are not doing their activities, thus is their fault.
Naturally, this will lead to things to explode and become uglier in the medium run. Actually even in the short run as a lot of people have been forced into these activities, me included, and that will never, EVER end up right. As usual, it seems I'm always the brave of the pack, so I didn't conform. I wasn't going to raise the fight around this, but I made sure to make my stance clear: I'm not volunteering into the activities, I'm being forced. It was a situation where you "had to volunteer" to something, and if you "have to", it's no longer volunteer. If it's no longer wolunteer, then that should be clear, so no one can later be told "but you choose that, you could have not chosen that". Yes, I've experience in this type of crap. So I stood my ground on this, and in the end I achieved the unthinkable: I've got out of the activities. Not without being unfairly labeled, but at least the result was what I wanted: my will was respected.
Today that was made clear for my boss, and she didn't like it. The bullying started all over again. What impressed me most is that she insisted that the single act of unsuscribing from this activities was enough to brand me as an impossible person and diminish the quality of my job. Why? Have I not done my job so far? Has not been my job that of the top most quality? Have I not uphold deadlines? Am I not thorough? Am I not on top of everything? Am I not available at any moment to talk about it? Have I failed in my job in any way? Has there ever been a complain about my job in any way? I'm on the highest level of quality, highest level of accomplishment, I top the expectations regarding analysis, how could that be trampled by some stupid, self-serving "volunteer" little charade? If so, and I told her, this is not a place for me. I meant the area, but she spoke as if I meant the company. I was blunt, made it clear: I have open doors in other departments.
To my horror she asked me if I ever felt "passionate" about the job I do here. As if expecting me to say that yes, what I do here is a chore and I have pleasure from it. I told her that yes, I need my figures, I need my formulas because I'm used to work with things that passionate me, things that drive me, things that I believe in, that make sense. I'm not here simply to spend my time on whatever stupid thing they dish at me and collect my paycheck at the end of the month.
Now she knows: I'm ready to leave, and I will.
The lesson I learned today is that your principles, your values may not be understood by others. The sense of satisfaction from knowing you are wholesome, that your integrity is without stain, that you are honest, that you stay true to your believes is something a lot of people can't comprehend. Whatever your principles, whatever your values, you know what? Only you need to understand them, and when someone questions you about them because they want to undermine them and make you bow to their lesser standards, all you need to do is let them talk, smile and say "and yet I stay true to myself".
I may be branded with a Scarlet Letter, a P for proud or an N for negative, and I'll wear that letter with pride as a symbol of my fight, my honor and my Integrity: I won't sell out, I will stand to my believes, I won't be a part of a charade because that's what's expected of me. I will fight.