Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Friday, March 24, 2006

    Menaced Objects Series #2

    I don’t rant, much. I’m pretty easy-going. There are three rules in dealing with me. Don’t mess up Thanksgiving, don’t mess with my friends, and don’t mess with my territory. Steer clear of these and you’re the bee’s knees, baby.
    So it is with great loathing that I face today. My working territory in being encroached upon.

    Let me explain. I’ve been a graphic designer for twelve years. I’m the old-fashioned kind; I know how printing presses work. Don’t ask me to design a web site – not yet, at least. I’m a dependable old workhorse, happy changing names on business cards and whatnot; I’m not looking to redesign Coke’s logo any time soon.
    My biggest client is a print shop. I’ve had a beautiful working relationship with this shop for eight years. I started with them working in-house, kind of a mitochondria in a one-celled organism. Then after the boyos were born, my in-house place was filled and I handled overspill and vacations, a satisfactory situation all around.

    Time passed, and the woman taking my place moved on, and the spot was filled by another woman, one for whom I have a lot of respect. Our working relationship went on smoothly.

    Then two things happened.

    One, the shop absorbed another print shop, taking on the former owner in a salesmanship position, maintaining his old clients.
    Now, this should have been good news to me. More work, right? Plus, I already had a past working relationship with the new guy, S. I had played musical chairs for his shop when his designer, L., took off to have a baby. I even found my own replacement when the time came for me to go on baby-leave.

    I waited for the extra work to pour in. Nothing happened.

    Then I found out that S. was telling the current designer NOT to send me work, but to funnel it to L. instead. Ok, fine…old loyalties. L. was his old graphic designer after all. The designer in place gave me the heads up, and said she’d send me work anyway, because she liked working with me, and L. was, in her words, “a dolt.”

    But then she moved on, and guess who took her place.
    Again, fine. I’m not ready to work five days a week out of the house. Have at it.

    I subbed for her for a day a couple of weeks ago, and learned some interesting things.
    The owner of the shop, Owner C., has asked L. to send me work because she’s falling behind, but she refuses. And on top of it, she wants to cut her hours, and take more vacations. But she won’t share the work. The shop’s falling behind.
    Every time I tried to talk to Owner C. about it, S. was right there, eavesdropping. On top of that, it didn’t take me long to figure out that L. had changed the names of files she worked on the day before, things that needed completing, so that it took longer for me to find them in the system.
    And, the thing that really infuriated me – when L. had asked me if I’d sub that day, she mentioned that she wanted to take a week off, but didn’t know when, and would I be able to come in and cover? I said, ‘Let me know which week, and I’ll see how much babysitting I can round up.’ When I came in that day, there were signs up in three places, saying that she’d be out of the shop on the week of the 27th, and I’d be there.

    Not a word to me. Not a word to Owner C., either, apparently. The signs were just as much a surprise to him. So, I was put in a position of telling him I could only work two days for sure. He said he’d take care of it, but I still feel like I’m the one leaving him hanging.

    So, L. called yesterday, and asked me to come in today, for half an hour or so, to “learn the system.” The same fucking system I put in place eight years ago! I of course, have no babysitting today, so I’ve got to schlep the boyos along (not a huge problem; since it’s a tight, baby-loving crew working over there) but still, unprofessional and distracting. To the hesitation in my voice, L. replied, “Boy, the enthusiasm is overwhelming!”

    Bitch.

    So I told her that I was not going to be subbing the whole week, but only a couple of days, and had Owner C. told her that?
    No. He hadn’t.

    I’m not sure where I stand. Owner C. implied that he was not happy with L. when I was subbing. But I’m not getting any extra work.

    I’m frustrated. I don’t know how to approach the situation. I’d always had this hope that I’d be able to return when the time came, that the space would open by fate, and I’d step back in. I hadn’t bet the house on it, but I had hoped. Now, I can barely squeeze work out of them, and even though Owner C. is dissatisfied, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. And, I’m not even sure I want to go back, with Backstabbing S. working there. He got in a few snide comments while I was subbing.
    I don’t understand. I helped out both L. and S. when the table were turned and L. was on baby leave. Never a complaint by anyone about my work or my attitude. And I never had a beef against them until now. I’m just feeling betrayed.

    Ok, enough bitching. Gotta go.

    6 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    You have to find a way to lay this whole thing out for C. He has to learn how to navigate around it. I may have a suspicion about what's happening but needs to have it clearly laid out for him. I have a feeling you can find a way to do that diplomatically without stabbing anybody. I get the feeling L and S have some sort of unstated relationship and cover each other's asses. I also think C owes you some loyalty. It'll be tricky laying this out without forcing people to choose sides but it's not gonna get solved just by leaving it this way. Good luck with this. I hope we hear more about it. Got you in my blogroll now!

    12:34 PM, March 24, 2006  
    Blogger Esereth wrote in a love letter...

    You have enough evidence to support yourself in a confrontation, you know. It's not just making trouble, it's, "For these seven reasons I am struggling, can you help me understand why?"

    Don't suffer! Fix, fix!

    7:29 PM, March 25, 2006  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Bud: I think I know your suspicion, and it has been suggested before. I just don't like to picture it, because it creates an ugly picture in my head.
    Thanks for adding me to your list! I'll be over there soon asking some questions and being a general pest.

    Esereth: I intend to fight. I'm a bit of a wolf that way. Friday turned out to be a waste of my time (no surprise). I want to gauge things again on Monday, get some direct answers, and decide my next tactic.
    You, by the way, are an amazing writer. You've found your voice.

    7:52 PM, March 25, 2006  
    Anonymous D-Man wrote in a love letter...

    I'm doing graphic design in my latest incarnation.
    But I work for a big company, so I don't have to worry about chasing work and cheques.
    Which is good. Because everyone I have to deal with, from my own colleagues and bosses, through to the print vendors, is a monkey.

    1:03 PM, March 26, 2006  
    Blogger Des_Moines_Girl wrote in a love letter...

    A very frustrating situation. I agree with the other posters - better to face it head on and fix it than to suffer in silence. Easier said than done, I know, but it is truly better to face these things when they are small and somewhat manageable than wait until they fester and morph into three headed monsters. Approach it from the biz perspective - what is best for the business/customers? The shop is falling behind, customers are unhappy, you are more than willing to take on more work and yet you are being shut out. Sounds like there is plenty of work to go around so it is more than a territorial issue. Doesn't make sense.

    7:46 PM, March 26, 2006  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    D-Man: Surely not cheeky monkeys, I hope!
    I used to work for a large company, mostly made of monkeys. It was the biggest kick in the pants to go out and work on my own. I've never looked back.

    DMG: Did you have a fun weekend, despite La Diabla? I'm going to try and talk to Owner C tomorrow. The whole thing confuses me, because he is normally a very no bullshit kind of guy, and this whole thing is so vague.

    9:37 PM, March 26, 2006  

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