For the first time EVER, we are having all of our clients (they are in groups of 18 and there are 6 different groups) in one location, for our quarterly meetings that we hold. Typically we go to six different meetings per quarter and typically we select one client to “host” the meeting and the other clients in the group fly to their city so that we can perform a critique of their business and perform other meeting tasks at a local hotel. We have a facilitator for the meeting who coaches the clients and conducts the meetings. I’m in the support position that supports all the clients, creates all meeting materials, coaches the “host” and walks them through how to secure a venue and preps the hotel for the guests.
MY FUCKING PROBLEM
We are holding this “All Group” meeting in San Diego, CA as I type this. Our office is in Washington, about 15 miles from Seattle. I’ve prepped all the materials. I’ve contacted ALL of our clients probably 10 or more times EACH over the span of 3 months. And that DOESN’T count the email correspondence and those clients I’ve had to babysit throughout the whole registration process and make sure every single person in our Groups comes (we expected about 70% turn out – we have more like 95%. You’re welcome asshole boss.) It’s been an administrative nightmare – to put it mildly.
When we first came up with the concept, I had asked if I could come to the meeting. These are MY CLIENTS. The people I speak to on a consistent basis. The people I support for chrissakes. At the time all of this was being conceptualized, I was told, “You get us a great venue at a reasonable price complete with room comps and yeah, you’ll go.”
Cut to a month ago. Plane tickets were being purchased and as they were being passed out, they glazed over me. I’ve worked for this company for 12 fucking years. (I did quit once when my dad owned this place. He sold it a year ago to one of our trainers just before he died.)
I decided to ask them. They said they’d “think about it”. EX-FUCKING-CUSE ME?!!!!??? They just fired the other remaining administrative person in the office. And having managed this business as a V.P. for several months, I understand that it’s important to have someone here…BUT – ALL OF OUR FUCKING CLIENTS WILL BE AT THIS GODDAMNED EVENT!!!!
I sweetened the pot, realizing that it would probably affect my job if I wasn’t able to experience the meeting so that I could provide appropriate support to our clients – I told my “bosses” that I’d pay for my own plane ticket. Please let me know.
A few days later, they said, “No.”
But, they decided to take someone who has worked here for less than a YEAR. Who has NO KNOWLEDGE of the clients she’ll be mingling with. At first… I thought it was because she was in a sales position. Makes sense, right? Only…I’ve worked every motherfucking position in this company, including being the VERY FIRST SALES PERSON THAT WAS EVER HIRED TO WORK HERE, as well as, V.P., C.F.O., Marketing Director, Head of H.R., Head of Accounting all while conducting the duties that I was HIRED to do in my “support position”. You’re right. I’m probably underqualified.
And the thing is…I have a “friendship” with this chick. She confides in me regarding how she’s treated by another employee who I loathe and refer to as ASSHEAD a lot in this very blog. How the bosses aren’t stepping up to him and letting him believe he’s running this place – which makes me GAG…if my Dad could see how this asshole is acting…he’d roll over in his own ashes. So, this chick can’t understand why I’m not going either. She told me that they didn’t want ASSHEAD to go because all he wants to do is SELL SELL SELL our training (I imagine him seeing our clients walking around as little pork chops and he’s the big bad wolf ready to pounce.), and this isn’t that type of event. Yeah…she said that the boss told her that IT’S NOT THAT TYPE OF EVENT. Meaning: No high pressure sales. Meaning: WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T I GO TO THIS THING THAT I HAVE POURED ALL MY TIME INTO PLANNING?
Then it donned on me. And I’m serious when I say this. My new “bosses” have a “type”. They appreciate slender petite blondes. The chick they hired shortly after they bought the business? Maaaaaaaaybe 5′ tall, long blonde hair, maaaaaaaaaaaaybe 100 pounds. One of those chicks who uses her stature to her advantage, by giggling and hopping around the office all cute and sneezing like a fucking car alarm – and my bosses aren’t helping. I heard my boss describe her to a potential training client the other day – I’m still not sure why he said it – it doesn’t make any professional sense to me…but he said, “You’ll like her. She’s maybe 5′ tall, blonde and might be 100 pounds soaking wet.” HE SAID THAT TO A FUCKING POTENTIAL CLIENT.
I’m 5’8″. Plump, but put together. And a brunette. YOU do the fucking math.
So, I didn’t get to go. Our “facilitator” thinks it totally sucks. Every client that I’ve spoken to has asked if I was excited to spend time in San Diego and how excited they were to see me. Only, I had to tell them I’m not going. And this news was FREQUENTLY received by utter silence on the other end of the phone. Followed by stunned disbelief.
To say that my feelings are hurt is a major understatement. I’m disappointed in THEM. I’ve been talking to someone about getting a position at the Association that deals with our clients and industry – an industry I’ve grown up in. My parents have been members of this association for many many years and helped them become what they are today. I know the founder – I grew up before his eyes, I know the current President, he was there as my dad was declining in health. I adore all of them, they all adore me. They have been trying to create a position for me for the last few months and this weekend, I’ll be spending all weekend working on their tradeshow. And I will meet all of my potential co-workers. It’s honestly a great big huge 3-day job interview…only way more fun and way less pressure. I don’t have to impress them. They are already impressed.
It’s bittersweet, too. I mean…I’m the last family member left. My parents started this company over 25 years ago. Coming here everyday – it’s harder than anyone can imagine. I’m reminded of my dad several times EVERY DAY. To see the company he built going down some of the paths that I’ve seen it go down in the last year have saddened me a great deal. I’ve felt like it was my responsibility to ensure that some of what he put in place stayed in tact. The guy who bought this place has no idea how to run a company. I do. I have run THIS company. But they’ve never asked me for any input. I’ve been gracious and tried to step back and let them find their way. I’ve taken on an entire other persons job duties and never once did they offer to compensate me more. I feel like if I have to make the hour and 20 minute commute one more time I might spontaneously combust! It’s not worth it for me to be here any more. I tried. It’s not working out. And it’s just really sad.
And then I get pissed. I get pissed because I’m being taken advantage of. I get pissed because the way I feel is that I’m not valued, even though I have experience that I know would help guide some of their decisions, I’m not being approached. I appalled by the fact that they aren’t doing anything about the blatant shit that ASSHEAD is saying and doing to their valued blonde employee. I’m shocked at some of the business decisions they have made. And I’m completely disappointed that I feel that I should need to look for somewhere else to work because I realize – nothing will change here. I may seem like an asshole…but I assure you, I’m not. I truly care about this company that my parents have created and want it to succeed. The new owners deserve it. And even more so, our clients deserve it and our industry deserves it. It’s what my dad wanted – that his legacy of awesomeness continues to touch the people we serve. And THAT is what matters most to me.
A MOTHERFUCKING UPDATE:
So the boss’s wife is back. And she wasn’t in the office any more than 5 minutes before she asked to “talk to me in her office”. She wanted to convey to me that I needed to remain professional on the phone because people were going to call and say they missed me at the meeting and that I can’t make any comments about not being there. Sounds like my clients really gave them the riot act. Deservedly so, I’d say. Needless to say that it instantly pissed me off and I’m FUMING. I told her that I couldn’t believe that she thought I’d be anything BUT professional on the phone and that I conducted myself with pure professionalism EVEN WHEN THEY TOLD ME I COULDN’T FUCKING GO, although I did look at her square in the face and said, “I’ve been extremely supportive, encouraging and gracious throughout the entire time leading up to the meeting and I’m a little offended that you even have to have this conversation with me.” I don’t think she appreciated my honesty. I’m so upset I’ve been crying like a big fat baby off and on all day. I need to get OUT OF HERE!