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I am so angry I could scream. My boss just stopped by to let me know… - Strolling II [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Mar. 17th, 2009|01:45 pm]
[mood |irateirate]

I am so angry I could scream.

My boss just stopped by to let me know that one of the two brand new painstakingly handmade heavy wooden cabinets, full of antique photos and fragile books that I worked on for a month and carefully arranged...


And I don't mean two feet to the left. I mean fifty feet across a very large conference room and up a step. By three people, none of whom is qualified to move heavy wood furniture, late one Friday afternoon, ON A WHIM.

Set aside the fact that it has been moved from where everyone walking in the room can see it, to where only those sitting up front in a large meeting will even notice it.

Set aside the fact that a complete exhibit has now been split in two (the larger cabinet isn't movable without special equipment, so it remains next to where the other one was).

What's horrible about this, is that the cabinet is full of old and unique photos and books, on bare wood so there is nothing to anchor them to the spot if the cabinet tilts. And my boss and I (and the locksmith, who wasn't one of the three people there) are the only ones with keys. So I am sure everything inside has been tumbled around, maybe even damaged.

Ah, but this is the fact that tops off all others: the person who suggested moving the cabinet, and who helped move it, is OUR INSTITUTIONAL DIRECTOR, the very same man who cares so much about this collection that he had it moved out of storage and near the library so it could be worked on, who asked me to look into how to organize it, who directed me to put together the exhibit and the carpentry shop to make the cabinets, who wants to be the one who writes "the book" about Mendota. He has all these high hopes for the collection, yet he a) doesn't want to pay for a professional archivist to organize it so people can use it, and b) doesn't care enough about the actual artifacts to take decent care of them when they're on display!

And when I called the person who schedules the conference room to see if she had any idea who moved the cabinet, she began laughing uproariously, like she was remembering a madcap adventure, and said it had been her and the Director and another person, and they just wanted to see if it would be more visible there. Here's a direct quote; imagine it being said with much laughter: "Maybe it would have been nice if we'd have called you to let you know?" I was sitting at my desk gaping into the phone, trying to figure out if I should reply with a loud "YES, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN.", or just sort of laugh along with her. People who think they are being funny are usually offended if one responds with cold silence. So I said, "Well, you know, yeah..." in a self-deprecating way, and laughed a bit along with her.

Lest you think I would swallow anger simply to be polite, because of the involvement of the director, there may be some politics involved here. People are very territorial around here, and duties can be informally assigned based on who feels like doing something, leading to a blurring of job boundaries; a sure way to gain an enemy is to imply that what someone thinks is their prerogative, is actually yours. So I had to do some swallowing, to keep the future peace. Otherwise I'd have shouted at this idiot on the phone loud enough to scare the patients in the library.

This is all so far past unacceptable, I don't know what more to say, except that I am so far succeeding in keeping myself from running over to the conference center to check on the cabinet's contents. My boss (who is almost equally offended by all this, bless her) advised that we sleep on our irritation, and go over and check tomorrow. I had a group here until 2, so I've been keeping myself in the library for, let me check...thirteen minutes. My 2:30 group isn't coming today.

It's going to be a long, long two hours until I go home.

EDIT: I had another strong urge to go over to the conference center at 3, but I rode it out. This is ridiculous, though. I'm going to sort the mail, finish cataloging the two items I have left in today's batch, and then go home.

[User Picture]From: mairegirl
2009-03-17 07:37 pm (UTC)
I don't get really, really mad enough to spit at work very often. However, the two times I have, I took the offending folks out for a walk to let them know that they had crossed so far over boundaries that they had endangered our working relationship. I recommend walking meetings in these times.

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[User Picture]From: gflower
2009-03-17 07:54 pm (UTC)
With the Director of the Institution? My boss's boss's boss?

He's certainly more approachable than some people, but still...I think not.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
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[User Picture]From: jinglymushroom
2009-03-17 07:46 pm (UTC)
Er, I hit some button wrong. It's supposed to say "Maybe these cabinets need a very large, clear sign that says "For the safety of the artifacts and individuals moving the display, DO NOT TOUCH without prior consultation of so and so"?"
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[User Picture]From: gflower
2009-03-17 08:00 pm (UTC)
That was the first thing I thought--thanks for the idea. But it seems kind of tacky, would probably block the view of the artifacts (most of the surfaces big enough to put a sign on are glass), and of course the Director would probably not feel it applies to him, because really it's HIS collection.

In the end I think we'll have to put up some sort of sign, but I don't think it's the solution--it'd just be a warning so we can feel better justified to ask people not to do it again. Someone who truly believes it's his decision where the cabinet goes at any given time, whether that's the Director or a facilities maintenance person or whoever, will always assume the sign doesn't apply to him. Human nature.
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[User Picture]From: jinglymushroom
2009-03-17 08:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, very true, but it's worth a try. Maybe you ould include a "fun fact" about how incredibly easy it is damage the artifacts unless handled by trained personnel.
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[User Picture]From: gflower
2009-03-17 08:07 pm (UTC)
You're right, there's ways to phrase things so people don't feel they are being scolded when they see the sign. I'm a bard--I should be able to come up with something! Thanks for reminding me.
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[User Picture]From: eithni
2009-03-17 10:16 pm (UTC)
We have very different tactics. I'd be more inclined to post a warning that some items in the cabinet may be explosive if jostled.

Heh. I'll be posting later about MY answer to an obnoxious request. I am not nice.
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[User Picture]From: eithni
2009-03-17 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, how appallingly AWFUL all around. Bastards.

It is in these sorts of situations where it would be really useful if you drank. :P There is just something so consoling about a solidly peaty Scotch when the world is behaving abominably.
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[User Picture]From: gflower
2009-03-18 03:39 am (UTC)
When I was depressed I considered drinking--that was one of the things that showed me how bad things had gotten. This, this is entirely situational; fundamentally I'm fine, I just have one awful thing eating at me. It's stressful but I can handle it, esp. knowing my boss will support me all the way.

There is just such a history of addictive behavior on my mom's side of the family, that even if I overcame my personal aversion to alcohol, even if initially I developed good habits, I can't vouch for whether it would get away from me, and that's not a life I want to lead.
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[User Picture]From: eithni
2009-03-18 04:37 am (UTC)
Fair enough and a good choice for you.

I think it is more about the ritual than the booze for me, anyway - it's not like I get enough of a buzz off a Scotch to make a difference - it's the action of taking a few moments to stop and indulge in something. I do much the same at work with a cup of tea when Scotch is not an option... even if my Splenda syrup looks like an amber liquor.
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[User Picture]From: gflower
2009-03-18 12:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I do treat myself regularly. Maybe even too regularly. Last night it was a salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks. Well, I needed something to keep me hydrated during choir...maybe not that particular something...but it was tasty!
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