Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Beauty of Chocolate, Kind Husbands, and Weekends

I've been working on a post about my soon-to-be-former job for the past hour; trying to couch the past few months' experiences in purely hypothetical terms should my soon-to-be-former boss somehow magically find my blog. (Highly doubtful, but as I am the Queen of Worrying About Things That Will Probably Never Happen, I have to prepare for every eventuality.) However, all the hypotheticals started to give me a non-hypothetical headache, so I will say this:

Basically, my job was impossible. I was hired part-time to take over my boss's email correspondence, and everything else internet-related, because he is "too old to learn how to deal with technology." Unfortunately, much of the work he does is internet-related, and the job quickly became a full-time nightmare. I could get into all the [hypothetical] reasons it was a nightmare, but this blog entry will probably be too long even without a detailed job description, so just trust me on the nightmare thing. However, for a variety of reasons, I didn't feel that I could quit. But a few weeks ago, when my boss started talking raises and a 401k in exchange for my long-term, full-time commitment, I knew the time to quit had come. I told him (very nicely) that I'd been hired with the understanding that it would be part-time and short-term, and I wasn't looking for anything else. I then offered to stay on for several months to help him find and train a replacement.

Everything changed this week, however, when my boss wrote something very unkind, unfair, and untrue about me in an email. An email that I wasn't supposed to see, but that I saw because it is MY JOB TO READ HIS EMAIL. He wrote it, the person he wrote to responded to it, and I read it.

I sat staring at the unkind, unfair, and untrue email in disbelief. Then I called the one person who I knew would understand how I felt. That would be the person who had my job before me. That would be the person who, a few months ago, read an unkind, unfair, and untrue email my boss sent about her because it was HER JOB TO READ HIS EMAIL. She couldn't believe he'd done it again. I couldn't believe he'd done it again.

As I was reading the email to her, it disappeared. I Iater learned that my boss was checking his email from home, saw the offending message, panicked, and deleted it. (He didn't, however, delete it from his sent mail, and since I also go through that folder every day as part of MY JOB, I was able to read it to my husband over the phone later that day.)

His prior employee told me I should quit immediately. Just walk out of the office and never come back. I didn't know what to do. I knew that my husband would be supportive (as would pretty much anyone who read the email), but I also knew that my boss would be left in a terrible bind.

So, I confronted him. It wasn't pretty. He tried to explain it away, telling me he wished I hadn't seen it because he knew I would "misinterpret" it; that it was a question of "semantics" and "poor word choice" and that he shouldn't be judged for something he wrote "late at night."


He also said a bunch of other things I didn't buy, and then asked (rather forcefully) if I accepted his apology. I didn't know what to say. I told him I'd have to think about it, and I left.

(Two things I hate: Confrontation, and when people can't just admit they were wrong and offer a sincere apology.)

(Did I mention I hate confrontation?)

In the end, I decided to take the high road and give my boss two weeks notice, instead of doing what I wanted to do which was to take the low road and tell my boss to take a hike.

To cheer me up this weekend, my hubby drove me to the Cheesecake Factory, and insisted on buying me a piece of Flourless Chocolate Godiva Cheesecake. We drove to the restaurant and back with the top down (my hubby has a sporty, impractical car). It was a gorgeous, early summer California night. We held hands and ate cake and he said very nice things to me. The stress and frustration of the week subsided, and I realized that everything was going to be okay.

And that kindness, weekends, and chocolate are a beautiful combination.


Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, you're right. Total nightmare. Chocolate and kindness are a very healing combination, though! Good luck with the next two weeks.

kiki said...

I'm not sue-happy at all, but the word "libel" is flashing in my head right now, as well as "repeat offender". You are too nice.

The Holy Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake should be the new food of the gods, for it is the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. I should go to Dallas soon to put more of it there.

The first time I'd ever had it, I was about to order some chocolate silk mess, when the server asked me, "Have you tried the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake?" When I answered no, he pretty much gave me no choice in the matter. He brought it out, and it seemed as though a choir of angels followed him. He then proceeded to tell my friends and me that some guy would come in every week to order a milkshake with a piece of that cake thrown in. I wonder how large that man is.

Emily said...

You don't deserve unkind, unfair, or untrue.

Sam said...

How traumatic for you and incredibly dense of him! I guess a good thing is that you don't have to struggle with your oldest child "be practical" tendencies about whether to stay or not, but honestly! I'm glad you have Steve and cheesecake comfort!

Em said...

Nice to meet you, Luisa! Any friend of Annette's is a friend of mine.

Thank you all, ladies, for your kind words. I really appreciate them!

P.S. Kiki - a milkshake made with a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake? I'm speechless.