Looking Over My Shoulder

Paranoia is a sad and serious condition. The dictionary definition of paranoia is “an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious”. What I am seeing in the work environment is a quiet paranoia. You see there are ample reasons to be suspicious. There have been incidents that fed the general mistrust. I have recently succumbed to the paranoia. In my office, the counter where my computer resides requires me to sit with my back to the door. I’ve taken to locking my door while I’m working. I now lock my computer whenever I step away. I lock my filing cabinet. I’ve started balancing paper clips on drawer ledges and on the top of file folders. Although the IT department requires a new password every 6 months, I’ve been changing mine every 2 weeks. The tension is thick. Part of the problem is not knowing. Uncertainty introduces chaos. Chaos is the loss of control. Control (even if it is illusionary) creates a sense of well-being, allays fears, and confirms stability. Stability is the antithesis of chaos.

We are stronger than we think. The human mind and body can withstand extremes, endure, adapt, and thrive even in the most inhospitable environments. Sadly there is a limit and it is different for each individual. We cope in myriad ways – some are destructive and others are constructive. Which brings me to the point – I have learned to bend. Others are less flexible and have not practiced (or even considered the possibility of) bending. I am anticipating a storm and have confidence that I will survive. Others are much less at peace with the pending trials. They may snap. They may flee. Organic attrition is real. Even if it has been anticipated, it is nonetheless startling.

30 thoughts on “Looking Over My Shoulder

  1. What a horrible way to work. I certainly understand control and loss of it. I am uncomfortable when I am not in control and that is much more now as I deal with my dear husband. Some days it is easier than others. Then stepping out of my house I have no control. So many times it is grin and bear it.

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    1. All control is an illusion. We have really very little control over things in our lives – just our own emotions and thoughts. It is a tense situation but I’m cradling the last ember of hope. It can’t continue like this forever so something will give – I just hope it is sooner rather than later!

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    1. Yes it is unpleasant or as a coworker put it “this is what I imagine walking on hot coals is like”. I am an expert in walking on hot coals. And bending while I do it! hehehe! We laugh or else we would cry.

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    1. No. I’m just a “grunt” in the wider scheme of things. I’m trying to stay positive but the longer this is drawn out the harder it gets to be patient and upbeat. Instead we feel beat up. Thanks for the hugs – every warm fuzzy helps counteract the cold pricklies that are scattered about!

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      1. It would seem that your management is dragging the process out way too long! Are there a couple of people you could recruit to go with you to talk with them about the effects of the uncertainty? Or can you do that on your own? I went through many changes — org analysis shouldn’t take more than a month, design maybe another month, then implementation. The process you are enduring has to be bad for morale, and that will also make change more difficult in the long run. My thoughts are with you, and I will be hoping that it’s over soon! Hugs again!!

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  2. This is how some control the rest, by sowing wispy little seeds of doubt and fear. Your coping skills seem to be ready for the worst. Stay prepared, but don’t give whoever is orchestrating this, the satisfaction of driving wedges between co-workers.

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    1. It is part of the “organizational analysis and design” process. We are waiting to discover what our department will look like. Many are wondering if they will have jobs. Morale is non-existent and the tension could be cut with a knife. The longer it drags on the less enthusiasm and buy in from the staff. We’ve been doing this since January!!

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  3. I wish you were free to flee. Someday, when the weight of that place is off your shoulders, you will be so light you might just float, like that scene in Mary Poppins where everyone is laughing on the ceiling.

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    1. When things strike me as funny
      I can’t hide it inside
      And squeak as the squeakelers do
      I’ve got to let go with a ho ho ho
      And a ha ha ha too
      We love to laugh
      Loud and long and clear
      We love to laugh
      So everybody can hear
      Yep. It is either laugh or cry. I’m trying to laugh at every opportunity. We told fart jokes today at lunch. And yes, everyone laughed. It was a good time – until we had to clock back in. Then the laughter disappeared and we all ended up back on the ground…

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  4. I have no words and eyesight is too poor to look for any! I am a phone call away if you need to vent and let off some steam or pent up frustrations.

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  5. How awful. 😦 No one would want to work under these conditions. 😦 I hope and pray it changes for the better, soon.

    Keep being bend-y and finding things to laugh at! 🙂

    “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break.”
    (((HUGS)))

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    1. Thanks. It is pretty bad right now but I’m waiting for the roll out to be announced. It can’t happen soon enough. But like many things, it is out of my control. So I’m sitting on the curb watching the parade and crossing my fingers that there will be a float tossing treats soon. So far its been clowns scooping manure and loud sirens and antique cars…

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          1. I heard from Zakiah today that she is on her way to London. She asked me to relay that she’s sorry not to have responded to everybody’s posts, but that she will do so when she returns in mid-July.

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    1. We were in the midst of a departmental reorganization. It was drastic and unpleasant and it went down hard. We have come out on the other side but the more things change the more they stay the same… different players, same problems.

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          1. Yes, that also. And even if you are one of the better instructors, and have great reviews…you can get bumped! Know because this has happened to me even with above average reviews. What can one do? Be in a highly specialized field with few competitors.

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              1. OH, ok, must be in the medical field. Actually, I am also in a much narrower field than English but many of my colleagues go on to get a PhD. I didn’t get my higher ed degree until I was almost 40. I travelled and worked in Manhattan and overseas prior with just a BA. But I am also sought out for many positions and am very versatile because of my background. Enjoy the day.

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                1. Too many universities are requiring degrees for “grunt” positions which weed out very qualified applicants. Of course they do get the BS/MS/PhD to fill the position only to have them quit or transfer after 6 mos – 1 year… Costs them lots of $ and time in the hiring phase and the training time. If they’s consider some of the non-degree applicants they would have a very stable work force and at a lot less money!

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