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Monday, December 28, 2009

Disgruntled Employee

Well, as this year draws to a close, I guess I should sum up this year's employment highlights and, better yet, lowlights. In full disclosure, the nature of my employment in the non-profit healthcare arena tends to be grant funded so I am what some people might call a "job hopper." I prefer to call myself a "grant gypsy".

As a grant gypsy I work until the grant money runs out, then its time to move on, either within an agency or to a new one. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do and I like the variety of people and experiences I encounter. Plus I know practically everyone in non-profits in Miami because I probably worked with them or for them a some point in my career.

This year was especially interesting because I had a "dream job" which ended due funding cuts. It was a research study on gay men who were addicted to sex and drugs. Talk about fascinating. I mean talking about sex at the water cooler was one thing, talking about sex all day was quite another. It was absolutely fascinating. I also worked with very hip grad students who were talented and as social science majors were well on their way to becoming jaded liberals who believed that everyone has some sort of pathology and given enough time it would reveal itself. Of course it was too good to last, and as America spiraled into financial turmoil, the Feds cut the funding to the project and also my job.

I mentioned this to friends at the dog park and a week later, pow, I am in SHOW BIZ. Yes I got a job at a non profit TV station and managed to break a personal record in unemployment...10 days unemployed. I had planned a nice vacation, perhaps train for a triathlon, but no. My friend and future supervisor gave me a quick interview with a manic person who after asking my name and about my previous employment hired me on the spot. It was a four minute interview. I was soon at a cubicle using my people skills for the TV On-Air Auction.

You know, a four minute interview is usually not a good omen. I mean the pay was meager, barely a quarter of what I was making before, but it was a job and it still paid more than unemployment. Plus with such low pay, I really didn't have a lot of ego invested in it. And, of course it was SHOW BIZ. 10 days after I was hired, my immediate supervisor walked out the door, never to return, not even to the dog park. That left me in the direct line of supervision of a crazy, frothing of the mouth, manic woman.

Having dabbled in various aspects of the non-profit world I have had the opportunity to pick up a plethora of medical terms, both physical and psychological. I've become intimate with the DSM diagnostic manual and happily play the "what the fuck is wrong with that one?" game. My frothing at the mouth boss is what psychologists or social workers would call a "borderline personality disorder." Which is pschobabble for "really, really fucked up".

I realized this pretty much from day one, and I knew that my stint in TV undoubtebly end badly. But because all crazy people like shiny new things, I was the "golden boy" of the development office. Granted at 42, I'd passed 'boyhood" long ago and really resented it, I went along with the general patronizing because, A. I needed a job, B. it was showbiz, C. I really get off on being a "golden boy."

But as all of us who deal with bi-polar personalities know, shiny objects lose their luster and golden boys get long in the tooth. Also golden boys, tend to be easy targets in the cross hairs of a crazy boss.

Next: Descent into Madness.