Monday, May 21, 2012

My "Career" ~ Part 4 ~ Phil

(Scary in its familiarity)

With Connie gone, we were rudderless.  That's just silly, really, because Connie was a bust at being a rudder, except for those minions who constantly found excuses to stroll into her office and ask for her "advice".

The regional VP (again, we'll call him "Charles", since I can't remember his name) took over the sad task of supervising the supervisors.

I remember one early meeting with him, in which he expressed the sentiment, "I can't believe you guys don't already know this". 

Charles did send us off to learn how to use personal computers.  Up until that time, we didn't have computers (computers??).  We had CRT's.  CRT's did nothing except the very explicit task of allowing us to process claims.  I'm surprised, in retrospect, that the supervisors didn't have typewriters in their little glass-encased coffins. 

I knew nothing about personal computers, naturally.  I sat in that class, and dragged the mouse as far along that long table as it could possibly go, because I couldn't get the stupid pointer to point to the stupid thing that I wanted it to point to.  The instructor finally noticed my contortions, and said, "pick up the mouse (dummy)".  And everybody laughed and laughed, but I bet they didn't know that, either.

Then, one day, it was announced to us that a new manager would be joining our "team" (I always hated the term, "team", because that made it sound like we were all in it together, when, in fact, we were all in it to slash each others' throats, to be frank).

Phil had apparently once worked with our (at least my) guru, Dave, in Omaha, Nebraska.  What a smart man like Dave ever saw in a dolt like Phil remains one of life's mysteries.  Phil was a moron; scratch that ~ a lazy moron.

Phil got himself all situated in Connie's former office, and proceeded to thumb through his stack of women's magazines, prop his feet up on the desk, and promptly fall asleep.

Needless to say, we didn't have any respect for Phil.  At least those of us who were not consumed with kissing anyone and everyone's ass (LeeAnn).

Anytime that Phil woke up, he'd take a stroll around the office and see which supervisor he could offend. 

He'd sit in the extra chair inside the given supervisor's glass-walled cubicle and regale his hostage with tales of his glory days at Mutual of Omaha (wasn't that the company that sponsored that "Wild Kingdom" series, with Marlin Perkins, who always sent his assistant, Jim, out on the really dangerous assignments, while Marlin sat back in the studio and lisped his way through the narration?  Yea, that's the one).  I bet all the Mutual of Omaha guys talked that up a lot at every client meeting.  "We have Marlin Perkins, you know!"

With the supervisors he really liked, Phil would regale them with tales of the sex-capades that he and his wife had had the night before.  Phil was a geek, so picturing him as a sex God was nearly impossible.   Luckily, I was spared the details of Phil's extracurricular activities.  But, of course, like anything and everything that happens in an office, I heard about it secondhand.

Phil was big on grand pronouncements.  Once a month, he'd gather the entire staff together in an open space, ostensibly to announce the latest quality results, but in actuality, to pump himself up to the group.  "Three years ago, before I came here, you guys were nothing.  Nothing!  Now just look at you."  And we'd all look around at each other and roll our eyes, and think, yea, we were drooling idiots before you got here, Phil.  We could barely manage to write our own names.

Unlike the majority of the supervisors, I, unfortunately, did not suffer fools gladly.  Oh sure, I tried to stay awake whenever Phil chose to sit in my extra chair and impart his MOA wisdom.  But when he started pulling the, "you would be nothing without me" business, I admit; I bristled.

We used to have competitions from time to time; the kind of thing where one unit is pitted against another, to achieve some kind of production goal.  Because where would this world be, really, without a seething hatred for anyone who was perceived as a competitor?

During one of these exercises, my group (naturally) kicked ass.  But in order to spoil my pride in my group's accomplishment, Phil lolled on over to me and pronounced, "Your people are always the first ones to leave at the end of the day."

Something snapped in me, and I whirled around from the white board that I was erasing, and hissed, "My people work their asses off, and you damn well know it!"

Red-faced, Phil slithered away.  And I thought, ohhh shit, I'm in trouble now.

I didn't see Phil for awhile after that.  He visited other supervisors, but he avoided me.

Eventually, we had another one of those musical chairs supervisor/unit moves, that had absolutely no purpose, in which everybody had to pick up, pack up, and move to another location on the floor.  In essence, switch places with somebody else.  I never quite understood the reasoning, but because we'd done it so many times, I didn't question it.  I just packed up like everybody else, and moved.

Luckily (?) for me, my unit ended up situated right outside Phil's office.

I used to go around every day, from person to person, and answer my staff's processing questions.  The skirts we wore then were short, and Phil would stand in his doorway and ogle me, and make inappropriate remarks, which I pretended that I didn't hear, but I would surreptitiously roll my eyes at the person I happened to be assisting at the time.  All of shared a common loathing of Phil.

Out of the blue one day, Phil peeked around the corner and summoned me into his office.  He said that there was a new project upcoming (brand new!).  A new department, really.  Part of Claims, and yet not part of Claims.  It was data entry.  Phil said that "he" had chosen me to head it up (BS ~ "he" didn't have the power to make any decisions).  Phil said that this was a pilot program for the entire company, of which we were but a tiny satellite office.  I think I asked, why me?  I felt like I was being punished.  It felt like a giant step backwards.  I had gained a lot of claims knowledge, and now I was being asked to throw that all away?

I said, "Can I think about it?"

Phil said, "Sure".  "Think about it overnight".  "Then come back and tell me, yes."

Thus, I had no choice.  I felt like a loser.  Like all my peers would snicker about me behind my back.

I came back the next day and told Phil, "yes", like I had been instructed to do.

And I bid adieu to my staff and to the world of claims.

And I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

To be continued........

My "Career" ~ Part 5 ~ Welcome to the I-Land

My "Career" ~ Part 6 ~ "Who Do You Think You Are?"

My "Career" ~ Part 7 ~ Another New Boss?

My "Career" ~ Part  8 ~ "Everything's Great!"

My "Career" ~ Part 9 ~ A Cold Wind

My "Career" ~ Part 10 ~  Thank You ~ Goodbye

My "Career" ~ Part 11 ~ Breaking the News 

My "Career" ~ Part 12 ~ Loose Ends 

My "Career" ~ Epilogue

Previous Chapters:

My "Career ~ Part 3 ~ Karma

My "Career ~ Part 2 ~ Evil Bosses

My "Career" ~ Chapter 1


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