dEAr diary ~ oh dear …what can the matter be?

Before I forget this time thank you for all the birthday wishes and your lovely comments about my recent explorations in Derbyshire.  It has been a battle keeping all the flowers I received for my birthday looking fresh in the vase with this heat.

But outside in the garden my sweet peas are starting to flower one by one.

Sweet Peas

Only two days to go now at work (next Monday and Tuesday) and I suddenly find I have quite a lot of work to get through as well as packing up my belongings.  I am in high demand from so many different departments in the office who want to know how to do something.  I seem to have acquired quite a skill bank over the 19 years and now everyone is panicking because when I go some of the knowledge will go with me.

The pressure became so great I had to leave work at lunchtime yesterday as I was having palpitations.  I have been having them for the last week and often this is because my Thyroxine is out of balance again.  A very pressured meeting during the morning made them far worse to the point I felt I couldn’t breath properly.

I won’t go into detail here but I am now finding it hard to know what to think about the new person.  As you know during her first few days our HR lady had received two formal complaints about her from colleagues – if you remember I thought at the time this was a bit premature and I did all I could to make her welcome and just put it all down to the newness and change.

But since then there have been further ‘events’ two in my absence at the end of last week and the one yesterday involving me.

The issues last week with the new person was yet another complaint from a junior member of staff whom she had been extremely demanding and rude to and then again when called in to explain this episode to our HR lady she walked out of the meeting with her.

I cannot accept rudeness, bullying etc in any form by a senior member of staff on a junior.  In my books you should treat everyone with the same politeness as you would want to be treated no matter what your status.

In further conversations with the new lady she told me she was used to working in London and down South and there you just click your fingers (which she does often) and you expect a job done.  Is this right?  I have not worked in the South since college days – is there such a big difference now as she claims or is this an excuse?

We must seem like the parochial cousins to her  – slow-witted and a bit behind the times as she is very critical of the way we work and the speed.  She is even more preoccupied about money and targets than the directors!

I have always thought of myself as a very fair person and giving people the benefit of the doubt but I must say I am finding it really hard to understand the new lady and her approach.  I am starting to question my first impressions and wondering if I could actually work with her after all if I had been staying.

The reason for this is there is an IT issue at the moment on our accounts program – looking into it I believe it has been there for four years so not life threatening but before I leave she is almost bullying me to do something that I know will not fix the problem and could make matters worse.  I deal with the maintenance of the software for the Legal Aid part but I keep telling her that our Software provider should be given the chance to look into it first and establish the extent of the problem and reason but she hasn’t the patience for that as you have to log a call and wait in a queue – and waiting she doesn’t do.

I know I shouldn’t really care or be bothered and just do what she asks but I do care as the implications of adding things onto the software without knowing what you are doing could be huge.

So I am feeling tired now and looking forward to the final day so that I can make plans for the future.  I have many thoughts swirling around in my  mind that I need to get onto paper.  I know I want to establish a regular exercise plan as soon as possible and introduce  a few healthier meals but I also want to get my house in order – a good spring clean and a lot of decluttering.

Whilst I was ironing on Monday I watched the minimalist Japanese writer of ‘Goodbye Things’ on You Tube and noted one or two ideas he had that I found quite perceptive.  I am not sure I want to go to only 300 items but I do need to reduce our stuff.

I often sell / give away/ repurpose stuff but it just builds up again.  Reading around the blogs it seems that we are all doing this endless decluttering task many times over.  Thank goodness for charity shops and car boot sales. I never remember my gran decluttering ever except the day they moved into a granny flat.  She never seemed to have things that she couldn’t find a home for and this maybe because they didn’t really have multiples of anything not even on her grocery shelf (and yes it was just a shelf!).

I do remember my mum ‘doing out’ her cupboards before a major holiday like Easter and Christmas but this was just straightening rather than decluttering.

I am beginning to think decluttering is only like a sticking plaster – a temporary solution and that I need to get back to the cause of my accumulation of stuff.

More thoughts another day. x


22 Replies to “dEAr diary ~ oh dear …what can the matter be?”

  1. Sounds like you are in for a few rough days, but if you are still in charge then use your authority and go with your decisions not hers. As hard as it is remember it isn’t your problem once you are gone, you have earned your retirement and you should leave the office problems behind you when you walk out the door. It is for management and HR to sort out not you.


    1. I am not sure why I should care so much but I have nurtured and looked after this side of the software program for so many years and always done everything with caution so I didn’t bring the system down – I can’t suddenly change now. I have really had enough now roll on Tuesday night.


  2. Looking at your response to Penny Post it sounds as though you have made the right decision at the right time for you.
    I was talking to someone yesterday who had just had their “appraisal”.
    Despite working many weekends and late nights, even all night sometimes, he was critised for not meeting his objectives for the year.
    This has been mainly because of breakdowns and new demands from management along the way.
    At his appraisal meeting he was told he should be firmer and say no.
    I agreed with him that saying no to management is probably the fastest way to lose one’s job known to man!
    Everything is target driven and if one meets one’s target one year the demand will be higher the following year ad infinitum!
    No wonder our young workers have bags under their eyes.
    As Penny Post says and you say in your response you have done your best and can’t suddenly fix the software issue. That is your replacement’s problem and will not be her only one if the way she has started is the way she intends to carry on. Maybe she’d be better returning to clicking her fingers in London!
    Sorry, rant over but I feel very strongly about this issue.
    You should concentrate on yourself and your family and enjoy the retirement you have earned.
    I’m slightly concerned that you have such a long list of “must dos” already.
    It sounds as though you need a few days losing yourself in a good book and recuperating.
    All the very best for the future, Sue.


    1. Mostly I feel sad that my departure now feels somewhat tainted – I have always got along with everyone at work recognising their skills and accepting everyone is different and of course I gravitate to people who are like minded and I feel I have more of a connection. Goodness we have had some ups and downs in our little office over the years but I have never come across someone who seems all out to purposely upset everyone and I am not sure what to make of it all. I hope it is all a mask and stems from insecurity but I would rather be a slow witted parochial person anyday than the person she is portraying.
      The target and appraisal syatem has a lot to answer for – it is making for a very negative outlook on the world.


  3. Well, I live down south and maybe in some occupations it’s click your finger and it’s done, but I think it extremely unlikely. Maybe she’s less confident than she appears and is trying to cover it with a pushy and bullying manner?
    I did a lot of decluttering just after I retired and am still reaping the benefits although there’s more to do. It’s not really because I’ve bought more stuff, it’s more that decluttering is like layers. You can peel off the first layer, the obvious stuff that you know you haven’t used and don’t need. That reveals other stuff that needs to be ‘top layer’ for a while so you can judge what you really want to get rid of. That reveals a third layer . . . and so on. For me, it is taking time and is an ongoing process and that’s OK.
    Are you feeling better now?


    1. What a great way of looking at the decluttering – each time I have a major declutter I think this is it now – but after a while it seems to build up again and I am not sure if I am not just continually removing the first layer over and over!
      Yes much better – still have the palpitations but have had these for years because of the Thyroxine I have to take I am very sensitive to it and it may need reducing again. I have never experienced them as strong as last Wednesday though but I think the stress may have had something to do with it.


      1. I think you are right – stress can be a very dangerous thing and I’m glad you don’t have much longer to go now.

        And I forgot to say – those flowers are lovely. Sweet peas are my favourites but I never manage to grow them properly. The scent is just perfect.


        1. They have only just started flowering – I really thought they were just going to die off with no flowers only a week ago. I had sweet peas for my bridesmaids. The florist managed to lay them across those little flat bottomed baskets to look as if they had just picked them with some kind of watering system hidden from view. It was back in the heat wave in July 1976 and keeping the flowers looking fresh was difficult that day!


  4. She sounds a nightmare, unsure of herself and a bully. I live as far South as you can get and this behaviour would not be tolerated, respect for ones fellow workers is paramount. She sounds as though she does not know what she is doing.


  5. Oh dear, it sounds like the new recruit is turning into a bit of a nightmare. I do think that when working in London, you do sometimes come under a lot of pressure to meet targets and get specific tasks done, and it can make you more aggressive if the pressure is really intense, just because of the stress of it.

    I can’t say I’ve ever worked with anyone who clicks their fingers and expects me to do something immediately, but I have experienced a lot of pressure, even as a volunteer, to work extra hours that I wouldn’t necessarily want to work.

    This doesn’t, of course, excuse anyone when it comes to passing on that stress in an aggressive manner to other members of staff. Targets are the bane of life at work, we have them in the CS, although they’re probably not set in stone. After all, you can’t make people spend money if they don’t want to. Sometimes they are unrealistic too and affected by random things such as the weather that we are having at the moment, over which you have absolutely no control.

    I would stand your ground and not be pushed into altering the IT system against your will, when it may cause problems once you’ve left. I’m sorry that the whole thing has tainted your last few weeks of work, especially as you have developed really good relationships with your colleagues over the years, which is evident in their gifts to your for your birthday.

    Your replacement needs to take a step back and look at the situation in a more level headed manner. Some things just take time to get right, but she needs to go through the correct channels to achieve this and not try to force someone else ( to cut corners. Needless to say, if things did go wrong once you’ve left, it would be only to easy for her to put the blame at your door and you wouldn’t even be able to defend yourself.


    1. Hi Ann
      I agree about targets being the bane of peoples lives now -you would think no one ever did any work before all these target and appraisal schemes were brought in. I have always loved my job, worked over were necessary, tried to improve methods of working and increase my knowledge and skills as I have gone along. I actually do not have an IT target it is not written into my job description either I have just got on and done it over the years as there really was no one else – so I am a bit self taught anyway. No one ever took much notice before but now I am leaving the managers have suddenly realised how much I do probably because our IT guy has now told them he has absolutely no idea how to deal with the Legal Aid maintenance and programming. Panic has set in with everyone including I think the new person who incidentally told them at interview that she could deal with all this side of things (another elaboration I think).
      Hope you return from your holiday much refreshed and relaxed – it sounds lovely at the house you rented.


  6. As others before have said, stick to your own intuition. If you aren’t comfortable with the proposed changes then let that be your last word. Bullying is never effective. It is always an attempt to cover insecurities and usually leads to more mistakes, more unhappiness, never greater results. As Ann said above, no doubt if you made these changes, this person is likely to blame you for any problems after your departure. Hope your organization has a probationary period for new employees. If so, by the sounds of it, she won’t be making the cut. Still, sorry for all the unnecessary stress. I went through some of that when I retired, trying to make sure the powers that be knew what needed to be done in order to keep the organization compliant on government contracts, but the leadership was so poor, they didn’t seem to get it. C’est la vie. Not my problem anymore.

    As for the post-retirement task list, i think is common to folks when they first retire is to think they have to have line up many things to replace their daily work routine and justify their existence. It is as if we still should be accountable to someone for every minute of our new “work day”. Well, you don’t.

    Would recommend that you take this immediate post-retirement period to examine a new way of living–one without self-imposed time lines, targets or the kind of demands you are just leaving in your old job. Why put this same kind of (unpleasant) pressure on yourself simply because you are retired? Yes, you can still plan (this seems like it is second nature to you), but be kind to yourself, not critical, if you don’t feel as though you are accomplishing everything quickly enough. You have time to get things done. And time is a wonderful gift one should graciously accept.

    Best of luck these last work days (remember to breathe). One last suggestion I would use on your replacement if she makes any demands on you – simply stare at her and make no response. Not a word, unless it is “no”. And if she rails at you, walk away. After all, on Tuesday evening, that is exactly what you will do. xo


    1. As always Mary such good advice and plenty for me to think about – which believe me I will. I know this new lady has a pleasant side – I saw it only last week and I felt we were getting along fine – not sure what happened this week – it has left me feeling a bit bewildered.


  7. I think by now you will hav e left work Viv and I do hope you can draw a deep deep sigh of relief and leave it all behind you! It’s truly someone else’s problem now. 🙂

    Unwind slowly, gently, quietly, be very very kind to yourself (no targets or self appraisals for a while?)



    1. Almost Freda still 2 days to go next week then freedom – well from work at least. After the week I have just had I am now looking towards doing something more creative when I leave and probably giving up Legal Aid altogether. I need something more relaxing I think without demands.
      In fact going on a retreat would be good.


  8. NMP = not my problem. Keep this as your mantra for the next few days, and I agree with everyone else’s advice. Please take time to consider yourself and your health before embarking on any new ventures/employment. Chillax as my daughter always says and jusy enjoy the first few days of your new phase of life. Hugs.


    1. I will keep this in mind next week. Only two more days now at work and I am wondering what can possibly happen! At least on Wednesday I can spend my first day after leaving with my granddaughter and the fairies – should be fun.


  9. I am so sorry to read your last few days are being overshadowed in this way.
    I hope you are able to focus on what is ahead for you and try not to let this person upset you too much. X


    1. I am already wondering how Monday is going to be! It is going to be an unusual ending to my ‘career’ as a Costs Clerk – very different to when I l left my fashion job although the person taking over from me then only lasted 6 weeks – she couldn’t take the pace but she was pleasant enough.


  10. Hi Viv, By now you are finished your paid work, congrats! It was noble of you to want to find the root cause of the IT problem and not put a patch on it. The IT firm they later hire to fix it will thank you! It sounds like the new worker should click her heels as well as her fingers and wish herself back to Kansas. Or maybe Oz. My employer has started working on an anti-harassment Respectful Workplace policy which will make it easier to file a complaint against an abusive co-worker or boss. I hope that in a few days these last-days-on-the-job memories will recede and you can think back more fondly on your career highlights.


    1. Hi Dar – yes I have now left paid employment tonight. It was quite a stressful day with the new person around but all my friends and colleagues at work made up for that. The company partners had organised a little buffet and a presentation. I will be blogging about it soon.
      I am so very tired the strain has been tremendous and no lie in tomorrow as we are off to Fairy world!! It will be nice though to be amongst a lot of carefree children for a while.

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