Pointless Speculation

At times I get tired of myself, tired of that stuff that keeps you awake at night where you can’t stop thinking about an issue or situation and in the end all turns out just fine. I had one of those moments today and yesterday. I couldn’t sleep because something happened during the day that made me go through each and every possible scenario over night. I was working from home the last couple of days because I wasn’t feeling well. Last Sunday I started to sneeze uncontrollably, I was having these fits every 10 minutes. Around dinner time it had turned into a right cold and I had no energy left whatsoever. I was by myself and had to cook dinner for my stepson who’d just come home from work. I’d promised him to cook his favourite salmon risotto dish and unfortunately it’s one that takes a lot of preparation so I started cooking early.

But the combination of a terrible cold and having to cook is not exactly a match made in heaven, I managed tho and we had a lovely dinner together. I made some extra for him to have for lunch the next day at school. But I felt drained after and decided to have an early night. We watched a great movie together and by the time he had to go to bed I went to sleep as well. This cold had gotten worse over night so I decided to stay home this week and try to get some things done for work as well. I couldn’t though and ended up staying in bed on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I felt somewhat better and was ready to get up and work on a project that needed to be finished by Thursday. I work three days for one particular client and one day for another (four days altogether). The latter usually is on Wednesdays just like I had planned this week.

So while I was working on that project I received a phone call from someone who had been nagging me for two days already. Last week she had planned a meeting on Wednesday (this week) which I’d refused telling her I would be working from home that day. She then planned another meeting on Monday this week and said she would call me instead. Normally I wouldn’t make a fuss about it but this time I felt ill and really wanted to get some work done on that particular project, not being bothered for once. I got really annoyed by the fact that she still tried to call twice that day. Of course I didn’t answer, I’m stubborn like that ;) because I felt she didn’t respect my boundaries as I had given her a solid reason not to call me. I couldn’t care less about her reasons, I just wanted to get some work done without being interrupted.

I ignored her first call and didn’t answer, five minutes later I received an email telling me to call her back, which I refused. Another hour and half later she called again and again I refused to answer it. Talking about being pushy… The things she wanted to discuss could’ve easily waited another week as they weren’t th├ít urgent. But after this incident I started to have doubts because she is the type of colleague who can easily start a row over nothing. In my mind I went over and over it again, dissecting each and every possible outcome and practising what I would say to her and how (what tone). It was all pointless speculation causing me to miss out on a good night’s sleep. What a drag and what a waste of time! Of course I didn’t realise that when I was going through the scenarios in my head, only in hindsight I could’ve known…

She’d set up another meeting this morning so last night I decided to go to work today although I still wasn’t feeling well. I got there at 08.00 in the morning and continued to work on other projects until 11.00 when I had that meeting with her. I told her there and then how I felt and explained why I didn’t want to be disturbed on Wednesdays. She was kind of apologetic and totally accepted my reasons, the whole issue was sorted in about an hour. I realised I’ve been overly sensitive to things lately and getting upset easily. I wonder why that is, there’s some kind of underlying unhappy feeling that causes me to feel annoyed and upset. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t had a moment -for weeks now- where I could sit down, relax and work on my jewellery, paint or do something creative in general. I guess it’s taking its toll for obvious reasons…

Malleable Inflexibility

There’s been something going on over the last two, three weeks that has had a major effect on my mood. As a contractor I’m used to having to adapt to different systems, work environments, people, politics, flexable work spaces etc. Most of the time when I start on a new assignment it takes a couple of weeks to get to know people, the system, and everything else I have to work with. It takes time to adjust. So far I’ve been on an assignment by myself mostly, meaning that the contracting company (let’s call it company A) that I work for outsources me as a skilled individual to one of their clients (company B) for a certain period of time. Most of the time I’ll join a team of people but in other cases I have also worked just by myself.

I’ve been doing this for nearly six years now and never ran into problems as I was easily adjusting to new situations and people of company B. At times direct colleagues (from company A) would work for other departments of company B, but I wouldn’t have to work with them. Until about three years ago when I was asked to become part of a scrum team by company A which was placed at one of the ministries. It was the first time I was part of a team of direct colleagues, about 14 of them, divided into two teams. I was the only designer that was hired, so I had to design for both teams. This assignment lasted for a year and half before it all went pear-shaped because of the behaviour of certain team members.

I won’t go into details but let’s say my strong work ethic was way different from theirs and particularly from the scrum master. If there is any chance I would have to work with him again in the future I will refuse it, my manager knows my reasons and agrees with me. There was a clash in the end because apparently I was not allowed to vent my opinion about situations where this scrum master would abuse certain privileges given by the client, which he did almost daily. Because I had said something about it, I was no longer his ‘friend’, I was now his foe, thus he turned the teams of ‘young, malleable, first-time-job graduates’ against me. Who -of course- would follow him like sheep. Talking about professionalism ;)

I was happy to leave this toxic environment. Four months into another government assignment I’m running into something similar. I’m currently dealing with a naysayers scrum team (different client, different scrum team but people from my contracting company) showing similar traits. So far it’s manageable but the main issue is, that another direct colleague from company A has been hired at the current place as an engineer. The product owner that I worked for has left since a couple of weeks and has not been replaced yet. So this colleague is now also temporary product owner and ever since he is feeling his ‘power’ it’s gotten to his head in a negative way, displaying an extremely dominant ‘attitude.

He keeps trying to undermine my position within the department, while I don’t need to answer to him but to another co-worker. And recently he’s been trying to undermine her position as well, telling me that I don’t need her approval on my designs, that he can do that as well. Which is absolutely not true. What he doesn’t understand is that she has certain knowledge and responsibilites that are related to her job and the reason why she is hired. He is basically saying that he has the same professional skills as she does. It would be like me saying that I could easily replace him as an engineer, which I can not because I didn’t study engineering *duh*. He can’t seem to get it through his thick skull tho.

I have no clue what it is that is causing people to act like this. My attitude is and has always been one of trying to solve issues and make sure a client is contented with my designs and solutions. Trying to undermine my position in this as a co-worker is not going to make things easier as I’m not willing to just give up and bow down. I’m not the one causing the friction and you will definitely meet the Capricorn side of me. There’s more but I think it will be best to focus on how to deal with it without getting angry about it. I’m sure there will be a ‘to be continued’… hopefully in a more positive way. If not I might have to draw my conclusion and find another assignment. ‘Solo’ this time…