Monday, December 22, 2014
Amazing. It's the little things and the big changes.
Today my boss called me amazing. It might seem like a little thing, but she's something of a hero to me. A woman who has been fighting for the rights of queers like me and families like mine for almost 2 decades; the most determined, dedicated, and powerful provincial level politician, having become the longest sitting Opposition MLA in Alberta's history and having been the catalyst for positive, feminist change in that time. So, coming from her, that made me feel special and good. Keeping in mind as well that, at my last job, I had a boss who was such a homophobe (I don't know why she hired me, to be honest; we were in grad school together so she knew) that she couldn't once bring herself to utter my partner's name, though she did rounds in our department every morning, asking about people's families. When she stopped at my desk, faced with photos of my two bio children and two step children, my partner and me, she could barely contain her discomfort, usually managing to stammer out a question about my evening or some such. She did her utmost to make my family invisible. In that job I got the workplace in the news multiple times for initiatives I'd initiated and undertaken, I spoke at several conferences, I published regularly in a review journal, and I made it into one of the most prestigious journals in our field for innovation. But at my performance review, she wanted to talk about my "excessive" use of sick time (which was less than the time allowed) because of my children's specialist appts. (Other staff in the dept did bare minimum and exceeded sick time, with her consent.) It was suggested I file a human rights lawsuit against her... but I just wanted out, away from a person so hateful and ignorant. I could list more that she did; the lawyer I spoke to said it was an easy win case, but it would take time and energy and frankly, she'd stripped me of that. So I quit. My mental health was more important; my family was worth more. I spent some time figuring out what to do. I loved the field I had gone to school to work in, but most positions in the field were either not compatible with the predictable scheduling needs of my bio kids (they have autism, as I've said, and need routine in a serious way, a way I believe should be respected) or they were jobs I didn't want to do (I might be trained to do Records Management for an oil company with an MLIS, but doing such a job would be as soul-sucking as the one I had left.) So I waited. And waited. And then the job with the politician I most admire came available. And I babbled nervously through what might have been my worst interview performance to date (most stellar would have been the phone interview I did that landed me the job in Toronto back in 2004 when I had built a website to guide my interviewers visually through some of the questions that were less easy to do by phone, and I had them mooing and quacking and laughing with me...) But I ended up working for her through a few twists of fate. And now I get to do some amazing things, be part of some amazing things. And today, I got told I was amazing by someone I have always thought is amazing. It might have been one of the best Christmas presents ever (though she took us to The Nutcracker Unhinged as a Christmas gift and that was pretty great too.) 2014 has been a trying year in many, many areas of my life, of my family's life. But work? It's the best job I've ever had (and I've had some amazing jobs with some inspiring people, the above mentioned aside) and I am so grateful, not just that I get to do what I do, but who I get to do it with. Yes, my politician boss who is a superstar is wonderful. I also get to work with three other amazing women. For a while with a ridiculously fun and wonderful man who I affectionately call my work husband or my beard, depending on the context. I have a feeling 2015 will be more amazing, whether the word is directed at me or not. Things are on an upturn. Despite the horrific state of provincial politics right now, I think we'll see better in the year ahead. And I'll get to continue working in an amazing office with amazing people and use the word amazing and FABULOUS as much as I want with as much gayness as I like and I will be valued for it. That, my friends, is fucking amazing. (I am too, too tired to proof read this, so my apologies for spelling or grammar errors, run on sentences, or any other writing missteps.)