In August 2009 the Vice President of the division I work for at The Company was fired. It was abrupt and unexpected, as firings typically are. He was well liked by his peers and staff, so I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that staff mourned his departure. He definitely had his strengths and weaknesses. Relating to his staff and making us feel important was a real strength.
In October, his replacement was hired. Our team met The Crocodile at a brief meeting shortly after her hiring where she introduced herself and told us about her credentials. She seemed okay and we all looked forward to learning more about her management style and anticipated changes she might make.
My desk is located right outside of The Crocodile’s office. On any given day, I might pass her in the hall several times. In fact, we probably cross paths an average of 5 – 7 times per week. At first I thought she was shy or preoccupied, but as I passed her daily in the hallway – staring directly at her – and watched her look away each and every time, I began to think that she’s just a plain ole Witch. Even when I’d extend a “Good Morning” or “Hello”, I’d receive exactly NOTHING in reply. I mentioned this to my coworkers and found that they were experiencing the exact same thing.
Time passed and still I had NO interaction at all with The Crocodile. I learned more of her reputation… that she told Hamill “Good Boy” when he turned in a report to her liking, that she said “Thank you, Boys” when Bill and Nancy held a door open for her, that she told Hamill he should be more “nasty.” I’ve heard other examples of how she belittles her staff and even peers, but from October 2009 through July 2010, she had never ever spoken to me. All I know is that she looks down, up, or the other way when we pass in the hall. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that I’ve started playing her game. When I see her approaching, I examine the papers in my hand, look at my watch or do whatever I can to avoid eye contact. I figure that if she ever calls me out on it, I’ll tell her that I’m merely following her example.
A few weeks ago our team was working on a huge and sensitive project. My boss and peer were on vacation when things started to heat up, so I took charge and ran with the DJ account. It was much more complicated that I expected and I worked on it for 2 solid days. In the end, I was quite proud of my work and felt like I totally ROCKED it! I submitted my report to the director who reviewed it and submitted it to The Crocodile. A day or so later, my boss, Really Nice Guy (RNG) told me that feedback from The Crocodile was that I did a good job on the DJ account.
The following week, I was working away at my desk when there was a loud KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK behind me. I turned around and to my surprise, it was The Crocodile. I smiled and said hello. Thoughts ran through my head and I was just sure she was coming to personally thank me for the job well done on the DJ account. I was mentally preparing my humble response, when she said…
”Do you have a rubber band that will fit around this file?”
I turned and pulled open my drawer, where thankfully there was a lone large rubber band. I handed it to her and she said…
“Thank you, dear.”
Then she left.