The dying parrot

I’m still working hard, but it’s been a struggle the last few days. Normally I’m full of man juice, but it’s been on the wane since I got the news. I’m still at work but I feel a little like the man having caught out his partner cheating on him and persuaded to not do anything drastic, discovers the feeling has gone, the magic has fled, it is, as Monty Python would say, a dead parrot.

There’s no love in me after this. I’m a wholehearted character and I take pride in that. I invest heavily. I put my shoulder into everything I do. I’m self-motivated and enterprising, but I feel now as if I’m going through the motions.

I still haven’t been told why I missed on the job, though it’s becoming clearer. The appointment was announced on Tuesday. The job went to a woman I know and who none of us considered a contender. She was never considered a contender because no-one believed she had the experience – certainly not the technical expertise, and though she has leadership experience, not project management experience either.

I felt both disgusted and relieved when I found out. The surprise was general. I quipped that I now understood why I missed out – clearly experience is unimportant.

I like her in a way, but I’m not as enamoured of her as some others are. She’s generally friendly, and generally gives off the impression of competence, but she has a better reputation with her seniors than she does with her juniors. Had this job gone through a recruiting agency she’d have been screened out in the first phase because of her lack of experience, but there’s the rub.

My offsider despises her. He thinks she’s a phony. As soon as I heard he said “there you go man, that’s why you didn’t get the job”. He reckons I was never a chance once she applied. I didn’t know this, but apparently her brother is on the board and whatever she applies for she gets. Others have since told me the same. If this is true then it’s pretty rude, but probably more common than you think.

I’m not going to think about that too much. It’s pretty scurrilous in the end, and not her fault. I wish her the best. I may have a nasty taste in my mouth, but if it comes to it I’ll support her any way I can.

If it comes to it. The last few days I’ve felt like I just want to give the whole thing away. That’s not sensible, but I feel poorly treated and generally disrespected. I wonder what I’m supposed to do after this, and as if no matter what I do it will come to naught here.

There was another example of that the other day just to rub salt into the weeping wound. About three months ago I attended a vendor presentation, then came back and wrote a high level proposal by email and sent it off to the head of Ops. I articulated clearly a few points which might have a significant impact if adopted. I got zero response.

On Tuesday I was called into a meeting where someone else was presenting exactly what I had proposed months ago. While my email had been ignored this guy had mentioned something in the last month and been encouraged to take it further. Again, I’ve got nothing against this fellow, he’s just doing his job – and he’s a lovely bloke too, if a bit of a duffer. What bit hard is that clearly my opinion counts for nothing. This was my idea, and right in my wheelhouse too – it’s what I do well. But I was disregarded.

It’s hard not to feel put out right now. I sat there last night thinking I’m close to being depressed. It’s funny, I’m very open minded and sensitive and considerate. If someone’s depressed I feel compassion for them. I want to be supportive. When it’s me there’s a residue left over by that masculine juice. I don’t deny it but it riles me. It probably goes back to my competitive instinct – I don’t like to be bested, even by something as insidious as depression. (This is something I have to address one day as it goes to the heart of who I am).

I’ve felt this way before and when I do there’s a moment when I choose to defy it. I won’t go into my shell. That moment came overnight and the response is classic for me. Be big, H, I tell myself. Be bigger, smarter, harder, be better than the situation, go hard in your work, show the world why you are who you claim to be.

The ironic thing is that it goes against what I wrote a couple of weeks ago about hoping to live smaller. I believe that still, but there’s comfort in reverting to old customs, and protection in it too. Choosing to live smaller takes a different type of courage, and makes you more vulnerable.

So I’ll be big again. I assume this role and the world looks upon it and sees someone striding ahead making wisecracks, with no insight into the man inside. It goes against what I want, but perhaps it’s necessary sometimes. So I’ll fake it until in a week or so I’ve made it again. Story of my life.

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