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I don't handle poorly worded or even generic criticism well. This has always been the case, but some of the things going on at work today bring this into stark relief.

Last year (2017) we outsourced our work PBX solution because the one we were using died spectacularly. (The machine hosting our PBX (and all its settings) vanished over night as a RAID controller decided to stop working, making all the data spanning the drives it was hooked to utterly bin-able rubbish.)

My solution was to get us signed up with a local hosted PBX vendor who happened to also be our existing internet provider. This had the benefit of being an existing relationship, so we already knew some of the folks at this other local company, including their CEO. It also meant the old hardware we had been using could be completely abandoned, as I was not relishing continued attempts to rebuild it. I did actually try, but once I saw the RAID controller had bought it, I immediately stopped. I've been down that path before, and it never turns out well. (RAID is amazing, but also deadly when not maintained. I didn't even know the machine USED a RAID controller, as I hadn't built it, only inherited.)

I am still congratulated for the expedience of this switch-over, even almost a year later. I made it happen almost over a weekend. It's already mentioned in gradually less and less grandiose language, however, for some reason. Presumably that's because I'm slowly losing credit for it the more feminine I look? I really don't know.

What I am not apparently congratulated for, is being insistent enough to stick to my guns. The problem is that it isn't possible to stick to my guns in this industry. Not when no one listens to me when I voice my opinions, or actively harangues me for having an opinion.

This happens so regularly I can almost see it coming before it happens now. Picture it...

When we decided to replace our failing comms rack (four switches: two PoE and two 10/100, and two routers), we decided to "go inexpensively" despite my (oft voiced) misgivings about such a short-sighted choice. We reduced from 48 PoE ports alone, to not even that many total, and combined two routers into one, to boot. Why? Perhaps because the aging comms equipment -- and its limitations -- were brought to light once our PBX switch-over was complete: none of the new VoIP phones would stay registered to the network for more than a few hours before they would restart themselves, or act oddly. This continued even after the new phones had been provisioned AC adapters so they wouldn't be running solely off of PoE power.

Now, you might think "she should have raised a flag during the planning meetings for this equipment purchase"! And rightly so! I did in fact point out multiple times that, "if we go through with this we will not be able to run all the ethernet wall drops at once. Is that okay?"

Every time I asked this, I was laughed at, as though I were being overly negative, or needlessly worrying. Or they acted as though I was faulting the plan for being too simple. Every time I wasn't completely shut down, I was told, "that's fine, it's only you and some of the developers who care about ethernet, anyway, it's not a problem. Everyone else can just use wifi!" And of course, every time I asked, because I was not getting the amount of concern back which I felt this issue deserved, I was interrupted, talked-over, or simply ignored. Eventually I stopped trying to repeat this warning, as it seemed obvious to me that it was not the hot-button issue I had assumed it to be.

Of course I was very, very wrong. As I apparently always am when my NT bosses decide they "have enough facts to make a decision". (Which is never true, by the way. And you guys know it.)

All of that back-story brings us to now. You can probably imagine what I'm being asked.

"What do you mean we can't we run all the wall drops at once?!"

I am also foreseeing the response to my answer, which makes me even less inclined to try:

"That's ridiculous. We never agreed to that!"

Thus, I have wisely chosen not to answer. At least not today. I need some time to cool down, first.

I am so used to being talked over or ignored. Treated like a buffoon play-acting at an IT Manager's job. (I'm quite a bit more qualified than the last guy, and they have never asked me if I wish to change my title or re-visit my pay grade, unsurprisingly.)

When do I get to say, "I'm done with this waste of emotional labour, you boys can figure this stuff out yourselves, if you're so damn smart".

Precisely, I don't ever get to say this. Because it's taken as "being a frustrated and/or emotional woman", and one's opinions would be immediately dismissed out-of-hand. Though to be fair, my concerns never made it onto the table in this case. For some reason the boys kept brushing them off, as though their own ideas were more important.

Hey work? If you want me gone, just say so. I'll retire with one week's notice ANY TIME YOU WANT. Seriously.

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Categories work, anxiety