There’s a reason more women aren’t in government : a basic misunderstanding, mistake, miscommunication – something that happens to ALL of us, and often, too – is likely to turn really catty and unprofessional.

Apparently my persistent advocacy for getting the statewide results of the homeless count to the localities with their area-specific data hasn’t been appreciated by the state’s Division of Housing.

Tuesday, I got a phone msg, virtually yelling at me for overstepping my boundaries – b/c you know, I’m just a local representative and not capable of helping to effect change for anyone, we didn’t hold the contract and thus all of the privileges, yada yada.

Whatever.

I decided, I’m done. I respectfully wrote her back with my point of view. I figured two things could happen:

– she might see outside her box and take the information as constructive
criticism to improve the process should there be a next time

Or

– she’d just get madder at me, in which case, it is not my job to change her mind and I would let it go.

It’ll come when it comes, regardless of how foolish I end up looking, having told the community how trustworthy the process would be, regardless of multiple deadlines target dates(? – I dunno what you call it when people say, “The full report will be available January of 2007,” but I have it on good authority that deadline is NOT the right word) having been given and none of them honored or even spoken to when the dates came and went. I have some reputation too, but my people know what’s what, so it’s done, right?

But, just as I thought it was done and I could go sit with the people who really appreciate the cause and the work that I did for it – the ugliness resurfaced.

Wednesday was the reschedule for the award I was being presented with from the Affordable Housing Coalition of Larimer County. It was awesome, with a lovely spread of food from Canino’s – yummalicious local Italian…mmmm – and a lot of colleagues and peers that I really respect. At my table sat my husband, The Boss, her Boss (an Assistant City Manager), a homeless outreach worker who will always have a fond place in my heart for her help, and a homeless man who helped her with the surveys. Heck, he even sat through my 2 hr training this summer! He’s a good guy. The last two were invited at my request – after all, I only told people how to do the work of the homeless count – the volunteers actually did far more than I did on the days of the count!

Another DOH staff person, besides the one I’d worked with on the Homeless Count, and whom I’d never met before, sat down beside the Boss’s Boss, looked at my name tag, and says, knowingly, claws extending beneath the table, “Ohhhhhhhhhh, so you’re the infamous Heather?”

Last I checked, infamous is not a word you necessarily want to be yoked with – that is, unless, the person using it utilizes it grammatically incorrectly. Not knowing this woman from Eve, I haven’t yet ruled that possibility out. I know, I am wicked, but this is MY blog!

The Boss’s Boss laughed casually, and quickly looked at me, her eyes saying, “WTH??” Smiles.

My hackles went up – I mean how classy is it to cut someone down at their own party, with loved ones near?

What I wanted to say, with a saccharin smile, was, “Come to crash the party, did you?”

What I actually said, with a knowing smile, was, “I suppose depending on who you talk to, yes.”

In other words, I’m taking your diss and embracing it proudly. Especially if infamous means working for the people, bureaucratic politics be damned.

Lessons learned:

    • People are mean
    • Mean people really do suck – not just figuratively, but literally suck away your positive energy
    • It is ok to let someone know what is not ok to me (unprofessionalism) – and – it is ok if they still don’t care
    • It is not ok to let that lack of caring bring me down or make me feel as if I have to keep making them get it
    • Let go and let God – they’ll get theirs, eh?
    • A WTH?? glance from a superior in such a moment is extremely validating, and had me laughing at the catty attempt to bring me down
    • And, I am a SMART, KIND-HEARTED, QUALITY-SEEKING, FABULOUS woman who has approval from all the people who really matter to me anyway

So, neener, neener.

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