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Friday, September 23, 2011

Adventures of the Invisible Man

My first ever attempt at a blog was about 6 years ago, when Blogspot first started, and was called "The Adventures of the Invisible Man. I chose that title because it struck me as I was going through my MBA program how people tended to look right through me. So, while the blog was about business, school, those mundane ideas that I had for trying to make things better where I worked, the underlying theme was how no matter how hard I worked and made the place I worked a more efficient place, the accolades and, well, the "non-notice" of me at all, pervaded the work place.

This was not a new phenomenon. High school was the same. I was a nice guy, played football, played bass in a number of bands that were actually pretty good (for the most part) but I went through daily life unnoticed by most people.

Me in 9th Grade. Hair actually
got MUCH longer
Started on JV and moved to
Varsity after JV Season ended

Hard to see I know but that is me on bass on the right. Looking
down and rocking hard at the July 4th picnic in DeLand. 1980.
I was AMAZED when Facebook came alive early this year with classmates from the Class of 81 because our 30th reunion is in October. I wasn't amazed just at the 30 years that have passed, but at the fact that people I never talked to in high school (actually that's not true ... I talked to them ... they didn't talk to me) actually remembered me. Compounding that amazement is the fact that I did not graduate high school with my class. I quit after my junior year, went to Adult High School and was in the Navy when my class graduated. 

So after leaving the Navy, and earning a BA and two Masters Degrees you'd think that the Invisible Man tag would be gone by now. I am a friendly guy, pretty open, will talk to anyone and smile at everyone, but no ... it dogs me still.

It was evident this week at my job again. Maybe it's the Italian in me, but respect is a huge issue in my head. I treat everyone, especially those in place over me, with respect, even if I cannot stand you personally. And I think I should expect the same. Let me preface this also that I have NO problem working hard and long hours to get a task done, but I expect it to be recognized. Not with a pat on the back, I don't need that, but just a "thank you" every once in awhile. I got NONE of this at Moffitt. I did not carry "MD" after my name, so although I was just as intelligent as most of them, I was treated like a nobody, and my ideas for improvements were ignored (until stated by another doctor in almost word for word emails).

I had a couple of days this week that lasted 11 hours. Last minute projects, which happened came though, and they fell to me and my co-worker Maria. So we sat there and plodded through it, even after our boss left for the night, we stayed, and got it done. Not even a Thank You the next morning. Barely even an acknowledgement that we stayed late.

But even that is not what got to me ... 

The second night another co-worker was stuck there due to the storm. He wasn't working. He was on the internet waiting the rain out while Maria and I slaved away. So over walks our Director. She goes up to his cubicle, two way from mine, and says "Oh you're still here. You're always working so late!!" Not ONE word to us ... she didn't even LOOK at us. Then she, and him, and a couple of others start having a gab session in his space, to the point I had to lug in my iPod so I could concentrate.

Today, I am talking to my staff person about a project she is working on, my other supervisor comes up and starts talking to her like I am not even standing there, doesn't even look at me, just starts talking to her and giving her an assignment. 

Later same day I am talking to a staff person from another department and the same director from the late night gab fest walks up and starts talking to him about an issue, breaks right into conversation, doesn't even look at me, then walks away. 

My direct boss is right behind my cube, so I have become her "assistant". She sticks her head out of office and has me make her "3 copies of the presentation, front to back, for her meeting in 10 minutes".

So, my fellow readers, how do I handle this? I was out of work WAY to long to make a stand I guess over this, but this is WAY too familiar to me and not sure how long I can take it before saying something. I made a comment when she asked me to make copies this afternoon, because she walk up and commented to Maria and me that she needed to make copies for the director to take home, and when ten minutes later she asked me to do it I said "Yeah, I figured that was coming sooner or later". It came out of my mouth before I could stop it, but I have been doing this work thing way too long to be a copy boy at 48 years of age.

Right?

Thank GOD for the people I have met through triathlons and running, in person and on Daily Mile, Marie Elaina, my brother Mike, and of course Jennifer. They've given me the only respect I have gotten in a long time.

Or maybe, like others have told me, I'm just too sensitive to it.

OK ... Fire Away ... :)