Contract blues

I was informed officially yesterday that my contract won’t be renewed. I thanked my client for telling me, as he didn’t have to. And I’d known anyway – it was obvious.

I’m resentful of how this has gone down. At the same time, I know this is the way of contracts. If someone new comes in, it’s a crap shoot if we’ll be able to work together. In this case, we really don’t work well together. Which of course I feel is his fault, for being an asshole. Ahem. No. I should be able to make it work. However, it’s a tricky situation. I think if my baseline was healthy, if I responded to difficult situations in healthy ways, because the way my FOO responded was adaptive and healthy, then I’d have more of a chance. But the way it is, I have to figure everything out. The way I automatically respond, when there are strange pressures and unclear group dynamics, isn’t adaptive. And there seems to be so little time, in the middle of a meeting, to try and respond differently.

But I have had my fill of this manager and will be glad to never see him again. I realize I threatened him. That part is not really my fault. Of course I have some skills he doesn’t have – I have years and years of experience and specific training in professional writing. It’s no big deal, but it stands to reason I can do some things better than he can, when he steps into the job with no such background.

On the other hand, I am not expert in the products as he and the other managers are. Which is to be expected – I don’t have 30 years working for this corporation with these products.

Instead of this being expected and OK, it became an issue. This guy had to use my meetings to constantly show that he was ‘in the know’, that he was included and I was excluded. It was an obsession with him. And other people had to show their support of him, since he was full-time and had power, by distancing from me. That’s what went down, all of it entirely underground and unspoken of course. I was made to seem stupid, for asking questions, as if I should know this stuff already.

Anyway. I think they will miss me when he starts to have to actually write things. But, maybe not. They may not care too much about the quality. A lot there depends simply on politics, on how you appear and how you present yourself.

I’m actually not as depressed about all this as I might have been a few years ago. I know my political skills weren’t up to this situation. My work is fine. I just had a bit of bad luck that this insecure person took over from my client who retired.

A big reason I don’t respect this client is that he made absolutely no attempt to ever meet with me or have any kind of conversation about what he’d like to change, what he’d like done differently. Everything was conveyed between the lines. Completely dysfunctional of course. He was obviously unhappy with me, but wouldn’t say what the issues were.

So after a meeting yesterday, he asked me to stay. He said he and his boss had ‘reviewed my work’, and they were happy with it. And that my contract wouldn’t be renewed. What on earth is that supposed to mean. Just bullshit. My work is the same quality as last year. Anyhow, I just thanked him for telling me, and said I’d thought as much, and I left. Five minutes later, I saw him joking around with a co-worker at his desk.

It does hurt, but I’m not devastated. Just processing this for a few days. At least I have some weeks left of getting paid while I can look for another contract. And it has been the best work situation I’ve every had, overall. Four years. A good rate. Working from home a lot. Some interesting projects. I want to look at it from that perspective – overall, it was a success. I was originally hired for six months, which turned into four years. Not bad.

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5 comments
  1. Grainne said:

    Oh I’m so sorry. You sound like you’re handling It very well, better than I did a few months back when my position was eliminated by back door moves and stupid politics and personality conflicts. It’s hard to cope with that kind of crap.

    Hope things turn out for the best. At least you’ll not have to see that manger anymore, as you said. I took great comfort in that part when it was me.

    • Ellen said:

      I don’t feel like i’m handling it well, but luckily I don’t have to be on site much, and that helps a lot. It’ll be hard though when I have to go in.

      I’ve been through this before, which is why I knew exactly what you were talking about when it happened to you. Thanks for the support.

  2. That’s rough.

    But I disagree about one thing–maybe I’m wrong. If your family were adaptive and healthy, I don’t think you could have made it work. I think you might have made the decision to leave if he hadn’t made it for you. I’ve found as my mental health has improved, dealing with difficult people is less stressful for me, but I’m also less tolerant of being around them. I don’t really try to make things work. I just try to survive as peacefully as possible until I can get away from them or otherwise get them out of my life. I blame myself for how things go down less and think of them as unpleasant people more. Maybe that’s just me, but it might be part of being healthier. I am just less patient.

    I like the way you’re looking at it at the end. It really does sound like overall it was a good experience. It ended on a sour note, but the whole experience wasn’t sour–just the last four years.

    Also, I would say he liked your work means you’re very capable. He just doesn’t like you personally (ouch), or it’s a money thing and they don’t want to spend it on a contract writer.

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah. I think the key is, if my family had been healthy, I wouldn’t get hooked into the drama as I’m doing. Maybe it would be as you say, surviving peacefully, or maybe some other thing. The way it is, I am getting horribly triggered and upset and as a result doing things that make it worse.

      Overall it was good. (The whole contract was four years. Just the last year, with this boss, was bad. And even then, not uniformly bad.)

      Thanks Ashana

  3. Cat said:

    I wish you better luck in your search, Ellen

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