July 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm #34357
Usually I’m a lurker (and occasional poster on the main site), but this has been bugging me, and you lot seem very good at the advice thing. Also apologies for the monster post about to happen.
So, part 1 of this conflict is that I’m currently worried about my job security. To summarise the stupidity, I had finished a project a bit ahead of schedule, and sent out a group email (per the usual company procedure) telling people I had time available to assist them on their projects. My supervisor’s boss saw said email, and decided this meant that I had nothing to do and was thus dead weight and should possibly be booted once my contract runs out next month. My awesome supervisor did what we hope was a good job of talking him down and explaining that I was merely trying to make the most of my time, but anyways, it’s a stressful incident (especially because the Big Boss is a marketing specialist who doesn’t seem to ‘get’ the importance of the science and engineering teams).
I live in a different country than my parents, so on our weekly phone call I wanted to vent about the whole job thing. My mom’s response was to 1) criticise my behaviour, instead of focusing on the job worry, and make it like the whole situation was my fault, and 2)tell a story about how she’d gotten in trouble at her high school job as a grocery checker/bagger because of some attempted rule-bending on her part and acting like this was an analogy in spite of the fact 1) this is my full-time job/90% of my income, 2) I didn’t DO anything wrong, in fact the opposite, and 3) this is a skilled niche job that I went for grad school for, not an interchangeable ‘just a job’ type gig.
Which brought us to argument #2, which is about the other 10% of my income. I write fantasy novels with a coauthor, who is also an ex-boyfriend of mine. Obviously we’re good friends and work well together, and I think it shows that we’re both mature adults, since we can have a solid friendship even though we realised we weren’t a good romantic pairing (our respective significant others do not think this is weird). Now, my mom has two problems with this. First, she is all pissy about me writing, because she thinks it’s bad for my mental health or some nonsense (now, I do have some neurochemical issues, but obviously they’re well controlled– see the advanced degree, job, etc). Second, she and my coauthor do NOT get along (him meeting my parents was…well, basically like Meet the Parents, except with dogs instead of a Siamese cat). His unspeakable, horrible crime was being rude/grouchy to them at my college graduation. I’d roll my eyes and dismiss this as childish, except that my mom has reserved her ire for HIM, while tolerating some really heinous behaviour from both her friends and random people acquaintances of mine, and insisting I do the same (as in browbeating me over it, calling me intolerant and worse). To use examples, one makes racist comments and trashed guest room when she came to visit, two are homophobes and general bully/blackmailers..but apparently their actions are OK, while someone being brusque during a five-minute interaction is terrible, and I have to hear about this CONSTANTLY, along with the passive-agressive complaints about my writing. (Also, I might be less ticked off if my parents had cared about my health at ALL when I was younger– as it is, I had to pester and pester and beg to get treatment for some issues, and then I had to pay for it myself. There were also several other incidents of the kind where you’re supposed to ‘tell an adult’ where their response was to do NOTHING USEFUL except worry that I’d embarrassed them.)
I am really losing my patience with this garbage. What I really want is to have an adult conversation about either one of my occupations, seeing as that’s what I primarily do with my time. Yes, I know I am an adult, I live on my own a continent away from my parents, and on some level shouldn’t care, but they’re my parents, and I want to have a non-stressful conversation!July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm #34362
You can have non-stressful conversations with your mom – but you can’t have non-stressful conversations with your mom about every topic you would like to talk about. It sucks because you would (naturally) think your parents are the people you go to for support and encouragement – but those aren’t the cards you were dealt. So talk about the nutral topics in your life. If your mother asks about your job or your ex boyfriend – just tell her it isn’t productive for you to talk to her about those things. Part of the solution is readjusting your expectations of your mom to avoid disappointment. If she isn’t the type to bake you cookies then going over to her house on a Sunday afternoon with a cold jug of milk and a chocolate chip craving isn’t going to end well…you know what I mean? That takes a lot of work on your part to set up the new boundaires but I think you will be happier in the longterm when you avoid the feelings of disappointment and frustration.
As for your job situation – what did your email say? Perhaps next time you can be express that you have finished your project early and if anyone needs help you would be happy to help. If you already were explicit, and your boss’ boss is really just a little bit of an idiot, then the best bet is to perhaps just send that email to your immediate supervisor to see if he can reassign you accordingly when you finish early.July 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm #34363
I loooove FireStar’s milk and cookies analogy. If you find yourself feeling frustrated with your mom when certain topics of conversation come up, find some topics where you don’t get frustrated. I know I can’t talk to my parents about everything, so in order to keep the peace and to make us both happy, I concentrate our conversations around certain “safe” topics- recipes, the news, craftiness, aging rock stars. And when they invariably ask about my work or social life, I give them little bits of non- controversial information that i know won’t invite unnecessary criticism or unsolicited advice. I used to feel like I was somehow lying to them by censoring myself around them, but now I realize that compartmentalizing my life is just part of growing up. You wouldn’t tell your boss about your family problems, right? So find stress- free ways that you CAN communicate with your parents, and save the more problematic stuff for your SO or some kind friends.
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