Friday, September 19, 2008

Feminist my ass

I've been reading a lot of blogs, editorials, and commentaries on Sarah Palin over the last few weeks, as I'm sure many of you have. I know mine is not a unique opinion, but I have finally been able to verbalize what it is that bothers me so much about her. She's a bitch.

I know, I know. It's not nice to call someone you've never met names like that. I don't care. Let me explain...
In the spring of 2004 I left my municipal job to go back to consulting. I was excited to go work for a woman who had worked her way up, creating a Planning Department in an notoriously good old boy South Florida engineering firm. Let's call her Peg. Peg fought hard for me to take some time off before I came to work there, getting me paid vacation time, because she knew I would hit the ground running. At my 90 day review she gave me a raise. She was extremely pleased with my performance. Peg told me she was excited that she had found me because she was looking to retire in a few years & she wanted someone to take her place. She told me she believed that I possessed the ability to do the work as well as manage the politics of the office. Then she told me that she was glad that I got away from my boss at the City because the day that I turned in my 3 weeks (yes, I was trying to be nice) notice, my old boss had called her to say, "You know she's going to leave as soon as she gets pregnant." Peg shook her head over how mean this was telling me she was glad I didn't have to work for that woman anymore.

To be fair, I have no idea if my old boss actually said this, though it is possible. It is completely possible that Peg pulled this out of her ass.

I worked very hard, until almost 7pm every night, & wooed an important project to the firm that I had wanted very badly. Although I was hourly, I only claimed one extra hour a day. I felt the prying eyes of my peers on my back.

I got pregnant the following October. I actually did a pregnancy test in a hotel while attending a state conference. I didn't tell my boss until December. Other women in my department had kids. Peg looked the other way when they came in late or had to leave frantically to rescue sick kids. I didn't feel like I had anything to worry about. When I was put on bedrest 30 weeks into my pregnancy, Peg changed me to a salaried employee so that I would be able to keep my benefits. I was permitted to work form home. My billable hours were around 20 hours a week during that time. I found out the fiance of a man that worked at the firm was looking for work as a nanny. We had them over for dinner, talked about parenting philosophies, & we agreed on a price. I was relieved.

MiniMe was born 3 weeks early by emergency cesarean after 21 hours of labor. When I tried to turn in my paper work for my short term disability insurance, I found out I didn't have any. I went through my files & found photocopies of the forms that I turned in when I started working. Apparently HR never took the money out of my checks to pay into the program. I had never noticed the $1.12/week wasn't being taken out of my check. So now not only was I not going to get that money, I also had to find a way to pay my insurance premium while I was on leave. When Peg called me to see how things were going I told her about this. She basically told me it was my fault for not verifying money was being paid into the program.

When MiniMe was just 6 weeks old, I called the nanny to ask her to come meet her. She told me that her soon-to-be husband was uncomfortable with the prospect that she might be home alone with my husband. Basically, my response was, "Huh?" Maybe it was more of a "Wuh?". I was floored. I was scheduled to present my pet project at public hearing in 3 weeks. I had an infected incision and a teeny baby that wasn't nursing correctly. Now I had to find someone, somewhere to take our precious girl. I found a wonderful Montessori school that had an infant program that followed philosophies I loved. It was $350/week.

When I went back to work, I was miserable. MiniMe was barely eight pounds. I would go to nurse her on my lunch hour & cry. I would go home in the afternoon & sit with her for hours, working on nursing. Because she was so tiny, I was only allowed one four hour stretch of solid sleep. After that, I had to nurse her every two hours, or pump & have my husband give her a bottle. My husband worked an average of 70 hours a week during this time. I was working 6 hours a day & flailing. Although I had my own office, I didn't have a lock on my door. When I pumped, I put a fluorescent post-it that was 3" by 6" on my door that said "ABSOLUTELY DO NOT OPEN!" People ignored it. I was told I needed to go to the women's locker room to pump. It made people uncomfortable to know what I was doing in there.

Another project manager criticized me for getting up at 5:15pm to leave a meeting. When I explained that I had to go pick up my daughter, he said, "Can't you just get someone else to pick her up?!" My husband had to work until 8pm, the school closed at 5:30, I was full of milk. The meeting was consisting largely of them discussing their golf games at this point. I don't golf. I looked at him & said, "No, Dan. I have no one else to call. Unlike you, I do not have a wife, or heck, even a spouse that stays home. I AM the wife, Dan!"

The landscape architects for the firm were largely four recently graduated men that sat in a big square of cubicles in an isolated area of our building. I had problems with them all along. They had photoshop images with each others heads pasted on figure skaters & a little putting station. They billed twice the hours they quoted to my projects & were shopping on ebay. One day when I was leaving their area after discussing review comments, I thought I heard the sound of a cow mooing. I ignored it. To get to the kitchen I had to cross by their area. The cow sound, followed by the snickers of fraternity boys, would be heard every time I passed by. When I complained to my stupervisor I was told that I must be misunderstanding something. Yeah, because between my 7 years of college & multitudes of animal toys in my house, I have no idea what a cow sounds like.

I went back to work full time between December & April. I don't know how I did it. In April, I begged Peg for mercy. She asked me what I needed. I told her I needed to be done by 2:30pm & was fine with being hourly, as long as I kept my benefits. She said fine, as long as I was there at 7:30 every morning. I don't remember much about this time of my life, except that I was moved from my office with a door to a cubicle between administrative assistants and interns. My clients would come all the way from Israel to be embarrassed at the conditions I was given to work in. Peg quit being my direct supervisor & I was now overseen by someone I had been told I would never work for when they hired me. When I had my review he told me I was costing the company money, being part time. My billable hours were at 81%. The man reviewing me was at 65%. When I confronted Peg with this she told me he was right, I wasn't coming into work on time. It made no sense to me. They were moving me to a smaller cube. I felt like I was in Office Space & needed to track down my stapler.

My husband & I had decided we wanted to move out of Florida. We decided that signing a contract to keep MiniMe at the Montessori for a year wasn't a good idea. The tuition would be almost half of my salary. I turned in my resignation & two days before my last day, Peg repeated what my previous boss had said. "I didn't think she was right that you'd really trash your career after you had a baby."

That's the kind-of feminist Sarah Palin is. She's had to hand babies off to someone else to take care of, but been able to afford to pay someone she can trust. She holds herself up as a woman who can "have it all", without acknowledging that it's not a level playing field. She allows someone to use her as a pawn, because she's pretty. She agrees to sell out other women, mothers, hell, even her own daughter, for her own ambition. She agrees that families in this country don't deserve healthcare unless they can afford it, that they should leave their children with people they don't feel comfortable with to pay for that healthcare, and even if a woman is raped, she should still be forced into this situation because it isn't fair to the baby to not be given a chance. I'm not even bringing up the issue of that if the woman is unfortunate enough to have to have a cesarean to bring that baby into the world she will be labeled as having a pre-existing condition that will slap her with higher insurance premiums for the rest of her life. That's for another post.
I'm not saying that women don't have the right to go back to work if they choose to do so. I am saying that for some women, it isn't a choice, & Sarah doesn't even acknowledge that. Even women who can chose to stay home with their children do so at a risk to their careers. What about the men that do so? She stands on a platform of "family values", when she refuses to consider legislation that will help every family have the same opportunities for their children. Sarah perpetuates the system that ignores the best interests of my child, just like Peg, she's a bitch.


cat said...

Oh, I feel for you. A bad boss, and a bad working situation, are things that stay with you for a LONG time.

It sounds like you arrived at a good place, finally, and for that I'm glad. I wish I could say that "Peg" will get hers someday, but she probably won't. *Sigh.

At least now you're away from her and on a better path. Good riddance! And good post!

G-ma said...

Good ole SP can be ready for the VEEP without even taking a moment to "think about it." Oh really? c
Can run a county, can't run a family. What about her daughter who has been taught abstinance only. That really worked! So what's she got up her sleve for the rest of us when ole John pops off and leaves her in charge!