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Single In The Suburbs, Installment 35


Our writer isn’t sure whether to continue seeing her new beau Kevin, but she does make a key job decision.

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, our columnist learns that there is another woman in her new boyfriend’s life…and she thinks she knows how to proceed. She also came to a decision about her new job opportunity: to stay where she is. Is she making the right choices?


Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.
I’m on my way back to the office after a fascinating seminar on podcasting. I’ve wanted our organization to do podcasts for some time now but wasn’t sure we had enough of an audience. Now I’m convinced we do.

Wednesday, 3:10 p.m.
I’m at my desk, drawing up a podcast marketing campaign. The more I think about it, the more excited I become. This is exactly what we need to reach a younger audience and the
For a change, I can’t think about sex right now.
only real expense will be the cost of a video camera and software. I sprint into my boss’s office to show her my ideas and she gives me an enthusiastic thumbs-up; she says she’s grateful to have me on her team. I can’t wait to announce the podcast plan to my co-workers. This could be huge fun.

Wednesday, 3:15 p.m.
I’m glad I’ve decided not to take the other job. Now I just need to tell Bud Jackson. He’s going to be disappointed. I could tell that he liked me and was eager to get me on his team. I think I’ll wait until the end of the day to call him. I hate being the bearer of bad news.

Wednesday, 3:35 p.m.
Just got a message from Kevin. He wants to know if we’re “all good” after our last conversation—the one in which he admitted that he still has a girlfriend but she lives in Seattle and the relationship is “joyless.” I decide not to respond. Must keep my nose to the grindstone and work on my podcast plan.

Wednesday, 4:05 p.m.
I just sent out an email announcing the new podcast series. This is one of the few major initiatives I’ve undertaken since I started here, and, frankly, I’m feeling rather proud of myself. I go out for a can of Diet Coke and notice that Brenda McAleer, whose office is adjacent to mine, has closed her door. I’ve come to learn that Brenda only closes her door when she is: 1. changing into her gym clothes. 2. gossiping with her secretary, the pasty-faced Sharon whose penchant for confectionary colors makes her look like a giant cupcake.

Wednesday, 4:08 p.m.
My phone rings. It’s Kevin. He wants to know if I read his email. I explain that I’m busy with a new project and haven’t had a chance to write back. He tells me that his pillow smells like me, and he finds it arousing. For a change, I can’t think about sex right now. I have to finish this plan. I tell him I’ll call back later.

Wednesday, 4:15 p.m.
Back at my desk. There’s an email from Brenda (whose door, I noticed on the way down
Since the divorce, I don’t have anyone to call with good news or bad.
the hall, is still closed). It reads:

“Where did you get the authority to make a unilateral decision on podcasts? Isn’t this something you should have brought to the marketing committee? Have you considered whether you might be at cross-purposes with other departments? It seems to me that you cannot make a major decision like this without the input of all stakeholders. Please do not move forward until we have all had a chance to discuss this.”

What the hell is this? Brenda is not my boss. She’s not even in marketing. There’s no reason why I should have to consult with her before moving forward on this. My supervisor gave me the OK. That’s good enough for me.

But I feel my heart sinking. I feel oppressed by Brenda’s response, but also chastised. I don’t like this feeling.

Wednesday, 4:19 p.m.
Another email. This one from Roy Lender, the goober on the third floor who hasn’t had an original idea since he started two years ago. He sits in meetings, stares out the window and picks his pimples. Roy’s email reads:

“This decision is too important to make without the input of the marketing committee and all the stakeholders. We should discuss before moving forward. We have to be sure you are not at cross-purposes with other departments.”

I find it impossible to believe that the similarity between Brenda’s email and Roy’s is just a coincidence. I’ve never heard this guy use words like “stakeholders” or “cross-purposes.” I see that, like Brenda, Roy has copied my boss on his email.

Wednesday, 4:22 p.m.
The next email comes from Bonnie Cardell, my counterpart in the Louisville office. Again, my boss is copied on this message:

“Podcasting is an interesting idea, but it’s one that shouldn’t be made unilaterally. We need to discuss it as a group and come to a consensus about our goals and objectives. All stakeholders must be involved in this process.”

This is ridiculous. Three emails — wait, here’s a fourth and now a fifth — in three minutes and they all sound the same. I can only assume that Brenda has masterminded this email blitz against me. I feel sick to my stomach.

I wish I could talk to someone. But since the divorce, I no longer have Craig to play my “first responder.” I don’t have anyone to call with good news or bad, someone who is there to celebrate my successes or grieve my losses. I pick up the phone. I’m tempted to call Kevin. Then I realize that there’s someone else I need to call first.


Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 36


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