Sunday, October 28, 2012

surviving severe weather

These past 30-months have been among the most challenging of my life.  I've documented some of the obstacles here, but decided to take a hiatus from writing about my personal struggles after so many commented that I am unable to adapt, or see the good in a situation.  When someone left me a link to a forum where the topic was me and there were several people (20 or more?) weighing in with their own personal opinions that I created my own drama ... I decided that perhaps I shouldn't share the details of my life in this forum.  People were definitely starting to think that I didn't have both oars in the water, and maybe my cheese had slid off my cracker.  Obviously, I was not conveying appropriately the situation I had found myself in, when I accepted this relocation. Rest assured, I didn't go crazy ... I just wasn't documenting the full extent of what was happening - only the symptoms of it.

But today, I'm taking a break from our preparations for Frankenstorm to write about the Frankenstorm that has been happening in my world.  Why?  Because maybe it will courageously inspire others to do what's right in their hearts.

It all started when I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub in San Diego circa May 2010, bathing our small children, trying to decide whether or not to accept the transfer to Virginia and I was suppressing a panic attack that would persist in varying intensities for the next two and a half years. My sister Eileen called me and I had the phone cradled against my shoulder - shampooing precious little heads - as my sister was talking with me about the advantages and disadvantages of moving.  Charlie and I needed (or rather, wanted) a bigger house and this was a free ticket to move closer to family.  But, she also told me that having been a career woman and then mother, who opted to resign her career, she could never go back to working in an office when she had children at home. She said she'd be filled with resentment and is that something I was prepared to manage?

I had my doubts about my own ability to do this. I'd be moving smack dab from my office in our dining room to an office in the headquarters of a huge corporation, at the time, the wealthiest in the world. While I was gone, my husband would be home with our children everyday. But in the grand scheme, this was an opportunity for me and our family. And depending upon your belief system, taking the job and moving was the financially responsible thing for me to do.

There was no question: I had a fantastic situation in San Diego. I had an incredibly flexible schedule and a magnificently awesome boss.  I worked as a Project Manager and I had teams of consultants working for me and I'd delegate work to them.  More than once I had to pinch myself because how lucky am I to have such incredible job satisfaction with such an incredible company?

Although I'm with the same company, things have been very different for me, from a career and personal perspective, since we've moved to Virginia.

On the one hand, it's been an exciting experience because I'm the global contracts advisor putting forth agreements that I once worked so hard to obtain when I worked as a consultant on the other side of the table and my employer was my #1 client.  On the other hand, I work in an office every day and typically log more than 60 hours away from home, every week. I'm granted little to no flexibility to work from home, unless I request to work from home several days in advance. My current boss micro-manages my every move and has made it clear that working from home is frowned upon; his expectation is that I'm in the office every day.  In my current role, I don't have teams of people that I can delegate work to ... I'm the lead for a project that is one of the two largest initiatives for our organization and the responsibility to get this project finalized rests squarely on my shoulders.  This job has taken a heavy toll on me.

Oh, and by the way ... unlike my magnificently awesome boss in California, my current boss is very difficult. He's arrogant and patronizing and my less than favorable opinions of him are not mine alone. Several others have confided in me that they don't know how I continue to work with him and former reports have told me that he was the worst manager they'd ever had and they loathed him.  (Loathed.)  Every night on my drive home from the office, I call Charlie and relay the days most asinine events and tell him that I have to quit... please, when can I quit?

This is the manager that told me it was his expectation that he'd be an executive with the company and anything less would be a personal failure.  As such, he'll do whatever it takes to climb the ladder.

This is the manager that insisted I come in to the office last year when I was sick and 12 hours later, I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital with acute pneumonia.

This is the manager that told me it would have "career limiting repercussions" if I missed two hours of a three-day meeting to attend my children's kindergarten play.

This is the manager who will will say, "A good manager doesn't miss their deadlines" before hopping on a plane to Europe and deferring all of his overdue responsibilities to his subordinates.

This is the manager that thrives on publicly providing "coaching opportunities" to his staff, but couldn't find his own way out of a paper bag.

There have been multiple complaints to human resources and senior management - but it's been of no consequence. As far as the corporation is concerned, even though he lacks people skills and is demotivating to his staff, he is doing his job and I cannot be reassigned until I finish this initiative which won't be complete until the first quarter of 2013.

Oh, so this is what it feels like to be stuck? 

Last week, I was in several meetings with no less than 12 people, and in each one I was the only woman. In my industry, I'm often reminded, it's a man's world.  As I caught myself looking around at the room full of well suited and cuff linked men, I pondered how many of them were thinking about potential Halloween costumes for their children, or trying to remember that they'd need to have a clean jelly jar available for their son's preschool class the next morning?  As a working mother, I just cannot turn off my responsibilities at home like so many of my male co-workers seem able to do. Sure, we could have a nanny - but we brought these children in to the world because we, alone, want to raise them.  And the older my children become, the more difficult it becomes because there is always something to think about and so my mothering responsibilities are in near constant competition with my employer's 60+ hours per week needs for my time. What makes it all the more difficult is when you work for someone that you simply don't like nor respect.  Granted, I've always enjoyed my job and while I do still enjoy the work that I'm currently doing, I don't appreciate that I'm working for this manager - someone who does not value me nor my contributions - and yet, gets the credit for the huge effort I'm putting forth as a result of time I've sacrificed with my family. My children. Despite the fact that I was out of work last year for three months, I came back and have continued to push a global initiative across the finish line, on time, with virtually no support from him

I've been with the company for more than 11 years and in the first 9 years, I always 'ranked' in the top brackets for performance, so it would appear that if you work hard and had a good spouse by your side, you could do it all: Marriage. Family. Career.  However, since I've worked with this manager, although my efforts and accomplishments have far surpassed anything I've ever done before - my ranking has slipped.  Last year, I was in the middle of the pack so I worked even harder, and this year - he put me at the bottom.  Ranking impacts promotions, salaries and reputation. Now, I know it sounds like sour grapes, but I've really tried to be objective and no matter how you dice it, this ranking was a slap in the face. In my opinion, he is sabotaging my career.  Consider, he stated publicly a month earlier, that none of his staff have put in as much time as I have over the past year - which was required since I was interfacing with people on the opposite side of the world and phone calls from home at 9 PM (following a full day in the office) were commonplace.

And yet ....?

People involved on this project have told me that it appeared I was getting the "rough end of the pineapple" in this assignment, so when he delivered my annual review to me a week ago Friday, I just nodded and smiled. Of course he put me at the bottom. He knows that I don't like him. He knows that I've reported him to senior management and human resources. He knows that I don't mince words and I speak my mind honestly. He knows that unlike a few co-workers that will clamor to kiss his posterior region, I think he's upwardly focused and weak. This was his opportunity to exert his control and show me who's boss.

So, I frankly told him my opinion of his severely lacking leadership and then I stood up and walked out of his office without hearing the rest of my "review." I went directly back to my cubicle, packed up everything, and gave my verbal resignation to his boss.  Why am I doing this when I could be home with my little ones?!  Maybe I'm leaving in a lurch and maybe it makes me foolish, but I've got a tremendous amount of faith in my ability to find another job and would rather work in an environment where I'm respected.  Also, I've got a tremendous amount of faith in Charlie's ability to sustain our family through his not-so-little anymore business. And if neither of those things pan out, what the heck. We'll sell our house - live in an apartment - clip coupons and survive off our savings.  I don't play the political game very well and because I'm not easily intimidated, I don't tolerate abuse.

I never have, I never will

Some would say I'm self righteous.

I consider it confidence and bravery and yes ... there is a difference.

When I walked in to the senior manager's office (for the third time in four months to express concern about my supervisor), there was a black storm in the distance rolling straight towards our building. We both looked at it and he said, "Would you look at what's brewing out there!" I replied, "It's a metaphor for this situation..."   An hour later, after I'd fully expressed to him my two-years of pent up frustration and now, immediate desire to leave the company because there has been absolutely no reprieve despite our prior discussions, the storm had dissipated and a vibrant rainbow appeared, arching directly before his window.  I smiled and said, "See? After every big storm, there's a rainbow. All is good."

Over the next week, I was contacted by scores of people who told me don't do it. Don't walk away. Don't let this difficult manager be the last one standing, he'll be falling from glory soon enough with all the clinks in his armor he has sustained from the various complaints against him (by me and others). Also, they've reminded me, don't forget the golden carrot that is out there: If I retire from my company at 55 years of age, there is a substantial pension that works out to 80% of my salary for something like 20 years and there are medical and dental benefits for me and my spouse and then there's that herd of unicorns they throw in for good measure.

But to do this for another 14 years ... could I even survive?

After two years, I now understand why there aren't many women, especially mothers with small children, in this environment. I've done a lot of inward reflection and have concluded that if things don't change drastically, I'd be selling my soul for money.  With the input of co-workers whom I truly respect (including my former magnificently awesome boss), a week after I gave my resignation, I have retracted it. They've convinced me things will improve with time.  So, I've requested a leave of absence to allow for some mental and physical recharge and recalibration. Once I return, I've requested to work part-time so I can spend more time with my family and on myself.  I've also requested an immediate reassignment to a new manager within the first quarter.  Until then, I'll be thinking of a few things....

What's in my heart? 

What do I really want to do with my life?

What legacy do I want to leave behind?

Time goes so fast, I don't want to waste a minute of it on the wrong path. 

There is a chance my life's purpose could be fulfilled if I remain with this company - but certainly not in this current situation. And if I were to remain as an employee, in less than two years, we will be moving to Houston, Texas.  The formal announcement came out earlier this year that our Virginia campus will be relocated, so now it's just a matter of time.  At this moment, I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for our family and there are a lot of questions we need to consider, but I'm filled with a sense of peace and confidence that I haven't had for a long, long time.  Interestingly enough, I'm not all afraid and the panic has left my heart. If this career doesn't work out for me, something else will come up.

And if it doesn't - we'll still be OK.

I don't know how, but we will.

Go Team!

As it turns out, when I'm pushed to the brink, I'm empowered.  From past experience, I know that every challenge I've ever faced in my life has been rewarded with a prize greater than I could have possibly imagined. There really is a spectacular rainbow at the end of every life storm, but only when you're true to yourself.


  1. Good for you! I've been waiting for your post ever since you hinted at it on Michele's blog comments. Best wishes!

  2. Clapping in the audience. Bravo! You are an amazing woman!

  3. Jen, you know I've been reading your blog for 4+ years now. I will only comment once in a while (or order wristbands or girl scout cookies from you ;)), but I never fail to read your blog DAILY!!! It has been such an INSPIRATION, b/c TRULY you will turn any absolutely crazy, intense, difficult situation into a positive one! I marvel at your ability to see things in a positive light no matter what and to find the laughter in it!! I have drawn much inspiration from you and canNOT even fantom that there are people out there DISCUSSING YOU in forums? Are you serious?!!? You should ask them to come help you with all the free time they seem to have. I probably don't need to say this, but don't even let them get to you one ounce. YOU ARE TRULY AMAZING!!! And I am so grateful that you have shared all of your struggles, because it allows me to put my life into perspective and I have taken so many positive words and thoughts from you!!! THANK YOU!!! Good luck in sorting everything out. I strongly believe that deep down you already know your final decision... don't let anyone else talk you into anything!!! In the end it is YOUR, Charlie's and the kids' life! and that is all what matters... things happen for a reason and everything will fall into place, as long as you make decisions that make you happy!!! :) Listen to your gut!!!!

  4. Jen, I applaud your decisions! I quit a job just like yours, and never looked back.

    Follow you heart and it will not steer you wrong. You go girl!

  5. You don't know me. I've commented before and love to read your blog. You have courage and your priorities straight! My oldest just turned 18 and time flies. Enjoy your family. Jobs, bosses and coworkers come and go- family is forever. Your husband and kids need you and your health!

  6. Amazing Post; I have been worried about you and suspected something was brewing. Praying for you in this situation and that the part time status helps.

  7. You really are a brave woman and give us other working mamas lots to think about. It's so hard to manage a job away from home AND your job at home. I understand and feel your frustrations. It stinks, plain and simple. Best wishes as you figure out the next step(s). Stay strong!!
    -Laura from Indiana

  8. I have been checking for this update every day because I was so anxious to know the details. Your writing is exceptional and your story is inspirational.

    I could tell you a similar story on my side as well but it is a long one. Let's just say I am now reviewing all the things you are. It really feels like a transformation. I am not sure how it will all turn out but it sure will be better than what it was.

    Thank you for sharing your story. For all those who may say negative things please know there are more rooting for you.

    Stay safe during the storm.


  9. Jen
    You really are amazing and I am so thankful you share your experiences with the world. I wish you lots of luck with where ever life takes you. You give me hope that I can change my life as well. Thank you.


  10. Well, Jen, that explains the reason that I have been checking for updates on the party in vain. Your understanding of and patience with and devotion to your kids comes through. While I haven't had the same upheavals that you have in the last 30 months, I understand the pull of wanting to stay at home while you work. Your courage to stand up the jerk and to prioritize events/demands on your time are inspiring. Interestingly enough a coworker/friend of mine and I are meeting next week to discuss how/what we both want for ourselves and our families and our career because we are approaching a breaking point.

    You have talked before about the comments that get you down and your struggle to figure out how much to share. All I can say to that is you need to do what you need in order to remain SANE. I view your blog as a journal; some of the drama (as others claim it to be) is from your being in the moment and if you only reported the mundane, it wouldn't be interesting. I often recount what you write to my mom because I have similar moments with my two singletons and I know she can sympathize (because I was like both my girls, but just one child!).

    Find your direction, be true to yourself, love your family, and I hope to read more about it all, but will understand if I don't.


  11. Coming from an HR perspective, ranking you at the bottom and giving you a bad review, unfairly, after you spoke to HR about him, is retaliatory, and cannot be tolerated. It is the basis for a lawsuit.

    Good for you for taking a stand, and doing what is best for you and your family.

  12. Good for you! Your family is the greatest gift you will ever receive. I will pray God gives you clear direction for your career and your family's future.

  13. Good for you. Life is too short to put up with people like that. I also look around at work and notice that there are not other working moms with young kids. I miss the support system I've had a other jobs. I, too, have questioned whether this is worth the stress, the tension, the guilt. I hope the path becomes clear for you, but regardless of what comes next, congrats for taking the first step out of a situation that wasn't making you happy.


  15. I'm proud of you for sticking up for yourself to manager jerk, and I hope they will honor all your requests when/if you return. Oh, and I don't think bad of you for talking about your difficulties at all, it's refreshing after so many mom blogs just show everything all perfect and create unrealistic expectations to live up to. ;)

  16. I am very proud of you for following your heart. Tell all the nay-sayers to live your life for a month and see how THEY handle it. You have kahunas! I love how you don't let your boss get away with being an ass!



  17. Jen, I've been a stalker of your blog for a few years and I just had to comment on this post. I admire you so much. You have persevered through so much -- hang in there now. You are a great mother and wife. You have a fabulous husband and your children are so precious and beautiful. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Susan from NC

  18. 2 Timothy 1:7 For GOD has not given us a spirit of FEAR, but of POWER and LOVE and SOUND MIND.

    You are a wonderful wife, mother, and woman! Your children are going to look back at your written words some day and see what a courageous woman you are. I am a mother of four as well, (6,5,2, & 11mos) and I've been know to sit my oldest two down from time to time to teach them "life lessons" from your blog. Thank you for opening your heart to us. BTW, we live in Roanoke, VA area if you guys are ever looking for a 'close' weekend getaway :) - plenty of hiking opportunities here. Be blessed and continue to be a blessing to others!

  19. wow.. 60 hours a week? wow, i say.
    i have said this to three co-workers in the last 2 weeks: you deserve to work somewhere where you are respected and loved. life is just to short to accept anything else. and at 60 hours a week, this has to be a given... has to be. i don't know if you will regret telling your boss:"take this job and shove it"
    and i don't know if you will regret leaving corprate america with the knowledge that it might have all passed you by when you try and renter in 10 years. what i do know is you love your kids and not being with them is stretching you to the max. the steps you have taken are good and they are the correct steps. i wish you a quiet soul as you figure this all out.
    and HEY, how was the birthday party?

  20. Good on you, you are awesome! Nothing like standing up for yourself and getting what you deserve.

    PS How did the birthday party go? Can't wait to hear all about it!

  21. I have always loved your honesty because it always seems to mirror what I am thinking about my own life. You have been through so muh these past few years and I really, really hope things get better for you soon!

  22. Sounds like your current manager creates a hostile work environment. Having worked for a self-centered tyrant like that before, I can empathize with you.

    Sorry to hear that others were (are) judging you and your decisions so harshly and publicly. I haven't once thought you sounded like your cheese was sliding off your cracker and I have been reading here since shortly before your big relocation.

    I have been anxiously awaiting this update, since you commented that you'd quit your job on a mutual acquaintance's blog.

    I don't blame you one bit for quitting, nor for reconsidering and trying to make the best of the situation for yourself, your family, and with the company. I hope the LOA helps rejuvenate you and allows you valuable, precious time to share and make awesome memories with Charlie and the kids.

    May your next manager be as supportive, kind, and competent as your previous CA manager.

    And if things don't work out with your current company may the rainbow lead you to even better work/life/family balance employment.

    Best wishes to you as you seek your path.


  23. I just want to say good for you. Only you know what's best for you and your family. I think it's very difficult being a working mom, especially when your children say every day they want to stay home with you. I just stick to the grind...and put the guilt in the back of my head and hope that someday they will know I worked hard for them.

  24. Please don't let negative comments/people influence your blog writing. I'd like to see them be more "adaptable" a life like yours! If it's any help, I think you do an amazing job handling your wild life!

  25. People who are telling you that you are crazy are JEALOUS they don't have the balls to do what you did. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, and no one wants "she had a great pension" engraved on their tombstone.

    My dad has been retired almost 20 years and is still bitter about all the time he spent commuting, working for a company that finally let him go when he got too high up. Yeah, he has a great pension and benefits, but there's no joy of life there - at all.

    Good luck. It WILL work out.

  26. I have mad respect for you.

  27. I've been reading your blog for several years now and one of the things I've appreciated most, is your willingness to expose your inner most thoughts, doubts and turmoil. While we both have chosen slightly different paths (I'm a uni-educated SAHM of four and you are a uni-educated working mom of four), I can relate so closely with you in how you approach dilemma and difficult situations and choices (and also your life-outlook your politicial and religious views, and so much more). I think things to death and, it seems to me, so do you. I know that's good and bad, depending on how you look at it, but I know more "spontaneous" types tend to see this as a fault and think we can't handle a situation or are weak in some way. I'm sorry that there are critics out there who have discouraged you from sharing on your blog as you used to do. Contrary to them, I have always found you courageous, inspiring, down to earth and very, very honest. Your honesty has kept me coming back to your blog over the years.

    Your work dilemma reminded me a of a great article I read recently:

    Your manager is an @$$hole and it sounds like you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. For the record, I think your choice to go back to work when you'd rather be at home with your kids, and allowing your DH to be their primary caregiver, in order to provide for your family the best way you can, was incredibly selfless and courageous. As was your decision to quit. I think you are one fantastic lady, wife, mother--warts and all. Especially because you dont choose to hide your warts, proving to us all that you are REAL. Thanks. I wish you all the best with whatever decision you come to, but I'm not too worried about you or your family. You will come out on top of this, whatever you decide to do. You and you're family are too strong not to.

  28. Good for you. This is such an inspiring story.

    The only one that will put you and you're family first is you!

  29. Wow! Bravo! The last two years took a lot of courage and you should be really proud of yourself. I was in a (lesser) but relatable situation and remember telling my husband that I was going to quit the next day...this went on for months. Thanksfully that manager got promoted to another team and things got better. Good Luck to you. Can't wait to hear where this takes you.

  30. Wow! Bravo! The last two years took a lot of courage and you should be really proud of yourself. I was in a (lesser) but relatable situation and remember telling my husband that I was going to quit the next day...this went on for months. Thanksfully that manager got promoted to another team and things got better. Good Luck to you. Can't wait to hear where this takes you.

  31. Thank you for sharing this story. I work full-time in a demanding career -- and some days I look around the conference room and think the same thing as you about all the men (while jotting down reminders that tomorrow is orange day for my 2yo and don't forget to put her in an orange shirt). Sometimes I sit down at my desk and think that nobody -- NOBODY -- has any clue what it took for me to get to work that day. They don't care, but they also don't have a freaking clue. Seriously, thank you for sharing. And GOOD LUCK!

  32. First, what is the point of a blog if you don't talk reality? You voice the kinds of things with which all working mothers struggle and I look forward to all of your posts. Second, I have been in your shoes before in the workplace and I think you did the right thing by quitting and agreeing to come back on your terms. It is obvious that your company values you as most companies don't react to "threats" of leaving. Yours did and that shows they really don't want to lose you. Stay safe and enjoy your time off.

  33. I've been reading your blog for yonks and I have to tell you, this post reminds me of when I'm reading a book where the protagonist is struggling with a problem which I know THEY know how to resolve, but are just prolonging the inevitable.

    Hope that makes sense, but to me as a longtime reader of this lovely blog, who never once thought that you were exaggerating the stresses you were experiencing, I just want to say Yay! Go you, Jen! Something had to give, I'm glad it wasn't your backbone ;) *high five*

  34. You are AWESOME!!!

    I wish that I had had the courage to do what you did many years ago when I was in a similar place at work. Unfortunately I didn't stand up for myself and would up with PTSD I still live with today.

    Keep on doing what's best for you because it will turn out to be what's best for Charlie and the kids.

    Go Jen.

  35. This is an amazing post, one that really resonated with me. Thank you.

  36. Jen, May God Bless You and your family. I'm so proud of you!

    Sending Hugs from North San Diego County.

  37. hello jen! thank you for standing up for what you believe in...a year ago, i was in the same position as you are right now: a well-paying job doing something i love to do. i was putting in long hours at work, yet my heart was aching because i was unhappy. needed room to grow, so i packed up, said buh-bye and left. cold turkey. my colleagues tried to convinve me to stay for the golden carrots also, but enough is enough. today, i have a decent-paying job (compared to the previous one i had) but i am happy and i get to spend more time with my family. i think it's awesome what you did, taking charge of the next few months until you figure out what you're gonna do. i can tell you for sure, once you leave the corporate world and move into a more relaxed work environment, you'll never want to go back. i speak for myslef: money and lucrative benefits don't motivate me anymore. it's amazing how well i am doing with less nowadays. i know all will work out for you and your family! a determined woman moves mountains =D

  38. Good for you, Jen. ROAR! So proud of you.

  39. Ananda Campbell10/30/12, 12:22 AM

    This comment doesn't need to be approved, it's just for you anyway.

    THANK YOU for sharing, thank you for inspiring all of us moms struggling to make it all work. I have a job I absolutely love and I yet I cannot manage everything. I struggle and I doubt myself. I appreciate knowing there are others out there.

    By the way, give some thought to something in the teaching arena. My favorite posts were the ones where you taught the class about the water cycle. I am a teacher and we don't make a lot of money, but I sure do feel good about what I do and I make sure I am the teacher I expect my kids to have in the future.

  40. Wow! I wish I had your courage.I'm currently in the same boat and wish I could have the honesty you do! I haven't even gone to HR about my boss for fear of reatalition and the worst part is that she is a woman and has no sympathy for working moms. Don't let that forum get you down. Remember that for all the negative comments that are 100 more people that just don't speak out and tell you how great you are doing and appreciate you putting yourself out there.

  41. You Rock and your family will rise above this and I'm proud of you for making such a hard decision!!!

  42. Take care Jen. I wouldn't put up with that shit either. A job allows me to have the life I want and shouldn't become the life I have.

  43. Hope you survived Hurricane Sandy, and hope you survive the "other storm". I've read your blog for a number of years now. Sometimes you write about stuff and I totally get where you are coming from. Sometimes I read what you write and I think, "Huh?". But regardless of how I feel, the bottom line is, its YOUR blog, and I am merely a lurker. If I read a book and don't agree with a plot twist or a character development, I don't e-mail the author! I either choose to continue reading or put the book down and move on. People feel so entitled to ram their opinions down other people's throats! If what you do does not directly affect me (and it doesn't) then I keep my opinion to myself unless asked. And while I'm expressing my opinion here though you did not ask, its because I wanted to tell you that I support you and the decisions you make, regardless if I agree with them or not. Because its your life story you are memoralizing in this blog, not "your life story as edited by the opinions of the blogosphere".

    If this means what I think it means, then I say FTW!!!!! But rather it should be FTWWW!!!!!

  44. So glad you stood up to him! But I was disappointed that you didn't quit completely. It seems that would be more peaceful! (I realize it's your life!)

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  46. Kristine John10/31/12, 1:59 AM

    Brava, Jen. Brava!
    Having walked through life experiences different yet similar, I must say that your words ring completely true. You must first be true to yourself...and when you walk forward into to unknown, you find strength you didn't know you had. You've got this situation covered. 100%.

  47. Way to go Jen for standing up for yourself. Please don't let other people's opinion get to you. I admire you for doing your job and as a younger woman in my 30s I have been encouraged by you to pursue my career. Your post have been empowering for me and made me really think through career and family. Another thing is I know a family that has chosen to have the mom work and dad work at home as a part-time lawyer. There reason is we don't want a nanny to raise our kid. There are other people in your same situation. I feel really empowered by this post because I need to stand up for things at work.

  48. I have been reading for a long time, and as a fellow working mom in a predominantly male industry, I applaud you for standing up for yourself. Your humor and devotion to your family is beautifully expressed here. Hugs and Peace to you and yours.

  49. Please continue blogging. You are an inspiration to me - a fellow working mother. Don't listen to what those mean people dictate your blog!

  50. The rest of them above have said whatever i wanted to say but still, there is one thing that needs to be repeated again and again.. You are an inspiration to me..

    I am fairly young girl in Singapore, working full time w one son. You are deal with so many different issues and you handle it so beautifully. I dont think i can even reach 0.1% of your capabilities. Thank you for writing and inspiring me to become a better person..

    I am so glad to see the previous post..u r happy with the kids, at the end of the day tht is wht is important..

  51. I am not usually one to run in guns blazing but it seems to me you have the makings of a lawsuit on your hands. First, the poor reviews after you contacted HR about him; second, the fact that you are the only (or one of a very few) woman at your level. This sounds eerily similar to a situation my mother went through 17about 12 years ago.

    She did file suit and she won.

    It worries me to think of you going back to working for the same man. He is not the type of man to change. He is a workpalce bully and I am always so disappointed in companies that allow people like him to not only stay but to advance professionally.

    I pray for you to find clarity in your path.

    A forum about you? Geesh. Mean girls just grow up to be mean women, right?

  52. Hi, Jen,

    This post reminds me so much of what my sister went through two years ago. She is an attorney with a federal agency in DC and had a (female) boss who was just as horrible. Gave her a sorry rating at her annual review after receiving nothing but stellar comments for the first three reviews. My sister filed two grievances against her, one for her the hostile work environment and the other for the retaliatory behavior (I second Janice on is grounds for lawsuit).

    She won both grievances; she was moved to a different division within the same agency and had the awful review removed from her personnel file (this was the BIG sticking point with my sister; it would have poisoned the rest of her career). Of course, she had the support of a union representative to get all of this done, but it was the longest 8 months of her life. She cried nearly every day and questioned why she was doing it, but she prevailed.

    I was so proud of her and I am proud of you, too, for standing up for yourself. Brava!!


  53. Thinking of you... Hope all is ok, as I keep checking back for an update...and not seeing any worries me. Take care, Jen. Follow your heart...