That’s my current mantra. It’s my fallback technique that keeps me safe from my tendencies to wallow in regret, internalize anger and blame, or sink into depression. Since about a month ago, I’ve found myself chanting this quite often. Not that I wanted to, for I hate strife in my life. I enjoy peace and calm and happiness… But when someone dicks with those I care about, it takes a LOT for me to keep my cool. Hence, the Fuck ’em mantra of late.
Looking back I am inclined to have many regrets, most involve my inability to support professionally the authors who depended on me over the last few years. I tried, arguing to the point that any other “boss” would have gotten rid of me a long time ago. I mean, most bosses don’t take kindly to being told they’re acting guilty, incompetent, or just plain stupid. Most bosses would’ve given me the boot had I told them directly that they needed to act more professionally. Seeings how I was never let go must be admission enough, from how I see it. But rather than go into all that, I’d really like for those who depended on me to help guide them and take care of their precious works to know that I am so very sorry if any of you feel I misled you. While you were under my wing, so to speak, I did the best I could within the scope of my abilities. I went to bat for you more than I can count on both hands and feet, and I’m just so sick to death about the most recent events and my sense of powerlessness that it makes me ill.
But, what does one do in a position such as was mine, simply a contractor for a company who gave me my start, who acted as if I meant something to it, claimed time and again that they couldn’t do without me, and promised me the stars? Right–the stars(okay, that was a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea)–there should’ve been my first red flag, looking back; but alas, for these damned rose-colored glasses. Then the storm rumbled, and I knew something was amiss…
What do you do when the boss suddenly stops communicating with you and those under you? Now, to be fair, there were many instances over the years where the communication lagged, so this didn’t strike me as anything “new” at first, but with my persistence, I had always been able to get some semblance of a reply, most times accompanied by a list of excuses, but at least a reply. So, once again, I tried, but this time, to no avail. What do you do when people who depend on you, come to you, pleading for you to intervene, mediate, DO SOMETHING to get me an answer to my valid business concern! because they cannot get any reply (courteous or otherwise) from the boss? What I did was to persistently contact the boss, but again, this time to no avail. What do you do after you’ve offered strong advice time and again, only to have the advice taken in one ear and let back out the other, evidenced by unprofessional defensive replies shot back to simple questioning emails? What do you do when you finally realize that a rumor you heard years earlier is actually NOT a rumor at all? And what do you do when your boss tells you while you’re pleading for understanding, patience, and professionalism to be given those authors under your wing and those new to the company also, that she doesn’t care if they walk, as long as she can keep bringing new ones in?
Of course, instinct screamed, “Get outta there! Fuck ’em!” But logic interrupted with, “Excuse me, but you have obligations that require you put up with the bullshit.”
Then most recently, the rumble flashed magnificent bolts of light when a coworker informed me that she could no longer work for such an unprofessional company (her words) and still sleep with herself at night… That she was tired of making excuses for the boss and tired of feeling like a liar because the boss had not fulfilled the promises made of late (the last 2-3 months, to be exact) and from the apparent pattern had no intention of doing so, and that the coworker was quitting, effective immediately, for fear of ruining her own reputation. Around the same time, an author I was responsible for guiding and shaping her hard work had discovered that after us having sent her labor of love onward to be released that somehow it had been rendered FUBAR’d! Thousands of words had been added to the final version we’d turned in: had, was, many gerunds, and sentences were combined with a comma and conjunction, only to have the second sentence in each instance still have its original capitalization, and there were hundreds of those in this 350+ page novel. And she only found all this out AFTER having purchased $250 worth of useless product, having had a reader demand her money back and throw the marked up pod copy in my author’s face with the exclamation, “I refuse to pay for this crap.”
The sky opened and black hell rained down, driving the final nail when I accepted the fact that if I’d have left sooner, if I’d have realized sooner that the things my authors and I were experiencing were not isolated, that they were actually happening to most of the editors and authors in like, none of the above would have ever transpired, for it was I who recommended the job to my coworker who, out of nothing but preservation of her integrity, had felt forced to quit. It was I who took this now devastated author under my wing and promised her she’d be happy, and if I would’ve followed my instinct, no one would’ve been in this mess–although in my defense, I truly don’t recall my personal experience ever being quite as bad as it has been for the last month or so. But that still left me to wonder, now what was I to do?
That combination of incidents made up my mind, my budget be damned, I was going to quit ASAP. But I could not consciously leave my author’s hard work in a state of FUBAR, so I promised her I’d stay on to help secure a finished product she could be proud of. Took us collectively 2 weeks to get this accomplished, and once the boss promised the corrected finished product by last Friday, we were both relieved and I thought I was in the clear to follow through with my plans. Last weekend, I gave my notice only to be asked by the boss to hold on just a while longer…
For what, might I ask??
To work under someone who clearly does no longer care for the internal nor external customer–for is she’d still cared, the FUBAR’d project would never have been put out to the public, and had she cared about the internal customers, then none of us would be complaining and worrying about the problems with the company we have or the unanswered communications. For what, might I ask? To have her walk out days later, leaving invoices and royalties unfinished and unpaid? For what, might I ask? To have her promise that a new boss would address us formally last week, only to have that yet to transpire? For what? To have some authors suddenly begin receiving communications from a 20-something, apparently incompetent English language user (if you go by the grammatical errors in the shared emails alone), in an apparent administrative role within the company, according to the title in her email signature?
To add insult to injury, the promised revised FUBAR’d project that my author and I had worked so hard to correct has not been fixed. I wasted my own money yesterday purchasing an eBook copy to ensure that at least one promise had been kept…. Nope. Still FUBAR!
Thankfully, I’m no longer a contractor there.
Sadly, it appears that I’m out my Apr/May editing money due me, and I’ve yet to receive this last month’s royalties, which were promised us nearly a week ago.
Regretfully, none of those authors I took in would’ve been in any of this mess alongside me had I listened to my instinct when it screamed, “FUCK ’em!”
And to you authors, from me as your editor for the time I was with Noble Romance Publishing, I can’t say I’m sorry enough.
Read more about the experience (along with some rather interesting comments):
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- Overtime to Pastimes
- FUCK ‘EM!
- Free shot–You get one chance, so make it count!
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