Redhead Fangirl

Wednesday, April 2

What kind?

I really want some comments on what happened today. I'm not one to beg for comments, but please give me your opinions on this:

After being out sick yesterday, Today I went to work and my coworker (27 years on the job) called me to our ref office. He said that he just read an email our manager sent (24 years on the job) that said she was resigning June 2, with a sentence or two about enjoying working with us.

Without a book, the background is that my morale has been pretty low this past year- waiting on a promotion that hasn't come after almost 6 years of very hard work; very angry patrons; etc.

My relationship with my boss- I don't agree with her all the time, and she is an emotionally distant person who doesn't share much. So while an email without any discussion might not seem the norm, it is how she mostly communicates.

After several conversations with staff, all shocked that she wouldn't wait one year until she could retire and get pension. Just resign. Most people thought she had a health issue and had to resign- maybe get disability.

I went into the manager on a fact finding mission. She said she had not told the admin at HQ (odd) or her family (also odd).

You know how these things are like wildfire- calls to family, coworkers not in, whispers at desks.

After calling a coworker, she asked if it was a April Fools Joke. My two ref coworkers disputed that, so until the end of the day I just couldn't make it add up.

Finally with my coat on, I asked if it was an elaborate April Fools Joke. Her -and another supervisor was there- said yes. She laughed and laughed. I basically said that it was a mean prank to play on the staff, that it was April 2nd when it all went down, and that she better tell the staff because half of them think she is dying.

She said she knew I would figure it out and say it didn't add up because I'm so smart.

I don't feel smart. I feel it went on too long, was kind of cruel, and put us all in the weird place of going in and asking about it. And it was unprofessional to me. She insisted I not tell anyone, but I did because I would hate to be left out and not know.

So it was weird day, drained me of energy. And it also made me kind of angry at the two staff people who knew yesterday and let the rest of us carry on.

So, what kind of fool am I?


At 7:26 PM, Blogger Ragtime said...

Sounds like someone with no sense of humor is trying to tell a joke but doesn't know how.

It ends up just being awkward for all concerned.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

Hey, look at me. I'm leaving with no explanation. Give me all your attention. Say nice things about me. Ok, I'm not leaving, but don't tell anyone else. It is SO funny that you were concerned about my health and well being? Ha ha ha. That is great!

Come on.. she thinks that is funny? Really? I thought that most april fool's jokes end at the end of the day. She was having so much fun that she wanted to keep the charade up all week?

I would have cried if my boss told me it was a joke.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Robin said...

I'm going to send you an email about this...Bottom line is: You are not crazy. Your boss is nuts. Uh, does she read your blog? Does she know about your blog?

At 12:03 AM, Blogger RAB said...

This is not you being foolish. This is also not an incompetently executed April Fools joke gone awry. What this is, is a seriously messed up passive-aggressive power trip by someone who finds it funny to alarm other people and watch them get upset.

In a certain way you're fortunate to have seen this, because it's an alarm going off. It's a warning sign. This is a bad person to be around. The compliment to you when you called her out on this prank is classic textbook passive-aggressive behavior. Is it possible she finds little ways of winding up her subordinates and watching them run around to her secret amusement even when it isn't April Fools Day? Based on everything you say, she sounds like she might be the sort of person who always wants to make sure everyone knows she's the one in control.

Were you to to ask my advice, I'd say make sure there's always a safety zone between you and this potentially toxic person. Don't let her snare you in any of her hilarious schemes.

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous plok said...

I hate April Fool's Day, myself. Pranks turn into head-games so easily, and the excuse that it's all okay because it's the first of April just doesn't work, if someone feels genuinely jerked around. In fact it makes things worse, because the jerk-ee can't complain about it without being branded a poor sport.

So, no way is it okay for bosses to prank subordinates ineptly, that's if it's even okay for them to be pranksters at all. Add to that the eliciting of real sympathy/concern on false pretenses, which is NEVER okay, and I'd say your manager's the real fool here.

Also on a personal level, I just find that "now lie along with me, it's fun" enlistment thing to be icky -- it's like if you go along, it makes the joke okay instead of not-okay...but of course it doesn't, it just spreads the blame around if it was inappropriate, and further isolates anyone who feels jerked around.

Doesn't sound good to me.

At 12:59 AM, Anonymous plok said...

Hmm, I just read RAB's comment, though, and I think he gets to the heart of it much better than I do.

God, I hate April Fool's Day!

At 3:53 AM, Blogger running42k said...

That is whacked. The joke would be tasteless at the best of times, but given her inability to communicate with staff, is totally inappropriate.

I question the management perpetrating a joke like this on it's staff. That being said, do they often joke around? Given your reaction, I say that they don't. Is this them trying to change the culture of the office?

At 4:18 AM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

I have to agree with all the above commenters! I don't think you're the fool here at all.

At 4:29 AM, Blogger Gordon said...

First, Rab hit it right on the head - this is not a harmless prank, but sheer, full-out emotional manipulation.

The last job I had in St. Louis, my direct supervisor engaged in similar, non-pranking behavior: telling me one thing when another was true, making claims about my competence to others, and to add insult to injury - complaining about my "lack of performance" on a day when my father was having major surgery.

(My father died three weeks after that, and I worked up the courage to confront him with his boss).

My advice is...start documenting when things like this happen. Like Rab, keep some distance. You're not the fool, you're actually doing the *smart* thing because you see that the behavior is inappropriate.

At 6:03 AM, Blogger Joe said...

That's f'd up, big time! What they did will most likely come around and bite them in the ass sometime down the line...

At 6:10 AM, Blogger histropolitics said...

Behind this "joke" was a statement of raw power. I can do whatever I want with the little people's thoughts and emotions.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Tyler Rousseau said...

Sounds to me like your boss decided that toying with her employees emotions was worth a laugh... y'know, for her.

Not anyone else mind you.

And I can't help but wonder what type of trouble one of her employees might have gotten in if they tried the joke.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Justin said...

It reminds of that joke Ellen tells, "I was just joking around with you." Well, then you don't understand how that works, you see we should both be smiling.

My opinion she isn't worth the time of day. The reality, I would be a wreck over it too. I don't take things well.

Unrelated side note, June 2nd is my birthday!

At 8:52 AM, Blogger lauree said...

I hate April Fool's day!!

So sorry you had to deal with this, it *IS* completely unprofessional and I'm sorry you had to deal with it.

I hope the situation changes for you soon!

hang in there!

At 9:44 AM, Blogger William Gatevackes said...

I am not good with April Fool's Day. I am never good at picking a joke and end up picking one that is taken way too seriously. I usually go for the patently ridculous so it is blatantly obvious I am joking.

This joke wouldn't be all that bad if A) if it was someone other than a direct supervisor making it or B)she came out immediately and said "April Fool's!" (which is the point of the whole day, right? The immediate payoff to the joke?)

Being that she is a supervisor, this is, at best, unprofessional and, at worst, perhaps legally actionable. She is playing with her immediate reports minds and creating a hostile work environment for them. That might be a stretch, but not a long one.

I'm glad you at least have the peace of knowing the truth. And you don't have to keep the joke going. If anything, add your own joke--get in contact with her boss and say that she's announced that she's leaving. Either ask them if you can be considered for the job or ask them to convince to stay. Wouldn't it be funny to see her have to answer for her actions with her higher ups?

BTW, great blog!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Good Joke:

-A co-worker changing your screensaver to something funny and changing your password

Bad Joke:

-A co-worker telling you they are leaving, and worrying the crap out of everyone.

Yeah....not a funny prank.

That'd be like someone saying "Your spouse has been in a horrible accident" then right after you lose it, go "APRIL FOOL'S!!"

Tact. That manager does not have it.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Yup. I agree with everyone else. That's just weird. And not funny. And mean.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Rae said...

That's just ridiculous. Some things are funny but that was just WAY over the line of stuff you should joke about.

At 5:38 AM, Blogger Anne said...

We had something similar happen at my office, where a coworker emailed to say he'd been told to resign. Because it was April 1, we didn't believe him and did the "double reversal" -- playing along and sending out a notice to everyone alerting them to the "news." Of course, top management was informed and you can best believe he won't try that prank again.

It's isn't a joke if it isn't limited to April 1. I'm sorry you have to work with someone so sick.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Someone should tell her that it was April Fool's Day, not April C*nt's Day.

At 1:28 AM, Blogger Faith said...

Forward it to your HR rep and see if it is still funny.

At 6:05 AM, Blogger RedheadFangirl said...

Thank you so much for the comments! I thought I might get some 'lighten up' or 'it could have been worse'...It is great and sad that so many people realize how heinous this 'joke' was. By Thurs she 'came clean'...I just was quiet on the subject.

I wish we did have an HR dept. There is only the director of the library at HQ and a union with no power.


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