Wednesday, July 9, 2008


My "adoption crusade" at work picked up some speed today. Speed is a double-edged sword. It can get you somewhere faster, but, as the cops always like to say, speed kills. I have gotten my own personal letter/proposal for benefits to a point where I have started to share it with others. I have been bouncing ideas off a supervisor who has been helping me position the letter just right. He offered to write an adendum to my proposal to say he also thought adding adoption benefits would be a good idea. That gave me the idea to get as many letters as I could. A type of petition, I guess, but more persuasive.

I wanted to approach my closest friends and colleagues and having worked in several departments, I have quite few. I decided to approach the chiefs of the departments to get their backing first and permission to solicit people in their departments. I e-mailed the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and asked him for five minutes of his time. He didn't respond to my email so I tracked him down in his office later that day and asked him for some time. He reponded that if we could wait until Monday (the next work day)he could give me his "undivided attention." So I waited. I looked for him Monday but he was always in meetings or had othe people with him in his office.

Monday I happened to run into the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who I used to work for. I talked to him about my proposal and he was enthusiastic to support it. He said he'd write something on his own and I had permission to "spam" my friends in IT for their support as well. And I did later that day.

So Monday passed without speaking with the CMO. That brings us to Tuesday. I felt like a stalker because I checked his office every 20 minutes to see if the door was open and to see if he was there. I ran into him at 4:00. He was speaking outside his office with other people, but I sort of intruded and asked when I could have five minutes. He told me to come back in a half hour. I did. He was shut in his office having a meeting. I kept checking back, figuring he'd be finished with them any minute. I waited until after 7:00 p.m., but he'd left for the day and I'd missed him.

And that brings us to today. Again, I stalked his office. I told my friends what was going on and they helped me keep an eye on the CMO's office. I decided that if I couldn't talk with him I would talk to the Vice President of Marketing (VPM) because he often will fill in when the CMO can't. To be fair, the VPM didn't know I was looking for him, but I did pass by his office all afternoon to see if he was available for a quick sit down. Nope. At about 3:00 p.m. I checked on the CMO's office again. He was there, packing his brief case. I didn't even say anything. He just said I had bad timing, he was headed to the CEO's house and I'd have to wait until tomorrow.

So, tomorrow will make it one week. I was tired of waiting. I was tired of getting lead on and pushed aside. So I went to my supervisor who is directly under the CMO and asked for his permission to "spam" the marketing room. He gave me the ok. I sent the email.

Thirty seconds later, I get a call from the VPM. He was on his way to the CEO's house and read my email on his pda. He immediately called to say he thought I was going about this the wrong way, that I would be strong arming the company with my petition and that I should've been more quiet. He also said some other things that I won't post here because I believe there were told in confidence. They angered me though.

A minute later, I recieve an email from the CMO. It says tersely, "I wish you would've talked to me before you sent this."

I don't have a lot to go off of, but I'm thinking that I'll have a bad day tomorrow. I figure they are afraid that by making this "public", I will be "strong-arming" and "forcing" the company to do something out of embarassment. I can see why they would be afraid of that. I have considered that as well and have been so so careful to keep my proposal very positive and grateful for all the things the company does offer me. I have started receiving letters from my colleagues as well. Every letter is super sweet and positive. There is nothing like "You discriminate pigs, I can't believe we don't have this benefit." I can't believe how positive and supportive they all have been.

I've also been surprised at the reactions of the CMO and the VPM. One reason I went to my supervisor in the first place for help is because he knows the CEO and helped me to position my letter in a way that would appeal to him. Also when I talked to the CIO who also knows the CEO, he was supportive and didn't say anything like "This will tick him off, don't do it."

And I know I'm reading a lot into a brief phone call and a vague email, but I couldn't help but feel I was being scolded. I just have to get myself under control and not get defensive. I haven't done anything wrong. I had permission. I need to enlist their help in my cause and be willing to hear their arguments. But before they say a word to me, I want them to read my letter and the other letters. As quickly as they responded, I know they didn't read it.

I am worried. How could I not be? I am a crier, and I hate that. I'll just have to do the best I can tomorrow. Hello Waterproof Mascara.

I have heard whispered rumors of individuals who have received money on a case by case basis. And maybe that's what HR meant when they told me to write them a letter. But I don't want a handout. I want a better company.

One of my friends said that they just reacted too quickly. Once they read my proposal and the accompanying letters, they'll feel better about it. I mean, really, what can they do to me? Tell me that I embarrassed them?

I guess we'll see.


Groff Family said...

Lara, you know what they say about opposition in all things. I think it is expected that you will have some resistance somewhere, and I'm sorry that it took this form! But forge ahead with your positivity and insist that they read your letters. Like you said, you don't want a handout, you want a better company. I don't know how they could possibly be embarrassed by that. Good luck!

Sweet Afton said...

Lara I hope that it goes well tomorrow. Best of Luck.


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