I suddenly feel like I understand Steve Wozniak. I started a major project / event with a partner. My partner behaves as if he is the sole leader, even though the project was created at my prompting, and I'm an expert in the field.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I am a working artist, and last year was a banner year for me in some ways. As a day job, I work for a large university in the Midwest. Think of me as "Sal" on Mad Men, if he worked for say, Notre Dame. With a partner, I initiated a large cultural arts event sponsored by the school. I am a subject matter expert in the art field, and virtually all the components of the event and project were my idea.
Unfortunately, my partner has increasingly taken steps to undercut me. For example, delegating to me as if I work for him, and although I am cochairing the event and have previously run a similar event - he has not - he repeatedly takes actions without conferring with me. I don't think he's fully aware he does it. But some of the decisions made without my involvement or full knowledge have been problematic, sometimes just for me, or for the project as a whole.
For example, I had a show scheduled more than a year earlier at a gallery - and I was very clear about the date with my partner. Scheduling a VIP speaker visit, with limited slots available, he scheduled it on the same night as my opening. I could not attend. At the time, I believed he did it because he was disorganized, but after increasing issues over the last several months, I wonder. Worse, one of our team members sent an email to all of us the day after the VIP visit, lauding my partner's incredible talent, leadership, blah blah - omitting mention of me entirely. I had no idea how to respond to something like that, particularly amidst divided responsibilities to my show and this project - but privately I raged. Meanwhile, one of my friends, a professor and collaborator, believes the screwing was deliberate.
During a meeting some months ago, my partner impatiently told me, in front of our team, that I needed to finish scheduling some dates for the event - when I could not because of a bureaucratic issue in his department, not mine. I was more than raring to go and offended that he singled me out and spoke to me like that in front of our team. Bureaucracy is the main reason we have not been more successful, as my partner insisted on getting everyone's "say" on various issues, including ones that the team didn't feel strongly about, leaving us to scavenge for event space, budget and time at the last minute. We have had haphazard marketing because of the insistence of getting everyone's "in". Meanwhile, prior events that I have run in the past have been far more successful, in part because I plan way ahead.
Now, my partner and I work for different departments. He is a manager but is at the low end of the administration. I am a journeyman in my day job and can never go higher. One of my coworkers was originally a manager after decades doing this job, but was stripped of the title. My department is relied on by almost everyone but has little clout - again, think of Sal in the Art Department. My partner is male. I am female. He is only a couple of years older than me. People tend to understimate my intelligence and experience because of my youthful appearance, but that goes away rapidly whenever I start working somewhere. I have a growing reputation in my art field.
My job is already problematic (again, because my department has no clout), so I am already preparing to change jobs as soon as I can. But I need to deal with this for another semester. It's impacting my blood pressure. Historically, I've dealt with and defused difficult people at my day job, but my partner and I were friendly, and I mistakenly thought he respected me. I would never have worked with him had I known. I have collaborated with others, including my professor friend, without this kind of crap.
Has anyone else been through something like this? How did you cope emotionally? What did you do to deal with your anger and frustration? I could just grit my teeth and roll over, I could crawl under a rock and avoid.
Do I ignore the behavior, considering that the impact of the disrespect is limited to the university, and not to the people who know me in the art field?
Is there something I should say or do when I yet again find out he's cut me out of the loop, or attempts to delegate to me as an unequal?