With this post, I just kind of want to wrap up the story of the situation for the handful of people interested (there probably aren't more than three). In doing so, I'll be mentally conflating a lot of discussions with the lady to whom I generally refer as "my other driver," even though we haven't worked together since November of last year. You see, I do keep in touch with her, by text and by the occasional phone conversation. A couple of times, we've even run into each other in person. So I do still have a pretty good idea of what's going on at the old workplace.
They did eventually replace me. I cannot run the new guy down. I've never met him, and my other driver says he's actually a pretty nice guy. I don't know how much experience he's got, but I can guess from the fact that they aren't paying him what I was getting that it's not as much as I had. Of course, there were precious few people in the state--actually, probably no one in the state--that had the same combination of experience and certifications that I had. So, probably, occasionally, things are going to come up that he just won't be able to do, or won't be able to do with the same level of expertise that I brought to the table. Realistically, since many of the people with whom we did business, the folks responsible for making decisions for their clients (I won't go into more detail than that!) were just butt-ugly ignorant and wouldn't know the difference between "okay" and "expert" anyway, it probably won't make much difference day to day.
I do know that the new guy has taken less than three months to completely lose respect for my old boss, going so far as to mock him and say, "**** you," when he's out of earshot. So, old boss is three for three: he's had three drivers in ten years, and all three of them think he's an idiot/scumbag.
As I've mentioned before, the main reason my other driver sticks around is that old boss has been told, basically, to leave her the MESS alone and stay out of her bid'ness. And, as I've mentioned before, that pretty much tells you that HIS boss knew exactly where the trouble really lay. More about that in a minute.
About all I've heard about the other employees is that they are still there, but that nobody has any respect for the boss. More about that in a minute, too. The very experienced and intelligent lady who has served as old boss's brain for the last several years is still there. I don't see that lasting much longer. She came THISCLOSE to retiring shortly before I was forced out, and I'm sure she's more than ready. There is a lady there who's been learning the ropes, but...well, two things: first, I recall that THAT lady was prepping for another job, which tells you that she doesn't see THIS one as a permanent stop, and second, even though she seemed reasonably intelligent, there is just no way on God's green earth that she can possibly duplicate high intelligence and over thirty years of experience. So I'm standing by my original prediction that when old boss's brain retires, which can't be long from now, he is going to be in a major world of hurt. He will make (more) major mistakes so rapidly I'm not sure he'll be able to cover them up for long.
Old Boss's boss...well, after a conversation more than a month ago with my other driver, wherein I learned that she--let's call her OBB for short, Old Boss's Boss--had been quite upset after escorting me off the premises, and let my other driver know that she felt like the odd man out in the leadership circle, like she didn't have any influence, and, critically, that she felt THE WRONG THING HAD JUST HAPPENED...well, I called her up! Not to hassle her, but to let her know that I had only spent four days out of work and that she shouldn't feel bad about what she'd had to do. After all, she'd told ME in a private conversation, before I got shoved out, that she felt like the outsider in leadership circles, too.
About those leadership circles: I know I've mentioned it before, but basically, it is good-ol'-boyism on steroids. Many or most of them are from the same part of the state and have known and worked with each other for DECADES. They've actually been called the "******** Mafia." I can COMPLETELY understand OBB feeling like a powerless outsider.
Not long after that phone conversation, I remembered something: not only did OBB tell my other driver that she thought the wrong thing had happened, not only did OBB tell my old boss to leave my other driver alone, but when OBB came down to talk to the employees about my old boss the FIRST time, when OBB talked to my other driver alone, part of the conversation (second-hand, obviously, and from months-old memory) went more or less like this:
OBB: It just seems odd to me, if all this stuff's been going on, that no one's said anything...
OTHER DRIVER: Well, it's just that with Old Boss still here, everyone pretty much feels like if they speak up...
OBB: There'd be hell to pay?
OTHER DRIVER: Yeah!
So, when OBB was escorting me off the premises and asked, at one point, why no one had spoken up if all these things were going on, that was somewhat disingenuous. She knew perfectly well why no one had spoken up. She said it herself, though not in these words: we feared retaliation. Justifiably, as it turned out. I will never forget that she asked me that idiotic question as I was being shown the door.
Really, OBB? You forced me to resign and then asked why no one speaks up if there's a problem?
So, now you can understand why I found it hilarious when, just a couple of days ago, my other driver told me that every so often, OBB will come down for a visit (wherein she often pitches ideas that reveal she knows nothing at all, to this minute, about the business), and let it be known that she will be over there in the ********, if anyone wants to talk to her in private. No one ever goes to talk to her.
OF COURSE THEY DON'T GO TALK TO HER. Why would anyone talk to HER about problems with my old boss? She's pretty much admitted to being more-or-less powerless, and, for pity's sake, they all saw what happened to ME.
I have not the slightest doubt, though, that her superiors interpret absence of complaints as absence of problems, and congratulate themselves on having gotten rid of the troublemaker. Foolish of them, really, and I predict they will eventually pay a high price for their willful blindness.
So, to sum up, the place is still functioning, no one respects leadership, and it could all come crumbling down with one retirement.
And me? Well, I like my new job, but not enough to swear I'm going to stay there. I do think they lack a certain amount of organization, and it is apparent to me that I CAN learn a great deal there, but that I WON'T unless I am EXTREMELY aggressive about learning. They have no training program, unless you call "sink or swim" a training program. There is also a heck of a lot of infighting and turf warfare (which hasn't yet affected me). I don't want to knock them. They've been pretty nice to me and I mostly enjoy the job. But I keep up with the listings from more than one jobs board, and it is pretty apparent to me that, especially if I maximize my learning over the next few months, higher-paying opportunities will arise.
Employee loyalty died a long time ago, hot on the heels of the death of employer loyalty to the employee. I don't know why any company expects loyalty--they certainly don't show it--but they do. So I'm not saying a word to them about the fact that I basically see this job as either preparation for the next job, or as something with potential.
In the meantime, I'm going to try to get some other income streams going. One of those is going to be a few e-books, and that's one reason you won't see me blogging as much anymore. Things that would have previously been blogposts will be expanded, refined, and become part of e-books. If you see something published here, it means that I felt like I had to get it off my chest and didn't think I could sell it.
I may, if I get interesting news, still say something about my old workplace from time to time, but for the most part, I think this is pretty much it. I'm movin' on.
I had an opportunity to talk to my other driver a few days ago. As I mentioned, we do keep in touch, and a good deal of our working lives takes place behind the wheel, so occasionally, we have the chance to talk.
Seems like every time I talk to her, new details--new to me, anyway--of the day I left come out. For instance, it turns out that when she was getting talked to by OBB on the day I got forced out, OBB told her, "We've taken into account what you and MOTW said, but this is the only part of the company showing good profits and we have to think that Old Boss is doing something right."
Now, that's reasoning. Of course, none of them, including OBB, know anything of consequence about that business, so, really, it's no surprise that something that stupid came out of her mouth. Why couldn't the fact that we were making money be due to, oh, I don't know, maybe being in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a huge demographic shift? Wouldn't it be logically possible for the place to be doing well in spite of Old Boss rather than because of Old Boss? Notice that--at least as it was relayed to me--OBB didn't say what Old Boss was doing right. I'm dead certain she couldn't, not if you put a gun to her head.
Bottom line: they kept a guy who had been credibly accused--people, they've altered their paperwork and procedures on some things to prevent the very kinds of things we told them he was doing, which tells you plainly that they knew or suspected that he was guilty as ****--of lying, stealing, falsifying records, and abuse of power because the business was making money and they didn't want to rock the boat anymore than they had to. That horsesqueeze about "he must be doing something right," is exactly that: horsesqueeze.
So, that, as far as I am concerned, is what the leadership of the *** is worth. And more than likely, the people to whom they report aren't worth any more. At least not much.
A couple of other things: apparently, the guy they've got directing the "marketing" (so far, I haven't seen him direct them to anything but disaster, which isn't surprising, as he IS a communist--I kid thee not, maybe he wouldn't use that word, but that's what he is) is making some of the decisions for them--like what varieties of widget to carry, in some cases. Does he know a darn thing about widgets? No, he doesn't. But he does know "shiny."
The billing situation is worse than I wrote above. Old Boss's Brain has no backup. She is very much part-time and they are months and months behind on the billing. The employee of whom I wrote that she was learning to back her up, but that she was prepping for another job--well, she got it! She's working for one of the local hospitals now, and only comes in on Saturdays--to make an extra buck, I guess, with little effort.
At any rate, they are months and months behind on their billing, their biller is part-time only, said biller has to correct Old Boss on points of law and procedure darn near every time he opens his pie-hole, and she's all but certain to retire shortly.
To top it off, my other driver took grievous offense to something Old Boss relayed from his leadership and came within a hair of walking out on him (I'm told the panicked look on his face was awesome to behold). She's telling me now that she's going to take some of her upcoming vacation time and look for other work. I'll be e-mailing her the links to various jobs boards shortly. Whether she finds something or not is questionable (she has already told me she really doesn't want to take a pay cut, and it is the Obamaconomy, after all), but she does want to leave--and specifically because of leadership, especially Old Boss.
So, let me ask you: what do you think will happen when Old Boss' Brain retires and can't rescue him from his idiocies any more? With them already months and months behind on billing, and not positioned to catch up? With no one in line to take over? With the second of the two drivers on whom they built their reputation (the first, of course, was moi) gone?
I'm buying popcorn. It's gonna be good. And there is one more person willing to be my point of contact there, so I'll be able to keep up, even after my other driver splits...
The Bible says not to gloat when your enemy stumbles, but these people are making it awfully hard.
Another small update. I've been meaning to note these events for...oh, almost four weeks now, I guess.
I got a text from my other driver a few weeks ago. They fired the new guy, the guy that took my place. After three whole months. Apparently, he'd missed something like seven days of work in that period. I'm told some of them were excused absences, but still...
Also, "the girls" were allegedly hearing a couple of complaints from clients about him. I take that with a grain of salt. As I've mentioned before in these little rants, in that business, you deal with a LOT of people on government assistance, the over-medicated, etc., and you are going to get complaints whenever you can't do what Mr.-or-Miss Welfare Leech thinks you ought to do. They will make stuff up and call your office. I've had it happen to me.
"The girls" seem to think that every complaint they field is fur reelz.
At any rate, he's gone. Now, I have to note the obvious: I SAID they'd have the dickens of a time getting someone with some knowledge, some skills, and reliability for the price they were willing to pay, and saying I have been proven right is a serious understatement. As of tomorrow, I've been gone for six months, and I still don't think they can be legitimately said to have replaced me.
Now, for the funny part, and the main reason I'm including this little update: the boss replaced the new guy with the warehouse guy.
You may remember--I think I've discussed the warehouse guy before--that although I kind of liked the guy, and due to his mild OCD, he really does make a good warehouse guy, he has been unreliable as...well, he's unreliable. Been missing two or three workdays a month during the entire time he's been there. I told him once that the boss was letting him get away with behavior that no other business would let him get away with. Probably because he worked cheap (having a jail record might do that for you) l also told him it made it impossible for the boss to discipline anyone else for excessive absences.
Turns out I was wrong. It made it impossible for the boss to fairly discipline anyone else for excessive absences. But unfairly? No problem!
Now, a lot of Warehouse Guy's absences have been tied to alcohol abuse--he is a binge drinker--or to popping pills. See, he's got a back condition that he's been waiting forever for the Indian hospital to do something surgical about, and he gets a certain number of pills every month, and he's always out way early. He told me himself that he takes pills recreationally. Didn't seem to bother him. Matter of fact, he seemed proud. At least he wasn't taking meth anymore.
That's right, ladies and germs, they fired my replacement, and put an ex-meth-head who is a current pill-popping binge drinker behind the freakin' wheel! And he's got a bad back, and is now in a job that frequently requires some serious lifting. And for the icing on the cake, he's chronically engaged in the very behavior for which they fired my replacement.
Of course, the poor guy has none of my skills, either...
At any rate, I regard this as a de facto admission that Old Boss has completely given up on finding a decent replacement for me. I am SO SORRY.
My other driver has been on vacation for one week and has a week to go. Has she actually gone job hunting? I don't know. Won't ask. But if she ever does find something else, my old employers are completely hosed.
They're hosed now, but as long as they've got my other driver, they're not completely hosed.
We'll see how long this holds up.