How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Thursday, December 18, 2014


I know, I thought, since I was pressured out of my old job--fired, really--that you'd seen the last of my rants about it.

Well, I ran into my other driver today...the other driver from my old job.  We had a chance to talk for a few minutes.

Some of what she told me warmed my heart in a sad way.  My old boss, in my absence, is apparently having to work his tail end off for the first time in years.  Understand: he CLAIMED to be working his rear off for eighty hours a week for a long time, but we knew he falsified time sheets (seen it at least twice with my own eyes, folks, I am NOT making this up!) and God knows we never saw him break a sweat.  So, on the one hand, I was kind of glad to hear that he was having to actually DO SOMETHING.

When I heard that he was having the audacity to rhymes-with-witch about the difficulties involved in doing my old job, that kind of teed me off.

Don't like having to hand carry several cases of nutritional supplement up rickety stairs and around a corner?   Poor baby.  I had to do it every month, and I don't recall you having any sympathy for ME.

I guess it's been more than a month since I was forced to resign.  I mean, I complete my fourth week at my new job (which is going pretty well, thank you) tomorrow, and I was off almost a week before that, so I guess it's been more than a month...

At any rate, they haven't yet hired a replacement.  Oh, they've TRIED.  But apparently the only guy they actually hired spent all morning trying to find a place and time they'd let him dip snuff, looking for breaks, and then just left the premises.

I TOLD them they didn't offer enough starting pay to attract anyone good.  My other driver would never--I mean that, literally, would NEVER--have taken the job had they told her up front what she'd be making.

No paid holidays.  No benefits to speak of.  Crappy starting pay.  Oh, you may eventually REPLACE me, but if you think for an instant that you're going to get someone who can operate for hours, or even days, largely without supervision, relate to clients, handle paperwork, regulations, tools, installations, maintenance, repairs, navigation, and consulting for the pay YOU'RE offering to start...well, good luck with that.

So there's a twisted sense of satisfaction in that.

But I was also told that he'd talked to the 69-year-old now-retired co-worker--you know, the one his best friend's ex-meth-head wife, whom he had hired, had actually physically shaken in a fit of anger?--and told her that I'd been forced to resign because he "just couldn't take it anymore." Presumably he was referring to what he referred to as my "bad attitude," or the fact that I had confronted him with his misdeeds and misjudgments more and more often.

All I could think was, "What in the **** is he doing telling her something like that?"  Leaving aside the fact that she had caught him in lie after lie over the years and KNEW he was full of squeeze, what was he thinking?

This is the man who'd lied repeatedly, had hired a girlfriend, then the same lady as an EX-girlfriend in order to line HIS pockets, who hired the ex(?)-meth-head because of his personal relationship with her and her husband for a job directly under his supervision, who'd fired a perfectly innocent employee because the ex-meth-head couldn't stand her, who'd lied about clients complaining about me, who'd falsified mileage logs to line his own pockets, who'd falsified time sheets to make himself look good, and more other stuff than I care to take the time to re-write here, who had, in short, gone a long way to making life MISERABLE at work for me and several others, who had made us "TAKE IT" for years?

All *I* did was tell him directly that some of what was going wrong was HIS FAULT--and, finally, under provocation, tell him to his face that he was bughouse crazy and acting like an ex-cokehead.  Admittedly, not the smoothest move in terms of job retention, but the man had just come this close to accusing me of having an affair with a co-worker--a co-worker whom HE'D driven to distraction through his behavior over the years.

And he just couldn't "take it."  ****'s Bells, he'd PROVOKED IT.  I think deliberately.  I think he was looking to provoke me into something that he could take to his boss that would get me canned--and he got it.

The other thing I was told that just had me LIVID was this: It seems my other driver had told our--her current, my former--boss's boss that she was "done."  What did she mean?  She meant she was "done."

If you don't know what that means, it means you are on the verge of walking out.


She goes to my former boss and tells him TO LEAVE MY OTHER DRIVER ALONE, that she is to be allowed to do what she thinks she needs to do the way she thinks she needs to do it!

Now, obviously, I have no objection to THAT.

But note: if I go to my boss's boss and say, more or less, that I am about to quit, and my boss's boss goes to my boss and tells him to leave me alone, does that not say loud and clear that she knows **** well who the problem is?

Let me put it bluntly: that means that my boss's boss--and probably her superiors--KNEW my boss was causing problems and forced me to resign anyway!

Not HIM.



You're going to say, "Because you called him bughouse crazy, MOTW," and yeah...I did that.  After years of repeated  provocation and maltreatment and outright lies.  But I don't think that's why they kept him and got rid of me without ever hearing my side of the story (there were no witnesses, after all--only God knows what he told them).

I think they did THAT  because, as my boss's boss emphasized in the meeting that took place the day they got rid of me, our section, our division, of the company was the only one making a decent profit.  I think they--God knows why, it sure as thunder wasn't HIS brilliance--thought that their profits were at risk if they got rid of him, even though they KNEW he was causing personnel problems and had every reason in the world to suspect him of outright corruption.

I think the dollars mattered more than their integrity, and I say this about an ostensibly Christian organization.

I know it sounds bitter.  But that's what I think.  And I doubt seriously I ever trust anyone in that particular Christian organization ever again.  Their word stinks, as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Well, I Don't Work There Anymore

Those few of you who keep up with this blog know that I'd been having issues with my former boss for some little time.

I have been advised by more than one person to bury this material, to never let it see the light of day, even anonymously. They think that I will come off looking bad to potential employers, that even though they agree with me that I'd been pushed entirely too far, that I will end up looking as though I had one of those legendary and infamous "bad attitudes." One other person heard the story and concluded that I "refuse to be cowed."  You'll have to make up your own mind. I don't want to forget this stuff, and I think the odds of anyone ever figuring out who I am--besides the probably less than five people who actually know, that is--are slim and none, and I don't think I've given enough away for more than one person, who can be trusted to hold his peace, to ever have the proverbial snowball's chance of figuring out where I worked.

At any rate, if you've been reading, you know that...well, let me quote myself from a few posts ago, talking about my boss--my former boss, now: a former cokehead (fool enough not to understand that we know all about it) whom we seriously suspect of ducking out a few times a day for a quick hit on a joint.  Just suspect, mind you. 
...has no serious ability to concentrate, possibly due to the aforementioned little personal quirk. 
...does not understand certain elements of his own job and is now at the point of having to be corrected ON THE LAW by at least one of his employees. 
...has proven himself completely unable to hire and retain employees as we steadily lose them due to the toxic environment he has created. 
....hired his live-in girlfriend for a "temporary" position directly under his supervision, said "temporary" position only being terminated when our then-office manager went to him and threatened to quit over it. 
...hired his now-ex-live-in girlfriend back for a "permanent" position when they broke up and she owed him money and that was the only job she could get that paid enough for her to pay him back. 
...fired his now-ex-live-in girlfriend about a year later, after she had paid him back, because he had since hired an ex-meth head (actually, we're not sure about the "ex") who happened to be his best friend's wife, and the new employee and the old girlfriend mutually despised one another.  No cause.  Just "Your services are no longer needed."  This was in spite of the fact that she was actually doing a good job. 
...ended up firing his best friend's wife when he finally, after more than two years, realized that she was never going to be able to do the job correctly and that she had actually physically shaken a 69-year-old co-worker in a fit of anger, and that no one had confronted him about her behavior because, well, she was the boss's personal friend. 
...has completely failed to make the connection that the previous episode means that his employees are unwilling to be frank with him for fears of his personal reaction. strongly suspected of stealing gasoline via company credit cards.  
When I say "strongly suspected," I mean that the only possible explanation for the appearance of certain gas receipts was that he was gassing up his own car on the company card at six a.m. with some frequency, until the company credit cards got hidden.  Amazing how that worked.
...has been known to falsify mileage logs so as to get paid for trips he didn't make. 
...and more, but I'm running out of time.  In short, he is a singular mixture of incompetence, veniality, savagery, and selfishness, probably the worst and most unethical boss I have ever had.
Now, knowing all that, and I COULD go on, you can imagine that our workplace relationship has been deteriorating over the years.  It has been flatly impossible to ACTUALLY respect the man, as opposed to PRETENDING to respect him, and let me tell you, the prospect of him leading our little workforce in prayer once a week had more than one of us gagging. It was like being led in prayer by Bill Clinton.

It seems to me that the deterioration really started to accelerate when he was forced to fire his best friend's ex-meth-head wife after it became crystal-clear that she had actually physically shaken a 69-year-old co-worker in a fit of anger. He talked to each of the employees in turn, and when it was my turn, I told him bluntly that the whole situation was HIS fault, that he had no business hiring her in the first place and he had put her in an impossible situation for which she was in no way prepared.  He replied that he "took responsibility," but of course, that meant nothing.  Nothing happened to him.  Nobody, as far as I know, except me, said, ">>>>>>, you shouldn't have done that!"  Saying you "take responsibility" means nothing in practical terms except that you're not going to try to palm the blame off on someone else. It doesn't mean you pay a price for your mistake, or unethical behavior, or whatever it is.

At any rate, after that, it sometimes seemed to me like he was looking for opportunities to confront and aggravate me, and to exaggerate anything I did that was less than perfect.  This wasn't just my impression; other employees also thought that he was "picking on" me.

Eventually there was a blow-up over an episode I detailed in another post, and we hollered at each other over the phone in the course of a conversation wherein he said, among other things, that all his hiring decisions had been "the best decisions at the time."

Sweet.  "The best decisions" seemed to keep putting money in his pocket or putting his personal friends under his direct supervision, resulting in little things we lesser mortals refer to as "conflicts of interest," which would get managers in any other company FIRED.

At any rate, I ended up calling his boss, and sure enough, she came down early the next Monday, had a conference with the boss, which, according to what was overheard through the door by one employee, went rather poorly for him.  Then she had individual conferences with me, my other driver, and at least two other employees that I know about.  Afterwards, we all got copies of her card and we were told not to hesitate to call.

We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  After all, even though we all stuck to what we personally had seen and heard, we had established a pretty credible case that the boss was a thief and a liar and serially abusing the business to line his own pockets. And we did see a few things.  His boss dropped in another day and was overheard to say, "*******, I need to see your mileage and time sheets," and we had to make a few small changes to the way we were doing our vehicle mileage records, so we
KNEW they at least recognized the possibility that he really WAS milking the company for personal profit.  And he left us alone more.  We knew he'd been "talked to."

We thought that we were being taken seriously.

We should have known better.

Some few weeks after that, on one of the days when I had to stock up ****** ***** with ****** *****, which was a twice-weekly chore, I made the mistake of forgetting my work order.  Crap.  I did NOT want to go back two miles and get it, I knew I'd never hear the end of it.  So I called my other driver, thinking that, perhaps, she had not yet left.  She had, but said she was still close and would be happy to bring me my work order.  I waited, and after, perhaps, ten minutes or so, MY BOSS DROVE BY.  He had no business on that end of the campus; his only business on the campus that day was to pick up check stubs at the OTHER END of the campus.  He drove past me, through some duplexes, and then headed back toward the offices. Then, perhaps five or six minutes later, he came back, drove right up to me, and asked me, "Are you waiting on someone?"

"Yes.  I'm waiting on ****** to bring me my work order."

"Okay," he said, and drove off.  I found out later that he had probably overheard ****** saying that she was bringing the work order, so it appears that he already knew full well what I was doing and followed my other driver, expecting to catch us...what?  I texted ******, told her that he appeared to be checking up on me, and it turned out she had been in the building a few minutes.  I didn't know.  Worst that anyone could say was that I had wasted ten or fifteen minutes, though.  I got my work order, she completed her business with *******, and that was that.

Back at the warehouse, though, the boss followed me into the storage end and said, "Okay, MOTW, I've got to ask you, why does it take both you and ****** to deliver to *********?" And I told him it didn't; that I had already told him what happened, and did he think I lied to him the first time?

And then, as my temper and the horribly wrong idea that my complaints were being taken seriously got the better of me, it hit me that the only reason to ask the question was because he DID think I had been lying, which in turn implied an attempt to conceal the truth, and next thing I knew, I said, "You're all but saying that ****** and I are meeting in secret!  You know, you're about bughouse crazy!  You're starting to act like an ex-cokehead!"  He just said, "Oh, MOTW," and left the room.

My other driver was as livid as I was when she heard the story.  It had been fairly obvious to both of us for a long time that the man had been jealous--ridiculously--of the closeness of our friendship.  It seemed like a transparently obvious attempt to make our relationship out to be something it wasn't, and it stung: part of the reason that friendship works is because she, as a woman in a committed relationship, would never consider running around with a married man, and I, as a married man, would never consider running around with another woman.  In other words, it works because she knows I'm not trying to get into her pants and we both resented the smallest implication that things might be otherwise.

The other shoe dropped on Monday.  His boss came down for our weekly meeting, and after sharing with us that ours was pretty much the only branch of the company that was making good money (NOTE THAT, THE ONE OR TWO OF YOU WHO KNOW WHO I WORKED FOR: SHE WAS TELLING US THAT WE WERE THE ONLY BRANCH THAT WAS MAKING GOOD MONEY!  IS THAT THE IMPRESSION YOU GOT AT THE...UH...BIG MEETING?) She met on an individual basis with my other driver for a good, long time.  Then she met with my boss and, I believe, my other driver for a good, long time.  Then she met with other employees.  I was in and out much of the day and I NEVER GOT SPOKEN TO until late in the day, after she'd spent some little time on the phone and reviewing her notes.

At that point, I was called in and told that I would be allowed to resign and get paid for my three remaining vacation days.  The alternative was to be fired outright, after almost eleven years and what had been touted just a few months before as a stellar, even legendary career.

For those wondering, the place is organized in such as way that unemployment stuff doesn't apply.  Couldn't get it.

Whilst I was being perp-walked around the place, getting my things, my boss's boss asked me, "If these things were going on all this time, why didn't anyone say anything?"

Seriously.  She asked me that whilst perp-walking me around the building!  Apparently her capacity for "getting it" is extremely limited.  I say that whilst not really blaming her; I think she was doing what she had been told to do.  Apparently it just didn't occur to her that no one said anything because we all thought that corporate leadership would shoot the messenger--and, on the excuse that I had "gone too far," that is exactly what they did.

My other driver told me later that during their time together, my boss's boss had returned more than once to the fact that our branch of the company was the only one making good money, and I am convinced that in the end, corporate leadership decided to turn a blind eye to credible allegations of leadership abuse and outright theft because they naively thought the accused was responsible for the profits.  They don't know enough about our business--or what was "our" business--to know that we have basically been in the right place at the right time, and I'm not sure they really care.

I can't see into their heads, but personally, I think that between their cliquishness, their blindness, and the dollars, they either can't or won't see the truth.

I've already got another job, and, with overtime, the pay cut isn't THAT bad, and I think the future is brighter.  But I couldn't let this fiasco vanish completely down the memory hole.  And I will say that there is not one person in the leadership of either that organization or the parent organization that I will trust on any level, not ever.  Christian organization or not, I don't trust them or their judgment.

Also, while it's not that I wish judgment to fall on them, I think they will have problems soon.  There are a handful of jobs they will simply not be able to take anymore because they no longer have, and will not be able to get, someone with the requisite certification.  There are certain jobs that now, only the boss knows how to do, and it will be by no means easy to get or to train someone else to do them, so that will help keep him busy--or they will start having to turn those jobs down, or delay them.  Considering that some agencies counted on us doing those jobs...well...

My other driver will probably be hitting the road soon after the holidays.  She'll find other work FIRST, and then split.  And then, probably in the space of 45 days, they will have lost two of the most experienced such employees in the state, and the only two such employees they had.  They will almost certainly lose clients, maybe a LOT of clients, over our absence.  We brought in and kept a lot of clients, and we will no longer be there.

I wonder what corporate leadership will say about Fearless Leader at that point?

The senior office lady is exactly that: senior.  Her husband's already retired and six months ago, she almost followed suit.  I speculated then that she might work until past the holidays and then retire.  Even if she goes a bit longer, I am certain that her remaining time there can be measured in months, and, since she functioned as my boss's brain, disaster is sure to strike in her absence.  I am not exaggerating.  Time and again we have heard her telling him how this or that program or regulation ACTUALLY worked, as opposed to the harebrained conception HE had of how it worked.  He hath not a clue.  Without her, he is COOKED.

With the two experienced drivers and the senior office lady gone, the pressure on the remaining staff will be intense.  Only one of them has more than a year of experience, and she is going to school and probably will be there not one second longer than she absolutely has to be.  The other two office people have other irons in the fire, and probably will not hang around if things erupt in flames.  Perhaps the one employee remaining is determined to stay, but that is about it.

In short, I think it is entirely possible that the whole team will go up in flames in less than a year, and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't take a sense of satisfaction in watching the spectacle.

Wonder if they'll take me seriously then?

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Own Co-Workers Don't Know What the Heck My Certification Does

I  frankly have  seldom been more aggravated.

Now, see, I have a certain certification, one that requires  a certain number of qualifications.  EVERYONE has to pass a test, a fairly demonic test that requires, frankly, a significant level of academic talent and a lot of self-study.  You must also have a four-year degree, or a two-year degree and a certain amount of on-the-job experience, or a high school diploma and six years of on-the-job experience.  I fall into the last category.

When we first thought we needed someone with this certification, I was willing and I was chosen because A) Snotty as it sounds, everyone knew perfectly darn well I was the only one sufficiently academically inclined to pull it off, and B) I had the years of experience necessary.

But as time has gone on, even though I am not often called on for anything seriously related to that certification (we were never seriously in the running for the business it was originally intended for and my possession of the certification is now mostly for bragging rights), occasionally I notice that to this minute, nobody really knows what the heck I am supposed to be able to do with it.

My boss's boss has asked me no less than three separate times what my certification is.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to travel to SmallTown to (as close as I can from memory) "assess item X for whether it is cost-effective to repair or replace."

I got out there and, knowing NOTHING about the patient, saw fairly quickly that the item was serviceable, though, after 17 years of use, it had flaws.  Two major parts were shot, despite overall good care having clearly been given to the item.  A couple of braces had suffered major wear, though in my opinion they were not likely to fail and presented no safety issues.  And the patient clearly DID NOT want to replace the item.  He liked it and wanted it repaired, if possible.

So I called the manufacturer.  They told me MOST parts were no longer available for that item, and that without the serial number (which was totally obliterated, nor was the original paperwork available) it would not be possible to look up the specs for the item--which was semi-custom--as originally ordered.  This last was important information, because as a semi-custom item, my options were LIMITED.

I could eyeball it (I didn't have a protractor, and it would have been of limited utility if I did) and try to guesstimate a certain angle, and take a couple of other critical measurements.  This would have been silly.  That information was 17 years old, and just because the patient liked it didn't mean that mindlessly repeating it was a hot idea.  He may have changed.  His pathology may have changed.  His pathology might have been likely to change. Remember: I had not been told a THING about the patient--and when you're talking about a patient's pathology, you sure as snail snot don't want the patient to be your only source of information.  They've been known to lie, or just not know what the heck's going on, or to indulge in wishful thinking.

I could have tried to measure the PATIENT, which in this case would have meant getting an accurate weight (With what? Did they think I kept a scale in the van?), height, hip width, distance from the floor to the popliteal crease, distance from the popliteal crease to the rearmost adipose tissue, distance from the seat to the armpit, and, most critically, RANGE OF MOTION, which is critical if PELVIC TILT might be an issue.  RANGE OF MOTION is typically determined by a physical therapist, on a raised mat (you have to be able to measure some things in a seated position, too, which means the patient needs to be able to sit with his feet flat on the floor), and involves, among other things, the use of a goniometer, which is a device for measuring the angle formed by joints.

I could have decided, all by myself, that the patient didn't actually need a semi-custom item and just gone with a lightweight item X with a few bells and whistles.  Yeah.  Right.  I'm the doctor. Not.

At NO POINT would I, by myself, have been able to make the determination whether or not a
new item x was even medically necessary!

Well, since (I THOUGHT!) I had been asked just to see if the item was worth fixing or needed to be replaced, and since I do not have a goniometer, and since I sure as **** didn't have a raised mat, and since I thought it was stupid to guess at measurements on 17-year-old equipment, and since the man wanted to remain with his current item x anyway, I just determined that the needed parts were available, had a quote faxed over, and noted that if the cost of the parts exceeded half the cost of a new item x, then and only then would I recommend replacing the item.

I never in a million years thought my task was supposed to extend to getting all the information necessary to getting the man a new item X.  I mean, ****, I didn't have all the equipment for a mat evaluation, and ordinarily a person with my certification is not expected to do them, though I suppose I could stumble through it.

MY FREAKIN' MISTAKE!  A couple of weeks later, the boss informed me and the warehouse guy that we were responsible for getting a quote on a new item X.

Turns out there are like fifteen bajillion options available on the thing.  Most were at no extra charge, but some--including some potentially critical ones--cost money.  And the manufacturer, understandably, needed some specifics before giving us a quote.  But dadgummit, I could only guess at those specifics!  Even measuring the old item X directly would have been an approximation of some things at best, and if it didn't turn out right, the patient might very well end up rejecting a potentially three-thousand-dollar item.  Still, I could have measured the old item if they wanted me to, if I'd known they were willing to do such a thing.  I certainly couldn't have gotten all the necessary measurements of the patient, unless I made certain assumptions (no pelvic tilt!  Full range of motion!) which isn't the hottest idea in the world when you're dealing with complex rehabilitative equipment.

And the place that was apparently using us as a subcontractor wanted us to provide a quote.


And so I was getting some fairly snotty things said to me about my failure to get the relevant information.  I protested that I'd been sent to see whether the item was worth fixing, not to measure the patient for a new one, only to be told, in a roundabout way, that if measuring the patient for a new item might have been necessary to making the decision, I should have done so.

Maybe I should have.  I know this: I'm asking for a goniometer.  I haven't needed one for the two-and-a-half years I've had this certification, and I may not need one for the next ten, and I sure as snail snot wonder what the heck people who didn't even know I'd need a goniometer to do the job are doing criticizing me for the way I did it, but I'm asking for one.  And the next time I'm asked to do ANYTHING resembling this, I will ask for a detailed list of information that I'm expected to bring back.  And if a mat evaluation is needed, they can by golly expect me to ask for an appropriate surface.

The capper: it occurred to me to look up the contractor that we were working for, and when I did, I found this:

All services are provided after a thorough patient evaluation by a qualified rehab technician.

Really?  I am a "qualified rehab technician"?  Well, that's pretty generic, and I suppose for some things, I am.

A "thorough patient evaluation"?  They sent me out there without any clue as to the patient's medical history and pathology, and without giving me a **** clue that I was supposed to come back with a detailed assessment of his physical capabilities.  I just thought I was looking at a **** item X.

Just remember that, the next time some company is bragging to you about how they do things.  What they mean and what you are hearing may be two different things.

In the meantime, like I say, if I wind up with such instructions again, you can bet your bottom dollar I will know IN DETAIL what they want before I go out there.  They think I'm supposed to do what in almost every circumstance imaginable the law requires a physical therapist to do (I'm serious: if you're dealing with Medicare or Medicaid, or most insurances following their practices, the law says you must have a physical therapist operating under a doctor's supervision--or the doctor himself--conduct that part of the process.  You ordinarily only escape if you're doing the private-pay thing.)

Not that I anticipate being there much longer anyway.  After a certain major issue in life is settled, I'm going to try to be ready to move on early next year anyway.

And lastly...AFTER the snotty comments, people found out that the manufacturer is in hot water with the feds and CANNOT SELL THE ITEM WITHOUT A PHYSICAL THERAPIST CONDUCTING AN EXAM.  PERIOD. Or so I understand the situation.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Got 'Im! And He Doesn't Even Know It!

Yes, yes, I know: this blog has turned into little but a place to vent about my job.  However, it's FREE, and I do enjoy letting it out.  And I have some material on pipes and tobaccos in the works.  So live with it.


You may remember that my boss has gotten completely weird about my pipe smoking--weird, that is, in that since I generally smoke no more than a bowl-and-a-quarter each day, with the quarter-bowl being smoked on the way to work, he never smells more than a quarter-bowl of smoke on me, if he smells anything at all.  I mean, face it: that's hardly anything.

The man's had me go spray Febreze on myself multiple times over that stupid quarter-bowl of smoke.  And to top matters off, NOBODY else I've asked in the place (and I am fairly sure I've asked everybody) says they can smell anything unusual!  It is JUST HIM.  Literally, JUST HIM.

I told him that recently when I got evaluated and he brought the stupid subject up again.

Well, this morning, a couple of us needed to get fitted for new respirators--just in case we get exposed to someone with, say, extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, imported via illegal immigrants.  Part of the process involved establishing a testing baseline, so when a scent was sprayed near us, we could tell if it was getting around the mask.

Either my boss was doing it wrong (wouldn't shock me) or I genuinely couldn't smell/taste a thing, and I will  have to do the whole thing over with a different scent another day.

Five minutes later, it occurred to me that I had just been smoking, and maybe that had messed up the test.  Subtle smells, you know.

AND MY BOSS SAID, "If I'd  known you were smoking, we'd have waited fifteen minutes."

It took about ten minutes, I'm ashamed to say, before I realized that the man had just admitted in front of me and two witnesses that when it came down to it, HE COULDN'T SMELL SMOKE ON ME.  The only time he "smells" smoke on me is when he has SEEN ME SMOKING THE PIPE.

Or so it seems to me.  Got 'im.  He's either lying again (and no, I wouldn't put it past him.  He'll do anything to take me down a peg.), or he's self-deluded.

Oh, by the way, remember how I mentioned the other day that he can't hire and retain people?

Well, apparently yesterday, we had a perfectly qualified applicant come in.  Right experience and everything.

Couldn't pay her.  Guess where she's NOT going to take a job?

Aaaaaaand two people have quit on us  within the last seven days.  Down to ONE full-time office person, and her with less than two years of experience...

Crap.  This could get ugly, and fast.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Attitude is Everything

Short post, just off the top o' me 'ead.


Here in just a very few minutes, I am going to shave and go in to work.  The first thing that will happen is a weekly meeting.  This meeting will be led by a man who... a former cokehead (fool enough not to understand that we know all about it) whom we seriously suspect of ducking out a few times a day for a quick hit on a joint.  Just suspect, mind you.

...has no serious ability to concentrate, possibly due to the aforementioned little personal quirk.

...does not understand certain elements of his own job and is now at the point of having to be corrected ON THE LAW by at least one of his employees.

...has proven himself completely unable to hire and retain employees as we steadily lose them due to the toxic environment he has created.

....hired his live-in girlfriend for a "temporary" position directly under his supervision, said "temporary" position only being terminated when our then-office manager went to him and threatened to quit over it.

...hired his now-ex-live-in girlfriend back for a "permanent" position when they broke up and she owed him money and that was the only job she could get that paid enough for her to pay him back.

...fired his now-ex-live-in girlfriend about a year later, after she had paid him back, because he had since hired an ex-meth head (actually, we're not sure about the "ex") who happened to be his best friend's wife, and the new employee and the old girlfriend mutually despised one another.  No cause.  Just "Your services are no longer needed."  This was in spite of the fact that she was actually doing a good job.

...ended up firing his best friend's wife when he finally, after more than two years, realized that she was never going to be able to do the job correctly and that she had actually physically shaken a 69-year-old co-worker in a fit of anger, and that no one had confronted him about her behavior because, well, she was the boss's personal friend.

...has completely failed to make the connection that the previous episode means that his employees are unwilling to be frank with him for fears of his personal reaction. strongly suspected of stealing gasoline via company credit cards.

...has been known to falsify mileage logs so as to get paid for trips he didn't make.

...and more, but I'm running out of time.  In short, he is a singular mixture of incompetence, veniality, savagery, and selfishness, probably the worst and most unethical boss I have ever had.

This man has been known to lecture me on "attitude" and will almost certainly say something about "attitude" during the meeting this morning.

Welcome to my world.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Just Jaw-Dropping Boss Stuff

If you're interested in this stuff--and God only knows why you might be, I am just venting again--for more complete context, you might want to read the previous post, from which the quoted material has been quoted.


Ten days ago--September 2nd:

 ...we passed the inspection handily, with the only real actions to be taken being a couple of administrative actions that he needed to take.
One of these was making sure that we--the employees--had goals recorded.  Can't do anything without goals, you know.
So, today, the so-and-so e-mailed out a form for employee self-evaluation, which concluded with a section for setting goals.
Of course, he hadn't made up the form, and there were a couple of questions on it that frankly, given our situation, didn't make much sense.  For instance, it asked if I thought I had made good progress on the goals set during my last evaluation.
My last evaluation?  I objected to my boss that I couldn't be expected to remember what my last evaluation said, as to the best of my recollection, it was made in 2006!
That made him get huffy, and he averred quite snottily that he had much more recent documents in my file than that, with my signature, if I wanted to inspect them.  And you know, while I was out making a small delivery, I decided that I did want to see the last one, as whenever it was done, I certainly couldn't remember what was on it.He had it waiting for me when I got back.  It was dated--drum roll, please--June 18, 2010.  More than four years ago.  I allowed as how I had been four years off, and the organization was four years behind.
Now, think about this for a minute.  First, it is quite obvious that my boss was utterly without a clue.  The poor, useless spazz clearly thought he'd been evaluating me.  That was both why he snapped at me and why he dug out the last evaluation before I'd asked for it--he thought he was going to shove my comments down my throat!

Well, today, we went over the things.  I'll leave out most of the play-by-play, but, given the foregoing, something stood out to me.  You see, first I pointed out to him that it was clear that he had not done an evaluation on anyone in years.

He objected.  It wasn't true that he hadn't done an evaluation on anyone in years, he said; he'd evaluated everyone this Spring!  

Then he said if I had a problem I could talk to the management person one step up--a person to whom I refer as "Tigger."  And I replied that a fat lot of good that was, as Tigger had obviously allowed him to get away with total inaction for four years.

And then he told me that wasn't true, either--that it was Tigger that had drawn his attention to the fact that I needed to be evaluated!

Before God, I'm not sure whether the man really thinks I'm that stupid or whether his lying has just gotten to the point of being pathological.

First, it wasn't true that he'd evaluated everyone this Spring.  I asked.  Not when he was around, but, really, I mean, what did he think I was going to do?  Take his word for it?  Turns out that the warehouseman suddenly could recall being evaluated; so could our biller.  My other driver didn't recall it, but couldn't swear not to have been.  The only other person who's been there more than a year said she hadn't been.

Second, DID HE SERIOUSLY THINK THAT WAS A DEFENSE?  If he wasn't intentionally lying, it just means that he either deliberately ignored or simply forgot about his senior employee when he did evaluations for the rest of the staff!

Next, you'll see from the quoted material that it was clear that the impetus for these evaluations was the inspection and the actions required by the inspector!  He told us that at the meeting when he told us he was e-mailing out the forms!  But when I called him on that, pointing out that that obviously meant he would not otherwise have been evaluating me at this time,  and that Tigger had let him get away with it, all of a sudden, by the most remarkable stinking coincidence imaginable, it turns out that Tigger had told him to do it!

And THAT was supposed to be a defense?  That Tigger told him to do it instead of the inspector?  Either way, he had no intention of evaluating me until he was made to!  And why bother to defend Tigger?  Even if she had genuinely told him to evaluate me within the last ten days, she's still let him get away without it for years!

If it wasn't the dumbest cusswording thing I've ever heard, it was close.  All of his words and actions on September 2nd completely contradicted the story.   WHY THE SHALE MAKE SUCH A STUPID THING UP?

And to finish off...the man told me to keep a good attitude.

And if you were wondering, the reason I hadn't asked the man for an evaluation every year is because I had just taken it for granted for years he just didn't want to do it and it turns out he certainly didn't have to.  B
elieve it or not, there is no requirement in company policy that any employee be evaluated--EVER.  

As a matter of fact, if he'd just SAID that, I'd have more respect for him.  My objection to the whole thing was him getting huffy with me when I pointed out the truth and when he started all this stupid lying about it.

But I should expect it by  now.  The man lies like fish swim--all the time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Truly Sorry Excuse for a Boss

Yes, I'm ranting and complaining again.  Terribly negative, I know.  Those disgusted with such--well, you have been warned and may leave now.  Those fascinated will be delighted to know that the previous several posts have dealt heavily with the useless son of a jackal I have for a boss.


Well, Wednesday and Thursday of last week, we got checked out by our accrediting agency.  The inspector's visit came as a surprise--it always does, they give you a two-month window and the inspection can be any time within that time frame--but I had no fears.  As far as my role in accreditation goes, all I have to do is avoid doing anything dramatically stupid and I'm okay.

My boss freaks out and lies.  I sometimes wonder why, as some of the lies he is telling do no good whatsoever.  For example, we have a certain variety of equipment huddled--cleaned, bagged, and tagged--in one corner of our warehouse that is not fully up to snuff.  These units have been donated to us, or have almost reached the end of their useful lifespan, and we have deleted them from our official inventory.  They work, but not at peak efficiency, and we have set them aside to use for charity cases.  Everyone knows what they are for and I have even tagged them with that pertinent information.

But when our inspector saw them and asked what they were for, rather than just say what I just said, my boss lied and said that they were old units that were being kept for parts!

We don't even carry some of those brands.  What would this colossal, lying sack of squeeze have done if the inspector had actually looked at one of the tags and found my description?  Why take such a chance?  There was literally no advantage whatsoever to telling a lie and the son of a dog lied anyway.

That's how habitual it is with him.

Throughout the inspection, the boss took pains to avoid having the inspector alone with any one employee, so that he could dominate the conversation.  It was painfully clear to everyone of us that he was deathly afraid that one of us would blurt out the truth about something he'd lied about.  It is hard for me to believe that the inspector wasn't made suspicious by his behavior alone.

Still, we passed the inspection handily, with the only real actions to be taken being a couple of administrative actions that he needed to take.

One of these was making sure that we--the employees--had goals recorded.  Can't do anything without goals, you know.

So, today, the so-and-so e-mailed out a form for employee self-evaluation, which concluded with a section for setting goals.

Of course, he hadn't made up the form, and there were a couple of questions on it that frankly, given our situation, didn't make much sense.  For instance, it asked if I thought I had made good progress on the goals set during my last evaluation.

My last evaluation?  I objected to my boss that I couldn't be expected to remember what my last evaluation said, as to the best of my recollection, it was made in 2006!

That made him get huffy, and he averred quite snottily that he had much more recent documents in my file than that, with my signature, if I wanted to inspect them.  And you know, while I was out making a small delivery, I decided that I did want to see the last one, as whenever it was done, I certainly couldn't remember what was on it.

He had it waiting for me when I got back.  It was dated--drum roll, please--June 18, 2010.  More than four years ago.  I allowed as how I had been four years off, and the organization was four years behind.

Now, think about this for a minute.  First, it is quite obvious that my boss was utterly without a clue.  The poor, useless spazz clearly thought he'd been evaluating me.  That was both why he snapped at me and why he dug out the last evaluation before I'd asked for it--he thought he was going to shove my comments down my throat!

Instead, they died in his.  Turned out that my other driver hasn't been evaluated in years.  Our biller can't remember ever having been evaluated.  Nor our warehouseman.  Of "the girls" up front, the only one who's been there more than a year has never been evaluated.

I asked every single one of them save the warehouseman to go to the boss and ask for a copy of their last evaluation.  I hope they do it.  I hope he turns a bright, tomato-red.

Second, it's been four freaking years since I was evaluated!  Frankly, in managerial terms, this is gross neglect, bordering on outright misconduct.  Not that I didn't know it'd been a long time.  I did.  It just didn't matter to me because in this organization, your raises have nothing to do with your performance.  Instead, every once in a great while, you are given the exact same percentage raise the entire rest of the organization gets.  You can be mediocre or you can be great--makes no difference, with very rare exceptions.  How they don't understand that that is a recipe for resentment and mediocrity is beyond me.

Third, what kind of doorknob neglects such an area of his own job on such a massive scale and then has the nerve criticize any employee for anything?

Fourth, had our inspector not indirectly raised the issue, he wouldn't be looking at evaluating anyone now.  The neglect would still be going on!

Fifth, this destroys any claim he might make to giving a squat about any of our employees.

Sixth, apparently, his superiors have no way of tracking or knowing whether he is evaluating his employees!  What do you bet he gets evaluated annually?  But they apparently don't give a shinola about us.  Not that this is any great surprise. It is yet another reason leadership in the organization is despised throughout the system.

It is going to be with GREAT difficulty that I keep sarcasm out of my filled-out form.  I will, in the "appraisal period" space, note (and make a hard copy of, to prevent editing by others) that the appraisal period ran from June 18 of 2010 to the present.

But when I leave, I'm not going to have anyone calling this workplace and have anyone be able to honestly say that I was any kind of a jerk before I left.  So I'll leave it at that.

Friday, August 22, 2014

More Ranting About My Workplace

I know, gentle and most-likely non-existent reader, I know--you're sick of me griping about the shenanigans at my workplace.

Sorry.  Gotta vent somewhere.  This is a BIG part of what anonymous blogging is FOR.


I almost didn't write this post.  I'd made up my mind within fifteen minutes of arriving at work to write a little something, but by mid-day, the thought'd dropped out of my mind.

It took "the girls" to remind me.

They pulled something that completely poisoned what was left of the relationships--well, some of the relationships--around here.  I will explain, to a limited degree.

We have gone from having a relatively deep bench, experience-wise, to having a very thin one, and all in just the last few months.  And all of it--all of it, as far as I am concerned!--directly traceable to the jackanapes in charge.  We have three ladies, Customer Service Reps, up front.  They are unsupervised the vast majority of the time.  Only one of them has more than a year of experience in this surprisingly complicated business.

I do not entirely blame them for what they do.  As I said, they are largely inexperienced and unsupervised and do not have nearly as much to do as the boss thinks they do.  I sometimes wonder if he really knows what they are often up to and is just scared to confront them for fear of not being able to replace them.  Such a fear would not be entirely unfounded.  We have found that, even in the Obamaconomy, it is next to impossible for us to hire people.  In such circumstances, people do things they might not do under closer scrutiny.

"The girls" are getting away with bloody blue murder.  They make mistakes that CLEARLY show that they are not paying attention, or--often!--not even attempting to execute the fundamentals of their jobs.  They lie about it, too, repeatedly claiming in meetings that they ARE TOO executing those fundamentals, even when evidence to the contrary is staring them in the face.  Most maddening of all is the fact that they spend enormous amounts of their day texting and Facebooking on their cell phones.  They KNOW they're not supposed to be doing that when they're supposed to be working.  You can tell by the startled reaction they have when the door opens.  They are wondering if they've finally been caught.

I swear, to walk in on them is to catch them goofing off.  It's maddening.  If you drive a hundred and fifty miles and find that you've been given the wrong, out-of-date-for-years address because someone didn't do what they claim to do, and call and check it, it's maddening. And this goofing off goes on most of the day!

My other driver and I are slowly being driven insane by this situation.  Our boss is completely ineffective.  It is certain that the only three people whom he holds accountable to any sort of standard are the two of us and the warehouseman, the only three people who keep showing up and more than getting the job done.  It's as though he knows we will take it and keep coming back, but as far as I can tell, he hasn't the nerve to confront "the girls" over anything they do wrong, no matter how outrageous.

Recently, one of them was caught--I won't say how--at the casino when she'd called in "sick."

How many places do you know where you could pull THAT stunt and remain employed?

Three guesses how long I'd last if I tried that?

Three guesses how grateful my boss is that neither I nor my other driver ever do such a thing (and for that matter, the warehouseman, who has greatly improved his attendance in the last couple of months)?

At any rate, today, "the girls" made it abundantly clear that my other driver, the warehouseman, and I cannot trust them.  They will stab us in the back without hesitation, and the three of us--well, at least my other driver and I, and I think the warehouseman, too--have made up our minds that, so help us,  the Devil will be eating snowcones before we say one unnecessary thing to anyone else there, especially "the girls," ever again.

All this could be avoided with real leadership on the scene, but that seems to be sorely lacking.

But, as I said, that situation isn't what I made up my mind to write about this morning; it just reminded me to write.

What got me goin' this morning was my boss telling me to Febreze myself.

You may recall that I am a light pipesmoker, not meaning that at around 200 pounds, I am light in weight, but that I do not smoke very much.  Right now, I typically smoke about a quarter-bowl on the way to work, and a bowl before I go to bed.  Hardly anything, really.

I don't know why, but for some reason, it seems to occasionally drive my boss clear 'round the bend.  It's not like it's any of his darned business, anyway, unless I'm breaking company policy on smoking, which I'm not.

All this week I've been smoking Stokkebye's Aroma Dutch Slices.

Smoked it Monday morning.  Not a word.  Smoked it Tuesday morning.  Not a word.  Smoked it Wednesday morning.  Not a word.  Smoked it Thursday morning.  Not a word.

But THIS morning, the boss told me to spray myself down with Febreze, as it was "really strong."


I asked my other driver if she smelled anything unusual.  She leaned over and sniffed and said no.

I put it down to this being, after all, MY BOSS,  a man who, when he drives my other driver's vehicle, rips off the window tinting that she very neatly put up at her own expense and just slaps it back on when he's done, with all the neatness of a drunken, two-bit hooker, on the grounds that he "can't see through it," the man who, back when I was using Bluetooth (you'd think he'd be GLAD I was using hands-free technology!), used to tell me that he couldn't hear me (all the little old ladies could!).  I put it down, in short, to him being both a little bit nuts and determined to aggravate me.

Well, my first stop was at our local facility and I decided to relay this little bit of insanity to the...well, the senior non-commissioned officer, let's put it that I knew she would enjoy it.  She always has plenty of her own "Deranged Boss" stories to tell; this is the lady that got raked over the coals for having a purple streak in her hair--say, that reminds me...

...One of "the girls," at this point, has so many tattoos it is not possible for them to be covered up and she displays them proudly.  But if I come in, covered with dirt and sweat from actually having had to do something, I'm the one who gets told I look unprofessional.  But I digress...

Oh, by the way, I asked this lady if she smelled anything unusual, and she, too, said no.

At any rate, as soon as I got started, it was, "OMG!  So-and-So is ALWAYS telling me I smell like smoke!"

"But three-quarters of the staff here smoke, and you don't smell any different from them."

"I know!  Why does she keep picking on ME?"

"I think I know why.  It's because you're a leader, and the people in charge of this organization think that their leaders (and those in the public eye, like me) should look and act as though they just stepped out of the pages of BAPTIST LIFE.  They're not supposed to drink (even in moderation), smoke (even in moderation), have purple streaks in their hair, or wear knee-high boots."


And you know, it IS it.  It's not enough for our leaders that we show up on time, or early, or stay late, get the job more than done, go above and beyond, live respectable lives, take care of our spouses and children, stay active in church, and so forth.  They  want us to look and act like THEY think Christians should look and act, and lately, they seem to have decided that it's a job requirement to which they can hold us accountable.

Saying that they can go pound sand is putting it mildly.

And "the girls" can go pound sand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

They Got It All--Now What?

I think it likely that at this point, my anonymous comments on an unnamed church will not cause any trouble. Only a handful of souls read this blog anymore, anyway.


I'll try to keep it brief.  No one likes long blogposts.

I belong to a church that is in decline.  It was declining when I joined, probably about six years ago now.  The ministry team then consisted of one semi-retired pastor with a background in sales and self-publishing who was serving on an  interim basis, the music minister, who'd apparently been there since the dawn of time, and the youth/education minister.

Within a month or two of me visiting, they'd called a youngish former missionary to the pastorate.  He did, in my opinion, well, but like any other man, he wasn't perfect, and the church continued to decline.  I think there was a definite turning point when he called a series of meetings for Sunday School teachers so that we could, once again, go over his self-authored booklet outlining what the church was all about and what was expected of the membership.  I distinctly recall looking at another Sunday School teacher and saying, "So, I guess the problem is that the membership and teachers haven't been through this booklet enough times?"

Not too long after that, he apparently felt called to go into politics.  I will say no more save to note that it may have been a mistake.

When he left, the church--or, rather, a handful of committee members--invited one preacher after another to preach in our pulpit.  One or two of them I thought might have a chance, particularly one young fellow who, it seemed to me, actually demonstrated an attitude toward outreach and evangelism that might stand a chance of success in our neighborhood, which has changed dramatically since the church's heyday.

And then, they decided that the best thing to do was call back the interim preacher who'd been there when I first started visiting, five years earlier.

I found out later that this man and the music minister had worked together at another church before this.

And then, REMARKABLY, the next step in the plan toward reversing the decline was to call back the youth/education minister who'd been there when I started visiting, even though the man had been let go, oh, three years earlier, as the church had already declined to the point where we couldn't afford to pay him.

And just like THAT, the ministry team that had been there when I started visiting was reconstituted.  Was it intentional?  Was it planned to be like that from the moment our pastor left?  I do not know.  Maybe.

But whether it was planned or not, I couldn't help but think, "Wasn't the church declining under these people?  Why is rehiring them now considered a solution?"

But I know how these things typically go in church life.  I didn't say much, for I knew I'd be accused of divisiveness simply for asking reasonable questions.

Within, I think, six or eight months of this staff's return, attendance dropped from about 150 or so to about 80.  We do have some new members, but we have lost enough "old" members (for lack of a better term) to keep attendance at about that level (or so they say.  I never see more than about sixty.)

That is not a sustainable level for us to keep paying the kind of staff we have, pay the bills on a building the size of ours, and keep running the kinds of programs we always have.  We are either going to go to a totally bivocational staff and shut off parts of the  building and quit doing some things, or we are going to go bankrupt.  Or we are going to grow.

Naturally, NO BAPTIST CHURCH will EVER admit that they are not going to try to grow, so our new/old interim--now permanent, if part-time--pastor announced that the plan to grow was to become a "metro" church, by which he meant that it was time to quit worrying so much about the local population and let people know that we were "worth the drive."  I found this so much hubris--after all, we have a huge number of churches in our city, and saying that OURS was worth the drive necessarily involved saying that OTHERS were worth only driving PAST--and, without naming names or naming churches, said something to that effect on Facebook.

I was shortly told by the preacher that this was a Matthew 18 situation and advised that part of the plan was to do things in a spirit of unity and harmony.

He wouldn't have even seen my comment had he not been looking over the shoulder of a Facebook friend who was helping out in the church office.  He wasn't on my "friends" list and I have long had all my settings to "friends only," so make what you will out of his statement that he was in the habit of reading all the things I say on Facebook.

I agreed to keep any further comments off Facebook whilst noting that I disagreed with his proposed approach and, while I hoped to be proven wrong, I thought it likely that the church would be closing its doors within three years.  He agreed that we certainly had a challenge ahead of us.

Since then--several months now--"the plan" has come together.  It consisted of:

1) Removing the pews from our largish sanctuary and spending thousands of dollars on new chairs, and taking up much less space, so as to create a more intimate worship atmosphere.  I spoke in favor of that, actually; anything to get the members to do something DIFFERENT.

2) Focusing mainly on the Sunday morning worship service, de-emphasizing, to a degree, Sunday School, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings--even going to the point of not having Sunday nights at all during the Summer and not having Wednesday evenings consistently.

3) Making sure that all our friends knew that we were worth the drive.

4) Reaching out to the neighborhood businesses.  Exactly why the local businesses were worth reaching out to when the local people were (at least initially) NOT is as unclear to me as it likely is to you.  In practice, all this has meant is that the local Wendy's has given us coupons for free Frosties to use as prizes for a few of our events.

5) Creating a "Welcome Center" for our guests.  In practice that has meant putting two airpots full of coffee, some donuts, and cups into what used to be the foyer and is now the welcome center.

6) Doing everything in a spirit of unity and harmony.  Since, as far as I know--actually, to my certain knowledge, in some cases--the staff has routinely but politely dismissed input from church members, and those members are now FORMER members, having voted with their feet, and I agreed not to put comments on Facebook and to keep my thoughts on these policies out of the church arena (remember: I blog anonymously, and I am naming neither people nor church here, and the odds are very good that only one of my readers even knows where I go to church), the staff may well not really know what it is to experience disunity and unharmoniousness. It seems to me that the staff may not be able to distinguish the silence of the silenced, disinterested, and tired from a spirit of unity and harmony.  It may be that they think a lack of open criticism constitutes having approval.  It may be that they don't realize our near-halved attendance, despite leaving only the non-critical in place, is indicative of anything but harmony and unity.

And maybe there really is unity.  Certainly they've gotten everything they wanted.  They got their old team back.  They got the Welcome Center.  They got the changes in the sanctuary.  They got the focus on the morning worship service.  They got "unity and harmony," or at least an absence of criticism and a series of near-unanimous votes.

So, my question: what now, guys?  The decline hasn't been halted, at least as far as I can tell.  I see nothing--zero, zip, zilch, nada--being either pursued or proposed that is in the smallest iota different from exactly what has failed for a quarter-century now.  We pretty much run the same programs in the same way.  We do nothing different in terms of outreach.  I don't even think we HAVE outreach, unless you want to pretend that doing VBS is outreach (which most churches do; they say that VBS is the church's greatest outreach effort of the year, which, if true, is pathetic, because it is, judging by the numbers I've seen for the last decade, a failure, year after year after year).

You got everything you said you wanted.  What now?  I'll give you credit for wanting to get something done.  But to tell the truth, you three--four, if you count the former pastor--have been instrumental in convincing me of something I had suspected for a long time: most professional ministry staff go to seminary and come away with no more idea what to do, no more real knowledge, no greater grasp of the Word, than the average old lady in the pews.  I suspect that the three of you, and probably certain committee members, thought that if only you were in place as a team again, people who'd left would come roaring back. That the church was declining under you, too, when you were together before, was overlooked.

You all read the same books and the same magazines and go to the same conferences and you all think the same officially approved groupthink.  You just don't THINK.  You just parrot the same stuff everyone else parrots,  and I really do think that if the decline of the North American church in general, and the Southern Baptist Convention specifically, is ever halted, it will be in spite of ministers like you instead of because of ministers like you.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Memory Dredged Up

Just a little while ago, I had occasion to remember an incident with my boss, about nine years ago, shortly after he first started.

For context, it is important that you know that it was, at the time, quite routine for me to work 11-12 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, due to the routes I had to cover.

And also let me note that he seriously proposed having me go home early on Fridays, so I wouldn't draw any overtime pay.  Not that there wasn't anything to do; he just wanted to avoid having the overtime on his payroll sheets.  Guess he thought it made him look bad.  I let him know in no uncertain terms that I had NO liking for the idea of working 24 hours in two days and not getting an extra nickel out of it. 

Okay, moving on: at this time, my son was 15 years old and not able to drive, obviously.  He had taken a part-time job with the local library system.   He had to be there at six.  I got off at five.  It took me twenty minutes to get home and at least fifteen more to get him to work.  There was obviously next to no time for error, and, in order to avoid complications, when necessary and when I knew I had a busy day, I would come in early.

I had a co-worker, a very intelligent and fine worker, who nevertheless committed something of a faux pas one day; she had promised someone in our little town that I would swing by after normal hours to deliver something.  She thought it no big deal; it was only a few minutes.  I said I didn't HAVE a few minutes, explained why, and in the end, SHE did the delivery.  It was she who'd made the promise, after all.

The next day, that prince of a boss of mine lectured me on it, saying that I should think about putting my kids in daycare, "...because, MOTW, sometimes we have to work late."
REALLY.  That I WAS working late or coming in early at least two days a week and often more was completely forgotten.  That the child in question was FIFTEEN FRECKLING YEARS OLD and TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to daycare never occurred to him.

It was the sort of totally insane and inconsiderate thing that only a true chucklehead untethered to reality would say.

I've been putting up with more of the same for about nine years.  Just today, I looked at my route for tomorrow: eleven stops, leaving from our little town to Harrah (about two hours away), on up through The City, and finishing in Edmond.  Three new people with attendant sets of paperwork to fill out and three installations.  That is about an eleven to twelve hour day.  I don't mind, in a way; I'll take the OT money.  But it galls me that I am so taken for granted that I never get the courtesy of a "MOTW, are you able to do that tomorrow?"

As I've said before, I have to see how someone's health looks and pass an important test, probably early next year.  Then we'll re-evaluate how long I'm staying with these people.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pointless Griping and Moaning

I have to admit to being a little embarrassed about all the workplace griping I've done lately.  I don't like to listen to it in other people, so I expect that others don't like to listen to it from me.

I've had people close to me ask why I don't just leave, if I hate the place so much.  As I've said before, there's more than one reason.  For instance, as my other driver has often said, it's  not the job, it's HIM, referring to my immediate boss.  If it weren't for his bizarre shenanigans,  life'd be a lot more bearable, and we all keep kind of half-waiting for him to stroke out or get caught in some illegality or something.

One thing that just ****** us the **** off (supply your own words) is the way the man either wildly exaggerates, or flat-out makes stuff up.  The senior office lady, a very sharp lady of many years' experience and deep knowledge (far exceeding our boss's), has observed more than once to a couple of us that our boss craves drama, drama that he needs to solve, to make himself feel needed, and if there isn't any drama, he'll create it.

Boy, howdy.  Ain't THAT fun to live with.

You may recall, a few months back, that I was read the riot act over my "attitude," that he was telling me that people were calling in and saying things about how I'd spoken to them, and "the girls" in the office were cringing every time someone called or they had to give me a service ticket?

Turns out none of "the girls" corroborated that, and the only two specific instances of my alleged bad behavior he cited--well, when I next went to those places (by accident--he did not intend to send me!), turns out they had no problem with me at all.

God knows what he heard, but he apparently blew it all out of proportion and used it as an excuse to lecture me about a "chronic" problem--about which I've heard NOTHING for the last three months, which I find odd, for an ongoing problem.

Yesterday and today, the little so-and-so ticked me off by...

Okay, we get a lot of stuff given to us, donated, okay?  And it is pretty much up to us how we use it, and we have done a lot of good with it.  We have also committed a lot of idiocy, so much that I tend to think of it as routine.

Yesterday, there was a ticket in my stack, a donated item ticket, and it had a handwritten note from my boss warning me that the address was changed and that the new address was NOT figured into my route (My boss makes out my route.  Routinely butchers it, too, as he consistently ignores the time frames printed on certain tickets).  Okay.  I checked.  It really wasn't anywhere near the paying customers, and since the ticket was already a week old, and I had been to the City in question three times last week, and despite ample opportunity to insert it into my route last week, I had never seen it before, I just assumed that, LIKE MOST "DONATION" TICKETS, it was something I could do  when I was next in the neighborhood.  Yesterday, I just stuck it at the bottom of my stack and thought I'd go do it if I didn't run out of time.

Well, I DID run out of time.  I was trying to get back in time to take my two younger kids to evening VBS, and I barely made it.

In the meantime, the lady had called our office and wanted to know if the item was going to reach her that day.  Our office lady had the misfortune of having to tell her no.

Remember: this was a GIFT from us to her.  WE DID NOT OWE THAT LADY A THING.  Nor had anyone given me the slightest inkling that timing was an issue.

Well, we're working a short week this week, as we are closed on Independence Day (Not that we get a paid holiday, oh, no no no no NO, those are for MANAGEMENT STAFF), and as a result, we have been cramming a lot into each day.  I worked 11 and a quarter hours on Monday, came in half an hour early yesterday, and when I came in an hour early today, did my boss thank me for helping to keep up?

Oh, no no no no NO.  Instead, he first let me know my vehicle was a pit (it WAS dirty, but I literally have not had a chance to touch it up in a week), then let me know that I wasn't filling out a form I created (I am not making this up!) correctly, and that I should have gone by that "donation" household yesterday, that when I didn't tend to things like that, "the girls" had to answer the resulting calls!

Really?  We had that ticket since last MONDAY, I was in the City Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and it was such a burning priority that I never saw it ONCE until  yesterday?  If it was such a hot issue, why didn't he have me take it last week?  Why didn't someone put a sticky note on there alerting me of the fact?

Well, when I took it out today, of course, it wasn't a big deal at all.  The lady had just called to inquire about it, and if someone had just said, "He hasn't been able to get to it yet, next time he's in the area he'll drop it off," that would have been just FINE.

In the meantime, I'm putting in more hours than any other employee, and far from getting THANKED for it, I'm getting castigated for not doing MORE.

I am going to leave.  In about six months, I'll know what I need to know about a certain relation, and I should pass a VERY IMPORTANT TEST, and then, I will consider myself to have a little more freedom.  I am antsy, for my employers--wonderful Christian people that they are--have been known to fire people merely for looking for another job. (I am not making that up).  So when I do decide to start looking, I have to be prepared for the possibility that I may be out of this job before landing the next.

But I will be spectacularly ready to look for work, having spent six or seven months preparing, and if the Obamaconomy allows me the opportunity, I will leave, and frankly, the place will experience a disaster.  There are some things that (literally!) only I can do, I (literally!) cannot be replaced due to a unique set of circumstances that allowed me to acquire qualifications that ordinarily, only college graduates acquire (and if you think a college grad with my certification is going to put up with the pittance I make [I have never been rewarded for the work I had to put in to acquire that certification--never!] and not having any paid holidays, you are out of your mind), willing to work the oddball hours, and, last but not least, I am probably the only thing that's been keeping my other driver there.

My other driver is the best friend I have in this world, and it is likely that my other driver will leave about the same time I leave.  Maybe the same day.

And I won't deny that the ensuing debacle will be fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Not Really My Favorite Kind of Republicans: the Horrible Truth About My Workplace Leadership, Part VII

These little rants are written as though addressed to various elements of my workplace leadership.  If you want to know more, seek ye out Part I.


I remember, years ago, going into corporate headquarters and seeing little flyers plastered all over the place, flyers congratulating the company president on achieving his doctorate.  I was impressed, until I asked someone what he'd gotten the doctorate in.

"Secondary Education," is what I was told.  I've never checked it out, but I've no reason to believe the person who told me that was lying or mistaken.  And since I was fully aware that any degree in education is one of the easiest degrees to obtain, perhaps somewhere just above "basket weaving" in difficulty, and since "secondary education" has exactly NOTHING to do with our alleged mission, I suspected, and suspect to this day, that getting that particular doctorate was simply the quickest and easiest way for our company president to get people to call him "Doctor So-and-So."

If that's what he wanted, I have to admit that it worked.  To this day, everyone calls him "Doctor So-and-So," and I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts hardly anyone knows what that degree is, at least outside of his long-term employees.

Later, I asked my boss if he happened to know why the man pursued a degree utterly unrelated to his ostensible job, and he opined that it didn't really matter: "His real job is to schmooze with the politicians in The City."

Great, just great, I thought: the man at the top of our division is a lobbyist.

I think of that story every so often.  I thought of it last week and this week, when every employee got multiple e-mails from corporate leadership, asking them to flood the switchboard at the state capitol, begging them not to cut our Medicaid funding.

Our Medicaid funding.  That was most important.  You didn't mention a thing about areas of Medicaid spending that had nothing to do with your allegedly not-for-profit business.  The doctors and nurses and staff in other businesses that would have to cope with a shrinking state budget didn't concern you.

If you haven't already figured it out, this whole scenario absolutely galled me.  You belong to a denomination that is so heavily identified with the Republican Party that I have actually run across people who refuse to join it because they believe they would be joining a wing of the Republican Party.  Although I do not, of course, know, I would be willing to give three-to-one odds (were I a gambling man) that every man and woman in the corporate office is a registered Republican.  The fact that the Republican Party is the closest thing we have to an anti-abortion party pretty much guarantees that.

The Republican Party is ostensibly the party of controlling spending, the party of getting government out of things best left to the private sector, of reducing the tax burden.

No one is mad enough to say that the state ought to just stop all Medicaid spending immediately; it would cause too much societal upheaval, as people who've come to depend on it, and all their relatives, would immediately find their lives dramatically changed.  But I would bet dollars to donuts that if you asked rank-and-file Republicans in this state if they thought Medicaid ought to be scaled back, or phased out gradually, you would find most of them would agree.  Certainly precious few of them would say that Medicaid spending should remain static and I bet almost none would say it should increase.

I am as certain as I can be without actually asking you in person, which I am not about to do, for I am sure the ensuing conversation would get me fired, that you would say you're in favor of smaller government.

Say it, yes.  Believe it?  Not so much, it appears.  When it comes to how much money your business gets from the state, you howl and squeal and ask all your employees to join right in.  No suggestions about how to increase state revenue, mind you.  Just, "Don't cut our funding!"

You had the nerve to tell people to tell their legislators that we couldn't continue to do the kind of ministry we do unless the state remained "in partnership" with us, by which you meant, of course, that we wouldn't be able to take some residents unless Medicaid paid part of their tab.

You don't have any faith at all in the private sector to deal with the situation.  You just immediately squeal that you shouldn't be ejected from your place at the trough.

Let me tell you, there is something in politics that has always galled me, and galls me to this moment: when someone has the nerve to suggest that stealing from your neighbors in order to fund your "ministry" or good works is acceptable behavior.  And taxation unrelated to legitimate governmental roles is exactly that, in my book: stealing.

I hate that.  And I would bet almost anything if some liberal came along and told you that he was going to float taxing you to pay for marriage counseling for homosexual couples who got "married" in Vermont you would say you hated it, too.  Yet you had the nerve, when push came to shove, to characterize picking the pockets of the citizens of this state to maintain your margins as the state being "in partnership" with you.  I wonder, ladies and gentlemen, how the people who find their share of that "partnership" coming out of their checks every payday would react to your impromptu lobbying.  What would they think of your motivations?

I don't think they'd think much of it.  I think they'd accuse you of masquerading as small-government conservatives when it comes to everyone else, and being big-government liberals when it comes to yourselves.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe you're not Republicans at all.  Maybe, instead of RINOs, or instead of big-government Republicans, you're flaming Democrats.

But boy, I'd hate to bet on it.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Up to HERE with Bogus Applications of Matthew 18

Before I get started, here is the text in question, from the English Standard Version:

 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Okay, there it is.  Got it?  Good.

Now, I have just about had it up to my eyeballs with bogus applications of this passage.  Let's just note the obvious first:

This passage assumes locality.  That is, this is not about something that occurred elsewhere in Christendom, maybe somewhere across the world.  At the time Jesus was speaking, you could go to the offender.  You could take other church members.  This was never about publicly responding to words published or spoken publicly to the whole of society.

The passage says, "...sins against you..."  Whether you take "you" to mean "you" personally as an individual or "you" as the local church (again, the passage assumes locality), the passage is not about something that the offender did to someone else, that is, it's not about--let's just pick something wild as a hypothetical--it's not about you seeing your ostensible brother beating the squeeze out of a little old lady and burning her house down, and then going to him alone, then with two or three brothers, and then, say, to the police.  

The passage says "sins."  This is not about questions of direction, wisdom, brass-tacks decisions, and so forth.

Now, for four quick examples, though many more could quickly--quickly!--be produced:

1) Remember when Brian McLaren was actually being listened to?  You remember Brian McLaren--high grand poo-bah of the so-called "Emergent Church?"  You remember how he wrote several books which, among other things, had pretty severe criticism for just about every stream of Christendom that has ever existed?

When I (and others) critiqued his books and his thinking, I (and presumably others) were piously asked if we had gone privately to Brian to express our concerns first.

Feh.  Fie on that.  He hadn't--at least not that I know of--sinned against me or my church.  What he'd done was very public and required public responses.  It was absurd to say that critiquing his critiques was a "Matthew 18" situation.  It was on the level of saying that the early church was obligated to go privately to Marcion first, before responding to his public heresy by publicly labeling it heresy.  It was on the level of saying that Martin Luther should have traveled to Rome to express his concerns to the pope before nailing up the 95 Theses.

2) Not all that long ago, I was driving down the road and noticed that a local church which I had formerly attended had changed its name to something "hipper," for lack of a better word.  And I observed on Facebook and Twitter that this would likely contribute nothing whatsoever to church growth.  Next thing you know, people were telling me it was a "Matthew 18" situation, that I should have first gone to the pastor to privately express my "concerns."

Say what?  Are you mad?  No sin involved, just a difference of opinion.

3) Again, not all that long ago, I made the dreadful mistake of observing that a change in a certain church's direction would a) likely not contribute a blessed thing to that church's growth and b) involved renouncing outreach to the people in the neighborhood.  I didn't mention the church's name nor any individual.  When I expressed my thoughts, I was expressing generalized thoughts about this sort of strategy's viability. But I was told that this, too, was a "Matthew 18" situation.

Again, difference of opinion, not sin.

4) Just over the last few days, there have been a couple of posts elsewhere in the blogosphere regarding the admission of Muslims to one of our Southern Baptist seminaries.  It will not surprise you to learn that one of the comments I read on those posts suggested to the blogger that this was a "Matthew 18" situation and that the blogger should have gone to the seminary president privately, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, for the...

First of all, who is the offended brother here?  Is there even a church in view?  I think not.  One of the offended parties is this man's employer, the Southern Baptist Convention, which--God knows I hate breaking it to you, but someone has to do it--is not the church.

Considering this quote, and assuming that the information is correct (I do not know from first-hand observation, obviously):

... In a faculty meeting in 2012, **************  warned anyone who questioned him about Muslims being admitted into ****************, or anyone who was disloyal to him and discussed this matter with others not associated with *************** would be terminated.

It is apparent that the other offended parties would have been those who were threatened with the loss of their jobs over a difference of opinion or--and this is critical--carrying out further steps in their own Matthew 18 process.

That's what I'm sayin': the blogger wasn't in a Matthew 18 situation; the threatened faculty were.

Over and over and over again, I see "Matthew 18!" being used as an excuse to stifle discussion, dissent, disagreement, criticism of actions and thinking.  It was never meant for any of those things.

This is getting ridiculous.