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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?

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