Just Another Perk of Working

Waaaaay back when I worked a full-time job, I had a bit of a power struggle with one of our building’s renters. Our company leased the entire second floor of a two floor building and a few businesses leased the spaces beneath. One of those was an insurance agent.

As far as we could tell, the insurance agent did nothing. He was part of a huge umbrella company, like Allstate. He had no clients and took long lunches.

Yes, most of my team were people-watchers.

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The conflict was over parking spaces. He raised a stink with the building manager, saying that he needed x number of spaces for his clients (who were nonexistent). Our rather large body of employees quickly exceeded the bounds of the lot. A few passive-aggressive maneuvers transpired until our manager asked us to respect the whiner’s parking spaces.

One day that was also the first day of my monthly cycle, I came to work feeling terrible. I parked in a no-no spot because, frankly, I did not care. I also parked there because I was certain I’d be asking my boss for the rest of the day off based on how I felt.

Cue a message from the insurance guy, who literally had nothing better to do than spy on his spaces.

Cue my boss sending me a message about how Allstate Junior wanted me to move my car.

Cue my response: Screw the insurance guy.

I got up, moved my car, took pain medications, and worked the rest of the day. Incident forgotten -or so I thought.

Months -YES, MONTHS!- later, our boss quit. A woman named Jadis* took over, since she’d been in no position that should have been promoted but we later learned the whole team was being phased out so the head people at our company really didn’t care.

Jadis decided that she should meet with each of us. She said it was a way to get to know everyone; she probably added some tripe about team unity or whatnot. I didn’t know her very well and entered the meeting in good faith.

How little I knew.

That meeting was the worst I’ve ever had -and I’ve been fired whilst pregnant (another story, another time). Jadis proceeded to tell me that I had a terrible attitude as an employee and that I wasted time. She showed me the message I had sent to our team lead all those months ago. She explained that I would be logging every half hour each day to show I wasn’t wasting company time. She made it clear that I was on thin ice and had better shape up.

I was shocked. Yes, what I had typed about the insurance guy was immature and inappropriate. No one said anything at the time, so I thought it done and over with. Just to be sure, I tracked down our former boss and asked him. I apologized to him. No, he told me, he hadn’t been offended. Yes, he’d completely forgotten it.

Jadis, meanwhile, made my work life hell. No one had any work to do, yet I (alone) had to log my productivity. I made up things like, “verified accuracy of past files,” or “organized workspace.” I even wrote when I used the bathroom or ate lunch.

It was a double slap to the face, considering that one of the other employees had not been clocking out for lunch, had been reported by everyone, and had yet to be reprimanded or fired.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with today’s post, it is here: I think everyone has had a horrible boss or supervisor. I think you all have stories. You may have to give us the truncated version, here, but who was it? What did he or she do? Does the story have a happy ending?

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My story does, in a way, but I’ll leave that for another lengthy post. In the meantime, share your dirt. Go on: I promise I won’t make you tell me when you used the bathroom.

 

*Name changed

—————-

After the catharsis of ratting on your terrible employer, read what I did last week:
Wednesday, March 27: A bit of a mind trip in disassociation with “Where IS My Mind?

Thursday, March 28: “The Cure for Depression: Help Someone Else,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, March 29: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Joanne the Geek!

Saturday, March 30: Announced the 20th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Springtime Haiku. PLEASE ENTER!

Also posted my answers and nominations for The Mystery Blogger Award.

Sunday, March 31: “Glad Tidings of Nymble” for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, April 1: My answers and nominations for The Liebster Award.

Tuesday, April 2:  An inspirational quote from a piece by Violet Lentz.

Finally posted “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Eight.”

Wednesday, April 3: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Don’t Give In, and Stay Sane Doing So,” “The Good Old Days,” and “The Polls are In (a poem).”

 

Photo Credit:
Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash
Image by 942987 from Pixabay

36 thoughts on “Just Another Perk of Working

  1. As I’ve been freelance mostly, I don’t think of them as my bosses but yes, I have come across a fair few idiots in charge. I’m therefore a firm believer in the phenomenon known as the Peter Principle of Promotion.
    In time, bad feelings towards them fade and I’m left with just amusing little anecdotes. Don’t let the idiots get you down. I’ve had good bosses too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1983 young lawyer gets unfair bollocking from boss. 1993 said young lawyer is now newly promoted to head of department. Crusty former boss is senior lawyer but not pulling weight so new head of department bollocks old lawyer. Old lawyer so pissed takes early retirement. While not the plan Department is happy. Revenge is worth waiting for.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have a boss story. But I can relate to parking issues. One of my fellow workers would carry one of those bright orange construction cones in the trunk of his car. He would place the cone in any parking spot he vacated and he was guaranteed that the parking spot would still be there when he arrived back. He would then pop the cone back in the trunk of his car ready for use the next time. He was never caught.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess great minds move alike. I’ve scheduled a post for tomorrow about a clueless boss.

    But the worst boss I ever had gave me a mediocre review. For thirty years, under many different bosses, in many different industries, I have always had stellar reviews.

    I asked her what the problem was.

    “I stay current on the technology. I lead teams, I mentor others, I am the go-to whenever there is a problem. Why the bad review?”

    She was dumbfounded.

    “If I give you a good review, how can I show you have improved?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 I’ll look forward to reading your post.

      Your bad review story reminds me of a rating system for a job my husband had. The highest one could score was 5 stars, but no one ever got that. Their reasoning? Same as yours: if they gave someone 5 stars, that meant he was perfect and surely no employee was perfect.

      Like

  5. Hmmmm, I have a lot of thoughts on this. Too many as usual. LOL But, then again, I did not work in the corporate world. I spent most of my life working for the public school system. But I did work in other jobs while in high school, college, summers, and in between teaching. So, I worked in the private sector, private schools, and did a lengthy stint (Almost four decades) in the public school system. Perhaps because I am from a different generation I may have a different take on your story.
    The first thing I learned was that bosses cannot legally fire you without just causes these days. In the past they could fire you because they didn’t like how you breathed. So based on your age, a lot has to do
    With the year in which this happened. Depending on that, you most likely had rights you were not aware of. You could have spoken someone in your HR dept. to advice you and they would have told your rights.

    But, my dear, dear girl, you DID mess up. It had to have been documented because another company called to report you and therefore your superiors HAD no choice but to document that. Therefore, the incident was no doubt written up and put in your files. Your boss should have removed it after a certain amount of time passed. He didn’t, and therefore it was still in the files. That is what happens in the real world. Mistakes stay with you. And when the new person came in she went through the files and read up on all her employees. Your prior boss could have removed it but made the choice not to.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I have danced to the beat of a different drummer my entire life and my creative methods were always questioned. Even my clothing when I was in my twenties. Keep in mind, I graduated college in 1971 and got called out for wearing mini skirts while doing my student teaching. That was the style and women could not wear pants in the work place in the early 1970’s so all I had to wear were skirts. And mine were little and short. I wore the longest ones I had and never bent over. I interned in a team teaching class and had two middle-aged women as my superiors. They couldn’t say anything about my creativity or rapport with children and my lesson presentations were great since my minor was drama. I had the kids mesmerized. But one of the women mentioned in my evaluation that I needed to buy longer clothes. I told my class instructor that they didn’t sell knee length skirts (It was 1970 remember) and so I wore what I had. I was told to go to a thrift store and buy an old fashioned skirt to my knees. That idea horrified me! My guess is that my instructors didn’t like my care free hippie attitude and that the children related better to all my innovative lessons than they did to their boring ones. But I was young and couldn’t see life through their eyes. I should have been more receptive to them and their experienced observations. I probably made them feel old and outdated now that I look back on it. Young people act and think like young free spirits. But that isn’t the way of the working world. I learned very quickly when I did get a full time job that I needed to join the teacher’s Union so I could stay up to date on all the legalities of my job and now my rights. Most employees are pretty ignorant of their rights. So I became the Union rep in any school I ever worked in. IT IS ILLEGAL TO FIRE SOMEONE IF THEY ARE PREGNANT. BEING PREGNANT IS CONSIDERED A DISABILITY EVEN TO THIS DAY. So number one they couldn’t fire you for that. However, if you already had blight on your record, and if this person needed to remove a few people, all she needed was a few documented missteps and she could cross you off the list. It wasn’t personal. I am sure that older teachers thought I was nut when I began my career. I was so upbeat and ready to change the world. But I threatened them apparently. LOL Young people behave like young people.

    Back to the topic…. Every employee needs to document everything. You have to think as if you are always being judged or watched and cover your behind. As a union rep, in the school system, teachers are often called to task and it is their word against a child or a parent. Therefore, I had folders with every child’s name and documented anything and everything for my own safety. That works in any job. Cover your behind.

    I taught long before emails but I had a principal who once called me into her office because she didn’t like the tone of my email.
    I was head of the school advisory committee, the writing committee and also Union rep. And she emailed me in the middle of teaching a lesson to find out about the Advisory meeting. I quickly responded because I was on a roll with the kids teaching a lesson and evidently in responding quickly, I must have come across as blunt or curt, when I was just answering her question. My usual emails were thoughtful and full of personality. This one wasn’t and she became either hurt or offended.
    I actually told her I was in the middle of teaching and should have ignored the email until my break, but since I could see it was from her I took a second to respond. Then I politely said next time I will be more careful to think of my tone before I hit send. (It never hurts to be nice.) However, I also explained to her that technically by her expecting an immediate response she was in affect in violation of and I quoted the code of conduct rule to her. I no longer recall the number. Now THAT shook her up. I wouldn’t have done that as a young teacher, but as an experience teacher and union rep I had no problem stating my rights. I knew that technically she didn’t have the right to expect a response in the middle of the day. So I had to say something. BUT, if I had done something wrong I would have owned it.

    In business a screw up is a screw up. You weren’t following the employee rules and therefore technically it was within the rights of your employers to reprimand or terminate you. I don’t know what it said in your contract, but I am sure you had to sign one. All companies make you sign paperwork if you get paid. All businesses have an HR dept. And quite honestly you either follow the rules or you don’t. Gray areas don’t really matter and I will tell you why. Imagine if a man says to a woman something inappropriate about what she is wearing. It might not be sexual harassment but it is inappropriate non the less. If it happens more than once then it is no longer a gray matter and needs to be reported to HR or the a union rep.

    In every area of the business world each company has a set of rules and a code of conduct expected from employees. They don’t care if you are sick, if your father died, or if your children are sick. If you don’t follow the rules you can get fired. Just like a teacher has to fail a child if he or she gets a certain amount of failing papers. I always dropped the lowest grade figuring every kid had a bad day. I would tell the parents that at the beginning of the school year. But lets face it; I couldn’t ignore a bunch of failing tests. So, if that was your first offense that should have been written up as such. However, it was in your file because of protocol and the next boss took it more seriously than your previous one. Such is life. We once had a wonderful President. Now we have a fascist dictator. Things change. Life isn’t fair. The way to protect yourself in business is to know your legal rights and know the code of conduct rules for other employees. THAT will protect you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oops, I hit send before I finished answering my response novel. LOL. I’ve had many bosses over the years. Some were fabulous. Some mediocre. Some inspiring, and some terrible. Most really liked me, a few thought I was weird but my test scores and rapport with students and parents let them overlook that they didn’t understand my teaching style. And I had a couple who could not relate to me at all. ONE was at the beginning of my career and he was old redneck principal who sat in his office and watched soap operas all day. He had no idea what I was all about. And in my student teaching we had to do two semesters of student teaching. I mentioned my first experience. My second was terrific. She was a young woman I learned a lot from. She let me create a plethora of activities because she recognized my abilities. But she also clued me in to watching out for older teachers and said may had trouble adjusting to this new group of free spirits coming up. She gave me helpful hints in dealing with my experienced elders which gave me insight I didn’t have before. So I have learned from all my bosses. I have had the good, the bad, the ugly and the fabulous!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think almost everyone experiences a bad boss. Like Lesley said above, it takes a lot to fire someone at times – but bosses can definitely make you want to leave. I had a boss who didn’t like me because I don’t drink, and he wouldn’t like any employee he couldn’t convince to go to his house and get drunk in his whiskey cellar. Once he made up his mind, though, he would make work miserable for you. I wasn’t the only person on his bad side, but I had to work more closely with him than a lot of other people, and I ended up leaving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh! I think yours tops mine; though, if you had asked me back when I worked there, I would have said mine was very traumatic. I wasn’t very old and still had a lot of faith in my superiors and their behavior.

      Like

      • I was 22 when I started working for this guy (it was grad school, but for engineers that’s a weird thing and more like a job than school)… it took him 2 weeks to decide to hate me, and it took me 4 years to realize that I wasn’t getting any of my life back. I finally left when the stress started giving me heart arrythmias and making my hair fall out. I went to complain to the larger structure, but I was told by the dean of diversity that while I was probably right and he’d definitely screwed me over for no reason, it “wasn’t worth her salary to help me.” My direct boss was too high in the university power structure for me to get out from under without completely leaving the school.

        Liked by 1 person

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