With each passing day, reports of companies going under-downsizing-and doling out cut-backs continue to surface. There were a few jobs I held back in the day that – I’m sure if they could have found a legitimate reason – would have fired my ass. But I feel like this current downturn of “our” economy is also an excuse for any of us to get a personal invitation to the chopping block….all in the name of restructuring, especially when your supervisor/manager has held a personal grudge against you. I’m reminded of a particular job I once held.
At this job, some people on staff were forced to do things like get their supervisor coffee, wash their cars or purchase gifts for a child’s birthday during YOUR lunch break (yes, that happens). These functions were not a part of anyone’s job description. From my own experience, the supervisor that comes to mind eventually got her “just desserts” because she was terminated for her abuses. She had a reputation of extending her authority amongst her so-called subordinates, and seemed to get away with it for more than 15 years, mind you.
One day this particular supervisor finally challenged me and was actually prepared to write me up for my refusal to ‘fetch’ her some coffee. On this particular day, I just wasn’t “okay” with that abuse of authority. You see… I don’t mind making the offer if I’m going to the break room on my own to grab a cup myself but I knew this was not my job. I never endured all of the other abuses I’ve described; however, I was forewarned that she had these types of tendencies.
Throughout the morning we mentally, grudgingly, stubbornly went back-and-forth about a [damn] cup of coffee and who was going to get it and who was going to ultimately be pissed about not getting it. It was about 10:30 a.m. when I was summoned [in]to the office with her manager in order to reprimand me. I was actually handed a formal written warning for insubordination based on some fictitious statements that she included as a version of “the incident” but I refused to sign-off on it. What I did do was ask to be excused to collect my thoughts and return in 15 minutes to resume the meeting. What I did instead was return to my desk and began to draft a letter to the EEOC. Then I went to the restroom and purposely left the document wide open for any-and-everyone to see. It was ‘the bait’. All who wanted to know what I had been busily drafting could easily see it– I wanted them to.
When I came back, it was obvious that they’d viewed the document because when our meeting re-adjourned, I was given an apology and told that what had transpired was a “huge misunderstanding”. The added bonus– they actually gave me the rest of the day off -paid- for any stress the conversation may have caused me.
Based on the telling scenario I just outlined, have You ever had an experience where you thought that if you got fired today, it wouldn’t really be because of the economic downturn? Have you thought that maybe it is more of an excuse – a guise, if you will – for a manager to fire you or someone else they didn’t like? And to think you may have given twenty or more years of dedicated service to a company and be so close to retirement but now… you can easily be let go.
Is this current economic crisis a reason to fire people on staff that a company deems “undesirable”? Is this some overt form of “corporate bullying”? I’m certain I’m not the only person in this country who has worked hard, given 100% of my efforts to a company, while the supervisor or manager abuses their authority and puts little-to-no effort into an 8-hour workday. You sacrifice your weekends and work overtime without pay but your supervisor/manager floats below the radar unscathed. And because he or she has the title of Supervisor or Manager, if an accusation is raised, it is usually your word vs. that authority.
So now… do you worry that you could be fired without real justification? One of the things that bugs me the most about our current crisis, is managers that mismanage their time and company funds (AIG, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Enron and the likes) is not the first to be let go/dismissed. Those so called “managers”, usually keep their jobs and receive their bonuses, but decide your fate. Do you smell that? Smells like bullshit to me! Are you walking on “pins and needles” each day for fear of termination while the very person that hands you the “pink slip” should actually be considered too? What do you think? More importantly, how do you feel about this bull?