Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Take this job yadda yadda part san

Read this only after reading parts one and two, under pain of being killed to death quite a lot.

I enjoyed my afternoon off from work (I made chili), and planned to return next morning, ensuring the morning’s work had been completed so the production floor could continue without interruption, then I would see what the plant manager had to say about my request for a severance package. I thought he might counter with an offer of more money (because I lacked a degree, I was paid far less than most others at my level) or a vague promise to get more cooperation from accounting and the production floor, but most likely he’d just accept my resignation and they’d either hire somebody else or reorganize again and shift my employees to another department.

I felt nervous on the final approach to my BellSouth building, wondering what was in store for me. As it turned out, I hadn’t even remotely imagined what I had set in motion.

I got my first hint when I pulled into the parking structure and saw several more security guards at the guard station. Normally only two worked the building at a time, but they had ordered more and now had six. After I parked, I approached and noticed the company training officer (manager in charge of all training) was standing in their midst. I don’t know why he was tasked for the job, but I suspect it had to do with corporate labeling. He was a large black man with a bald head, which automatically pigeonholed him as being tough with a ghetto background (even though he had to have a college degree to get his job) and could therefore handle a white man like me, psychopath or not.

The security guards looked bored; the CTO tried to appear in command, but his wide-eyed fear charged the air between us. He ordered the guards to search me for weapons, which they did even though it was obvious they had no training. They checked my briefcase for bombs and found none (as far as they could tell), then all seven surrounded me and marched me to the nearest conference room. After depositing me inside and telling me to wait, they all left me untended in a locked room next to HR and the plant manager’s office. Note – in America, security guards are rarely trained and are usually led by some corporate ninny instead of somebody with a modicum of training and / or experience. If I wanted to go postal, this was the time to start my rampage.

Instead, I waited until the plant manager eventually joined me. He looked even more frightened than the CTO, apparently very scared to be in the room with me. He timidly asked how I was feeling, so I gave him a smile (probably a bad idea since I never smile) and told him I was fine, I just wanted to discuss a possible amicable separation from BS. He calmed a little, sat, and told me I had worried them with yesterday’s eruption. I said it wasn’t an eruption. He asked why I used the word “hate” and I told him it was because “I am dissatisfied with my job” and “I am very dissatisfied with my job” wasn’t getting his attention. He tittered and informed me that I’d definitely gotten their attention now.

The PM continued questioning me, responding only with typical, pointless corporate lingo. He said I had not been one targeted for separation, that he thought my last review had been “overall positive” and that my next review likely would have been “overall positive”, then abruptly ended the interview when the HR manager entered the room. Unlike everybody else, she didn’t seem remotely worried. In fact, she was suppressing a smile the same way my least favorite accountant did when she knew she had reamed me good. That’s when the confusion melted and I fully understood what was happening.

Our HR manager was a piece of work, meaning she definitely belonged in the corporate world, safely sequestered from real humans. She had a reputation for getting drunk at management meetings and dancing on the tables. Once, she pushed another manager into the pool, then convinced the company that BS needed to pay for his ruined watch. She typically dismissed poor behavior by the employees; when told a couple of married employees were having an affair, she said “Well, that’s what happens when people work closely together.” Note – I don’t think their infidelities should have been company business at all, except they were wining and dining and staying in expensive hotels on a corporate account. In addition, she fully supported the corporate system of pigeonholing all employees based on a few superficial details. In my case, she had once noted that I was quiet and a loner (one of my managers told me she objected to my first promotion into a supervisory position for that reason), and we all know what that means. Quiet / loner = serial killer. Except that I don’t really think she believed I was dangerous. Rather, it was because quiet and loner didn’t fit with her ideal type of manager, which would have been a loudmouthed lush like herself.

At this point, most of you are probably thinking “But you ARE a psychopath, Grant. What’s the big deal? Sounds like she had you pegged.” To which I say: shut up! It doesn’t matter that I’m the psychotic cannibalistic embodiment of pure evil. THEY had no logical reason to know that. Just because I often got through my days by imagining the various managers lying dead in a ditch, watching the maggots feast on their liquefying organs, and imagining all the creative ways I could help them attain this state as the High Lord Lucifer cackled with Satanic glee and his demonic minions laughed and cavorted…

But, I digress. Point is, she never liked having a quiet, hardworking person in management, and I think she capitalized on this opportunity to be rid of me by convincing the others that I was dangerous and needed to be ousted for the benefit of BS. PM left and she began asking me the same questions he had already asked, an interrogation maneuver I had seen many times before from both sides of the law enforcement table. After she finished questioning me, he conveniently reappeared and they repeated the process (also standard interrogation techniques). Each time I reiterated that I wasn’t angry with them (although I certainly was by that point), that I bore no BS employees any ill will, that I had no current plans to eviscerate them with a spork, and that I was just unhappy with my job and wanted to discuss a possible separation from BS. The third time I mentioned that last bit, the HRM said the only concrete thing I heard during the whole hour-long process. She said “By sending that e-mail, you’ve already begun the separation process. The purpose of this meeting is to work out the details of that separation.” In other words, I was leaving one way or another. They would later decide whether or not I could have a severance package. In addition, the PM kept reiterating the fact that I said I hated my job, not that I was merely dissatisfied. As he pointed out, “You said ‘hate’, which is an indication of a strong emotion.” According to the BS policy on workplace violence, any person indicating any strong emotion was potentially violent and should be immediately terminated.

The interview concluded, although I was ordered not to return to my office or interact with anybody in the company until they decided what to do next. They asked if I would mind leaving for a couple of hours, and I reminded them that I had a dental appointment that morning (this was before I met my beloved Ninja Usagi Haisha), which relieved them to no end. They told me to go there immediately and then return to the same conference room – again, avoiding contact and conversation with any other BS employees.

This is running longer than expected, so look for part shi on Thursday.


Doug Murata said...

Would "love" also be a "strong emotion?"

"Yeah, I like my job. It's ok, I guess."
"Oh, well, I LOVE my job!"
"Ack! Strong emotion! I feel threatened by the love!"

Evisceration by spork sounds like it would be visually appealing. At the very least, it is a feat that would amaze.

Kerry said...

I think the smile was a great addition. Since you never smile at them, i'm sure it threw them for a loop and now they are really concerned. You see, you've gone past the point of being upset and angry... you're into peace and happy now... so you're really psychotic! Good luck tomorrow! I cant wait to hear more ;)

SJ said...

I used to work for Lucent (another of the Bell-cos) I feel the pain...

However how HRM would have pigeonholed me.

Anonymous said...

yeh i second doug's point on strong emotion.

i think the fact that the company's initials form bullshit is enough prediction...
.. i have a feeling there is a lot more to come

GirlGoyle said...

I can't read any longer. I can't take the corporate bullshit and how they spin the wheel to suit their needs. I can only tell you how many times I've had the same vision of ditches and maggots you've had.

Angie said...

Evisceration by spork. lol
Why is it that HR people seem to have no people skills?

Tracy Lynn said...

People like that are why nobody lets me carry knives.

Kira said...

See, now that's a real talent I don't think I possess: taking nothing and making it seem like THEY were the victims. Tremendous! I'll never make it in HR.

You have such a gift with words and can wield them with scalpel like efficiency, and yet you didn't see that coming after you typed the word "hate" into that email...you must have been too exhausted with their stupidity to concentrate. I think the best way to finish up this story is for you to come back from the dentist with a keg of beer, hose down all of management, and then take it to the higher ups that their zero tolerance drug stance was being violated by the beer guzzling freaks.

H.E.Eigler said...

Wow - good thing you only sent an email. What would have happened if you'd used the word 'hate' in a face to face conversation? In fact, you did the most reasonable thing in sending an email and then returning to the subject when you were in a better mindset to deal with the situation. They should have been happy to have gotten the message via email!

messiah said...

e-mail is a bitch. i mean you would have been nailed to the wall even if you had just mentioned it verbally, but it definetly gave them concrete proof.

i'd say i hate it when good companies go bad, but it's obvious this one never started higher than dogsh*t on the bottom of a shoe.

personally, i'm way more suspicious of anyone that goes around chanting i LOVE my job than those who mumble about how much they hate it, or 'love it' under there breath in an effort to convince themself the will survive for just one more day

hellbunny said...

I think i'll be to careful what i say.Im always using emotion words.That company sounds really nutty though.

patti_cake said...

Our former head of HR was a bastard also but happily he got his and is no longer here. He used to be seen cavorting drunk at local restaurants with other employees and all sorts of unethical stuff. I can't wait to hear what happens next Grant but I somehow sense you are going to get screwed (and not in a GOOD way) so I don't like that :(

The Stiltwalker said...

Wow Grant not to be on the other side of the fence but that email was a serious no-no. I can see how they responded the way they did. The wording certainly wasn't within the confines of office/business etiquette and protocol would have been for you to go to your superior and have a discussion, not send an email which is informal, closed ended and certainly doesn't always identify intent in a person's words. Sorry this happened to you.

Grant said...

doug - according to the BS rules, ANY strong emotion was an indication of potential violence.

kerry - yes, peaceful and happy can indicate you've arrived at an internal decision which could be solved by bloodshed, as most things can.

sj - Indian = customer service. They would have ignored your tech skills and strapped a headset to your head.

fatty - unfortunately there is much more BS to come.

girlgoyle - but if you quit reading now you'll never discover whether or not I survived.

angie - I think its related to the accountants that can't do math and IT people with no tech skills conundrum. I've always maintained that Irony rules the universe.

tracy - has any company you worked for specifically said you're not allowed to carry a flamethrower or chainsaw?

kira - couldn't I drink the keg of beer and hose them all down with a flamethrower?

hee - I think the HRM was just looking to oust me if it was convenient - I didn't fit her mold.

messiah - at least I didn't go with my first instincts and carve my resignation into their livers.

hellbunny - yeah, they're freaks. That's why we were trained to use meaningless words like "dissatisfied."

patti_cake - I think everything worked out in the long run. Tell me if you agree after the next installment.

stiltwalker - do I detect a hint of HR on you? Actually, I had already had several discussions with my boss which had been blown off because I used diluted corporate speak to communicate my intentions.

Seven said...

I work for myself at home by careful design as a result of the incredible lack of humanity you have described.
I had a parking spot with my name on it, a corner office,55 employees that reported to me and I learned to HATE the whole thing. I walked away with a departing Fuck You to the masters of corporate speak.
There are occasional coporate structures that get it right, but they are rare.
Screw corporate speak and corporate policy; its evil from Lucifer hisself I tell ya! Hell on earth. We should all get fired from a corporation once for our own sanity and life education.

SJ said...

Phew...thankfully I escaped her clutches.

VomitGod said...

Although I'd never leave an e-mail trail, I commend you for your bravery and honesty...two things lacking (and shunned) in the corporate sector.

PBS said...

Yikes! I actually read this yesterday but could think of no comment on it. Guess I'm just glad this is all in the past for you!

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