Friday, June 15, 2007

Send My Regrets

Go ahead, say it.

I told you so.

Go ahead, really. It needs to be said. People told me so, and I didn't listen.

April: Office lock is faulty. Lock fails often. We report it -- have been reporting it for months. Nothing done. Big Boss (CFO-level) finds door unlocked while we are at a staff meeting in another building. Boss, to teach us a lesson about being so careless, gets a couple of his minions and they "steal" equipment, mostly monitors, off our desks and hide them in the basement, then leave. They lie in wait until staff come back to office. By this time, I've gone to an appointment and I'm not with them when they return.

Staff freak. Computers gone, information gone, hard work gone -- stolen. Personal information on hundreds of people. Some cry, everyone scared. OMG -- is the robber still in the building? Are they hiding somewhere? They start looking for point of entry, and go to the basement, where they find computer equipment on basement floor. They know -- something is up.

Big Boss comes in and blasts everyone -- this is a lesson about security. You obviously don't care about security of our clients. You left the door unlocked. But, they say, it's broken and we've been reporting it to your minion for months and he won't fix it. Not true, says Big Boss. Tells them in the morning there's going to be a meeting.

Nobody sleeps. Everyone calls me at home.

Next day: Big Boss arrives two hours after scheduled time. Everyone is a mess. Scared shitless. He yells at us. He tells us that if we don't lock the door, we won't be working here. A few people call him on the stunt. He shouldn't have done it, it was unprofessional and disrespectful. It threatened our security. You made us carry computers out of the basement and up flights of stairs, potentially causing harm to us or our equipment. One asks for an apology. He yells back that we won't be getting an apology. He tells the most vocal that he'll speak to her later.

When it's over, I go to my office. He follows me, and sits across from me. He smirks. I burst into tears. I know it's over.

He assures me that it's not my fault. WTF?? Damn right it's not my fault. You can't come in hear and treat people like that! But I can't speak. I'm too upset, I'm crying.

Upper management gets wind of it. They call me, contrite. Vow to make it better. Vow to investigate and find a way to fix it and move on. Vow to make sure staff know they are appreciated and that they feel safe.

I call Grievance Guy. What do I do, as a bumbling, inept, managewhore, to protect my staff at this point? He's appalled, never heard of a CFO behaving this way. Don't file a grievance yet, he says, let Upper Management deal with it internally and if not satisfied, then we file grievance.

Upper Management hires external consultant. Consultant interviews people. Spends 40 minutes with me and each of my staff. Spends time with Upper Management. Spends time with other managers. Starts off by interviewing the Big Boss and getting his take on people. By the time Consultant gets to us, his opinion of us is formed. This is clear by types of questions asked.

The report of this consultant will be out in a few weeks, they tell us. This is going to be really positive. CFO will likely lose HR privileges. We think he should be fired, but they say that in the real world, you can't fire someone important like the CFO.

June: Report comes out. It says that the dysfunctional nature of my office led to the "incident." It got so bad in my office, that the CFO lashed out. The underlying cause of the incident is not the CFO, but us. Me. My staff. That previous manager, who left that huge mess that I'm still wading through, caused a huge backlog of work. My job is almost impossible to perform while going through all the backlog AND counselling the staff that she damaged. The report is very critical of the management of the office (me) and goes on to explain how the office should be properly managed. It says the manager is "frequently absent." WTF?? I work friggin weekends for fvcks sake! Totally unfounded. Thanks for letting me know I svck and for educating me on Management 101. Now tell me how I'm supposed to do all this while working through the backlog of a manager whose ineptitude they ignored for years and years. You think I didn't already know how the place was supposed to work? Of course I did. I just didn't have time. The report goes on to explain how the weak manager in my office has led to the dysfunction. No names are mentioned, but when you turn to Appendix Frickin' A, there's a list of relevant people. There's my name, right next to the offending Manager's position.

This scathing report, which amounted to an unconventional performance evaluation, which I clearly failed, was not presented to me personally. I received it by email. CORRECTION: I received it by email AT THE SAME TIME AS THE REST OF THE ORGANIZATION RECEIVED IT BY EMAIL. That's right, this report, referring to the inept, bumbling managewhore, and then naming that person in the appendix, was sent to all my colleagues, friends, coworkers, upper management. Everyone.

This was yesterday. Took today off. Have received a number of supportive emails from my staff, who are completly winded after also taking a good kick in the teeth. We've all been publicly lynched.

Meanwhile, Big Boss sits at his desk, smirking and tenting his fingers a la Montgomery Burns.

Yeah, I regret it. People warned me a year ago that I would probably regret going back there. Why are you doing this, they asked? You finally broke free and now you're going back?! It's a good career move, says I. It will take a lot of time to clean the joint up, but once I do, I'll be a frickin hero!

Chewed up. Spit out.

I need a new job. I need to get out of there. My reputation is shot. Wrote to the Grievance Guy and forwarded the report to him, telling him that this was the result of the internal "investigation" and that obviously I'm not pleased with the outcome. But surely I will have no credibility with him once he sees this report. This public lynching.

OMG I regret it. Yes I do.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger ~Nutz said...

Oh crap! I have no legal advice, but just hang in there! In the meantime, fight back! Get those claws out and get your staff behind you! {{{hugs}}}

At 11:27 AM, Blogger PRE said...

That really sucks. Unfortunately the old statement about shit rolling downhill is true and it looks like it got all over you. In the long run, this won't matter although it looms hugely today. A change of setting may help, too. You might consider, however, if there is any documentation (email, etc.) of requests by you or the staff to get the door lock fixed.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger momma said...

Okay, let's put a positive spin on this (having BTDT in a similar situation) in the recent past.

* Don't take another day off for a few months, or a long lunch unless absolutely necessary

* Hire an assistant specifically to help wade thru the backlog of work...even a temporary employee if you must with time lines and goals that MUST be met

* File the greivance, even if you feel you have lost everyone's confidence. This way, it is documented and if you leave...well, it's there and out in the open. And make sure you include all emails relating to the broken lock situation

* Prove to everyone that you are NOT inept. How? Call a meeting, get everyone on the same page and designate time each day to work on the backlog. Even if its only an hour or so.

* Most importantly, file a response to the consultant's report. Defend your positions without emotion.

Unfortunatly, one thing I've learned, there are NO allies in the corporate world. Even outside contractors and consultants know where the paycheck comes from.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger dragonflies said...


I agree with momma's suggestions.

Then leave.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger mysticwolf said...

What a wonderful, supportive, organization. *end sarcasm*

That sucks. I don't have legal advice, but here's my .02 worth.

Don't get worried, get angry and get busy.

Gather documentation. Not just about the lock, about all of it. The backlog, the extra work you're doing, anything you've put together regarding procedures, etc. that show that you have been moving them in the correct direction, staff accomplishments made on your watch. Write it up. Factually, no whining.

Ask for a meeting with the bosses that originally came to you supportively and present it. If the grievance guy is also your representative ask him to attend, also.

In my experience they're right, unfortunately. In the real world they don't fire CFO's over crap like this. But, that doesn't mean they all believe him, like him, or trust him, either.

If the higher-ups are worth anything at all they'll not only hear you out, but they'll apologise and send out a memo to the distribution list that received this crap outlining the fact that they've done their own, internal, review and have found that the consultant was missing some key pieces of information - like the knowledge of the state of the organization that you inherited. They'll catagorically state their support of you and the job you are doing.

They'll do this in writing, and they'll make sure that everyone that saw the original see it. And, they'll make sure the original report is removed from your file, replaced with this one.

I'd make it clear that this will happen or they'll be looking for someone else to clean up the mess.

While doing this I'd also be making some inquiries designed to get out of there. Would your previous employer be interested in having you back?


At 1:56 PM, Blogger Bravie said...


At 2:02 PM, Blogger BlindSlim~CSTL said...

OMG, that's unfucking believable. I can only offer hugs but I would also say that if you have any documentation, copies of emails anything that back up your story, save that shit and put it all in your greivance. I'm just in shock.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger kim (weltek) said...

Wow. Talk about something spinning totally out of control.

I agree with momma, mystic, etc. Document like mad. If nothing else, soley for the sake of repairing any damage for your next employment opportunity. You can leave this job if you have responded to the report with documentation and not worry too badly.

If you file a grievance, just remember that can really brand you in the industry, IF it's a tight knit industry. In the state system, I know people that file grievances tend to be labeled as troublemakers, no matter what the grievance was about. It's unfair, but it is a reality. If your industry isn't that tight knit and word doesn't travel, then I say go for it. If you have that worry, though, about being labeled, think carefully about the decision.

*hugs* Wow. I'm still just shocked.


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