My Job Seeking Dilemma


woman_standing_construction_site_pc_1600_clr_7940It’s been obvious to some of you that I have been going through some hard stuff lately. I decided this morning, I’m finished protecting those who don’t deserve protection, and I’m going to just lay out my problem honestly, and let the chips fall where they may. I need this off my soul, and this is how I’m going to start that process.

Brace yourselves. 🙂

Over the twenty or so years that I’ve been in the work force, I have come to understand all the unspoken rules of gaining employment. I’m not talking about the actual laws governing it, but instead the accepted understandings of what a job seeker can or cannot say or do if they hope to gain a new position in a company. We profess that no person can be discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender, etc., but we recruiters know, that is pretty much a bunch of crap. The key is, find a legal way to not hire them, even if it isn’t the real reason.

Just so you know, I don’t do that. Ever.

Blue Collar JobsI’ve worked at places where that law is very, very much taken seriously. Take Stand-By Personnel, for instance. This company absolutely does not discriminate in any way against people. It is the one set of people I must say without a doubt, I’ve never seen be snarky or judgmental towards a person coming in looking for a job, no matter what.

Another company was Moylan Staffing. Because of Kim, my HR Director, that company operated above reproach in all of its hiringmoylan practices. Both of these companies cared more about putting people to work than making another dollar for themselves, and to prove it, if someone didn’t qualify for Moylan they would be sent to apply at Stand-By, and vice versa. The owners of the companies don’t know each other, or anything like that. They just both want to find people jobs. Period.

It is always refreshing when people’s lives are part of the concern for finding them a job, not just a vehicle for making someone a buck. Even though I no longer live in Tulsa, I still root for these companies to make it, and whenever I can, I still direct my friends and family in that area in those directions whenever they find themselves in need of a job.

moneyBut recently, I found myself working for a company that did not put the needs of other people before themselves. I won’t use their name here, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to figure out who I’m talking about.

I found myself mired in a pit of sexual harassment towards young, pretty girls, unwarranted arrogance in a very lazy group of men in top management, bold-faced lying, legal disputes, and frankly, bullying.

I watched a high up executive flounce his authority by rewarding young Bullying_Sexualfemale employees based on their unprofessional, sexy attire and flirting; he didn’t even bother to try to hide his crude comments about one particular young woman. The girl was a butt of a lot of jokes, but his protection afforded her several instances of lenience in absenteeism, mistakes in work, and missed deadlines, not to mention her pay scale, which was much more than others with more time in, more experience, and more dependability.bully-655660_960_720

I was witness to another manager lie about things said in meetings when the backlash on himself was unexpected and unpopular. He would just pretend he didn’t remember saying that! To make it worse, he then made up slanderous rumors to discredit those who had heard him make these promises and statements, in order to invalidate anything they might say. He told people, behind my back, that I was a drug addict. Never once was I sent to the ONSITE lab for testing. He told this to anyone who would listen AFTER I was gone. That’s so high school!! I was never once under the influence of any sort of drug, and sadly, that was the only excuse they could come up with after I was fired for a made up reason. My work had been exemplary.

I was told directly that despite knowing a situation between a department head and her inferior had disintegrated into pure bullying, which he privately agreed with me is what had happened,  they would get rid of the person being bullied before they would ever do anything about the woman bullying because frankly, she was more valuable to them. They’d proved that already with a woman who had had a breakdown a few months into my employment with them. He told me the Bully had negotiated a good benefits package for them.

Really?! Clearly, he had no idea just how easy that is to do.

I watched a woman in my department who had been bullied for so long finally crack, have asad-woman nervous breakdown, and was then fired while on workman’s comp when she hired an attorney.

During an investigation into that woman’s allegations, I made the mistake of telling the truth. This labeled me disloyal to the company, and I became a liability. Honesty is only useful when it benefits the person who has nothing to hide.

To me, the situation wasn’t all that hard to comprehend. A department head had been given her promotion without any real supervisory Angry_womanexperience, and once in it, she had gone crazy with power. Add in that she didn’t actually know how most of the positions performed by those under her management worked, she often was giving instructions that either didn’t make sense, or weren’t a legal way to handle something. I mean, really. You can’t fire people on worker’s comp!

I tried for months to just do my job, but no matter how well I did it, she would make up ways to sabotage me. She hid work in the back of my desk Pillory_9105377drawers; she gave me notes on how to run a report, and when her notes were wrong, and the report came out wrong, she wrote me up. Her favorite technique was humiliation, and instead of addressing perceived mistakes privately, she would bellow them out to the entire office standing at your cubicle. To say I was working in hell would be an understatement.

fire-1311163_960_720I took my concerns to management many, many times, but of course, I was told, she was much too valuable an employee to get rid of, so I could either shut up and take it, or quit. And since I couldn’t quit because I needed the money, I tried just taking it.

The whole situation was causing real health problems for me. I never knew what fresh hell she would have planned for me for each day, and as such, I started having panic attacks from holding in my temper. Everyone who knows me, knows. I do have a temper. But, I’m kind of proud to say, I held it for a really, really long time.

Finally, I lodged a complaint outside of our company with the EEOC Eeoc_logo2commission. The very day I did this, I was fired under made up circumstances. She did this via text message at 9pm in the evening when I was at home. That’s what kind of professional I was dealing with.

hammer-719061_960_720I contacted some great attorneys, and wouldn’t you know it! You are legally allowed to bully and lie about your inferiors as long as they can’t prove it was happening for any of the specific reasons that are illegal – age, race, religion, gender, etc.

I’ve always been a hard working employee. I’m smart, loyal, personable, organized, dependable, etc. I got compliment after compliment for being able to find and hire good applicants and fill up the deficit they had had so long.

But I have this one discharge on my employment record because of a vindictive, dishonest woman, and her managers who don’t want to admit they made a mistake in promoting this kind of personality over other people, and that is what I get judged by. It is disheartening.

The unspoken rules of employment are that you must have a clean background, must never have been fired except for lay-off’s, never bad-mouth previous employers, and have good references from all of them. There’s no way I can explain any of this to a prospective employer without looking like a troublemaker, even when I clearly never was one.

How does one do that when they find that they’ve worked for people so dishonest, unprofessional, and vindictive?

workers-659885_960_720I have never been swayed much what a person writes down on their resume or application. I always listen to any story a prospective employee has to tell me about why they have been fired, and on occasion, I do look into the reputation of the company they were terminated from, even if it is only their Google or Facebook reviews.

I hope other people with the power to help people find jobs will do the same. Use your common sense. If an applicant worked for years with companies and had good references, should one bad one ever outweigh those without us questioning why?

As for the company who runs itself in such a dishonest and disreputable way, I know one thing for sure. When you make this kind of the environment for your employees, you don’t attract good workers. You may have them briefly, but unless they can maintain themselves in such a conscience searing way, they will never stay. And I am one of the people in this world that believes, what goes around, comes around. I forgive you…if only so it frees the Lord to do with you as He sees fit.

In the meantime, I believe God got me out of there in just the nick of time. He has protected me minutes from His anger before, and I feel like He is doing that for me once again. I believe that He hasn’t forgotten me, and He has something for me to do that will bring help to people, like I did for Stand-By and for Moylan.  I plan on keeping my eyes centered toward the Lord, from whence my help comes.

~ Bird



Truth In Reporting (or Blogging)

infjYesterday, we celebrated Halloween at work by dressing up and having a companywide potluck lunch. I will admit, it was really, really fun. During the festivities, though, the subject of ranting about work on-line came up when one coworker had to add everyone back on to their Facebook page because they had wanted to rant about work but didn’t want to get fired for being disgruntled. Social media is rough when things aren’t going well in your life, and it can be easy to do something in a low moment that could haunt you for a long time to come. In the end, I waited until I had been working somewhere else for 6 months before I let the cat out of the bag about my unhappiness with my prior employer.

Personally, I think businesses in America really have it made in the shade. I know in Oklahoma, you can lose your job for no reason at all. The thought is, while you can’t fire people for many certain reasons, you can be fired if your employer states no reason at all. Common sense, of course, dictates there is always a reason, but by pretending there isn’t one, businesses are protected from the fall out of civil liability. How’s that for stupid?

I witnessed some of what happened with this particular employee, and the right to rant was definitely there. In the end, no rant was posted. Just like my own fears of confronting the blatant unfairness of my prior employer and the abusive coworker, the payoff would have not been worth it. Yet, for me anyways, the ability to write out the situation from my personal perspective, judge it with my own perceptions, and walk away from the problem with some clarity and closure, helps me deal with conflicts in a healthy way.

I decided when I wrote that article last week, I won’t be confined by fear any longer. By hearing the frustration of the slighted employee, my decision was strengthened. Often, I’ve been encouraged by other bloggers who state, if people know you will write about them honestly, they might behave better because of it. The same should go for companies, don’t you think? I hate feeling stifled by fear, and since the old writing career is going pretty well these days, I think being fired for being honest is a good thing, for me anyways.

I’ve found that I’m super effective as a marketer for Stand-By Personnel because our ideals match up pretty well. I love helping people who needstand. a break, like felons, long-term housewives, and disabled people. Stand-By has built a reputation in Tulsa for hiring and placing the people deemed un-hirable by everyone else. There have been a couple of bumps in the road when dealing with other coworkers, but nothing impossible to work through. That will always be the case for someone as introverted as I am. I work best alone, uninterrupted, and when I have plenty of time to mull something over in my head. By being in a normal office setting, these qualities are irritated daily through no fault of anyone else. One thing the prior employer did that helps me these days is, he had all of his employees take the Myers Briggs, which are eerily accurate. By virtue of being INFJ, I found out, I will probably always bristle when dealing with corporate structural normality’s. Knowing that about myself has really helped when confronted by other people’s inability to understand how I tick.

So, fair warning. I plan to be completely honest on here, about myself, about companies I deal with in my life, and people who come and go through it. J Happy November, People! 2014 is almost over!!

~ Bird