Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

On June 8th, I did a post called “Why Are There Evil People?” I’ve been going through a situation at work where an employee (specifically, the assistant manager) has been trying to get me fired since the week before Memorial Day in May. She wrote an eight-page letter to my Corporate office, detailing all my alleged failures. She convinced three of my employees to sign on to the letter. She tried to get at least three others to sign on, but they refused. The rest were either too new, or in one case at least, too loyal to me, for her to even ask. I’ve never seen this letter in person, but I know what’s in it due to her having shown it to one of the employees who refused to sign on, who was perfectly willing and eager to share the contents with me.
In addition to listing my alleged shortcomings, part of the letter extolled her qualifications. She claimed that I didn’t do much of anything anyway, and what little I do, she knew how to do it too. Because of her dedication and laudable work ethic, she would be more than happy to take on additional responsibilities, which would have the added bonus of saving the company money (my salary). Showing a complete lack of understanding of my role, which isn’t that uncommon. She believes that work is made up of a series of tasks, and she has always missed the big picture…which is called “management”.
Have you ever seen the TV reality show “Big Brother”? This is one of this person’s favorite shows. Here’s how it works: A large group of complete strangers are placed in a house (the “Big Brother House”). They can’t leave the house except for going into the back yard. There are competitions, and the winner is named Head of Household (“HOH”). The HOH then nominates three people to be evicted, and a vote is taken during a house meeting, and one person gets thrown out. The objective is to be the last person standing. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the level of deception and scheming it requires to “win”.
For the purposes of this post, we will call the assistant manager person “Catherine”, and here was Catherine’s first mistake: she believes that real life is like Big Brother. That you can form an alliance with other people and “vote out” somebody you don’t like.
Cutting to the chase, on Thursday afternoon at 4:45 my boss informed me that on Friday, they were eliminating “Catherine’s” position. And that took place on Friday morning. He said that his observations and analysis of my operation (based on two visits of one day each in six months) did not require an assistant manager position.
I think this means one of three things, or a combination.
1. He really believes this, in which case he’s wrong.
2. He’s under pressure to cut expenses, making the company appear to be more profitable. Rumor has it that the company is quietly for sale.
3. This is the safest way to resolve what HR called the Fakename versus Catherine camps. Now everyone has to depend on me, whether they like it or not. And some of them won’t like it. “Catherine” was sweet, or apparently so. She has this sweet little girl voice, which grated on my nerves every time she opened her mouth in the last two months. But HR correctly described her as passive-aggressive. Her apparent sweetness hides the heart of a rattlesnake. I’m not mean, but I’m not sweet. I’m fair, and I’m straightforward.
Eliminating the position will mean I have to work more and longer hours. Is it worth it? You bet it is.
If money were the sole issue, my company could have saved more by eliminating my position instead, but they couldn’t really have done that. Every city has to have a General Manager…you can’t eliminate that position. So they would have had to fire and replace me…without cause, other than allegations made by employees that are emotionally based, speculative and unprovable. In addition, I have the double protection of being female and over 40. Not that I think I need to rely on that, but if forced, I would be in the lawyer’s office tomorrow.
The real deal is, I’m good at what I do. Yesterday, I talked to my old boss, whose position was “eliminated” back in February. He said, you’re safe for now. Your main client would have a coronary if they replaced you. Nice. But, he said, don’t feel too safe. Well, who ever does feel safe in corporate America?
But there are some secrets for surviving corporate culture. One of them is, Don’t draw attention to yourself in some negative way. Whether it seems that way to you or not, your bosses are busy. They don’t need the added interruption of dealing with a personnel issue that you created. And they do have to respond whether they like or not, and they will resent it. “Catherine” is not smart enough to understand that.
In the end, here’s what I think: I win, you lose.

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9 responses to “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

  1. Congrats! Now might be a great time to lobby for a raise for 3 reasons. First they have given you a vote of confidence, it would be difficult to find something negative in your performance that would interfere. Second they have just saved some payroll. And 3rd You now have more work to do.::))

  2. You were right about. But I prefer what you told me privately:)

  3. Thanks, pt, at least you appreciate me 🙂 But my company does not give raises to General Managers, ever. Unless you get a new location. In a normal business, all your points would apply. They don’t care how much more work you have to do.
    Nice to “see” you here again, Jeff. Will you be restarting your own blog?

  4. Congratulations! Our son is a computer person in a large corporation. People like him because he has iinitiatated procedures which save others work. He also helps others when he doesn’t have to.He and his co workers often worry about being laid off or being forced to move to Texas where some have already gone.

  5. AN old friend named Damon Runyan said _”He that tooteth not his own horn , the same shall not be tooted.”

    A company with gross revenue of over $330 million can afford a raise.

  6. I like that Runyan quote, pt 🙂 The issue is not whether they can afford to give me a raise, it’s whether or not they want to. And they don’t. In my experience, if you make demands (such as “Catherine” did), you need to have a Plan B, which includes some other option in case they not only don’t grant your wishes, but are so annoyed they start thinking about how they can reasonably get rid of you. That isn’t paranoia…it’s reality. Of course, “Catherine” had many other problems, such as lying. Not just twisting the facts to seem more favorable to her (we all do that), but outright lying. And she got caught at it.

  7. Yeaaa for you!

    Did you tell her the news or someone from “corporate”?

    There’s a good number of folks like her, who’ve probably read some book about how to scheme your way to the top by going straight to upper management and showing how much you know and can be an asset to the company. Maybe now she’ll see the wisdom of the Japanese proverb: the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

    As for the raise, I’m with you. if they feel you deserve one you will get it.
    In my two prior jobs I never asked for a raise but got something like 6 “merit” raises over about 15 years, until that money basically ceased to exist in state government.

  8. Corporate told her via a conference call with the head of HR and my boss. I took some evil pleasure from that…she didn’t even rate a personal visit. I like that Japanese proverb 🙂

  9. But there is no way she read a book. She got all her best ideas from reality TV.

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