I knew this was the wrong place for me after being here for a month. My boss, Karen, never talked to me. She was always too "busy" to teach me anything. So I sat. And sat. I'd ask her over and over again to help her with things, but she'd rather do all of the menial work I was hired to do herself because she thought teaching me would take too much time. I thought that I was just having new job jitters. I wish I knew how wrong I was.
Karen and my relationship improved, and I began finding work from other sources, particularly another manager named Michael. I liked how I could always get work from Michael and thought he was a better manager than Karen. I even thought about asking if I could switch to reporting to him. I wish I knew how wrong I was.
Things went sour between me and Michael after a scene that may well have been taken from a Human Resources video. After that incident, Michael, my primary source of work, didn't talk to me for six weeks. By this time, I was learning that whether I worked for 40 hours in the week or worked for say, 10 and played on livejournal for the other 20 or so, nobody cared, and I got the same amount of recognition. I was learning that if I showed up a half hour late and left a half hour early, nobody noticed either. I was learning that no matter how much I cared about my job or how important I thought it was for things to be right, it's nearly impossible to work Quality Assurance for a company that only cares about quantity. I learned that I could never excel at a company that expected failure and was satisfied with mediocrity.
All of these things drove me crazy. I demand of myself that I do the best job I can. I need to be busy. I had never been this idle at a job, or this ambivalent. And I hated it. So I started looking for a new job. This was the spring of 2002.
I managed to score an interview by July, only to be left hanging with no response. The conflicts between Michael and Karen and between Michael and me escalated. Michael took to calling me "sassmouth" and "smartypants". Michael began accusing me of being "disrespectful" when I asked him questions. There was a case in which we had received word from a manufacturer about how they wanted their name displayed on our website. Months later, Michael noticed this and demanded it be changed. I explained that it was the way the manufacturers display their name on their prodcuts and want us to on our site, and Michael dismissed me as being insubordinate, and demanded it be put the way he wanted it.
Then around October, the running conflicts between Michael and Karen had yet to be solved. Karen and Michael's boss, Wayne, decided months previous that it was Karen's responsibility to fix the problems between her and Michael and that she was the one who would have to change in order to make things work between them. The problem never got solved. Karen wasn't the problem, and the problem couldn't get fixed. Karen went to Human Resources to discuss the hostile work environment that Michael creates. Coincidentally, she was also in the process of securing a raise and promotion for me, and hiring another QA person, Moira, to work beneath me. Karen, Human Resources, 2 other managers, and Wayne knew about this raise. It was one signature from being finalized.
I came in one morning to find that Karen had gotten fired for not solving the Michael problem. Wayne took me into his office and told me that he understood if I wanted to quit that day, but that I had him and the whole company by the "short hairs" as I was the only one left who knew how to do my job. He insisted that I work for Michael. I asked to work for one of the other managers, but Wayne said that I had to work for Michael so I could solve the problems between us, and that I'd have to get over it because he wasn't going to keep me in the office if I were angry or bitter. He said that I would work here as long as they still needed me, and suggested that I only stay there as long as I needed them. I asked Wayne what would happen with my raise and promotion. Wayne blinked, stared at me, and said he had no idea what I was talking about.
Sometimes you make the right decision, other times you make sure your rent gets paid. Staying here was probably the hardest decision I have ever made, and the one thing I can think of that I regret. But I did what had to be done. Sometimes you gotta eat shit.
The hostility between Michael and me never got resolved. If anything, it escalated. Now a member of Michael's "team", another guy who works for Michael now took to going to Michael to contest everything I asked of him. Michael told him that he didn't have to listen to me. Michael pulled me aside one morning after a meeting in which he accused another one of our co workers of being told "too often that you're smarter than you are" that I need to agree with him 100% of the time. Michael tanked my annual review, judging my performance on things that didn't happen. He admitted that he didn't give me certain assignments because he thought I wouldn't do them, and judged me on my review based on how he thought I would react to a situation that didn't take place.
Before I handed in my letter for my 2 weeks notice, I told Human Resources that I was resigning. We have an employee profit sharing program that I would get disqualified from if I were to get fired. I didn't think it was beneath Michael to tell HR that he fired me after I quit. I gave HR a copy of my letter and then went to Michael's office. He looked scared when I handed him the envelope, and asked what it was. I told him it was my two weeks, and he asked incredulously, "what happened?"
A few days later, Wayne, who had suggested ten months ago that I try to leave before they could fire me, approached my desk and blurted, "What's this bullshit I hear about you leaving?!?" I laughed in his face.
What's even better about beating them in the "you need us/we need you" race is what the other manager whom I mentioned earlier told me that day. She said that Wayne was organizing a switch so that I wouldn't have to work for Michael anymore but would work for her--the manager I told him I'd rather work for the day he fired Karen; the manager Wayne said I couldn't work for because I had to work out the Michael problem or would be asked to leave. The Michael problem never got solved. Wayne was doing what I wanted in order to try to keep me.
I told most of this to Human Resources yesterday during my exit interview. I pointed out to them that no one in the company was comfortable talking to them after Karen just so happened to get fired after she was talking to HR about Michael and the problems he causes. The HR lady concluded that there was nothing she could have done. I said that she needs to think about how ebuild has lost two good employees now as a result of Michael and his behavior, and next time they have an itchy trigger finger to fire someone who is having problems with him to think a little harder.
I can't even picture Monday. I can't imagine what it's going to be like. I'm filled with confidence and hope that the worst is behind me. I know there are things that I left out of this entry that still hurt and anger me. But I can't dwell on how ebuild has wronged me or how the people here have lied, stolen, and cheated me. I have to know that I will move on, I will use this to better myself, and I finally, finally got some Sweet Justice.