I think it speaks volumes about where we are as a society, and as individuals, that employers feel like they can lie right to an employee’s face at will. This is the situation I find myself facing at the moment. But, it’s not new, and it is not restricted to small business.
My point here is not to document the specific instances, though I may make mention of a few details. My primary purpose in writing today is to discuss the mindset of the liar, and their perception of the impact on the person lied to versus the reality.
The liar perceives that they are gaining some advantage. They believe that either through withholding information intentionally or outright fabricating it, they are steering the targeted employee in the direction they would like them to go. Apparently they believe that they hold some sort of superior position which allows them to operate in this manner with impunity and that there will be no consequences to their actions.
The simple fact is that businesses survive, especially in small communities like the IC, on their reputation. Primes pick up subs with whom they have had successful working relationships in the past. There are only a handful of companies large enough to take on some of the bigger challenges presented in government contracting. If you get on the wrong list with one or more of them you can quickly find yourself out of work.
So, imagine for a moment, a ticked off employee sitting in a customer space, representing your company 40 hours a week.
Companies, especially small ones, formulate documents and policies based on what they have learned from other companies in the same industry. So my company has the same documents and policies as the large companies I have worked for in the past. They generated a Values Statement. They have a Roadmap. They have a process for setting individual goals and objectives, which I discussed in a previous post called “PDR Time”.
The problem is, I do not think they expected me to read any of these documents. But I did.
So, one item in our values statement is “integrity”. The subject is expounded on. Apparently “we” believe in presenting individuals (and if memory serves it is specifically employees that are referred to) with the facts and letting them make an informed decision. We hold this value to the extent that “we” specifically mention giving the employees *all* the information, good and bad, and letting them decide what to do with it. This principle was written and expounded upon by the women who intentionally withheld the information that the person who was responsible for bringing me to the company had resigned the same morning I was filling out my paperwork. She knew, from numerous discussions, that it was this specific individual that was responsible for me accepting the offer in the first place.
So, “we” write one thing and do another. We claim integrity, but we do not display it.
We post open positions. One of those positions was extremely well suited for my background and skill set. So, I submitted myself as a candidate. I received an email response from the “managing partner” mentioned above, telling me that “we” would be holding interviews shortly. Today, the other “managing partner” showed up on site, to take over the position I had applied to. No doubt it was a grueling interview process, to which I was not invited, but in the end she deemed that she was the best candidate.
The list goes on. As the title states, I’ve lost count.
As I consider what I want to say here I am struck by the fact that at the core of this behaviour is the belief on the part of my employers that I am in fact either so desperate for work that I will put up with anything, or too stupid to see what is right in front of my eyes. Was I somehow supposed to miss the arrival of the woman who owns the company I work for? Was I supposed to be kept in the dark about the role she is here to fill?
Either way, they are incorrect. I would be offended more than I am if I cared more than I do. I will no doubt rant about this later at the bar, but in the end all these continual small jabs do is steel my resolve. I have begun looking for another opportunity in earnest. I have reached out to contacts at other companies. I have updated my resume on the various job boards and I have begun actively applying to listings. It is simply a matter of time. But in truth, to quote the Eagles, “I’m already gone”.
There is a lady I know named LaTanya. At one point in time she was my boss. Now, she’s just a friend. But when she was my boss she found a way to garner my respect, loyalty and admiration. She became someone I would willingly go the extra mile for. She helped me focus my energy and attention in a manner that was good for me and her, and the company we both worked for. I believe, in the end, all three of us benefitted from it.
Sadly, the project we were on ended, and a bunch of good people went their separate ways. The thoughtful, insightful discussions with Andrew ended. The daily learning sessions that took place every time I approached Gonzo’s desk, or spoke to Mark, ended. And the opportunity to work for someone who shared my values, treated their people with respect, and gave what they expected to receive, ended.
The brilliant minds were replaced with self-important, ignorant, shallow, fools.
The willingness to discuss something deeper and more important than whatever piece of paper was lying on your desk at the moment was replaced with inane banter over meaningless topics, and a willful avoidance of anything substantive.
The manager that inspired enough loyalty in me to keep me sitting at home unemployed for four months because their *might* be an opportunity to work with her again, was replaced by people I wouldn’t willingly eat lunch with, or talk to unless I was forced to do so.
Principles lived and demonstrated on a daily basis were replaced with principles written but not followed.
Respect, support, encouragement, and engagement, were replaced with lies, con jobs, disinterest and distance.
LaTanya asked me to fill out a PDR because, as she used to say to other people, one of us needs to be out of here in the next two years. She didn’t believe in treading water.
Now I will be asked to fill out a PDR because…well…that’s what big companies do, and we want to be big one day. No one will care what I write. In fact, I already verbally told my manager what I’d like to do on Friday. This is Wednesday. I will wager $100 he cannot recall what I told him.
In the end what it boils down to is fairly simple. These people claim attributes that I actually have. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with people like me, and so they believe their words and actions go undetected. But, when you pretend to be something that someone else actually is, eventually the ruse is exposed. The real recognizes the fake, and the real is insulted by the attempt.
So let me wrap this up by stating clearly what I am trying to say.
No bitches, I am not so desperate for your money that I will sit here while you treat me like I’m stupid, lie to my face, and pretend to be something you are not. Especially when the thing you are trying to pretend to be is something that I actually am.
And let me also state clearly that in the grand scheme of things, without regard to position or title, LaTanya is a class act. She is a brilliant, creative, innovative woman, a good person, and she enhances the lives of those fortunate enough to know her. You on the other hand, are fancy shoes and fake jewelry. Presenting the appearance of something better, more rare and more expensive than you, but you fall apart under scrutiny. If LaTanya were to one day need someone to carry her briefcase around, I wouldn’t regard either of you as qualified for the job.
When the time comes to do what I need to do, I’m going to do it in the same manner as it was done to me. Thus verifying at least one verse of scripture.
You do in fact reap what you sow.