Friday, July 15, 2005

How to Get Fired in Under 12 Hours

I stopped by my old place of employment to see some people and say hi, and I got this letter from them. I don' think that I should, but I really can't not share this with everyone. So, this is my advice if you want to get fired immediately: send this letter to everyone in your company.

An employee’s answer to a certain managerial publication.
“On second thought, reality and open communication aren’t so bad.”
-Company Newsletter, June 2005

Well, in the interest of this assertion by our fearless Vice President of Marketing, I thought perhaps it might be prudent to get some “open communication” out there from someone other than a manager. One thing I learned from my journalism studies is that one of the purposes of journalism is to serve as a watchdog for the community. This “watchdog” capacity seems to be lacking in our recent “corporate” environment these days, and could benefit hardworking employees that are feeling a bit under-valued as of late. Thus, here is my attempt at leveling the playing field and bringing the upstairs, upper management, upper-salaried persons “back in the loop.”

Here’s my reality
Reality #1: I currently earn $14.50 per hour. Which equates to $30,160 per year. So far in 2005, inflation has been averaging about 3%. What happens when prices have risen 3% and my salary has not? My salary is actually worth $29,255.20, or $904.80 less. This is equal to about 62 hours of work at $14.50 per hour which I will not be paid for.

Reality #2: “Simply put, there’s a philosophical difference between increasing pay based on taking up office space for a period of time and increasing pay based on value, effort and commitment brought to the company.” -Company Newsletter, June 2005. There you have it, fellow employees. If ever you were wondering how the managers viewed you, here is your stark reality: you take up office space for a period of time. Apparently those of us who did not receive raises do not bring value, effort, or commitment. Those two weekends I worked overtime were just for fun.

Reality #3: We have absolutely no clue what our healthcare benefits will be when we switch over to the new plan in August. August also happens to be in two months. Don’t be surprised when employee contributions to healthcare goes significantly up and that 3% decrease in salary because of inflation is decreased even more.

Reality #4: The average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle rents for $700 per month. This amounts to about $8,400 per year. With my gross annual earnings currently at $24,429.60, this leaves me with $16,029.60 per year to live off of after I put a roof over my head. After 3% inflation and no cost-of-living raise, this will actually be $15,548.71 to live off of. Paying your dues and putting in two years at a company does not appear to be paying off. One might think that perhaps it has something to do with my performance, but my most recent performance review was nothing but positive.

Reality #5: With all this difficulty getting raises these days, perhaps the best route to go is to shoot for a promotion. We are in fact a growing company that has created many positions over the past year. I was even told in an email from our fearless Vice President on October 18, 2004: “If you’re patient, there will be growth opportunities for our star performers.” In an email from the Vice President on October 19, 2004, I was also told, “…where there’s growth, there’s opportunity.”

My experience has shown that this is not the case. On May 6, 2005 I emailed the Vice President, asking if the new sales coordinator position in development would be open for everyone in the company to apply. Here was his response:

Hi. We expect to have three positions to post internally in the next week or so and all employees will be welcome to apply. They are: 1) Sales Coordinator; 2) Northwest Regional Sales Manager; and 3) Marketing Manager. The CFO will let us know when they're ready to post.

Thanks for your interest,

On May 9, 2005, a posting for the Sales Coordinator position was sent out via email to the company. We have yet to see a posting for the Northwest Regional Sales Manager position (although there have been several outside applicants coming in to interview for it, as some of you sharp observers may have already noticed), and the mystery Marketing Manager position.

On May 13, I was allowed the opportunity to interview for the Sales Coordinator position. “Rumor-mongering” and a sick feeling in my stomach tells me that the certain outside applicant to which the job was awarded had probably already been awarded the job prior to my interview (management, please correct me if I’m wrong). When I sent an email requesting the reasons they had decided to go with another applicant (information which would be helpful to me if I am to improve and hopefully next time be awarded that future promotion I might apply for), I received no response.

I was informed by the CFO that the Sales Coordinator position would be offered a salary in the range of $32,000 to $37,000 per year. What does this mean to me? A brand-spanking new employee to the company with equal responsibilities is making $2,000 to $7,000 annually more than I am.

Management: Super in the loop
Our company has been sold and this all leaves me wondering: was the collective managerial conscience included in that sale? GASP! How could I write something like this and hit send? This surely is an emotionally-charged, reactionary response to a poorly-worded news article.

I beg to differ. These are issues which have been weighing on my mind for quite some time. Call me a liar, but I actually am a firm believer in the benefits of straight-forward, open communication. So, sans rumor-mongering and innuendo, this is my reality. I would encourage other employees experiencing similar frustrations to also take the route of open communication and put their issues and concerns out there on the table. Who else is going to stand up for you but YOU?

I guess if all else fails, we all know where the door is. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

This was sent at the end of a working day, and within 10 minutes of walking into the building the next morning, the person that sent this email was fired. And from what I hear, the door did hit her on the way out.


At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

Hmm. I think if you've got the courage to write a letter like that, you deserve to be working someplace a whole lot better. Hopefully the person who got fired is enjoying the benefits of a better employment.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Sebby said...

You know, I should check into that. I'm actually not sure where she ended up after she got canned.

Although, for the record, after working with her for over a year, I don't think it was courage. Frustration or stupidity? More likely.


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