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Remember that second lay-off? Seems someone at our parent company got wind of it, and I was re-hired last week – at said parent company.

Will it last? Dunno. But it’ll do – at least until i find something better.

And it is a bit of a compliment, I guess.

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I still have sources: I just got a call that the guy who did fire me was himself fired this morning – with immediate effect. That makes two out of two. Incidentally, this was the same guy who had been sexually harassing female staff.

I’d love to know if my reporting him did, in the end, have an effect; but of course I will likely never find out. I’ll just assume that, in some small way, I have been a force for good, and I’ll let myself feel warm and fuzzy for a few hours. You know – enjoy it while it lasts.

So, remember when I was fired? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Just returned from court and it turns out that the dismissal was illegal for four separate reasons (two of which I wasn’t aware of when it happened). I kid you not. It also turns out that my former employer truly and genuinely believes to be in the right. I’ve filed that, mentally, in the category “evidence that my [former] managers are wholly incompetent”. Anyway, as a consequence, they’ll have to pay me a good chunk of money. I could have gotten my job back, and while that would have been extremely amusing, I just don’t need that stomach ache in the long run. (Yes, I am aware that they still achieved their goal this way.) The money won’t make me rich, and frankly wasn’t the goal. The goal was to stand up for my rights, and that I did. Lessons learned:

  • Know your rights. My opponent didn’t, and thus acted stupidly.
  • Have a lawyer. A good lawyer is worth his fees.
  • Have insurance. Having insurance that covers those fees is priceless. I probably could not have afforded to sue otherwise.

Anyway, I am off to a celebratory dinner.

So. I was fired today.

Oh noes! What happened?

It has nothing to do with being a snitch; the stated reasons for the dismissal are pretty much made up. I have a lawyer on the case.

So, what’s your problem, Secretgeek, that you can’t keep a job?

Eh, I know exactly what my problem is. I am not good at putting up with incompetence, and I can’t not speak my mind when stuff is going wrong. Needless to say, when that incompetence runs your company, you don’t exactly endear yourself to your bosses.

…and now?

Well, how much are lottery tickets these days?

In all seriousness though, I am not really sad to leave that company. In a way, I probably needed the kick – I was putting up with too much nonsense out of sheer inertia. I had been trying to come up with a plan for the future for a while now, and I just never came up with a good alternative. Now I’ll have to apply for something more or less along the same lines – while I have money saved up it isn’t going to last forever.

In a twisted glass-is-half full way, though, that’s good, too – it means I will need this blog for the foreseeable future.

Ever since I signed with my current employer, there have been persistent stories about the ‘exploits’ of one of our managers. That is, he sexually harasses his female staff. Some of the co-workers who told me about it claimed to be victims themselves, but I never witnessed any of it myself. At the same time, there are just too many reports by too many women – if this is not true, it would have to be a big conspiracy indeed.

I always “hoped” that I might be a chance witness, so that I could trigger something, but no such “luck”. I did encourage the victims to report it, but as far as I know none ever did.

Last week, and purely by chance, I ran into a woman who had left the company recently. I asked her why she resigned, as overall she seemed to be okay with the job.

“Secretgeek, you remember I told you he tried to touch me a couple times?”

“Yes,” I said, dreading where this might go.

“He actually put his hands between my legs once. Nobody – none of the women anyway – will enter a car with the man. It is really terrible!”

“So why didn’t you ever complain officially?”

She shrugged. “You know what would have happened? He’d say, ‘I didn’t do this’ and that’s that.”

I had to concur. But I had to think about this a lot the past few days, and so today I sent an – anonymous – mail to our CEO, who is usually quite approachable. I didn’t name names, but made clear what the situation was, and that I realize that he can’t do much based on rumors. I suggested that he should remind all staff that such behavior is not tolerated – and include guidelines what a victim should do.

I don’t know if it’ll help. But at least I did something.

Right?

I think morale at my workplace has hit a new low. I’ve been listening to people who come to me to bitch about the management – I think they kinda trust me because they know I am our bosses’ top enemy – and it seems that not one soul trusts any of our managers. They’ve been described as “liars”, “selfish”, “despotic”, “untrustworthy”, “stuck in a 1930s mindset”, and worse.

I can’t really deny any of that. As far as I can tell, the local management is basically working into their own pockets as best they can – supporting each other for raises, while not even forwarding requests from other employees. Covering for each other when they take days off (“sick days”, “work from home days” if anybody asks). One guy overdid it so much that he was fired for taking excessive amounts of sick leave (about 60% of work days, I kid you not) after he was observed at a party while “ill”.

The local managers who can approve orders themselves have bought themselves nice mobile phones, iPads, induction charging stations, usb memory sticks with LED usage indicators, and other gadgets.

I’ve raised the issues several times before and told them, obviously without naming names, what staff thinks of them and how I think they should do better – presumably at least part of the reason why I am enemy #1 – but you should not think that the behavior changed.

It’s not really my problem, but I’ve successfully defied them in the past – illegal orders, violations of company process, and attempts at bullying me into resigning – and so I’ll try to raise the issue with our CEO. I don’t really think there will be any sort of change, but I think it might be amusing.

Besides, it’s good conflict training. Maybe when I am done with this mess I can actually think about getting into management myself. In the past, that idea scared me, and I turned down the opportunity twice – but perhaps it’s time to actually try and do it better.

Just, really – not in this company.

So I was in a good, optimistic mood today and asked my coworker Hannah if she wanted to join me for lunch.

“Sorry, Secretgeek,” she replied, “I just don’t feel hungry at all today.”

Sure, no worries. So I went to lunch with my colleagues Paulo, Muhammad, and Terrence instead. Paulo drove us to a restaurant we usually walk to, on account of wanting to quickly stop at a shop afterwards. Ten minutes later, Hannah and Steven walk in. They must’ve left the office about the same time we went to the car.

Too bad Hannah couldn’t have simply said “I already got plans”. So either there’s some odd business going on… or women now lose their appetite when the prospect is lunch with me.

The company I work for is pretty sucky. (I know, I really know how to pick ’em.) Since this isn’t just my opinion, it has been getting very bad reviews by both current and former employees on popular rating sites. Today, in an all-hands call, our HR guy told us that this was “a bad thing” and that we should please remember that “such negative statements hurt our company”. He named the site and while he was speaking, people all around the conference room picked up their iPads and mobile phones to check said site.

Good job, HR guy.

Oh, and, of course the approach of actually reading the feedback and fixing valid issues has not occurred to anybody.

This week I am on a ‘training course’, together with ten other individuals. Officially, it is a ‘communications training’. In fact, though, it is a thinly-veiled attempt at forcing us to conform to the wishes of our management. We’re only one day in and there have been several exercises along the lines of “name 3 positive things about your company” and “come up with 3 negative things about your company – Ok great now put a positive spin on each of them”.

I can see how some of it is useful when dealing with complaining customers, of course. But the emphasis truly seems to be on convincing us that the company is the hottest thing since buttered toast.

It doesn’t really work so far, but hey, two days to go.

Meanwhile, I have been in a lousy, lousy mood. Work has been bothering me a lot, yes, but my last real relationship – other than some going out with random ladies who disappear too quickly to even give them code names for this blog – was a year ago. And I am not getting younger.

I have some time off to the end of the year. I must really find some way out of this mess…

I wonder if I could crowdsource my problems.

 

The CTO of my customers refuses to send a CSR – Certificate signing request – by email for “Secruity Reasons”. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a public and a private key. The same individual attaches a high-resultion scan of his handwritten signature to every email.

Seriously.

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