Friday, January 29, 2010

I Won?

So for the last several days, I've been playing the most irritating game with HR.

I send a request asking for some type of documentation that states that my company is re-structuring, and due to this I will be transitioning to the employ of a new managing entity.

Then I get back a response that has nothing to do with what I asked. Forcing me to re-ask the same question - with smaller words and keeping the case lowered to ease any confusion.

can you give me something that says that you stopped running the office and that i work for the new company thats running the same office plz?

I'm not kidding. I got a response asking, "What do you want the letter to say?"

She finally tosses me to her supervisor. This whole time they're trying to get me to call them to handle this over the phone. No dice. Everyone in this will be accountable for their words.

The HR head asks what I want, as apparently she hasn't read any of the e-mails that stated this in retardedly painful detail. So I tell her, and even add that this letter would be strictly for my own records in the event that I ever need to show that there was never a break in my employment and that I was transitioned to the new firm. (This is really in case the new regime realizes I'm a worthless blogger and gets rid of me within the first months. Also, there are rumors that this is just a first wave of people being laid off and that more heads are to roll in April.) She then e-mails my boss and asks if this is true. My boss replies back and says it isn't, as the wording I used might infer that I was laid-off (which I was), while he sees it as we're all leaving to work for someone new. So I reply back asking for a re-worded letter or e-mail that at least notes that my current position with the company won't exist in February. And that I will now be under the employ of the new company. (I can't wait for this whole thing to end so I can stop using the word 'employ' in every other sentence.)

Then I don't hear back from anyone.

My boss calls me into his office and asks for my resignation letter. I tell him I'm not writing one until I get something in writing that outlines what's happened here. He shakes his head. "You guys are really getting me pissed off about these letters." He holds one up, "I told Michael to write 'in lieu of termination'. He wrote 'in Lou of termination,' . . . who is Lou?" That he can be mad at his staff goes beyond insulting to degrading.

"This entire thing could have handled much better. You swing by our desks as you're leaving, tell us we need to write a letter of resignation. We all say no. Or ask why. You go on vacation the next day and come back a week later and don't mention a word about the resignation letters until this morning, when you send out an e-mail and say you need those by the end of the day. You've never once told us why we need to write these letters and who they're going to. And when someone does ask, you act insulted that we'd even question the company."

He takes of his glasses and rub his temples. "Look. I know it's a bad time around here, but you don't want to burn any bridges."

"Why? We've already been laid off by this company. We're being screwed out of a severance by the way this transition was structured. If my company is going to ask me to write a letter of resignation, it's only fair that I get something that states this transition is even occurring."

"You can print out all these e-mails that you've gotten from HR."

"No, I can't. They're all worded as to be intentionally vague. Some of them read like a Marx brothers routine. In not a single e-mail since the meeting have we gotten anything that says the new company is taking this office over and that some employees are transferring while others are being laid off. Nothing has said that. If they did, then it could be seen that we're being forced out and a severance would have to be paid out."

"So is that what you want. A severance? You're not going . . ."

"I don't care about the severance. What I do care about is that if the new company lays me off in a few months, the company where I worked for five years won't hold up this letter and say 'Sorry, (A.v.E) walked out the door on his own'."

He touches his face again. This time pinching the bridge of his nose. He's buying realty. Waiting for the next thing to say to come to him.

"I understand that. That's a real concern." And for the first time since this all began, he regained a sense of humanity. He agrees that what they're doing is bullshit. That he hates having to ask for these letters, which even he and his boss aren't certain of the full purpose. I seem him struggling to phrase each following sentence.

"You know, you could have saved everyone a lot of trouble if you'd just said this in the first place. All the people on the floor want to know is that they have a boss who understands them and can sympathize with them. We want to know we work for someone who will go the mattresses for us."

I help him word another e-mail to the HR supervisor in New York. I walked out of his office. And that's the last I heard on the subject.

As he was leaving, my boss comes over to my desk and asks with a pissed grin, "are you happy now?" I check my e-mail and see that the HR supervisor has replied stating explicitly that she will change our "former employee category" (like I'm supposed to know they had categories) to one where the company will not contest any draw for unemployment. I ask, "Wait, so that means we were in a category where they would have fought to have to pay out."

Tina overhears and asks what we're talking about. The Boss turns and addresses the staff who are now looking at us.

"HR was trying to put you all in a category where they'd refuse unemployment. But I sent them an e-mail and made sure that wouldn't happen."

The son of a bitch really thinks he did this. Even though he was going around forcing everyone to shoot themselves in the foot by drafting a resignation letter, he thinks he's helped us all.

And that's the worst about people like him. Those who can be so destructive yet see only the righteousness they've convinced themselves is there. It's an amazing skill. One I hope I won't develop with time.

He'll spend the rest of our days here recalling to us how he fought for his staff. I'll let him have that idea of a victory. What would I do with it?

No comments: