Oct 21, 2006

Ours Is Not To Reason Why

As I mentioned in my last post, I often wonder why exactly I was dismissed from ePrize. The reason I was given during the dismissal process was, um, less than illuminating.

When I think about it, I often come back to a few things that may have contributed:
  1. My Wall Quote: See last post.

  2. My (Percieved) Antisemitism: One of my friends still insists that I was targetted as being a bad egg when I was joking around with the company's resident comedian, comparing Jedis with Jewish people due to the midichlorian versus bloodline connection. It's true that, for a comedian, this guy had no sense of humor. So maybe my joke offended. (No one ever bothered to find out my own background on this...)

  3. El Diablo Bobblehead
  4. My Private IMs: It was only a matter of hours after I confided in one of my oldest coworker pals that my recently-appointed supervisor was being more of a hindrance than a help to our department due to his substandard coding skills that I was shown the door. Could all those rumors about our Jabber convesersations being an open book to anyone who care to read them be true?

  5. My Oldest Coworker Pal: Maybe I had misjudged just how good a friend this guy was. After all, he was the hatchet man and had been the messenger when it came to my autumnal demotion.

  6. My Seeking of Greener Pastures: As Jabber was an open book, so were our emails. Any sending of resumes probably set off some klaxons. Likewise, my appearance on Monster and Career Builder undoubtedly popped up on the radar. It was akin to sin to even think of playing the field. As one guy who had his job offer rescinded was told after he asked for a day to think over the two offers on his plate, "ePrize doesn't play second fiddle to anyone."

  7. My Concern For Others: I was always the guy who asked "uncomfortable" questions at meetings in order to make sure that all of our bases were covered. I brought up risks and ran possible worst case scenarios just to ensure that we might avoid pitfalls. Thus, I was occasionally seen as not being a team player. This was most noticable when I queried about a person's stock options if they ever became an ex-employee. I asked this with a problem ex-employee who demanded an optional bonus after they were dismissed in mind. How ironic, then, that I would be the ex-employee...

  8. My "Fear of Change": I was the fly in the ointment; the monkey in the wrench. I was a friggin' boy scout at work -- loyal, trustworthy and true -- but I was constantly bumping heads with my immediate supervisor who saw me as some kind of naysayer. During my time there he promoted someone over me (who later crashed and burned), and hired two potential replacements (both who crashed and burned -- one of them before he was moved into my position, one after). Add to that my caution when it came to adopting asinine technology and I was on the minus side of the spreadsheet.

  9. My Suggested Goal For 2006: Each year we're asked to provide a goal for the company's "top eleven" list. For 2006, after not having had a raise in 18 months and knowing how little my team members and I were making, I requested that a survey be made of all local agencies and that our pay rate be adjusted according to industry standard.
Okay, that's it. Usually when it comes to performance there are things that come up on a review or that you get sat down and talked to privately about. I didn't have these discussions -- no clear cut "we have a problem with these two or three things" lists. I had one panicked talk after I asked about the stock options for ex-employee thing but that was before I started actively seeking new work. If anything, that conversation might have been a contributor to my need for a new employer (that and the "No Limits" campaign).

My dismissal came out of left field. With every employee that I had to let go, there were several discussions and, often, these were well-documented. When I had a problem with people, I didn't want any grey areas. I listed out examples of the behaviors I needed modified and provided examples of less-than-stellar performance. I also made sure to have weekly check-ins with folks. None of that happened with me.

In other words, it was an exceptional experience -- in many senses. At least I got a huge severance package for my many years of loyal service, right? Think again. I got no more than if I had been working there five weeks. And Unemployment? Yeah, they tried to fight it. Luckily, the State found in my favor -- perhaps for that aforementioned lack of any kind of paperwork or warning.

I was surprised that there wasn't a paper trail a mile long that I wasn't privy to, however, since I had been instructed to keep a diary of any "problem employees." If that diary happened to be, um, generated after the fact... them's the breaks.


wrenched said...

can you share with us how you negotiated for unemployment?

NoLimits said...

Wasn't much of a "negotiation." I was sent a form to fill out from the State and in the area where I was to fill out the reason for dismissal I wrote that I wasn't provided a decent one, nor was I ever written up or talked to about my behavior or work practices and that if ePrize provided any such documentation that it was bogus as it is company policy to often manufacture that kind of documentation after the fact.

My unemployment was supposed to begin after a short period but the check just never showed up... finally, one day, I got a letter saying that the "dispute" had been settled and that I would be receiving benefits shortly (check arrived the next day). This was the first time that I actually saw the "official" reason for my dismissal. Kind of an eye-opener.

I hadn't been aware that there was a dispute over my filing until I got that letter. I was rather shocked that anyone would have the cajones to pull such a stunt.