Layoff and continuation of job search

Well, to start with, the layoff notice came today. I’ll copy it in later on as I adapt a bit of what I’ve written, but suffice it to say all but one person in my department is gone, including my manager, and the person left is… well more on them later.

This is another long entry, so thank you for reading it.

Though as a quick aside, especially during these times, if anyone has a tips, tricks or hints on finding another position, I appreciate it… now to continue from where I left off talking about the SOP guide.

On the surface the guide seems like a logical step.

The way things are going anymore at (ABC) there is far more separation between even teammates and less known about what each teammate is doing then in the past.

This was one of the ways I no longer felt as if I belonged and a massive change from when I started when everything actually felt like a team and family, and there weren’t so many blasted secrets and “you only need know what you need to know” speeches, such as when a former CEO was let go.

(ABC) is a flipping non-profit, I can demand and get the salary records for each individual in the company as well as a complete list of how each dime taken in is spent… secrets, bah, only from the staff not from someone with even a passing interest in getting them… after all, even if (ABC) was not a non-profit, there is the old adage (I think from Philip Marlowe) that if anyone is truly determined to get information from you or about you, unless it is something only you know and will die to keep secret, then there is nothing you can truly dothem finding that information.

I’m still here for you.

Nonetheless, the supposed idea behind the guide was to help each teammate have the knowledge on hand to cover for the other in the event that one is out for an extended period (hopefully just on vacation).

Ironically, my department was actually ahead of the curve for once as this idea was something later being proposed in various forms as an excellent way to capture knowledge within all departments.

It was said to allow (ABC) to engage in “capturing critical pieces of the knowledge and expertise that each (person) bring(s)” and prevent that knowledge from walking out the door with anyone they terminate, as it did last time.

See, the last time (ABC) let people go, some people got wind they would be let go and most were just ticked at how the process was handled from the outset and didn’t care if they would be kept on or not and deleted their personal files and anything none essential or critical to (ABC)’s operation they might have had on their computer.

Thereby, (ABC) not only lost information through the knowledge, skills and experience they tossed out the door, but by those that basically raised the preverbal middle finger at (ABC) by deleting data and procedures in a method that was, at the time, allowed as a means to ensure unused data and files weren’t kept to take up space and cause confusion.

The company stating they were fearful of losing knowledge aside for a moment, I also can’t neglect the guide was said to be needed because systems and roles are becoming so specialized that it is possible someone can use the same system but have no idea how to perform another task within that system.

Nor can it be ignored that, in addition to very visible tasks, each day people perform functions and activities that might go unnoticed, things they don’t even think about and they do without conscious thought of how difficult it might be or how the duties have almost become habits to them to the point such duties would continue to go unnoticed by anyone else until they aren’t completed.

So, in many ways even during normal times it was logical to create a guide that allows people to cover for each other both within their own department and outside it, especially should any individual or everyone in a given department be out for an extended time.  

Yet, the requirements for making the guide were so stringent and were required to be so detailed that they were being designed so not only can others within the same department or anyone with even just a vague understanding of the general systems can perform them, but so any of the students from the local elementary school could easily perform the duties.

That is not nearly the hyperbole that it might seem.

Truthfully, and slightly paradoxically to all I’ve said, to have such a detailed guide asked for under any other circumstance is nothing I’d consider an issue worthy of concern.

For in addition to the reasons for it already outlined, (ABC) always tends to overreact, calling in bulldozers to search for buried teacups.

They’ve recently had outside trashcans (which have been in the same place for the several decades the office’s been in its current location) moved, out of fear a bomb might be placed in them.

Ironically, because they’re seemingly only concerned about the distance from the office’s main entrance, the trashcans got moved directly in front of a Children’s Pediatrics … I guess they are ignoring the possible implications of their having had the trashcans moved to that location should someone use them to hold a bomb with the intent of impacting (ABC).

They also so overreact to the very possibility of the most minor of threats, Sun Tzu and Clausewitz are probably crying at how little strategy these people put into everything they do to try and protect themselves, all while claiming to be strategic geniuses.

Take for example how they decided to darken the front facing first-floor windows of the office (which are not all the first-floor windows of office let alone the building).

That decision alone has drawn far more attention to the office, as people notice the darkened/reflective windows and try to peer inside, far more than they previously did with clear windows.

Then step outside the building on a dark, rainy or even just dark and cloudy day, and compare the office’s darkened windows to those that aren’t darkened in the office or in the rest of the building.

While you can see in the other windows, you have to stare to make anything out, whereas with the offices’ darkened windows, one need just glance to be able to tell what’s written on someone’s coffee cup, even if they are a fair distance, I’d estimate 50 or so feet, from the window.

Yeah, it is as if there is a huge spotlight behind those windows, illuminating them to the outside world. 

Therefore, not only has darkening the windows drawn more attention to the office even in passing but it’s made it far more obvious something is being hidden.

Yet, they seem vaguely aware darkened windows are not sufficient to “protect” the office and therefore to better protect their people, they’ve drawn even more attention by placing enough cameras, not only on the inside of the office and the main building’s public areas as to make a casino blush, but on the outside, especially noticeable by the entryways. Again, this only further calls attention to the fact something is being hidden.

In thinking of the cameras I’m also reminded of the old saying, “If they have eyes, assume they also have ears, especially if they go out of their way to show you their ‘eyes’.”.

While it had been stressed that no one can listen in to staff conversations that are captured on camera, I’ve seen people watching the cameras and replaying scenes with headphones on, which seems contrary to that claim nothing is being recorded.

One other thing occasionally done was to send out an e-mail saying whatever they were doing was being done in the name of safety and security and then within the message, they took bows for how in doing whatever is being done, they were making the office safer.

Those statements are very ironic to me, as seemingly every one of their attempts to make things more hidden, have merely made it more obvious something is being hidden.

Clearly none of them have ever read the Purloined Letter by Edgar Allen Poe or understand the concept mentioned from Phillip Marlowe and again put forth in a Nero Wolfe novel (written by Rex Stout) that if a person is bound and determined to bring harm to you, there is nothing you can do to stop them; just like that person then cannot prevent the consequences of their actions from impacting them.  

So, to cycle back, in many ways, their push to have detailed manuals fits right in with most of their ideas and could even be partly justified for the reasons mentioned.

Yet, coupled with the announcement below that occurred right before Christmas 2019, the idea of the manuals also became very concerning.

Human Resources sent out a message on Christmas Eve (an office holiday for the record) afternoon, which read:

Emailing: Senior Administrative Coordinator JD – John Q. Public

Date: Tue 12/24/2019 1:01 PM

                “Hi,

We are in the middle of wrapping up our audit of employee files. During our audit we discovered your file didn’t have a signed Job description (JD).

A signed Job description is a required document needed for our employee files to be complaint with varies regulatory agencies. I’ve attached the JD we have on file for your position, please sign and return to me.

Please note: the attached JD was the job description used when you applied to your current position via ICIMS/WorkDay or the JD used to promote you into a newer position.

We understand that it may not be 100% accurate in outlining the duties you perform today, but we need this version signed.

Warm Regards,

Jane Q. Public

Senior HR Generalist & Recruiter

(ABC)”

Firstly, the e-mail came from a member of HR that has since (less than two months after the e-mail was sent) left (ABC), either by their own desire or someone else’s, is unknown.

However, given that they sent out an e-mail about celebrating people’s birthdays on the fifth of a given month and then 5 days later there was a message from HR saying that person was leaving effective that very day… I’d guess they either had another job in the pipeline from which they got a solid offer they couldn’t refuse that required a same day decision, or they were terminated. Given the circumstances surrounding and the nature of their departure, I believe it to be the latter, but again have no concrete proof or evidence either way.

That said, the timing of things and how there was no “farewell” e-mail from them, as there often is with voluntary departures, tends give further creedence to it being the latter, but again no proof either way.

As for the e-mail itself, even with all the earmarks of a phising e-mail exercise (which IT tended to do over holidays) the e-mail turned out to be legit, which was yet another major concern.

Frankly, unless HR was very careless with their files (which was entirely possible given some of their history), their claim not to have a signed JD was nonsense.

It should be noted for the record that there’s someone in the HR department, a person who started a bit after me and is now the last standing of the HR department from that time who is also one of the few to survive the latest purge, who’s fanatical with ensuring correct and complete documentation is attached to each personnel file. With them continually monitoring and checking files, to even consider that not just one but multiple JD’s from multiple files are missing, is unthinkable.

When titles were changed, leveled or whatever they called it (back in 2017 according to the JD itself), Human Resources, in particular that member, was quick to ensure each file had a job description and that each job description was signed by the employee and their supervisor…

It should also be noted that this time, while there was still a blank signature line for the supervisor on the JD e-mailed to employees, the supervisor was not required to sign on that line.

Rumors immediately started running wild that HR wanted signed job descriptions to be able to point to the fact the employee knows what they should be doing and what is not being done or that several, some, or all of the listed duties no longer exist and therefore there is no justification to continue the existence of the given position, despite what work that person currently does… either concept would be seen as a means to justify termination…

Of course, being in a “Right to Work” state, I am not sure they even needed that much, unless they feared reprisal and challenges from terminated employees. Given the history of how they handled such things in the past, EEOC challenges were very possible if they handled it the same way this go around or had some new innovative way to screw it up.

Now, given all that has been mentioned, my full focus should’ve been on getting out of here, on getting another job, and while much of my focus was, my thoughts also increasingly turned to winning the lottery or being successful in crowdfunding.

Though truthfully, I’m not sure either will ever happen, as I don’t think I’ve ever won more than $5 in the lottery (though at times I’ve come within one digit of one number from winning $250) and when it comes to crowdfunding, I frustratingly watch as people asking for $2,000 to visit every ice cream parlor in their state will raise over $50,000 within two days and yet in over thirty days, I can’t raise more than $70 (that was during my most recent attempt and is $70 more than I’ve ever previously raised in attempts for other projects) to cover medical care, rent, debt payment and help me cover food expenses for my cats as I’m trying to pay for older owed medical care debts.

Regardless, I think of how even winning or raising enough money to pay my current debts, car loan, medical debts (which are outrageous) with maybe a tiny bit extra to cover a few months of reoccurring debts, such as cat food and rent, and/or if I’m really lucky enough beyond that to afford a move to a place where showers drain, lights work and toilets flush (my housing is its own story), or simply to be far less greedy, and stick with just get enough to square my current debts, how that would very much relax my mind…

True, in any of those scenarios I’d merely be debt free from current debt. I’d still need money to live, still need money to get food, pay for gas, cell phone, the necessities needed to live in the 21st Century and to search for work and avoid rapidly going back into debt.

Work would also be needed to avoid placing me in a major mess of possibly more medical debt to come and to allow me to ensure I and my feline family stay fed, and in certain of those scenarios, the debt of a mortgage or rent on a new place would also require employment.

In short, even being free of my current debts, I’d still need another job and medical benefits to replace the job and benefits lost, in order to continue to survive.

Yet, somehow, even just that position, merely being currently debt free, would be mentally so much more relaxing I’d feel a huge weight off my shoulders despite what else might come… which is why I am working my hardest to be, come what may, this time next year down hopefully one large debt…(tbc)

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