Saturday, August 09, 2008

Breaking what silence there was still remaining

Today I feel like breaking my silence about the job situation I just left. I know many people would caution against talking about the situation, citing that "someone" may read it. Well, I have nothing to hide. I'm not the one who did anything wrong or illegal, and I'm feeling the need to educate and protect others.
The company I left (see, I'm still politely not saying the name of the company) was headed up by a very detached CEO. For a company of 12 people it is truly staggering how detached from the company she really was. She had (still has) no idea who worked on what and who specialized in anything. And she made up crap like you wouldn't believe. To hear her introduce us to other people was both an ego trip and embarrassing for being so completely unreal. I'll give her credit, she is amazing at what she does- which is broker deals. But as a CEO, no one could be worse.
How bad was it? Well let's see... in late April I was offered a large pay raise and promotion. The work and responsibility I got immediately. The money was supposed to start in about 4 weeks. But naturally, she forgot. And then when she did pay me, the check bounced. The next paycheck was late. The next one was the wrong amount. The next one bounced again. Oh, and then the next one was so late I had to get the State involved. She still shorted me about 30% and did everything in her power to make the check invalid (misspelled my name, misspelled the amount, post dated it, and more). And then the check bounced again.
I could go into more details about the 10,000 reasons this woman deserves to be in jail, but knowing her, she'd sue me for libel for sharing the truth. Instead, I'll tell you what I have learned.
1. Get everything in writing. Put everything you say in writing as well.
2. When in these sorts of situations, copy a lawyer on every email you send.
3. The State Wage and Labor Commission is here to protect and help you (even if you still are employed there). Did you know that for every day a paycheck is late or overdue to you that your employer has to pay a fine to the State? And you get about half of that fine? If your employer fails to pay up both the wages to you and the fine to the State, they risk criminal charges.
4. Your bank is also here to protect and help you. I went into my bank, explained the situation, they looked and saw that I had 3 bounced checks from her, and have put a block on all checks from her account to that bank while a fraud investigation takes place. My bank was able to help me out considerably in this situation. I just wish I had thought to go to them for advice and help sooner.
5. It is easy to get intimidated and want to try and trust people to do the right thing. Someone who has no pattern of doing the right thing, is highly unlikely to start just because they have screwed you over.
6. Paper trails are a good thing.
7. It's a waste of time to get angry and stay angry. Do you have every reason to be angry at the person who is denying you your livelihood and income? Absolutely. Should people who are that dishonest be punished more severely? Absolutely. But getting angry is worthless and gets you nowhere. Channel your anger elsewhere and make it productive.
Unfortunately, I was not the only one forced into this situation. There are several other (former) employees in this situation with me. I wish I could say we can see the end in sight, but we all know this woman too well to think she'll admit her mistakes and crimes and fix the situation. I expect she won't do this until criminal charges are fully pressed. And then she'll probably come to each of us, offer us another check "with some extra," with some untrue and insane story about how she was too busy to even realize she had bounced 5 employees' paychecks (out of 6 possible), and pretend she can make it all better. That's just her style. And she's so conniving we might fall for it. But this time I doubt we will.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!


  1. Holy cow.


  2. Wow.

    Thanks for sharing the advice.
    I took a freelance gig this summer for a guy with his own business.

    It was just for a week or two - and rather than sign a contract - we sealed it with a handshake.
    Lucky for me he was a man of his word. But I admit I wondered about it - but erred on the side of - it's only a couple hundred bucks - low risk if it doesn't pan out.

    So it's good to hear your perspective. It doesn't always work that way - and you have to trust your gut.


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