29 January, 2011

There's always a moral to the story.

Once upon a time, there was a creative, impulsive, free spirited (and let's be honest, slightly unhinged) girl called Gabs. She grew up in an environment where she was actively encouraged to be creative, and was taught to sew and crochet, was given all the art supplies a girl could dream of, and was enrolled in classes where she could sing and act to her heart's content. She grew happy and confident in herself over the years, despite (or possibly because of) a string of increasingly awful jobs.

She was asked to lie for employers, she was passed over for promotion due to other members of her team being thinner or girlier, she made endless cups of tea and took minutes until her fingers could barely hold a pen. Then one day she was offered a role in a company where she could honestly see a future for herself (let's call it SPEX) with a manager (who for the purposes of this blog we'll call Saul) who seemed too good to be true. The team was friendly and sociable, she began to nest in the role and take on extra responsibilities wherever there was a need in the office. For three months she was praised for her capable proactivity, and then asked to take the role on a permanent basis. Despite the fact that she had planned to never work as a permanent PA again, she loved working at SPEX and decided to accept.

This of course meant that she'd be working yet another three months before coming off probation. This was not news to Gabs, and she wasn't worried as she'd always passed the probation stage with flying colours. She continued to work for Saul, who was a fairly easy guy to work for, very straightforward and no nonsense, which suited Gabs down to the ground. He was happy for her to take tasks in hand and sort them out without direction, as long as it got done properly everyone was satisfied. He even allowed Gabs to take over the role of Office Manager, business cards and all. Things were good.

Then, one day the general atmosphere in the office began to change. There were many murmurs of dodgy dealings behind closed doors, illicit affairs between the management team and junior members of staff, and redundancies under less than direct circumstances. Gabs did her best to not let the drama affect her, but over time it began to wear her down. She began to get headaches and stomachaches on a regular basis, and while at first she went to Saul with the issues within the department, she realised over time that while he might tell her he was going to sort out the problems, he was only saying that to shut her up. She also was informed that she would not be allowed to take the title of Office Manager, although it had been approved by Saul and the previous HR manager, and she'd been working the role for months. Even given this general feeling of unease, Gabs still had faith in the company and in Saul. She had already passed her interim review with flying colours, and in fact had been told she was 98% perfect, so she didn't have any misgivings on scheduling her final probationary review.

All right, kiddies, those of you that are faint of heart or queasy of stomach should look away now. That's right, there's a twist.

Gabs walked into her probationary review with her notepad at the ready, expecting it to be a simple formality as every other probation review had been in her past. Imagine her surprise when Saul started off by saying that her probation was going to be extended! He said she needed to be so aggressive chasing the team for deadlines that they complained about her, and followed that up by saying she needed to make more conservative choices with regards to colour in her wardrobe, even though SPEX had no dress code other than "office professional". The final nail in the coffin of Gabs' respect for Saul was when he said that she needed to learn to be "flirtatiously manipulative" to fully participate in the office politics.

In a maelstrom of disappointment and anger, Gabs attempted to speak with HR about the inappropriate things Saul had said to her. Attempted would be the right word, though, as HR was unwilling to back her up, and simply said "that's all in the past, let's deal with the future." At a loss for what to do, having been met with such unhelpful and unprofessional obstructions, she called legal advice and was told that she had a very good case for gender discrimination.

At this point, Gabs had a decision to make. Not being naturally litigious, she was extremely reluctant to go through the grievance/tribunal process, and she knew that if she were to do this is would make her position at SPEX untenable to say the least. She could just pretend everything was okay, as she'd learned in the past that letting Saul know she was upset by something simply meant that he wouldn't look at her full in the face for several days. Or, she could quit. The last option would mean that she had to start job hunting yet again... or would it?

Gabs had been flirting with the world of crafting for profit for years. She had a stall in Camden for a time, just making whatever she felt like at the time, and it had gone very well. Unfortunately for Gabs, Camden is pretty much a fifteen hours a day/seven days a week thing, and pairing that with married life would not have been a smooth ride, so she began looking for other crafty options. Thus she happened upon Etsy. This would allow her to have her crafty outlet and still work normal hours so as not to make her husband feel completely abandoned as Camden would have done. She began having a friend work on a logo for her, and started stockpiling crafty goodness.

With the dramatic downturn of her relationship with SPEX she began to think seriously about giving crafting a proper go. Why on earth should she start yet another horrible office job when she could be home making pretty things to grace the lives of total strangers? Not to mention the fact that there would be an extra three hours a day saved by not travelling to SPEX and back, she would have time for cooking, cleaning and baking again.

With all of this in mind, she decided to quit SPEX, work her two weeks' notice (as still being on probation meant she only owed them that much) and take the leap into full time crafting. She gave her notice to Saul, who appeared supremely unsurprised and frankly unaffected by the news, and began preparing her role for someone else to fill it.

Two days later, she was called into a meeting room with Saul, who informed her that she should pack her bags and go that very evening. He said that she had shared confidential information from his email inbox with a coworker who was going through a redundancy procedure (which came as a shock as she'd found the strictures of her confidentiality agreement difficult on more than one occasion and certainly hadn't broken it), and that she had been inappropriate on her facebook page. He even had a printed copy of one of her status updates, which amusingly enough was the one where she stated she'd packed in her job and was ecstatic about it. Gabs knew this for what it was, Saul's attempt to take the power back after she had taken it from him by quitting, and found the whole situation hysterically funny. She thanked him for letting her leave early, packed her things and walked out of the SPEX doors for the last time.

The moral of the story? Always wait until you're no longer under contract to spill the dirt about your previous employers. *grin*

3 comments:

  1. HELL YES!! Good for you!! So so so proud of you girl. xoxo

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  2. Oh, and loving the new layout!

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  3. Thanks, Christina. : ) It's not going to be all handmade, though, I've got a vintage shop to stock as well (hence all the thrifting). Hopefully between the two, I'll be able to make a living. *grin*

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