Category Archives: misadventures

Another Bad Breakup with an Employer

So this one is new, and terrible.

I work[ed] for a DJ company part time to supplement my income (read more). My consistent shift was on Wednesdays and I actually kind of liked it.

They weren’t the most flexible with requesting time off, etc., but I never really had to ask for time off for a Weds night.

On the night my nephew was born, I requested the next night off as I was in another city and would be there well past 11pm, with an hour and a half commute back plus work the next day and no time to nap between. They said no. I still try to wrap my brain around this instance, but I showed up exhausted and did my job.

After about a year working with this company, I got a new full time job and decided that I no longer needed two part time jobs. I considered both of them, and I decided that I did want to keep one. The one I chose to keep was not the DJing. This was mostly due to the time commitment; it was a consistent weekly endeavor versus my other part-time that was maybe twice a month on a weekend and at my discretion.

On a Tuesday I gave notice that I would work the next two Wednesdays and would then need an address to turn in my equipment. This amounted to, technically, three weeks notice. Which, according to my “at will” clause and common standards, was completely in reason.
They emailed be back saying they would need me to work the next six shifts. I said that was unreasonable and that I would be willing to work the next three if they were really in a pinch. They said they’d “get back to me”. In my head, my gears are grinding and I am baffled; this is a resignation, not a negotiation. I let it go.

I posted on FB and Insta that “this company is always hiring and it’s fun” and to let me know if they were interested in me passing along their information. Nothing, not even a hint of my resignation.
I got a text- a text!- later that night stating, “Let me make it crystal clear, if you fail to appear at your assigned show, we will hold you to the terms of your contract that you signed to the letter. You are contractually bound to work the shows until we have someone trained and ion place to take them over. Please do not end this on a bad note. We have already begun the hiring process to try to expedite your departure, but you are required to fulfill your obligations.”

I was livid. That word might not even be serious enough. I called and screamed, frustrated, and one of my best friends. I told her about three weeks’ notice, their audacity to try to negotiate, their gall to text instead of email, and the mindlessness and unfoundedness of the text.
She asked me about this so-called contract and I couldn’t find a complete full copy of a multi-page document (I had a few pages missing) but I did have, signed same day and emailed at the same time, another document with my at-will clause. A complete paragraph stating the at-will nature of the position and the authority of either employer or employee to terminate with no notice and no reason required.
I emailed, like a professional and adult, with her review and then my boyfriend’s, in response to their completely inappropriate text, quoting the at-will clause, stating that I was willing to be flexible before but no longer, and that I expected and address to turn in my equipment.

I didn’t hear anything by a reasonable hour the next day and called an old friend who has been practicing law for some time. He sent them an email requesting a copy of the contract they were threatening me with. They, among many other negative and unnecessary comments, told him that I should have a copy and that they were CCing their legal team. He replied requesting the legal team’s contact information.

Never got the contact information. Never got a copy of the supposed “contract”.

Then they tried threatening me again, and brought up any intention of me not turning in my equipment, and noted how “flexible” they had been with my schedule and how disappointed they were in my actions. (Please note prior a distinct lack of flexibility and what I’m sure is at least gray when it comes to legality). I ignored these, showed up for my shows, handed my equipment over to a new DJ with confirmation from a higher up within the company to do so, had him sign for all of it, and waited for my final paycheck.

I haven’t heard from them since. I never referred any of my interested friends for fear of them having to go through this nonsense. I got my final paycheck and said “good riddance”.

A word of advice; keep a full copy of anything and everything you sign. Try, also, to have someone with a legal background look it over first. Better to avoid the fight at the end, even if you win.

 

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Breaking Up with an Employer: The Aftermath

In any relationship, breakups are hard; whether it was your choice to end it or not. Sometimes you stay friends and cheer on each other’s success, other times it hurts and any reminder of what was stings a little. Employer/employee breakups are no different.

We’ve all left jobs; you give notice or get laid off and there’s a million tips and tricks, how to’s, and what-not-to-do’s for when the breakup starts. There doesn’t seem to be, however, any advice or recognition of the potential pain of the aftermath.

In today’s world, most employees are on a networking site known as LinkedIn and we connect with coworkers and follow the company and subsidiaries or related companies, sometimes even before we’re hired. If it was not a good breakup- maybe notice was given and the underlying reasons were negative, or maybe it was layoffs and it hurt to be let go- it’s not so easy to stop social media from reminding us of those negative feelings.

It’s been 11 months since I was laid off (click here for background) and at the time I immediately unfollowed the company and unfollowed but stayed connected to most employees. The problem is, so many of these connections still had their previous employer so when I filtered and clicked unfollow, some of my ex-coworker’s weren’t included in my purge.

Now, ten months later, every once in a while a story about my old employer will pop into my feed because “so-and-so liked this” and I am internally queued to unfollow them. It’s finally hit the point where it’s just a small chore but for the first few months it would reopen the wound, if only a little.

For some people, staying connected with old coworkers is more important than purging from negative memories of a company. The people I became close with, I connected outside of LinkedIn because those people were not going to help my career path, it made sense to accept more of a personal connection. I didn’t want to “disconnect” on LinkedIn from old coworkers for fear of creating animosity; I have no ill-will toward them and if they need something, I’d like to be here. I just have no use for the stories of my old company, and most of the other employees from my old company either have a skillset and connections that won’t impact my career strongly, or I have enough other connections that keeping them in my back pocket was not worth also seeing the headlines. I also like to make sure my feed, likes, etc. reflect who I am and where I’m going.
I’ve left jobs where the breakup was pleasant, where I’d be welcomed back and have not wanted to burn that bridge. In those cases, this unfollow and cleanse was not necessary. But in a bad breakup like this, without significant benefit in keeping connected, it was necessary and I just want ex-employees from all sorts of breakups to know you’re not alone in the moving-on struggle.

I’m not sure I know how to clean up my feed any better at the start to avoid these long term reminders. I will say, the frequency gets fewer and further between, the pain goes away, and the “need” to do it turns into a mindless reaction. It’s a breakup, it stinks, and in the social media realm a clean break is harder if that’s the route you choose. It gets easier, though.

 

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Next Stop, Success

I moved out to Colorado from Florida, had a great job, got laid off (details), picked up a job at a Deli, left that job for a scheduling position at a hospital in the hopes that another type of experience and/or being in the company would be a stepping stone, also got side jobs to supplement income (see more details). After 8 months, I went for an internal position (read more), and I didn’t get it.

When I applied for that job, I also started job searching at a leisurely pace; five or so applications a week. My employer is great, my coworkers are too, the position just is not engaging and I am not using my education or background and it often feels like the best parts of my brain are not running.

Moreover, I don’t want to have three jobs anymore. I want a job that pays what an experienced, educated, intelligent woman should be paid – especially since by “experienced” I mean relevant experience in HR, accounting, and now in healthcare access and by “educated” I mean a career-applicable undergraduate degree in HR and a master’s in healthcare administration.

After the internal rejection, I hit the ground running. I was picky, which I think everyone should be. I looked at reviews of companies from their employees to make sure I was going to a company where I’d be happy, read through job descriptions to make sure I fit the bill and to make sure I wouldn’t be over-employed and under-stimulated, and I looked at related positions and expected salary. Even with being picky, I applied to roughly 50 jobs my first week, and daily applied for five to ten. I promised myself to apply for at least one a day, but once I found one, I’d find another and just keep going.

It wasn’t easy, and I made sure to tweak my resume if necessary and tailor my cover letter each time to address the recruiter if possible and include the position title and company in key sentences. I had many “we are continuing with other candidates”, plenty where silence was rejection enough, and a few phone calls for first and second rounds.

On a Wednesday about a month and a half, maybe two months, into hardcore searching, I got an email shortly after applying for a job for a phone interview for business manager position at a specialist medical office. I took the call and hour later, and at the end of the call got invited to come in person. The next night, they asked if I could make it the following day, Friday, at noon. I emailed back that I would be there and showed up fifteen minutes early even with parking issues. I met the office manager, essentially front of house training and medical billing, and the woman at the front desk, making a conscious effort to remember both their names. We chatted and both were so nice and wished me luck on my way in at 12:10 or so.

I did my homework all over this descriptions- wrote down key projects, experiences, or resolutions I had in my past that matched each item and questions for each strategically worded not show inquiry but not weakness or concern. I nailed this interview harder than I’ve ever tried; all while smiling and trying to remember not to talk so much or interrupt when I got excited.

On Monday I got a job offer. I will be doing my dream job at this point in my career as a Business Manager of a specialist medical office doing all HR related items, some basic accounting, and some scheduling.

Many told me the scheduling job was beneath me, maybe it was, but I never would have gotten this job without it, and I still stand behind my decision to apply and accept an entry-level job even if over-qualified. I owe a huge thank you to my manager who made the final decision to hire me even though I was over qualified, and her supervisor for accepting an interview with me, and the recruiter who offered to put me in the interview line-up.

I am so excited for my next step, and I hope other driven, career ready individuals know that a year flies by, and your gut is worth trusting, and that if your steps are sure-footed then you are in the right direction.

It has been a tough road from when I moved out of South Florida ’til now, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am here, I am strong, and I now have what I feel is success to prove it to myself.

 

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A Plunge within a Plunge

 

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Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash

An unexpected turn in my emplyoment (see relevant post) was a sign that I wasn’t in the right place for my career path, so I took a job I hoped would set me on the right road. I’ve been at this job for seven months now.

I’m a scheduler at a hospital in a far-reaching healthcare network. When I started, I was a temp. When I finally got offered a full time position, they told us we’d be moving. My commute is much shorter, but my opportunity for growth has changed. All of the schedulers (those of us who review and put in orders, take calls, and maintain the first step in customer service for radiology imaging) and the health benefit advisors (HBA’s for short, the financial representatives who get authorizations and estimates from the insurance companies and then let patients know what their out of pocket expenses will be and often negotiate payment plans) were all in our respective hospitals. All orders had to be sent to where the patient intended to get the imaging done. In the interest of convenience for patients, we were all moved to a centralized location referred to as the pre-access center and they are going to mainstream scheduling and benefits advisement so that regardless of what facility an order is sent to, or what facility a patient would like to go to, especially if they are different, we could schedule the patient and have them understand any financial obligations.

For me, this meant I went from having the flexibility of multiple locations, multiple hiring managers, and multiple teams with theoretically rotating openings  to one manager maintaining one team with a more predictable turnover rate.

We have an incentive that is being paid out at three, six, and nine months at 25, 50, and 25 percent respectively. At six months, we’ll have received 75 percent of our total incentive and I fully expect at that point that at least a few people will leave. I had, therefore, planned to apply for an HBA position when one opened. Then they neglected to send the internal email notifying us of the open HBA positions; I only found out when one of my coworkers emailed asking us for coverage for a long break to take the interview and a lunch. I had a short, mini internal battle and asked my boss for a meeting. She put me off for a few days as she was genuinely busy and then I caught her in the hallway and asked for two minutes. She had no idea, which I knew, that I had a master’s degree or such long-term goals. She had me send her my resume and after another couple days having not heard anything and knowing how fast the positions would fill, I considered how to best follow up.

Then, luck would have it, we had a pre-access center meeting and in the meeting a coworker asked who people interested in open positions here should send their resumes to. I jotted down the name of the recruiter covering our center.

After the meeting I asked my boss if following up with the HBA temp-supervisor would be okay. I gave her my elevator speech and she said that I should have an email, I told her I never got one and asked what I should do if I don’t get one. She said to double check and then if I don’t have one, we’d go from there. There was no email and she was not available so I called the recruiter.

The recruiter was so sweet, gave me the job code, and told me to send her an email when I applied. I sent in the application with a resume and cover letter and then sent her a message thanking her for her time regardless of the outcome. I’m not a hard core go-getter, so these were all pretty big steps for me.

It was a trying time having to explain to everyone- friends and family, over and over- why I was taking a lower-paid, hourly job and a considerable backward step in my career. It’s a bigger moment for me to have had the strength and belief in myself to have minorly pestered my boss, gone after two elevator speeches, and gunned for another job only seven months into my employment.

Best case, this all pays off. Worst case, I stay where I am and try again in six months or search elsewhere. While there wasn’t a whole lot of gamble, it took a lot of guts and shell shedding for me. I’m glad that took this plunge-within-a-plunge.

(And don’t worry, I won’t keep you hanging like Inception– you’ll know how this ends.)

Becoming A “Better” Half

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I’ve had some tough luck in love. I’ve also been dumb and imperfect.

I’ve tried to learn a lot and grow from the mistakes I made, from the things my ex’s did right and wrong that I reacted improperly to, and to try to be better at choosing who I allowed myself to fall for and how I contribute to a relationship.

From my ex in high school who told me he loved me. We were together almost a year when I realized all of the ways he didn’t appreciate me.

I went to all of his family events. I tried harder to get better at Spanish so I could speak to his family, most of whom spoke only Spanish, and forgiving him for never coming to any of my family’s gatherings. He pushed one final button and I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I showed up on his doorstep with a bear I had dressed to look just like him. I knocked on his door and when he answered I was not warmly welcomed. I gave him the gift anyway and he belittled it. He tried to brush me away, and that was it. I broke up with him the next day. Less than a week later, he screwed another girl in the back of a car right out front of the school while we were all getting out of practice.

I thought maybe he left because I wouldn’t do those things. I thought that maybe if I had done those things, he would have tried harder to keep me. Then I thought it through and knew I was wrong. That I deserved to be appreciated for so much more than the easy girl in the back of the car that was discarded a month later.

I had wanted to keep myself from going all the way until I was 18. I’m not really sure why. Maybe I once told my mom I would, maybe I read somewhere that it was a good age to wait until, maybe I thought that was old enough and informed enough. I started dating a guy I met at the theater when I was 17, he was 20. He was sweet, and kind, and Jewish, and cute. I made the move and it escalated from there. Prom and my 18th birthday were coming up, we had been dating for eight months or so and I knew we would be together through my birthday and I didn’t want to be a taboo teenager, so I mulled it over for a few more weeks and two weeks before my 18th birthday I told him I wanted to.  Then, I realized he wasn’t the driven man with some setbacks that I thought he was. He was sweet and cute, but he couldn’t have the intellectual conversations I wanted. He didn’t drop out of college to find himself, he dropped out because it was too hard and he didn’t try. He borrowed money from me for gas but had money for weed. He failed three times to go to his drug test for EMT school that he told me early on in our relationship was what he wanted to do. The third time he told his mom he didn’t go because he was with me all day, but I had just gotten there. That was it. It was one thing to not be driven, another to not pursue a supposed dream, another to not stave off smoking for a few weeks so that he could test clean, but lying was off limits. He lied to his mother who let him live in her house, he clearly lied about his goals or he would have gone after them, and he used me to lie. I was weak, and I gave him a few more chances.

The big second chance I gave him was after I got a message from a girl I had met once back home while I was away at college telling me, using a pet name for him, that he had been cheating on me. Her phrasing “has been cheating on you”. I became a flurry of emotions and waited about an hour before calling him so I could be calm. I told him what she said and said “please explain”. He burst into apologies, told me it was one night, that he had gotten wasted and didn’t even remember anything and that it had been a threesome with her and one of his friend’s I had met a few times. I told him I needed some time. I forgave him. We were together a little over two years when I was one year in to college and he still hadn’t made any moves to get out of his parent’s house (he had moved from his mom’s to his dad’s). I broke up with him for the last time.

In college I had my first one night stand, and then I realized I didn’t need a relationship; especially not from boys who didn’t truly appreciate most women, let alone me. I could have the physical I wanted and the emotional I needed from mutually exclusive persons. Most of my one night, two night, long-term stands were great. I also got taken advantage of. Some nights I was too drunk to say no and too embarrassed in the morning to admit what happened. Other nights I just wanted to make out but then it felt like I never got the opportunity to say no and felt like it was my fault for leading them on so I just let it happened. Twice I was outright raped. Once was completely against my will with choking that made me scared I would suffocate and pain that was excruciating. The other I was fairly drunk but said no multiple times and when he continued, I ended up kicking him off of me and demanding he leave my apartment. I told someone in his fraternity that I trusted and told them that if I went to the police it’d ruin his life. All I wanted was for him and some other senior brothers to talk to him and explain that no means no and it wasn’t okay; it never got further than a meeting with him and his fraternity brothers. I never reported either incident, I blamed myself.

Then I finally thought I was in a good relationship. A guy who said he knew what he wanted in life, who had a nice car and a seemingly great family. Then time moved on and things got complicated, His sisters often caused drama between each other, his father was a drunk and mean, and sometimes both, and his brother had a girlfriend that caused major amounts of drama for everyone and was exceptionally attention seeking. I could deal with all that, especially because his mother and her boyfriend were amazing and everyone was great in their own way, even if occasionally over dramatic. He, however, soon began to show his true colors.

When we first began dating, I made it clear I wanted to, long term should we have kids, raise them in my faith. He said “fine” that he was “pretty much an Atheist” anyway. When we were together going on two years and it became more of a reality, he started to change his mind. When we first started dating, I lived with my parents, so he was not allowed to sleep over. But when I moved out on my own, he almost never came over or slept over insisting on various excuses. I lived 15 minutes from him, yet I always had to be at his place, but I obliged. I also gave him $1,500 for a motorcycle that we were supposed to share, that he promised to take me on at minimum, monthly; he took me on 5 or six times. I moved downtown, right into the heart of where everyone wants to be. When we first started dating, we’d go out almost every week. I moved out there and he never came over, claiming it was too far of a drive and too expensive (even though I explained that we could drink at home or not drink at all and then go walking around or dancing, and that it was equally as far for me to drive to him as it was for him to get to me). On our first holiday, he got me things I needed, which are my favorite kind of gift because it shows you know someone in their day to day; like a spatula because I didn’t own one or a microwave because I broke mine. Our last christmas I got a cheap piece of jewelery I didn’t like and some other cheap, generic gifts. The last straws came in his lack of consideration and hypocrisy. I asked to see a movie with him and he said he couldn’t because he promised a friend he’d see it with them. Okay, that is completely understandable and respectable, a month or so later I asked him to see a movie with me when I came back from a trip and he agreed. I came home and he had seen the movie with the same friend he couldn’t break the promise to over another movie, and he couldn’t see the problem. Consider multiple similar situations. I tried to explain to him all of this and he put up a wall. I packed up what things of his I had and asked if he was home so I could get my golf clubs. He told me he wasn’t but that his roommate could let me in. I grabbed my clubs, grabbed the rest of my things that I could see or think of, and put his box of stuff on his bed. I didn’t hear from him for two weeks, so I messaged a couple of his friends that I had gotten close to and let them know that we were over but that I wanted to stay friends with them, but that I also would understand if they weren’t up for that. Then his sister called and said that he was confused, that his friends are saying we broke up. She’d known our issued this whole time, I explained the gathering of my stuff and returning of his and that I haven’t gotten so much as a text from him in weeks. She understood, called him, called me back and asked if he could fix it. I said no, that I gave him the opportunity to, multiple times. And that was it. She called a few weeks later to tell me he was heartbroken, I told her that maybe this would make him appreciate his next girlfriend more. That he could learn from it. I also tried to learn from it. I never should have given him the money, I should have put my foot down on taking turns at where we slept sooner, and I should’ve noted not getting the things I wanted earlier on and not giving in, especially because I gave everything I had. I also realized that he said he was going to go to school, going to do certain other things to propel his career and he didn’t. He never would. He’s a good person, he just wasn’t right for me in many ways. And I didn’t do my job in that relationship by saying I wanted things but not acting like it, by being okay with not getting the things I wanted and needed and then demanding them.

I learned how to be better in a relationship from all of these failures and I also learned what to look for in a man. My mom suggested creating a ticker tape in my mind of a shortlist of what I expected. A marquee because it’s not a checklist that once one thing happens, it’s done. It’s a revolving list because certain things should repeatedly happen; like actions that prove someone is driven and caring. I decided to make two; one for myself and one for future boyfriend. I wanted to make sure that we were taking turns staying at each other’s places, that we would both make kind and loving gestures, and that we would both be inherently driven and use that drive to better ourselves and our lives. I decided that if I expected certain things from them, I needed to be those things for myself.

These relationships have helped me determine what to put on my list for myself, for my future theoretical hubby, and to become a better individual and a better “better-half”.

Workin Hard and Hardly Workin

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I have three jobs. Three real jobs.

Not any of those entrepreneurial gigs where I guilt all my friends into liking and joining my facebook page and asking them when I can host a party, or if I would add five people to their page for a giveaway, or ask if I want to join their “team”. (Been there, done that. Let me say, it is not easy, involves hard work and a lot of being shut down to be successful because it’s the people who break out of that friends and family barrier that are able to carry on that kind of job for longer than a few months.) It was not for me.

No, my full time job (where my hours and location are about to change) is as a scheduler in the radiology imaging sector of patient access in a healthcare system in Colorado.

Continue reading Workin Hard and Hardly Workin

Right from Underneath Me

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When I moved out to Colorado I had it made. I had a place to live at a hard-to-come-by, reasonable rate with roommates I didn’t know but seemed promising. I had a great job and one semester left in my master’s degree.

On the first day of my job as the first and only HR professional in the company I was sat down and asked to hit the ground running with a list of HR problems to solve; I did just that.

After a few days of going to the supervisors I was asked to confer with and to our legal team I was asked to run things by, I was pulled into a meeting. I was told that I was being a “bull in a china shop” and that I needed to slow down. I explained that I was only doing as I was asked and they said they misspoke. They gave me a new, shorter list of problems to solve and I sat on it for a while before I even tackled one.

This- doing nothing- made them happy. Then I was asked to start a timeline of the issues at hand, the big ones: time clocking options, the lack of job descriptions, inconsistencies between job titles on paperworks, and titles differing between hiring paperwork, our payroll system and employee tracking, and the organizational chart.

These were big ticket items. Cornerstones that were essential for a growing company. I made a timeline, kept my supervisor- the CFO- in the loop on everything. I didn’t take a step without asking his permission first. All the while I was also posting our open positions, scheduling interviews, and making sure all new hires all got their on-boarding paperwork and what little we had by way of company policy.

After a few months, our organizational chart was done and all that was left to do was get the final stamp of approval on our employee handbook that I was so proud of. I was asked into a meeting in the second week in November and was told there was good news. Then I was told it was good bad news. Then I was laid off.

They said they were going to hire someone with more experience given the growth of the company and the wide range of HR-related obstacles they were going to face.

I was devastated. I had missed my graduation for this job. I didn’t have a job. I had bills. I had moved across the country. What was I going to do? Nobody hires in November! I was scared, sad, hurt. I swallowed it all. I teared up a little, turned red, and asked if I could have a moment. I took a few deep breaths and then I asked if today was my last day. They said yes, gave me a small severance package, and asked me what they should know before I left. I showed them all my almost-completed projects and how to do or finish everything I had done.

I packed up, found one close friend, told her what happened, and left. As I started driving I started to panic again. Not just panic; I had a full on anxiety attack and I called my mother. My dad picked up and in between sobs I asked to talk to my mom. My mom, clearly concerned, answered somewhat frantically and I told her what happened. She told me I would not have to move back home, assured me of my ability to land on my feet, and that she’d help me if I needed it. That she believed in me. As I calmed down she asked if I’d be okay. I told her I would. That I loved her and I would figure it out. She’s my rock.

I went home, cried some more, and then I started working on my resume and updating my LinkedIn. Then I texted my one friend who worked some nights and some days and prayed she was not at work. She wasn’t. I called, told her what happened, and cried on her couch while working on my resume here and there.

Then it hit me. I got used. Royally and utterly screwed. They had wanted someone with more experience from the beginning, they just couldn’t get someone with 10-15 years of experience to come in and do the things I had done. No one with that much experience would work for a company that didn’t even have a handbook. They got what they needed from me and let me go. I was livid. Then I got over it, took the night off and sipped wine, watched tv, and expressed my frustrations and concerns for the future to my friends.

I was in my new home state, with a master’s degree and experience, the holidays were coming up, and the rug and been pulled out from under me. For the night, I would sulk and settle. The real work, the hunt for employment and happiness and success, would begin tomorrow.