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It's been quite intense at my job the past several weeks. And little of it actually had to do with work. It all started several weeks ago when I got my first ever "verbal" warning. It wasn't actually verbal since it was all written down and they required me to sign it. And it was then filed in my records in HR. I knew that it was not initiated by my direct manager (J), but from the manager above him (B ). There had been some changes in management recently and B had taken over to try to completely overhaul our legacy system by the end of next year. It's pretty much an impossible task to do in that timeframe. They had tried this 5 years ago and hired one of the top consulting companies, spent millions of dollars, and ended up with almost nothing to show for it. So, the tactic that B seems to be using is getting everybody in line by cracking the whip. And I ended up being a lucky target. I'm not completely sure why he picked me. Perhaps it's because I don't play the yes man to him. Or that I don't work a bunch of overtime. Or maybe he thought that I'm getting paid so much that I wouldn't be able to find anything else paying this much. Or most likely, he thought I would just roll over and accept the discipline without any complaints.

I had worked under J for 2 years and he has never complained about my performance. So, basically B ordered J to write me up. And so J came up with some pretty frivolous charges. I was at first hoping to clear it all up privately. So, I scheduled a meeting with the HR director (H) to talk about it. He basically said that he was just the middle man and that he was making sure the policies were being followed. I couldn't believe it. He was just the middle man?! So, I then asked for a meeting with the responsible party. I was expecting to just talk with B alone, but H scheduled a meeting on Friday with all of us present - H, B, and J.

My goal at the meeting was to be diplomatic, but actually, I was riled up about the whole situation. B started the meeting by explaining how he's been given the task of replacing the legacy system and that he's coming in and getting things into shape. H then talked about how B was just following procedures. I'm not sure if they even wanted me to speak since they never asked me what I thought. So, basically I had to just interrupt their dialogues to get in my piece of mind. I thought I was pretty controlled under the circumstances, but at one point, H said I was getting too emotional about this. Huh? Are they expecting me to be completely platonic? Actually, I thought they were the ones that were getting emotional. I asked J later if I was emotional, and he said I wasn't. H also said I was blowing this out of proportion and that this was no big deal. I referred him to the fact that on the formal warning document that consequences could include termination of employment. He said that didn't really mean anything. I had repeatedly said that I felt I was being unfairly treated. Nobody would confirm or deny it. After an hour, things were not getting resolved. So, I finally asked, "So, where do we go from here?" H basically said that I need to accept the warning or I should look elsewhere.

That afternoon, I scheduled to talk with B directly. And I just told him point blank, "It seems like you would like for me to leave the company." He immediately replied back that it wasn't the case and that he did not want to lose good people. Actually, I was hoping that he would say he wanted me to leave. Then I would've offered that some deal could be made. I talked with him for about an hour too and nothing was really resolved.

I thought about it over the weekend and was considering several options. One is to appeal the warning. Another is to move to another department that was not under B's control. And another was to look for another job. On Monday, I discussed with J about appealing the decision. He said there was no appeal process. I was contemplating just appealing to the CEO anyways, but I decided not to. So I went with my other options. To placate them, I told them that I'd try to do my best to meet the schedules. But, I was also looking at a position open in another group and I started to hit the job websites.

I also told my co-workers about the situation since the issues was not being resolved through official channels. It really got them upset too on how unfairly I was treated. Nobody had come up to me and given me any prewarning of the verbal warning. Nobody had said to me, "Hey Oliver, you need to really work hard and make sure this project finishes on time, otherwise some pretty serious things might happen." No, the first warning I hear is a formal warning. Also, B has never even really talked with me before. And why didn't he just give me the warning himself, instead of getting J involved? And I was also a bit disappointed that J didn't put up a fight. But, I guess he didn't want to lose his job over this.

Partly in response to all this, the team wrote up a project review document on lessons learned from the project. Actually, the project was not quite complete yet. It was missing one major functionality. And because of B's actions, he jeopordized the entire project that he faulted me for not working hard enough on. The document was written in a professional manner and we sent it off to the team and to J and B. Maybe more heads will roll because of that.

Last Friday morning, I had the first meeting with a recruiter. He was going to submit me to a company. They had already submitted one and was actually given an offer on. But, there were 3 other positions open and that I was being submitted as a team lead. During our team luncheon that day, G revealed to us that he already had 2 offers. "That was fast!" we all said. And then I discovered that one of those places was where I was going to be submitted to! We had independently applied to the same company. What a coincidence. That afternoon, G called the recruiter and gave a good word for me.

This past Tuesday (day after Labor Day), I interviewed with the company. The interview was over at 5:15 PM. At 6:15, there was a message on my cell from the recruiter. I called him Wed morning and found out they made me an offer. The compensation was good (as a matter of fact better than what I'm making now). After telling my wife the news, I called back to accept the offer. That day, I unofficially put in my notice. G had also unofficially put in his notice too. And that afternoon I went to go sign the contract. It seems like they gave me a good offer very quickly because G had paved the way for me. He had already rejected their offer and I was coming in as his team lead.

Thursday, J took the day off (I guess he couldn't take all the drama). I sent out an email that my last day would be on Tues the 13th. And I spent the day telling people I'm leaving and training K and S on the projects I was working on.

By Friday, I pretty much wanted to tie up all the loose ends. And I'm glad I did. At 3, J told me that he wanted to see me at 4:30. And it would be a good idea to have things finalized by then. I took the hint and packed up all my books. If they are really scared of me sabotaging the company, I could've done that a long time ago. And my acts of sabotage could actually be quite damaging. One of my apps is so critical to the company that if it doesn't work, it could shut the entire company down until they get the app working again. But, I don't mind them letting me go a bit early. It's just a couple of more days of paid vacation. And boy do I need some vacation to rest from all the drama.

Posted: 2005-09-11 00:34:40

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