Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Fought the Law(yers) and I Won

I'm very non-confrontational.  Hence my passive-aggressive venting on this anonymous blog.  Because I'm too chicken shit to own up to some things.  But, I digress.

I used to work in the corporate world for some partners that were cut-throat.  They were more interested in the money we generated for them and less in our own mental and physical well-being.  The place was a poisonous place to work with people pretending to be your friend left and right only to sell you out to get ahead themselves.  I always just quietly did my work and vented to my husband at home at the end of the day.  It's funny, really, that they continuously surprised me with their inconsiderate management and lack of human decency.

Then one day, I had enough.

Apparently, some people had been abusing overtime and a new policy came down that we were not to work overtime without prior approval of our supervisor.  It made sense.  Some were deciding they could use a little extra money and doing the work they should be doing during normal business hours after hours for more pay.  Therefore, a supervisor needed to review our load, our average progress during the day (those kinds of things were carefully monitored and tracked) and determine if we truly had extra work that needed to be finished or if we were slacking during the day.  Understood.

Now, our regular work week was only 37.5 hours so, even a few minutes of "working over" did not equate to overtime pay.  One week, during a time my husband had been deployed to an undetermined location, I was under stress from all directions.  I didn't know where my husband was, when he would be home or if he was safe and I had, as one of my clients, the notorious client known around the workplace as really, really demanding.  The entire office was aware of the demands of this client and no one wanted to deal with.   So I don't know if it was because I was professional and patient with my clients or because I just sucked it up and did my work without complaining but the dreaded client landed in my workload along with several others.

One particular day, our receptionist put a call through to me at 4:45.  It was an irate person whom had just received a summons.  I listened/took the verbal abuse and managed to calm the person down and get them actually talking calmly to me and we went over their account and my patience with them paid off in that I managed to talk them into a legal payment arrangement.  The call was over at 5:35 but we were never allowed to leave something unfinished, especially when it involved money.  So, I spent the time typing up the legal arrangement along with what happened if the person followed through and paid off the debt as well as what would happen if the person defaulted on the agreement.  When I was finished, at 6:00, I logged out of the system and left.  The rest of my department, including my supervisor were already gone for the day.

I forgot about the whole incident until the following week on payday when I was sitting at my desk having just arrived to work getting ready to start my day.  While reviewing my emails, one of the clerks walked around the corner and dropped my paycheck with a big hot pink sticky note on it into my in-bin. I picked it up to see: " PAID 37.5 HOURS EXTRA HOUR WORKED NOT APPROVED PER MEMO DATED[date of stupid memo] STATING PRIOR APPROVAL IS NEEDED BY SUPERVISOR FOR ALL OVERTIME"

I was livid.  Still in control of myself, I calmly walked to my supervisor's office where I explained what happened.  She would not budge.  She said I was well aware of the rules and did not have prior approval to work that extra hour.  I calmly ( but perhaps a little sarcastically) asked if in the future, I should either a) tell the receptionist I would not take a call past 4:30 in case it might go over b) take the call, but at exactly 5, tell the person I am talking to that I am sorry, but I am off the clock now, and they will have to call me back at 8:30 in the morning when I am back on and hang up or c) tell the person on the phone to hold at 5 while I go ask my supervisor if I am allowed to complete the call and to assume if I don't come back within five minutes, that I cannot and they can feel free to hang up and call back first thing the next morning.  She basically told me not to be a smartass, but never answered how I was to handle the situation.  And she still would not bend on the pay for staying an extra hour.

I walked back to my cubicle, picked up my phone and called downstairs to the personnel office and told them I would be taking a personal day and I grabbed my purse to walk out the door.  My cubicle partner peeked around the corner when I slammed the phone down and asked if everything was okay.  It was at that precise moment that I lost complete control of myself.  I answered, very loudly, " NO I AM NOT ALRIGHT! THESE BUNCH OF ASSHOLES DECIDED NOT TO FUCKING PAY ME FOR THAT HOUR LAST WEEK THAT I SPENT DEALING WITH THAT [client name] ACCOUNT THAT I DIDN'T WANT IN THE FIRST DAMNED PLACE.  I DIDN'T ASK FOR THAT FUCKING CLIENT, I DIDN'T ASK FOR A PHONE CALL AT QUITTING TIME, BUT I GOT IT AND IT WORKED IT BECAUSE IF I HADN'T THEN THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FUCKING UNPROFESSIONAL OF ME AND GOD FORBID I'M UNPROFESSIONAL AT A PLACE OF BUSINESS THAT IS SO OBVIOUSLY FUCKING PROFESSIONAL...... (and I went on and on and on.... I couldn't stop)

By that point, I could see heads popping out from around cubicles all over the place wide-eyed because the quiet, calm, girl had lost her mind and her temper.  I left and had a forty-five minute drive home during which my cell phone was blowing up with phone calls from people in the office telling me to get back there before I ended up being fired.  I said I would be GLAD if they fired me because I hated it there, they were ungrateful bastards and if they fired me, they would have to pay my unemployment.

I went back in the next day fully expecting to get fired.  Of course I didn't because they would have had to pay me benefits and we couldn't possibly have that.  Instead, I got called in the Office Managers office and totally yelled at like I was a three-year-old.  He told me not to EVER act that way again.  I still, calmly, held my ground on the issue and he held theirs.  No pay.  Suck it up.

One week after that, I found out I was pregnant.  Three weeks after that, I had a miscarriage.  Two weeks later, I quit.  I didn't want to put myself and any future pregnancies through that kind of stress.

But, damn, it felt good to throw that tantrum.

**inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt #2- "Tell us about a day you were sure you wouldn't get through."

Mama's Losin' It



  1. That is awesome! I so wish I had enough guts to throw a temper tantrum like that at least you got your point across!

  2. good for you! you were so right and they were so wrong. good story

    stopped by from mama kat's

  3. Great post! You were right and did the right thing.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I used to work for attorneys in Los Angeles. I feel like I can sort of relate to the workplace you have described. I admire your courage, and am so glad you were able to make the change.

    Great post!

  5. Good for you. I think you should throw tantrums like that more often.

  6. Man that sounds like a bad day! Way to stand up for yourself though!

  7. LMAO! Wow! good for you - if more people stood up for themselves, then perhaps employers would be a little more respectful and appreciative! Boy, I bet that felt great!

  8. holy cow - way to go. it shocks me that your supervisor opted for calling you a smartass rather than doing the, "I'll see what I can do" brush off. but good for you for throwing the rant and putting it out there. and even more, good for you for quitting.

  9. I am jealous of this. I had a job with totally unreasonable expectations and when I quit, I really wish I could have said what you said.

    Your health is more important than this garbage. You did the right thing, go you!