Things went to hell and then I snapped

**Updated Note** 05/05/2016 The boss mentioned in this story has been demoted to a lower position than the one I had when the party was my boss. What goes around comes around.

We packed up and moved to Amarillo, Texas for this higher paying job, lower cost of living “big dream”. We rented an apartment and began looking for a home to buy. All was good. At least for a week or so.

The first day of work was weird. The person who hired me was retiring and now I was introduced to my new “boss”. Someone who’d never been a boss before, with seemingly little “qualification” if there is such a thing. Even our brief encounters in my office were weird and off. I immediately had a tense feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right. I shrugged this feeling off for the time being and chalked it up to being new at the place. Side note about my new boss. The new boss has what I’ll call a permanent frowny face. A face that no matter how hard it tries to smile or show emotion it won’t. I imagine this symptom comes from years of corporate work.

So work began. And work consisted of working from 7:30 a.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. weekends included.

Sign #1 – For starters I knew the place was backwards because there was no procedure manual or anything like it. Ummm ok, how is anyone supposed to know this type of regulatory legal job and what the processes are if there is no procedure manual? This leads to all types of interesting scenarios. Namely it made you an open target, because anyone at any point in time could say “hey did you do x,y,z”? And the person asking this question would have a different process from the next person and that person from the next…IMHO this lack of process was by design. It was designed by or continued by three people who I wouldn’t even call trash because that would be a compliment. The design was to solidify their nerd grasp on their nerd “manager” positions so that anytime anyone showing any promise became employed in their area, they could quickly come up with pointless bullshit reasons the employee wasn’t following “procedure”. Ha!

Sign #2 – There was no time to do actual work. I kid you not, we had meetings that lasted all day everyday over commas and periods. And everyone in the meetings walked on eggshells. Everyone was scared to speak up and say what they thought for fear of getting yelled at or humiliated etc. What’s more is the lawyers present in these meetings were of the worst kind. Brainless lemmings who get a kick out of reading and scouring the most boring of things. On top of this my “new” boss didn’t have a clue. Not only was the big boss clueless about everything, but the boss also threw me under the bus at every opportunity. So picture for a moment 20-30 people in this huge stupid ass “meeting”, my boss having no clue, and then calling me out by name and blaming me for “not following a process”.

Sign #3 – People literally broke down and cried regularly due to treatment. It was not uncommon for people to have to leave work due to crying and breaking emotionally. I saw it happen several times. The icing on the cake was when the “bosses” (idiots) explained that this happens all the time and don’t worry about it. They’d then go have a nerd conference and talk about it in one of the other “boss’s” offices. I literally sat back in disbelief.

Sign #4 – I was put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) that had a condition in it that stated if I ever make one spelling mistake I can be fired. Are you f*&cking kidding me? Hmm, let’s investigate further. I was the only man in my group of three. The other workers were women. One of the other women in particular had made a huge error that cost the company thousands of dollars just a month before. Idea – I’ll go ask her if she received a PIP. I asked her, and no she did not receive a PIP. Crickets…………………………………………………It was clear by now that my “boss” had it out for me. I called HR and EEOC and complained and filed claims of discrimination based on gender. I filed a huge complaint with EEOC and told my entire story to them about the toxic work environment, the corporate rules that were broken day in and day out, the discrimination and harassment, etc…Most importantly, I recorded the call. Anyhow about a month later I called EEOC to see what their investigation found. The ladies advised me that they had absolutely no record of me ever calling to report discrimination to which I responded “I thought you’d say that and that’s why I recorded you and I have you on tape acknowledging receipt of my complaint”.  More crickets………………What? You can’t record us! That’s against the law how dare you! We have to get off the phone now. It was on this phone call that I realized that HR nor “EEOC” have employees backs. They have the corporation’s back – no one else.

A week later I called them back and to my dismay they still had no record of these conversations and were asking me to repeat all the facts and story again. Evidently the HR lady who I made all the claims to had mysteriously left the company on medical leave of an unknown length. The key here to understand: when millions of dollars are potentially at stake you’ve got to assume that the company you work for will do absolutely anything to take you out of the picture. In other words, they will lie, steal, cheat to prevent themselves from being targeted in a high $$$ lawsuit. Which is exactly what they were beginning to do to me.

The 100+ hour workweeks got old the first week, but this job was just flat out stupid. The bosses there was stupid. I had had enough. I began to design a way to get out of the rat race. I had about three months before my second son was to be born. So I went back to my roots and designed three different companies and began pouring all of my time and energy into them. I worked on them every spare chance I got. At work, at home, at night, at 3 am. I did this non-stop. I made my mind up that I’d rather live on the street than spend the next ten years of my life working in that ridiculous job. I expressed this to my wife which put here into a brief but understandable shock. I essentially told her to get ready, because once she went into labor I was not going back to work ever again.

She went into labor and my second son was born. I scribbled “I quit” on a napkin and took my first son with me to the big place downtown. We cleaned my office out and threw the crumbled up napkin on the “boss’s” desk. We got on the elevator and pressed floor 1. I immediately felt a huge weight lifted off my chest, shoulders, and body. I had my first son with me witnessing an act of rebellious freedom, the turning point in our lives and a lesson he will always remember (take your future into your own hands).

We walked out holding hands into the sunny afternoon sky, not knowing what the future held or whether any of the companies we were starting would work, but in my estimation being able to work 100+ hours per week would damn near make any company work, at least enough to get by.


3 thoughts on “Things went to hell and then I snapped

  1. Way to go James!! What a great story. Thanks for sharing. The Rocky theme song should be played as you and #1 son walked out Into the sun!!!

    1. Thanks Simone – it was definitely the turning point in our lives up to then. I wanted my son to see what taking control of your future looked like firsthand 🙂

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