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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Morality Challenged Part 2

The saga of my employment life continues. You can read part 1 here.

So the moment Bill begins pouring the solution on the unfinished arrangement I walk to the front, search for my cell phone and just as I am about to call his brother, the manager (did I mention nepotism) I shut the phone. I decided against it. I realized that I was in a catch 22. Other employees and myself have consistently complained about Bill’s behavior because he insists on breaking the rules. I literally felt like if I called and reported his behavior to the management nothing would be done about it or that somehow I would be implicated in it and face being reprimanded or fired. Given that in the past anything and everything I’ve said has been used against me I felt that NOTHING I did to handle the situation (whether I reported it immediately, never reported it, or waited,) would have benefited me in the least. Essentially, I had no evidence and it was my word against Bill’s—the boss’s brother.

My immediate choice was whether to leave or to stay on the premises while someone was committing a health code and kosher violation. Unfortunately, I stayed. That wasn’t the smartest decision I have made. I can rationalize it by saying that I was exhausted, I felt like if the management insisted on keeping someone like Bill employed, who has proven that he is a lose cannon, than that was none of my business and I shouldn’t be involved in it. I can rationalize it by saying that I had a lot of stressful things on my mind and I didn’t want to add this to the list. But regardless of how I spin it, I had a decision to make and however unintentionally, I made the wrong one.

My next choice was to report him immediately, to report him the next day, or to not report him at all. The latter decision would prove to have the best outcome for me. If someone were to have gotten sick (and more than likely they would have) there would have been no proof that I had done anything wrong. First of all, I don’t make arrangements. Second of all, how many people would have suspected that eating fruit would make them sick? How could they prove that products from our store had made them sick, and not some other store? Third, what if they hadn’t gotten sick at all? There was still a small chance that they hadn’t. If so, then technically, nothing “bad” happened. I didn’t report him immediately, but when I left the store I had pretty much made up my mind to report him the next day. Suppose he were to tarnish someone’s products again. He has attempted to before, other employees reported him and nothing was done about it. Suppose he continued his reckless behavior, which in all probability he would. Eventually someone would get hurt. I had to tell. Even though that put me in a crappy situation.

I called Bill’s brother, the manager the next day. I explain what his brother did, the defiance that his brother used when doing it and the hour and a half profanity-ridden diatribe his brother went into after he had marred the arrangement. There is a pause. He asked why I didn’t tell him sooner. I explained to him my dilemma and how I felt nothing would have been done about it and that there was nobody there to corroborate what I was saying. There is another pause. And this is where all Hades breaks lose. “Why did you allow him to do it?”

Yeah! He went there. Just as I suspected he was going to pin this on me, because it’s easier to do that than make his brother bare responsibly. This isn’t the first time that this manager has blamed me for something that wasn’t my fault. At one point he blamed me for a situation that was his fault! Why? Because it’s easier to make the employee the scapegoat than to accept responsibility. “I’m not a manager, I don’t make arrangements. What was I supposed to do?”

“You should have let me know the same day it happened”

“I’m letting you know now!”

We go back I forth for a few moments and then he says something to this effect.

“Now, let’s talk about your behavior. Why did you allow that arrangement to go out?

I explain to him that I hadn’t. That the delivery person couldn’t take it out to deliver it, because he was tired and couldn’t find addresses in the dark. He tells me that he personally delivered that ruined basket later that night. I told him that I didn’t know that, nor did I have anyway of knowing that that arrangement was going to leave that store before I had time to file a complaint. I go back to Bill’s behavior. He goes back to mine. He brings up the time when he accused me of doing something I didn’t do, because at the time incident happened I was at the ER with a relative. Then he talks about another incident that happened that I was previously cleared of. Yet regardless of what I did in the past (those who know me know that I have a strong work ethic and that his accusations were garbage) I’ve never mishandled food or endangered some one’s health. The conversation turns defensive. I explain to him that I didn’t call to have an evaluation of my behavior but to talk about a safety violation that his brother committed. After 20 minutes of going back and forth (approximately 5 minutes discussing his brother’s action and 15 discussing my behavior). I give up. I politely end the conversation. There were two employees who heard my side of the conversation. “I can’t believe he tried to blame you for that!” says one. The other says “I’m going to have to have a talk with (male manager’s name), He’s trying to use you as a scapegoat!” “Yall I quit!” I say resolutely. “I am done, I am so done I’m burnt you can stick a folk in me!”

I spoke with the female manager the next day. I told her everything. How upset I was. How I truly regretted not leaving when Bill destroyed the arrangement. What her husband had said to me on the phone, etc. I then told her that I refused to work in a place where Bill was working! That I was no longer coming to work if Bill was still an employee there! Finally today I typed an official complaint against Bill, signed and dated it.
Then I wrote a long letter of resignation citing nepotism and unfair treatment as the reason for my abrupt departure. Though he has been reprimanded, Bill is still employed at the shop.

Many times when we strive to make the right decision we must face negative outcomes. In the wonderful land of make-believe every positive decision is rewarded with some positive result. (In psychology we call that the just-world hypothesis*). Though that is certainly ideal, real life does not always play out that way. Sometimes we will not receive immediate rewards. I subscribe to the Christian worldview believing that God knows our hearts and our intentions, and that if we are not rewarded on earth, he will surely reward those who “are persecuted for righteousness sake.” Yes, it’s unfair that Bill still has employment, while I do not, but I cannot in good conscience work for a company where dishonesty and nepotism reign.

Now I have just one more dilemma to grapple with…

To be continued…

*Also known as a load of crap (by me at least)


Katie McLenithan said...

Wow Crystal...all that is pretty crazy! I am sorry that you had to go through it. Although it was a hard decision to make, i think that you made the correct one by leaving the job. It would have only continued to irritate you and stress you out which is not good at all. Everytime we have to make difficult moral decisions like that, it makes us stronger. So hang in there!

Crystal Clear said...

Thank's Katie. I certainly will hang in there. You know somehow, even though I should be troubled by not having a job, I feel okay. I'm not worried about it. I figure God got me that job, He will help me find another. Thanks for your loving comments! Always great to hear from you.