Monday, September 19, 2011

Just when I think I can't hate my employer more, they prove me wrong!

*waves* Hi there. Remember me?

I’m happy to see that my recent terrible blogger/blog follower status hasn’t gotten me removed from The Whine list!!! This whole ‘being responsible and not reading blogs at work’ thing sucks. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me griping about work. A lot. Well guess what? Imma treat you to more of the same right now!

I’ll try to keep the back story brief. Where to start….

I’ve worked for the same organization for 10 years now. I started as a temp working reception. My solid performance got me hired and promoted to an Administrator position in my current department.

At that point (this is back in 2002) the position was an admin support position. I typed letters, created databases, assembled briefing books, coordinated various administrative projects, provided back-up to others, etc. Pretty typical. I was the administrative workhorse. You need something done accurately and in a timely fashion? I was the girl everyone went to. I worked non-stop and didn't complain.

My boss at the time, we’ll call her The Devil, promised me that she would mentor me.  I was “in the same position she was at my age. ” She was gonna get me “all trained up” blah blah blah. Empty promises.

See, she was the queen of empty promises. I was promised a lot over the years. She usually provided enough perks that I couldn't really complain, but she never lived up to those promises. I'm not the only one to have learned that the hard way. I suppose I could've joined the suck up club, because they were her favourites. But I’m not a suck up.  

2 ½ years ago, an Analyst position opened up within my department. Now, had my boss mentored me like she had promised, I may have been a shoe-in. However, since she had taught me pretty much diddly-squat, I was on my own. Needless to say, I did not get that job (though The Devil did assure me that they gave me serious consideration. I guess that was probably a lie too!). Oddly enough, that isn’t even why I’m here whining to you all. Between myself and the other candidate, they definitely gave the right person the job. And I’ve been lucky to have her mentor me over the past few years. (WHY OH WHY did I not meet someone like this 10-15 years ago when it could have made all the difference in my career path?! Sorry, that’s a different rant…)

To placate me, I was given a new window office and travel to several conferences a year. I’m not complaining. My job description was evaluated, and it was determined that the administrative support portion of my job (which was probably 75+% of my tasks) would be removed and divided amongst the remaining admin staff. This allowed me to focus on analytical work within my department.

Oh yeah, and The Devil also promised me that I would be reclassified and given a new title.

Now all this was going on during an entire organizational restructure. Unfortunately it was based on my old job description. And that was entirely reflected in where I was placed. It was very obvious to myself, and others, that certain levels were written in such a way to put certain people in certain places. 

The Devil told me I’d just have to wait. Again.

Fast forward to this year. My job has evolved. The Analyst has taught me a lot. I’ve improved on my skill-set.

The Devil retired. Finally. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead literally played on repeat in my head. Unfortunately, her claws were dug deep and she made sure to leave the suck-ups with a legacy.

So now there are only 2 of us in the department: myself and the Analyst. She gets bumped up to Manager - there’s actually quite a bit more to that story, as my previous boss was a Director, but that’s not for me to whine about… it’s just another piece in the whole fucked up employer puzzle.

So my new boss (hereafter referred to as she) and I talked about my position and where we would like my position to grow. She completely agrees that I am currently classed incorrectly, but we decided not to push the reclassification issue because there was a lot of contention about it at the management level, and she didn’t want to appear to be making the request solely because The Devil had retired. I understood, and agreed to hold off.

That was, until I learned that the new Administration Manager reclassed most of her staff.

Now I know that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others, and that it’s not really any of my business how much people make. Whatever. There is such thing as equity, and the internal equity at my office is out of fucking whack.

So, the suck-up (who, btw, does minimal shitty work and makes 50ish% more than I do) got promoted to supervisor (she was already a level higher and probably at the top of her pay scale. who knows where they put here with the promotion). 

Remember when they took those admin tasks from my job? They were given to the Admin Assistant. She was reclassed to the same level as I'm in.
The Receptionist (who can’t format a fucking letter and spends more than half her day talking on the phone) also was reclassed to the same level as I'm in because she is providing support to accounting (the Supervisor).

I do not believe two of them are deserving of where they are based on job performance. There is no way. The Admin Assistant is a great friend of mine and I have no issue with where they have placed her. I know she has taken on more responsibility.

But I do have a problem with where they are all classed relative to my position.

Naturally I was quite upset when I first heard about this. I marched right into my boss's office (I’m lucky she and I are friends) and laid it out. This. Is. Not. Right.

She agreed. Let’s get the ball rolling.

So I revamped my job description. I write correspondence, reports, policies and procedures. I analyze reports and other submissions. I liaise with government officials and sit on a multi-governmental committee. I represent the organization at functions and international conferences.

And I filled out the stupid HR responsibility questionnaire and provided as much example as I could. My boss also completed the same.

Then the waiting started. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Have I mentioned that I am not a patient person? At. All.

Then there were the meetings. My boss met with HR and the Admin Manager. It was about at this point that we realized the whole process was seriously flawed.

More meetings. Explain how her job has changed. Explain her day-to-day activities. Provide examples of how responsibility levels have increased. Blah, blah, fucking blah. Based on these meetings neither of us had a good feeling. She told me that HR was not open to discussion on points when they had already forumlated their own determination. What exactly they were basing those determinations on is beyond me!

So last week she finally has THE meeting. The one with the CEO where HR/Admin outline their determination. Sadly, she has to go in blind. She hates this. I don’t blame her. Like I said: Flawed process!

You may have surmised from the fact that I’m here whining to you all that this meeting did not go well. You are correct.

They basically told her that my responsibility level hasn’t changed. No, I’m sorry, those were HR’s exact words “Her responsibility level hasn’t changed.”

What. The. Fuck??!!!!

Are you kidding me?

No, seriously, am I being Punk’d?

I am livid. My boss is livid. I have absolutely no idea how anyone could possibly reach that conclusion. After that entire process, they obviously have no fucking idea what I do.

HR also said “maybe she was assessed too high last time?” Have I mentioned that I no longer like HR? Um, considering they just reassessed what was largely my old job (the Admin Assistant) at my current level, that is obviously untrue. I have no idea why, but I feel like this bitch has got it out for me. Wait - I'll bet this can be wholly blamed on The Devil!

How is this supposed to motivate me to work harder and take on even more responsibility?  I could still be putting together binders and making the coffee. That’s a whole lot less stressful. What is the point in working hard and proving yourself when you never get recognition or compensation for your efforts?!

She fought for me in that meeting. Hard. I could provide you with paragraphs of arguments used, but why bother. They are sticking to their determination. The highlights are as follows:

    • Responsibility level just “isn’t there yet” because my boss still reviews and approves everything  <-- um, we are a 2 person department. And besides, there are other Analysts in the organization that filter their work thru someone higher!
    • My previous job description already said analyze <-- there are only so many verbs you can use! Where is the distinction in the depth and breadth of the analysis?!
    • Cannot move to Professional category due to lack of completion of post-secondary education <-- okay, I won’t argue that. However, I will point out The Devil (who was a Director!) did not have a university degree.
    • I was just reclassed 1 ½ years ago <-- actually, the process started 2 ½ years ago. And it was based on my old job description. And prior to that, The Devil had assured me I was already a Level 2. Obviously she lied. Again. Shocking.

She had a follow-up meeting regarding all of this with the CEO. She took 2 pages of notes with her, and fortunately he patiently listened to what she had to say. And he agreed with her about a lot of it. He did not deny that my responsibilities have increased. Unfortunately, it does not change their very wrong determination.

The end result of all this is that I am committing to go back to school as part of a “Development Plan” to advance my position. I’m fortunate that my employer will reimburse education expenses and I will be able to allot some of my work hours to school – bonus! There will be definite milestones in terms of how I can advance.  And if my boss has any say (I shouldn’t hold out hope that she will based on my experiences), it will be a stepped process so that I don’t have to wait as long for compensation for a job that I’m already doing.

Sounds good? I know it does. It’s daunting, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Now, to figure out what to study…

My boss’s suggestion: Let’s just pick the quickest/easiest thing.

God I love her!

So, here’s my dilemma. For myself, I would love to complete a degree. I didn’t drop out of university because I wasn’t smart enough, I just lacked direction. And money. BUT, do I want to undertake a p/t degree at this point in my life? It would take FOREVER!

I did find a program that I’m keen on. Not sure how easy it would be to do on a p/t basis since I would have to attend classes (as opposed to doing them online) and labs, but the subject matter interests me and it would be about as relevant to my job as I could get.

The flip side is that I could complete a Business Management or Business Administration certificate in 2-3 years. The subject does not interest me much, but I have no doubt I could do well. And the time frame is so much more feasible and not nearly as scary!

Decision, decisions….

Lest you think I’m actually gonna leave this rant on a high(ish) note…

Just when I think I can’t hate my employer more, I realize this:

When they did the reorganization/reclass 1 ½ years ago, they adjusted all employees to a compa ratio of 88% of their salary level (unless they were already higher). This percentage was chosen based on the funds available at the time.

They have since adjusted that rate to 90%.

So the Admin Assistant and Receptionist were reclassed at 90% of their level.

OUR level.

Let's do the math.

When they did the reorganization/reclass it was determined that I was underpaid (shocking, I know!), so I was moved up to 88% of my level. I’ll be generous and assume I got a 3% raise last year, so that puts me at what? My math says 91%.

The Receptionist now makes the same annual salary as I do.

Fuck. My. Life.


  1. I'm so sorry, bb. Fuck 'em. Work sucks. I'm at my shitty job right now so I can't comment more fully. Love you. I want to know more about the educational opportunities!

  2. Oh God - now that I've got more of the story, I'm so angry for you :-(

    After all that, I'd be tempted to tell 'em to stuff their trip to the UK where the sun don't shine, so you can take the kind of trip you REALLY deserve: a trip to Forks!

    Office politics suck. Big time. But on the upside, if they're prepared to fund further study, then that's a plus. I too didn't complete university education (it's a long story) but I DID get my previous employer to pay for me to do a Diploma in Management. And I did it when my #Things were both under 5. I must have been mental...

    I know the situation with the job market is shite the world over, but start listing out your transferable skills, your achievements, and your responsibilities - both those on your JD, and those implied. Then start looking. It sounds like your boss would give you a decent recommendation... And don't restrict your achievements to the workplace. You're a working mom - how many amazing skills does that require?!?

    Give 'em hell, hunni. Work to rule for a while and see how well THAT goes down! B*stards :-(

    CC x

  3. Wow, that sucks. I'd say welcome back to the Whine, but it's not welcoming to be here, really. I may have a whine coming soon, I can feel it!

    Hang in there. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger right? Or it makes us drink more. Your pick.

    I'd pick the educational path that leads places outside of your current company. Yes, it will also gain you some steps and levels at the current job, but what will make you a more skilled employee to others?

  4. That sucks big time! Maybe you should go to school to get a degree that would get you to the head HR position then you can fire all their asses! Or like inotu said look for something that will lead you to places outside your current company that way you won't be stuck working in the same place where you are not given the recognition you deserve.

    I'm sure whatever you decide it will be right for you. And I surely hope things start looking up when you start school :)

  5. First I am sorry. Second I am proud of you for sticking with it all. Third I am more proud of you for choosing to go back for more schooling. I hope you realize that not only will the schooling help with this job but if end up choosing to go it can only help you in the future. Good luck!

  6. Oh, sweetie.

    Dirty fucking fuckers. I am a middle-man, people report to me and I report up... and sometimes it's the most hideous thing ever, but what I can say is that good people make a workplace. It sounds like you have a good person in your boss. That is so important.

    I heart you bb, as do all my fellow twitards, and we are always here through all the shit.

    And how's that Bitten and Smitten in Forks mousepad working out with the whole 'keep smiling at work' thing?

  7. Wow, bb, that totally sucks! I am so sorry! I agree with everyone's comments, especially Chloe Cougar, about skipping London and going to FORKS! :-) It is great, though, that you can go back to school and get paid/reimbursed for it, so don't pass up that opportunity!

  8. thank you all so much for your kind words and support. It means the world to me!!!

    @mb - I've gotta say, even though we don't know each other very well, I've noted a lot of similarities in our lives in terms of work and relationships. Hmm, let's hope that's not a bad thing! :0

    @cc - I immediately started looking at job ads. But sadly, in this region, I'd most likely have to take a lower responsibility admin position and serious pay cut. I don't want to do either. Still looking tho! You may have to talk me thru it when I get overwhelmed with school and the family demands!!!!

    @inotu & Kassie - at this point anything I study will get me further ahead than where I am now!!! Definitely keeping my options open.

    @dd - Thanks bb. Truly, it means so much!

    @TK50 - ILY! I smile EVERY time I look down at at the keyboard!!!

    @jiff - I am lucky that I can get help with education, there are perks for working in this hellhole! I wish I could drop work for Forks!! Tho if the AC flight attendants strike I might not be going anywhere! :(

    I love you all, thanks again for listening to me whine!!