I’m not sure if this is a rant, a vent, a emotional crying fest, or some combination of all of the above. M is out with the boys tonight and got the highlight reel via phone call, and I specifically told him not to come home early as I would be fine on my own. Thus far the carton of ice cream in the freezer and the chocolate syrup in the cabinet remain unopened, but this is not a night where I am thinking about my overall health. With all that disclaimer, let me tell you what happened today ….
My boss is an idiot. I mean, REALLY an idiot. Does these amazingly stupid things and does not consider the consequences of his actions, even if the only consequence is my jaw hitting the desktop followed by an honest, white-hot angry outburst.
Right after my lunch he comes into my office, closes the door, and calmly proceeds to tell me to retroactively reinstate the 20% salary cut for one of my peers, because “he cannot afford to lose that much income.”
Seriously. I am not joking. And I completely, totally, unprofessionally lost it. I was so angry I had tears well up in my eyes and start streaming down my face and had to ask him to give me a few minutes to compose myself before continuing this conversation. When I finally did return to his office 20 minutes later, I so angry. SO ANGRY! However, I had pulled out my spreadsheets and charts previously shared when we were discussing cutting costs and pointed out the following facts:
- This particular peer earns the highest level of compensation outside of the two owners (who did not have a 20% salary cut, nor did their 4 young adult, college graduate children who also earn $10,000 year each for being their kids).
- This particular peer is on the board of directors and earns board pay when we convene.
- This particular peer may supervise 3 technicians, but his salary is 26.3% more than the senior technician, and 93.2% and 95.1% more than the other 2 field technicians.
- Our technicians have been with us for more than 10 years, have families and the same personal financial obligations as their their manager, only they make A LOT less money.
- From a profitability standpoint, the lowest paid technicians are the most billable and profitable in the entire firm based on hours worked and billing rates. I could quote you boring statistics, but if we were laying off anyone my first choice would be their manager, followed by the senior technician, because the field techs earn more for the firm year after year.
- Reinstating the pay cut for him would be extraordinarily unfair to everyone on staff, myself included, and I feel he (the owner) must be morally bankrupt not to see that. If the owner is going to reinstate salary cuts for anyone, it should be uniform and across the board.
- If he proceeded on this course of action, I would be tendering my resignation, effective immediately. I would also be calling the other owner in the midwest and explaining in very succinct terms what he was doing and why I could no longer work for this firm.
I do not feel proud of myself. I feel like a horrible, unprofessional employee. I did not want to make this personal, I wanted to keep this in the realm of business and act professionally, and yet I did let my personal feelings leak into the conversation. While I am pretty honest and direct in my communications, telling your boss you think he is “morally bankrupt” is pretty extreme, even for me. In my defense, I finally reached my breaking point. That casual announcement was simply too much to take after all the other crap that has gone on with him and this firm.
As far as quitting, I have considered the implications in various scenarios. I had run the numbers for adding our health insurance premiums and was primed and ready to walk out the door, never to return. I was fully prepared for him to either fire me on the spot or accept my resignation. Unemployment in California is really weird, but with my side gigs I probably earn too much to be eligible. No matter. I was so enraged by his breezy heroics for long-time friend/manager (owner’s brother was the manager’s college roommate) that I could no longer contain my contempt.
I did not get fired or tender my resignation. My peer did not get his salary cut reinstated. Instead, local owner agreed to schedule a conference call with the midwest owner tomorrow to discuss the state of the firm since the cuts started July 1. It’s going to be an unpleasant conversation, and this time tomorrow I may indeed be unemployed. But honestly, I am so flabbergasted by his directive that I really will not be able to work there any further if he proceeds down this pathway.
Here in the California office no one is happy. The amount of work that can be done in 40 hour work weeks is getting done, but nothing beyond that. In the midwest they have more work than they know what to do with, yet the project managers there are sticking to their 40 hour work week and letting the owner sort out the rest. I warned them this was likely to happen. I cautioned them about instituting salary cuts before cutting other obvious fat in the budget. To say they did not believe me is an understatement.
The worst part of this is the realization that I am fearful of a normal business environment. Our firm is little, flexible, weird, and I worry that I have lost my ability to be professional and work in a typical business environment. First it was just about clothing and personal appearance, but I am now thinking about how one comports themselves in other firms run by genuine business people and not Napoleon complex afflicted tall men.
After I was done meeting with the owner, I was physically trembling from the stress of the conflict. I called my therapist for an ASAP appointment (tomorrow at 7 a.m.) and then sent out a mass email to all my friends asking if anyone could recommend a good business coach to help me prepare to transition to my next professional opportunity. I cannot afford to self-medicate with Hagen Daz and chocolate sauce, or at least I cannot afford to do that very much or very often, so I’m running back to the safety of my counselor’s office. The second is reassure me that I can be rehabbed into something more than small-ball workplaces and can be successful in larger and/or more traditional organizations.
Whew. It’s been quite a day, and I am really glad for this outlet to bleed off some of my insanity. Perhaps the ice cream and chocolate sauce will still be available for Thursday evening’s family dinner. I’m hoping my willpower will win out.