And Now A Word From a Subscriber

Zala posted this in reply to my post: People Are Afraid of Socialism Because…

I thought it deserved it’s own post:

(I love her definition of GOP – “Greed Over People.”  Made me snicker.)

The USA is a fascist country with some socialist government programs. I don’t get why the Teahadists/Teanderthals don’t see that.

“Greed is (still) Good.”
We have all the wrong priorities because, yes I will say it, EVIL men with agendas have been working constantly for decades, sending out their propaganda minions and messages, and the sheeple eat up the shit they’re fed, because we’re taught to obey authority in our school systems. We are not human beings with feelings, desires and personal goals. We are tiny disposable cogs in the machinery of Corporate Progress & Profit. They throw us occasional sops, so that we think we have “benefits” (like health insurance) and then they underpay us and overwork us (check out this woman’s story: http://changetowin.org/news/mother-jones-i-was-warehouse-wage-slave ).
Unless a miracle happens, I will never get out of debt. If I remain employed by Corporate America, I have 8 more working years before retirement age. I had counted on those to be my highest-earning years of employment, until Wall Street & Banks took away a chunk of my 401(k) and caused my employer to circle the wagons and tighten their belts – 1% raise at most for some of us, and most people got 0% FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, while the price of everything has risen 50-100%. If I could find a roommate or tag-team partner to share expenses with, I could probably make some headway, but on my own I have very little chance. I have some moonlighting opportunities thanks to Ms Crankypance (bless your generous heart ❤ ❤ ❤ ) but my “real job” sits me squarely in the lower middle class. 10 years ago, my salary comfortably covered the cost of living, with some left over for savings!! Now, I’m going backwards and have to make up the difference between income and outgo using my credit cards.
No one CARES that there are many people like me. They say, well just don’t DO that (use credit cards, for instance). Well, if it’s a week to next payday, and the car’s out of gas, I need to do SOMETHING to get to work.
I think we need to move to something more “socialistic/communistic” – soon people in my situation will NOT be able to afford to own their own homes. Perhaps we’ll go back to living in villages where everyone helps out with the work and shares the benefits. Our society would benefit immensely by going back to such archaic means of survival…… I really hate this new breed of American. We have always been “rugged individualists” but the current GOP (“Greed Over People”) has exacerbated and incited that streak in the American psyche, and extrapolated it to mean, ‘Fucking Government Redistribution of Wealth – I should be able to keep ALL of what I earn, why should I help the next guy??’ These CINO’s will hopefully be the perihelion of the pendulum’s swing – hopefully the pendulum will head more towards the middle after this generation has either died off or awakened.
The Rapture can’t come soon enough for me – it would get rid of a lot of the thorns in my intellection and emotional psyche :D

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So Why Do We, the Unemployed…

…have to show proof that we’ve been searching for work in order to maintain our benefits, but bloody Corporate America doesn’t have to show proof that they are doing the very best they can do to lower the unemployment numbers by interviewing and hiring us?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Please comment.  Comments are good.  Rant.  Rave.  Get pissed off and then deluge your congressman with email until s/he does something.  Fill their inboxes up.  Call.  Start petitions.  Write the president.  Write a LOT.  Make yourself heard. Start a blog.  Link it to Occupy.

Do SOMETHING.

We may be unemployed but we WANT to work.  Get rid of bloody seat warmers and get someone in who will actually WORK.  Millions of us out here really, truly WANT to work. We’ll do a better job for you than those you have, because we’re hungry.  We know what it’s like to be hungry.  We’ll treasure our jobs and we won’t be the slackers.  Ever thought about THAT, Mr. CEO?????

Bah.  Mr. CEO thinks about nothing other than how he can “streamline” even more to make his shareholders happy.  It’s about money and those with the money have the power.

Isn’t it time we took that power away?  There are more of us than there are of them.  There’s power in numbers.  Would you walk down a dark alley alone, knowing full well there was a gang of 400 waiting to kick you bloody?  Would you walk down that same alley with 150,000,000 people behind you?  I would.

 

Wow! I Heard From Congressman Shuster…(are you ready for this?)

A few posts ago, I wrote a letter to my congressman.  Actually, I wrote three letters.  A month later, I hear from him.  Below is his reply – quite canned – and under it is the reply I just fired off to him.  I’m mad.  I’m going to do something about this.  I don’t know what, but I’m going to do something.  Somehow I will get myself in front of the House of Representatives, since he’s blaming them.  In essence, he says:  “I’m really sorry, but I can’t do a damned thing for you.”  And I’ll bet he then went and had lunch with and friend in the House and didn’t even discuss this issue.  Nope.
On 2/28/2012 12:13 PM, Shuster@housemail.house.govwrote:

Ms. My Name here
My Address
My City State and  Zip
Dear Ms. My Name:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the American Jobs Act of 2011. I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefits of your views.
As you may know, H.R. 12, the American Jobs Act of 2011 would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow employers a tax credit for payroll increases in the last quarter of 2011 and 2012, extend the 100 percent bonus depreciation allowance through 2012, and increase the work opportunity tax credit for hiring unemployed veterans. It would also make specified funds available for the Department of Transportation for highway and rail projects, among others. Should H.R. 12 come before the full House of Representatives for a vote, I will be certain to keep your views in mind.
In these challenging economic times, we need to ensure that we do everything we can to create jobs at home and put Americans back to work. This is why the House of Representatives has passed over twenty job-creating bills to stimulate the economy and help Americans get back to work. Unfortunately, the Senate has not taken action on any of these bills. These pieces of bipartisan legislation passed by the Republican majority include bills reducing our dependence on foreign oil, removing bureaucratic barriers to energy permitting, and made it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to vital job-creating capital.
Again, thank you for contacting me. For your convenience, you can receive further information on issues important to the Ninth District at http://www.house.gov/shuster/. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Sincerely,
BILL SHUSTER
Member of Congress
WFS:dw
My reply:
Dear Congressman Shuster:How much do you really know about corporate America?  That payroll tax credit doesn’t do a thing to provide more jobs.  It just means that Mr. CEO gets a bigger tax write-off.   I’m not an unemployed veteran, so while I think the work opportunity tax credit for unemployed veterans is a great start, it’s not going to get me hired.  Won’t even get me an interview.

As far as the 100% bonus depreciation allowance goes?  Have you  worked in the private sector in an entry level position since 2000?  None of these measures will help create jobs.  They will cause many CEOs to grin at each other over their morning coffee while they check their financial statements, though.

The private sector must be mandated to hire the unemployed FIRST – before even considering those who are already employed.  Those who are employed don’t need jobs.  Those who are unemployed; particularly those who are long-term unemployed, are looking at  – well – exactly nothing.

I’m 50 years old.  I’ve been unemployed for 52 weeks.  I can’t get a job – not even flipping burgers, and believe me, I’ve tried.

Congressman Shuster, what do you propose for those like me, whose benefits are due to run out soon?  Do we all just drive off a bridge, en masse?  That’s not sarcasm.  Where are we supposed to live?  HOW are we supposed to live?  Corporations are blithely just throwing resumes like mine into file 13.  I’m “too old.”  I use my health benefits for something other than wellness checkups – at least I do when I have health benefits.

Mr. Congressman, next time you spend $50 at lunch with cronies, think about how many groceries that money could buy someone like me.  Think about the fact that I don’t qualify for food stamps, and so I have to make ends meet on approximately $1,000 a month, after taxes.  After my rent, car payment, cell phone bill, and the small sundries of life (internet connection so I can job hunt), I don’t have $100 to spend on food if I want to have any gas in my car in case someone might want to interview me.  Granted, those opportunities are few and far between, but one must be prepared.

I spend approximately $50 a month on food.  Think about that next time you order an arugula salad…

When was the last time YOU ate Ramen?

What do I want you to do?  Easy.  I want you and all your fellow congressmen/women, to live as an unemployed individual in this country lives – for six weeks.  I want you to attempt to pay all your bills on the money paid to you, and then I want you to go back to your well-paid jobs, your comfortable offices, and I want you to write a bill (and push it through) that states corporate America MUST SHOW PROOF THAT THEY ARE NOT ONLY CONSIDERING, BUT INTERVIEWING AND HIRING THE UNEMPLOYED BEFORE THEY EVEN LOOK AT THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY EMPLOYED.

Our nation is in a crisis situation.  Can you not see that?  Maybe it hasn’t affected you, personally.  Trade places with me, and then tell me what you think should be done.

Our corporations have control of our government.  Take that control away from them, regulate them, and tell them to suck it up – the same way they tell their employees to suck it up when they lay them off and then say they won’t hire the unemployed.

Mr. Congressman:  DO SOMETHING!  PLEASE!

Sincerely,

(my name here)

“Carnage.” Apt Use of the Word by Joe Carbone

Here’s the link:  Trapped in Unemployment.  Mr. Carbone, you chose the perfect word to describe what’s happening out there.  Corporate America has and is causing carnage in what used to be the greatest country in the world.

While legislation has been enacted to prevent companies from placing language in job postings to reflect their unwillingness to hire the unemployed, this legislation is about political correctness, not about getting people to work.   It’s  a “feel good” measure created to make Congress think they’re doing something to lower the double-digit unemployment rate.  Yes, people, our TRUE unemployment rate is in double digits.  Think about it.  Go find the formula used to calculate it.  It’s a skewed formula which does not include those termed as “leaving the workforce.”

This legislation is an insult to the American public.  While I’ve always maintained that our government thinks we’re stupid, up to this point  they’ve made an attempt to at least cloak the yawning crevasse between what the people truly need and what they want for themselves in some form of verbiage that will fool at least some of us.  This time they simply got in our faces and called us idiots.

Remember this: Congress is comprised of upper-middle class individuals who each earn an average of $174,000 a year – money “we the people” are paying them to pass legislation during the biggest unemployment crises in more than 60 years.  These are individuals who have no reference point for the crisis of the working man and they simply chuckle at Corporate America and say:  “Dude,  we’re catchin’ some flak about these job postings.  Y’all can’t go around saying unemployed people can’t apply for your jobs.  You don’t have to hire them, but we gotta keep ’em quiet, so quit being so blatant about it, okay?”  Then they glad-hand all around, pour a few more drinks, and check the return on their investments.

Why do corporations outsource our jobs and lay off workers?  It’s a simple answer but they’d say otherwise.  The answer is this:  If they are publicly traded, they have to keep their shareholders happy. Shareholders want to make money, and lots of it, on their shares.  They want to see a lean, mean, bantam-weight workforce and they aren’t willing to give up any of the return those  job cuts provide them.

Who owns a lot of shares in Corporate America?  Why…gosh…our elected officials own lots of shares in Corporate America.  So why would they enact legislature that would take money out of their pockets?  They want to keep corporations happy.  They don’t give a flying red one about us.  Good lord, they might have to sell a fancy car, or a yacht or, god forbid, get RESPONSIBLE WITH OUR MONEY.

How many average citizens can afford to own enough shares in publicly traded corporations that will provide a significant return on their investment?  I know of very few.

I have used 52 of my 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  That leaves me 47 weeks, during which time I will be told that I have to “look harder” for work and accept any position offered me.  Nice, guys.  Just beautiful.  Let’s deconstruct that mandate.  Here’s what it really says:

“You’ve got to be a slacker or you’d have found work by now.  Since you won’t do it yourself, we’re going to force you into it.  For 52 weeks you only had to apply for 2 jobs a week.  Now you have to apply for 6-10 jobs a week and send us those records every month and if the local convenience store offers you a job that pays less than what you’re getting from us, why, you have to take it.”  

On average, I apply for 22 jobs a week.  I have been doing this for 52 weeks.  The last “interview” I got was last week.  I showed up at the location – it was a staffing company – and the office was locked and dark.  So I called the number posted on the door and was told that I needed to drive another 30 miles to another location because they decided to use the office, at whose front door I was standing at that moment, only two days a week.  So I asked why I wasn’t notified.  The receptionist got nasty with me and said she called me the day prior and left a message.  I told her she didn’t, that their number was not in my incoming or missed calls list, nor was there a voice mail left for me.  She blamed it on my phone.  Odd – I got plenty of calls on the day she said she called me.   She never called.  She lied.  Why not give me HER job, thus ensuring that someone responsible, professional and who actually CARES will see that contacts are made?

I have another “interview” set for this thursday. I have to drive 75 miles to get to it.  Will I be treated the same way?

I’ve stopped telling staffing agencies (because they are the only organizations who call me for interviews now) that I’m unemployed.  My resume reflects that I am currently  a freelance data analyst.  I do not tell anyone I am accepting unemployment benefits.   If they ask, I lie.  While I would accept work as a freelance data analyst, thus am technically “employed”  no one is beating my door down to use my service.  If I need to provide references for any “work” I’ve done as a freelancer, my network of small business owner friends give me a great reference.  This is what Corporate America has done.  They’ve taught us that it’s necessary to be just as dishonest as they are if we want to work.  While I’m not certain I can compromise my values in this manner much longer, I often wonder what choice I have.

Even with all that, I can’t find work.  Why would a company employ a 50 year old “freelance data analyst” when they can get a fresh young thing straight from college who doesn’t know enough to be insulted by the salary offered, who has not yet developed “bad habits” and who won’t use their healthcare benefits for anything but wellness checks, and do that very rarely?   A company won’t hire me when they can get what I’ve described above.

When I spoke with the staffing agency rep yesterday she asked me if I had a degree.  A degree for an entry-level clerical position.  A DEGREE.   She had my resume in front of her, could see my level of experience, could see my education and instead of saying “wow – we can certainly place YOU” she says:  “Do you have a degree?”   I wanted to reply:  “Yes, I have a degree in dodging discriminatory hiring practices” but I simply said:  “It’s right there at the bottom of my resume.”  Apparently she hadn’t read that far.

Carnage.  What do those of us who are without a secondary household income do when our (meager) unemployment benefits run out?  Do we storm the gates and create some carnage of our own?  I say yes.  I say all of us who are part of the carnage go crashing through the bedroom door and pull our government out of bed with Corporate America.

You do realize that WE are the only people who can facilitate this kind of change.  Our elected officials are engaging in such marvelous financial sex with corporations that they’re not going to stop unless someone (we, the people) force them to stop.

Do you understand what is going to happen to all of us if we can’t force coitus interruptus?  Our government is not protecting us.  It’s destroying us – all in the name of money.

 

Open Letter to Congressman Shuster

I live in Pennsylvania, having just moved here from Maryland.  I am fed up with age and unemployment discrimination.  I have been unemployed for a year on February 19, 2012.  I wrote this letter to my congressman.  If you agree with my letter, please “like” and share.

__________________________________

Dear Congressman Shuster:

I moved to PA from MD two weeks ago. I am one of the many unemployed in America. I have been unemployed since Feb 19, 2011 and am barely making ends meet on the benefits I receive.

My letter to you speaks to age and unemployment discrimination being practiced by employers. While you and I know it is illegal to discriminate for such reasons, corporations are getting around that law by requiring applicants to provide their social security number BEFORE they can even begin an application. Washington County Public School system in Maryland requires it – I just electronically applied for a job there.

Apparently, The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, also referred to as HR 2501, would prevent employers from such discrimination. The bill would also apply to employment agencies, who would not be allowed to ask about the current employment status of job applicants.

This is a non-action. When an employer REQUIRES background check information PRIOR to an applicant even filling out an application, it is very easy for them to get around this legislation. It’s exceptionally easy for them to simply cull all those over a certain age and hire younger and cheaper.

I am 50 years old. I have almost 30 years of work experience and I would be an asset to many companies. I can’t even get a job gargling peanut butter on the street corner. On Friday, February 3, I was contacted by a recruiter who was very excited by my resume. It seems I was a 100% match to the requirements. On Monday I received an email stating that my application would not be considered since “the position was already filled.” So why did he contact me? This individual also had information regarding my age and unemployment status.

How are we, the long-term unemployed, supposed to find work if no one will hire us? Our government quotes an unemployment rate of approximately 8.5% nationwide. That’s a crock and anyone who can do simple math and word problems can figure it out. The formula is based upon the number of jobs created, those who are still drawing unemployment and those who have “left the work force.”

The assumption is that those who have “left the work force” have done so voluntarily. I’m here to tell you that “those who have left the work force” have done so not by choice, but simply because their benefits ran out. This does not mean they are not still looking for work. It simply means they had no more benefits, had to pack it in, move in with family or friends and become a financial burden to those people.

When is someone in our government going to wake up and see the truth? Have you or any of your colleagues ever experienced TRUE poverty? Do you think you would be able to support yourself on the benefits paid by unemployment (after of course, you’ve gone through all your savings and retirement, as well as your children’s college funds, as my brother and I have done!)?

Do you know what it means to experience starvation? Wait. That’s not a politically correct term any longer, is it? I recently read where the term “Food Insecure” is being bandied about as being much more acceptable. It’s not as ugly, is it? If it weren’t for the kindness of family and friends, I (one of your new constituents) would have STARVED long ago. I’d also be homeless.

Can you tell me why it is that I, at age 50, am unable to get a job working even at a convenience store? I’m willing to take such a job. I’m willing to work. I WANT to work. No one will hire me. I know the reason. I’m “old.” I would actually USE my health care benefits for things other than wellness checkups.

It’s a fact that healthcare in America is there solely to make a profit. Insurance companies are not there to take care of us; they are there to make a profit. I was recently turned away from a Patient First in Maryland when I had the ‘flu because I couldn’t pay. I have no health insurance. I’m diabetic and I don’t qualify for Medicaid. I “make too much money” on unemployment. I don’t qualify for food stamps. My unemployment benefit year (colloquially known as BYE – how apt) is ending on Feb 19 of this year. Will I get an extension?

I’m not sitting around on my butt doing nothing and leeching taxpayer dollars. I’m not using my unemployment money to buy drugs. Between yesterday and today, I applied for 21 jobs. I do this daily. I have done this daily since February 20, 2011.

Congressman Shuster, can you tell me how I am supposed to support myself once my benefits run out and I am no longer counted as a part of the “work force?” Am I supposed to move in with my aged and ill parents, one of whom just spent 8 weeks in hospital? Am I supposed to move into my brother’s basement and live with the crickets and mice? Or should I move into my sister’s storage closet? Perhaps I should make a straw pallet in my neighbor’s barn? I’m not being facetious. Those are my choices.

Have you ever been faced with these choices?

Why is Corporate America being allowed to cull those who are over a certain age and who are unemployed? The act I referenced above does NOTHING to restrain this activity. NOTHING.

I volunteer at a non-profit in Maryland and four months ago, one of my co-volunteers was an individual who works in a large corporate HR department. She swore she would deny this next statement with her last breath because she would be fired for making it but she said:

“The reason you are not getting hired is because you are 50 and have been unemployed too long. You know those electronic statements that you see online where you have to agree to a background check prior to submitting your application? That’s our way of culling anyone over age 40 and those who have been long-term unemployed.”

My best educated guess is that if you were to poll Corporate America you would get a deafening denial of the above statement. Of course you would. It’s illegal. Yet they ARE doing it.

What can you suggest for my situation? Seriously. Can you give me some viable, USEFUL suggestions? Suggestions that don’t include “keep up the hard work” and “it’s all a numbers game – you just have to keep applying?”

What are my options? Right now I’m attempting to keep my hopes up. I refuse to let the system crush my spirit. Even if I become homeless and “food insecure” I will still own my spirit. I will loathe my government, though. I have paid into this system for 30 years. This is what I receive in return when I am in gross need of help. “You make too much money to qualify for medicaid or food stamps.” On unemployment. Go figure.

Mr. Congressman, can you tell me what YOU will do about this? Can you tell me what bill YOU will write; what legislation YOU will push through to help those of us who have NOT “left the work force” but are invisible to the governmental unemployment bean counters?

Unemployed Need Not Apply

I just read this little snippet and it resonated so loudly with me that it almost shattered my coffee cup:

New Bill Seeks To Prevent Discrimination Against Unemployed Americans

Earlier this month, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) and Henry Johnson, Jr. (Georgia) introduced the Fair Emplyoment Opportunity Act of 2011. The aim of this legislation is simple: To prevent employers from discriminating against unemployed Americans.

Unemployed Need Not Apply?

Companies looking to hire are increasingly including language in their “Help Wanted” postings that prevents applicants who are out of work from applying for a job opening. You may have encountered the following language:

“Applicant must be currently employed.”

The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, also referred to as HR 2501, would prevent employers from such discrimination. The bill would also apply to employment agencies, who would not be allowed to ask about the current employment status of job applicants.

_____________________________

Oh please.  Until corporate America is regulated they will continue to discriminate.  No amount of legislation will keep them from doing so.  I’m a 30 year veteran of IT.  I have a smattering of accounting and admin skills thrown in.  I can’t get a job gargling peanut butter, because each application I fill out requires my social security number and it requires that I agree to a “:criminal background check” BEFORE I’ve even had an interview.  That gave them instant access to my age and employment status.

We need legislation to stop THAT shit.  I was contacted by a recruiter last friday.  I was a perfect fit for the job and he was doing the snoopy dance that he’d found someone.  On Monday, after being forced (if I wanted the job) to hand over my social security number for a criminal background check, I got an email saying:  “we’re sorry but the job for which you have applied has already been filled.  Good luck in your job search.”  WTF?  Why contact me if it’s already been filled.  This guy told me I was the ONLY candidate he had who matched 100%.  I didn’t even get the courtesy of a phone call.  I didn’t get a first interview.

My benefits will run out soon (thanks, USG, who FIRED me for supposedly “violating” a policy that not only my boss but HER boss was “violating” as well). Oh, let’s not forget that I was told by my boss that my performance was the “worst” in the office.  When I asked to see the stats that proved this (because I had it on good authority that there were others making bigger and MORE mistakes than I was making) she said:  “Oh, it’s in a spreadsheet, and I can’t access it right now.”  Uh huh.  What was the REAL reason?

What do I do?  Starve?  Oh wait.  That word doesn’t get used any longer; it’s too ugly.  No.  Now we must use “Food Insecure.”  That way those like my boss and her boss can salve their consciences and pretend their tiny black little hearts are large and magnanimous.  I wonder if either of THEM could live on $1,000 a month after taxes?  I wonder if either of them could live on NOTHING, which may be what happens to me.

Hey Boss and Boss’ Boss!  Are you reading?  I know one of you is reading.  Think about the reasons you used for firing me.  It was bogus crap and you both know it.  How many different ways have you justified firing someone using “violation of the electronics use policy?”  I know for a fact that one of you (and you know exactly who you are) violated it frequently, based on the viruses you got on your computer from various websites.  I got the kick in the ass while the one person you two believed should be cited for canonization threw all her co-workers under the bus.

Typical corporate attitude.  Typical “me” attitude.   Hey guys – I’m “food insecure.”  Not your fault, you say?  Um – no, not if you weren’t violating policy right along with EVERYONE ELSE IN THE BLOODY OFFICE.

Yeah, okay.  Rant over.  But thanks guys.  I can’t find work – I’m too old and too unemployed.  Think about that when your turn comes.  It WILL come. Karma is beautiful that way.  The unemployment numbers are a lie.  America is so good at manipulating numbers.  Oh wait – so are you, so you’ll be able to see how it’s been done in order to come up with the 8.5% unemployment lie they’re currently touting.

Narcissism In The Work Place – Redux

I see a lot of search terms in my stats that include “narcissim in the work place”  and “how to spot narcissism in the work place.”

The first and best bit of advice I can provide is this:  It’s just as difficult to spot it, initially, as it is in personal interactions.  Narcissists abound, within and without the workplace.  So be aware; prepare not only for the technical aspects of your interview, but have a small list of characteristics beneath your note-taking page to remind you what to look for.

When you first interview for a job, you’re usually so excited that you got the interview, and you’re so focused on doing your best in that interview that you don’t notice body language, tones of voice, and/or certain other behaviors that could be dead giveaways that you are interviewing with a narcissist.

Before I discuss that, though, let me say this:  If you are interviewing and/or work in corporate America, you can bet your sweet little bippie that you are surrounded by narcissists.  Perhaps your department isn’t rife with them; perhaps the individual in the cube next to you isn’t one.  You can rest assured, however, that at some point, you WILL run into one.

I suggest you first read this post.  It will open in a new tab.  Read it before you go on an interview.  Read some of the other posts I have here on NPD and Narcissists.  That won’t guarantee you won’t wind up working with a narcissist, but forewarned is forearmed.

As a rule, you don’t recognize a narcissist until they’ve already damaged you.  The average non-NPD simply doesn’t think the same way a narcissist does, and many of us have experienced the devastating fallout that comes from working with a narcissist, to the point of losing our jobs.

Narcissists will win.  Even if you manage to block a move or two, they will manage to tap dance around you, and the abuse will escalate.

Even in these tough times, I advise getting out if you find yourself in a nest of narcissim, or if you are working with one powerful enough to destroy you.  You’ll know, because your stress level will be intolerable, you will find that you are questioning your sanity where you never did prior to working with this individual and you will find that you have become grist for the rumor mill.  You go in as grain and you never come out . You simply keep getting ground.

It is better to be poor and have your self-esteem intact; to be happy with who you are, than to be financially comfortable and in constant fear for your sanity, health (stress will kill you), and miserable.

We all have choices.  Some may seem very painful at first and we don’t like pain.  No one does. Sometimes the most painful choices are the ones that are best for us and our families.

Jus’ sayin!

 

Lies Corporate America Will Tell You

1.  We appreciate you.

2.  Thank you for all your loyalty and hard work.

3.  No, your job isn’t in jeopardy.  We’re laying off at OTHER locations.

4.  Our greatest asset is our people.

5.  No one is getting a bonus this year, it’s not just you.

6.  HR is working hard to make certain you get the best separation package we can provide.

7.  We couldn’t do it without you!

8.  We’re very flexible.

9.  We want the best for our employees.

10.  Do your job well and we will take care of you.

11.  We’re truly sorry we have to downsize you.  It hurts us as much as it hurts you.

12.  We will help you find a new job.

13.  Our COBRA package is affordable.

14.  While we are restructuring and that may seem a negative thing, it will benefit you, our valued employees, in the long term.

 

Translations:

1.  You’re not getting a raise.

2.  You better keep up with the loyalty and hard work or you will find yourself unemployed sooner rather than later.

3.  Your job is in jeopardy.

4.  Our greatest asset is our corporate spin doctor.

5.  You are not getting a bonus.  Our top executive compensation packages will show a zero on the bonus line, but we’re giving them more stock options that will vest quickly and provide them millions.

6.  HR is working hard to make sure your separation package is the lowest-cost one they can provide and they are not concerned with your needs.

7.  We can do it without you.  We did it before you were hired and we’ll continue doing it when you’re terminated.

8.  As long as you don’t require any personal time beyond that which we provide as vacation and/or sick leave, we’ll keep you.  For now.

9.  We want the best for ourselves.  If our employees benefit from it, great.  If not, we don’t really give a flying red one.

10.  Do your job well and you will be allowed to keep your job until we find a way decrease the overhead that is YOU.

11. We’re very happy to downsize you.  It means more money in our pockets.  The only reason the executive who told you about the downsize seemed nervous and upset is because she/he wasn’t quite sure they’d get out of the conference room in one piece.

12.  We’ll send you to an agency that will charge you to help you find a job.  No, we’re not paying the fee.

13.  This is an incomplete statement.  It should read thus:  “Our COBRA package is affordable if you don’t pay any of your other bills and don’t mind starving. ”

14.  We are restructuring and that means you will eventually get caught in the game known as “musical employees.”  Be very afraid.

 

Just in case you were wondering…

I’ll Say It One More Time (for now)

If you are an employee working for a large corporate entity please understand the following:

1.  You are of zero value to the company beyond what THEY deem valuable.  The definition of “value” changes daily.

2.  You are not a person.  You are a number.

3.  Your boss is NOT your friend, regardless how much you might suck up, or how much he or she may provide you special treatment.  At some point your boss’ job will be threatened and if he/she needs to step on you to save their job, you can be assured you will be gone before you can take your next breath.

4.  Telling staff they are being downsized “ahead of time” is not a display of integrity.  It is simply the result of a group of executive minions getting together and deciding the best way to keep you guys working and give you the illusion of hope that maybe things will change and they won’t downsize you after all.

5.  You have no job security.

6.  Your loyalty and hard work will never be repaid.  It will be abused.  It will appear to be appreciated until it is deemed that your salary is cutting into the big guys “competitive compensation.”

7.  Corporate executives do what is good for them, not what is good for you.

8.  THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR NEEDS, OR WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU ONCE YOU ARE CUT LOOSE.  THEY WILL FORGET ABOUT YOU.  Their lives will continue in the same vein as always, complete with luxury vacations, great medical care, plenty of food on the table, spending sprees, and conspicuous consumption while you plead with your landlord to give you another week to scrape together the back rent before you are evicted.

Don’t ever forget any of this.

Keep your resume updated and on Careerbuilder, Dice, Monster, Linked In, and any other place you can think of.  Keep it in front of every headhunter, placement agency, and hiring manager you can.  Network.  If you do this you might have a chance at finding a new job.  Right now, with our economy spinning out of control, the odds aren’t good, but there’s always a chance.  Keep that thought of a chance in front of you and get your resume together and OUT THERE NOW!

Hey Bill Foote! Here’s MY Story In Case You’re Interested (Which You Probably Aren’t)

For all who don’t know (and that’s quite a few) I was hired at USG in SC in January of 2010.  One week into my employment, I was told the financial hub where I had just started working was being shut down.  I was offered 8 weeks severance (in a state that had 12.5% unemployment at the time) or a transfer to Baltimore.

What would you do?  Job in one hand, no job in the other.  Family up near your transfer, no job where you currently live.  I took the transfer.  USG even footed $2,000 of my moving costs.  My move cost a LOT more than that.

But wait, there’s MORE!  I was transferred on a SC salary to a location where the cost of living is approximately 30% higher and pretty much told how lucky I was.

How much did I make during the one year I worked for USG in Baltimore?  Are you ready for this?  $32,000.  Okay, it’s doable for a single person who is frugal and that’s the kind of person I am.  That amount also approximates the salaries for the other Transaction Associates in that office, all but one of whom had families to feed.  That amount also included USG’s magnanimous “moving expenses.”  Ahh yes.

Now, let me preface by saying I am not a finance person by training.  I’m an IT person.  I was hired with full knowledge that I was deemed “overqualified” for the job, but because I had done AP/AR work in the past, they hired me.  I was supposed to be grateful.  Shoot, I WAS grateful.

I was told, on January 19, 2010, that they would put my IT skills to “good use.”  Well, I’m not sure what constitutes “good use” but I don’t think spending an entire day attempting to clean viruses from the director’s computer qualifies.  Viruses, I might add, that appeared on his computer from internet sources he shouldn’t have been surfing in the first place…according to the USG Electronics Use Policy directive, which we all signed.

So I went to work, doing mostly data entry for AR/AP.  It was boring, tedious and having a supervisor who belittled people in front of their co-workers for mistakes didn’t help much.  Yup, I made mistakes.  Everyone did.

In January, 2011, I had a review.  It was horrible.  I was placed on probation, but I didn’t KNOW I was placed on probation.  Nothing was put in writing except an email telling me there would be a follow-up review in February.

In February, 2011, I had my “follow-up” review.  I was told I was being terminated for “poor performance” and “violation of the USG Electronics Use Policy.”  I was gobsmacked.

I requested data proving my “poor performance” since I did the same work as 9 other people in that office and until this review, I’d never been told that I made “more mistakes than everyone else.”  I knew I made errors, but I also heard, directly from the Field Accounting Manager with whom I worked very closely, that I made a lot fewer mistakes than other Transaction Associates in the office who also worked closely with her.

My request was greeted with a denial.  I was told that the data existed but that I wasn’t going to be provided with it.  Uh huh.  I found out later that it didn’t really exist.  Not in any form that could be pulled from a database and NOT be tinkered with.

So I requested an exit interview with the local HR representative.  Do ya think he deigned to come into the office?  Oh hell no.  He was too busy.  He got on the phone, and my supervisor put him on speakerphone.  He told me why I was terminated.  He cited the “abuse of the Electronics Use Policy.”

I’d done my homework by that point and I knew that even in an at-will state, if a policy is in place, but not enforced it can’t be used as a reason for termination.  That didn’t matter, because in an at-will state, you can be terminated if your boss doesn’t like your hairstyle.  I told him it was a bogus reason because there was zero enforcement of that policy in our office.  NONE.

Guess what?  The week following my lovely exit interview, a meeting was called where employees were told that the policy would be enforced.  Gee, I wonder if the director continued to get viruses and worms on his computer…

So, I was terminated for poor performance.  Seems I didn’t meet or exceed standards.  Wait.  What standards?  We were never told what the standard WAS, let alone given a directive to meet ANYTHING.  Hey, Bill!  Guess what?  Directly after I was terminated a “process” was put in place so that the Transaction Associates would know EXACTLY how many mistakes they made and what standard it was they were required to achieve.

Here’s why I was terminated:  I didn’t suck up.  I didn’t pretend to be friends with everyone there and I didn’t brown nose with my supervisor the way one employee did.  That particular employee will be one who gets a “stay” package. You can count on it.  I wasn’t afraid of my supervisor.  I went over her head twice before I realized that her boss was totally ineffective and would do nothing about her behavior.

I heard about HER mistakes but it seems those didn’t matter.  She was put in a position of authority over women with whom she’d spent several years working in the same capacity.  She had no management experience, and while she was (and is) a very intelligent woman with a wicked sense of humor, she has very poor people skills when it comes to management.  She could be compassionate, and she could understand trying times in her staff’s personal lives because she’d had quite a few of her own.  The problem was that no one – NO ONE could trust her as a professional.

She appeared surprised that I wasn’t aware I was on probation.  I told her that in my experience it was generally a corporate HR policy to counsel an employee early on when it was seen they weren’t performing to par.  (that’s a golf term, Bill.)  I explained that if I wasn’t performing to some (invisible) standard that I should have been told about it well prior to being FIRED for it. Her reply?  Snort.

“Oh come on.  You knew you were making mistakes.”

Well, yes, I did know.  So did the entire office because she would berate me for them in front of everyone else.  Everyone else made mistakes and I could here THEM being publicly berated for them.  People would come to me, because they knew I’d keep my mouth shut, and pour their grievances on my shoulders.  What could I do?  I directed them to her supervisor.  Ahh yes, her ineffectual supervisor who didn’t want to hear any of it so just turtled up in his corner office and ignored everything.

I knew a lot more about what went on in that office, politically, than she or her supervisor will ever know that I knew.  I know because I was told by co-workers as they came out of her office.  I know because I’m not stupid and when I heard the same complaint from 8 other people at different times, it wasn’t difficult to write the story of that office.

Why do I tell you this Mr. Chairman?  I tell you this because my prior post could be deemed sour grapes from someone who was fired for “poor performance.”  It’s not.  I’m so glad I’m out of that viper’s nest.

I tell you this because I know what the people you are “downsizing” have in store for them, because I am LIVING it, Bill Foote.  I am LIVING it.

I am 50 years old.  In 8 months I’ve found one job and that was a two-month contract position.  That’s it.  I have been living on $339 a week for 8 months.  I feed myself on $77 a month.  I am deemed to make “too much money” to qualify for any social services benefits.  I have no health insurance.  I am type-II diabetic and I can’t afford to eat the way I’m supposed to eat.  I can’t afford to buy the medication I need to control the diabetes.   My mother and sister both died of breast cancer and I can’t afford the mammogram I’m supposed to have every six months.  I cracked a tooth and luckily, it didn’t cause me pain because I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist to get it fixed.  The other half of the tooth rotted and fell out.  Thankfully it was a molar, in the back of my mouth.

I am moving almost 100 miles from Baltimore into a questionable area of a smaller town because I can no longer pay my rent here.  I’m lucky in that I’ve had an understanding landlady.  I do not have car insurance, in a state that requires it, because I can’t afford it.  I have no health insurance.  COBRA, you say?  Okay, I’ll take it if you’ll pay for it.  It would have cost me more than $600 a month.

Mr. Chairman, what I’ve just written sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it?  Would you want to be in those circumstances?  Can you even imagine them for yourself?  Can you imagine being a single mom with two school-aged children, one who has special health needs, and being told that you are being dumped on the garbage heap of unemployment?  Can you imagine being that mom and finding out that the man who did the dumping made more than $7 million in 2009 and that was considered “competitive compensation?”

Do you honestly think these people are going to be able to find work?  Really?  What ivory tower are you living in?  Wait, I know.  It’s way up there in the rarefied air of corporate executive multi-millionaires.   Do you even CARE whether these people survive?

I don’t think you do care.  I know what they’re in for and I care.  I care very deeply.

Bill Foote, I have some more questions for you.  Let’s see if you can answer them:

When I was working for you, I processed many payables that were for golf outings, social functions, expense reports with thousands in “entertainment” costs.  I processed the payments for the service awards.  I have a very good idea how much money was spent frivolously.  But wait, you say.  Deals are closed on golf courses.  No they’re not.  They’re closed in offices and boardrooms.  Have you personally sat down and balanced the “entertainment” and “gift” outlay against their net revenue return?  Oh, I forgot.  They’re all tax write-offs.

Bill, I processed more in frivolous expenses during the year I worked at USG than I made in salary.  MUCH more.  And I am just one of many Transaction Associates across the country who processed the same payables. Yet you now deem it necessary to deprive those same individuals of their livelihood, of their means of familial support, so you can keep on yukking it up on the golf course?  So you can provide sales incentives?  So you can schmooze potential customers???

Isn’t the time for that long past?  Isn’t it more important to work with what you’ve got, make your OWN sacrifices and see to it that your people (who are oh-so-wonderful and necessary when the economy isn’t in the toilet) won’t lose their homes, won’t starve, or even DIE because they can’t pay their mortgages, and if they do, they can’t buy food, and if they pay their mortgage and buy food then can’t afford necessary healthcare?

Whose responsibility is it to make sure these people receive the necessities of life after YOU deprive them of their means of support?  Is it truly the American taxpayer’s responsibility?  Oh, wait.  USG has unemployment insurance.  That’ll take care of them.  They’ll be fine.

Uh huh.  On $339 a week, in Baltimore, Maryland,  they’ll be just dandy, especially if they have no other means of income and hungry children to feed.

Bill, I am living the reality these people are about to face.  I do not own an iPhone.  I do not own an iPad.  I do not own car insurance. I do not own health insurance.  The only protein I get is because my brother is a kind and loving brother and fills my freezer with meat for me each time he purchases meat in bulk.

Mr. Foote, speaking of my brother, let’s talk about sacrifice for the sake of your employees.  I want you to think about this next story every time you check your bank account, every time you receive a paycheck, and each time you check your stock portfolio.  I want you to think about it the next time you decide to cut even more employees loose.

My brother is one of four partners in a local company.  When times got tough he did not lay off a single employee.  Do you know what my brother did?  He stopped drawing a salary so his crew would be able to take care of their families. My brother hasn’t drawn a salary in 2 years.  He lived on his retirement until that was gone.  Then he lived on his investments until those were gone.  His home almost went into foreclosure, but he managed to rob peter to pay paul.  And he did all this while paying a greedy ex-wife child support for his three children, one who is 27, handicapped and will need major healthcare and supervision for the rest of his life.

How is he living now?  He married his best friend who is a wonderful woman.  She helps support them now.  His vehicle is a company truck, his cell phone is a company blackberry.  The company does pick up his internet expenses, but that’s it.  Everything else is his responsibility.

I think you would say my brother is stupid for not laying off his crew.  I say my brother has HONOR which is something you seem to have in very short supply.  My brother doesn’t subscribe to greed, entitlement or the pop-psychology mantra of “ya gotta look out for Number 1.”  In his case “Number 1” is simply a euphemism for those employees who have been with him for more than ten years and to whom he feels a personal responsibility.  Maybe that’s because he knows their names, families and histories.

You know very few of your employee’s names.  I’ll bet you don’t know one important thing about anyone you’re downsizing from the Baltimore hub.  I’ll bet you only know the name of one person there; maybe two.  I’m guessing you can remember the name of only one, and only then if you think hard about it.

It’s easy for you to sign off on other people’s lives because, after all, they’re not related to you.  Why, you’ve never even met them.  What are they to you, but salaries that take from the revenue stream into your bank account?

Bill, you could go the rest of your life without drawing a salary and still maintain your current standard of living.  So why not be honorable and do just that so that these people can have the basic necessities of life?

I’m wondering how you sleep at night.