So, while I was recuperating from the WalkAmerica event,  I went from being a one-person advertising department to having 3 people hired above me, and no one reporting to me, which is what I really needed.  Not wanting to be fired, I went back to work to meet the 3 new managers.

These 3 men were very different from anyone I had ever met.  The one at the top, couldn’t look anyone in the eye when talking to them.  To this day, I’ve not met anyone like that.  It was unnerving to be sitting right in front of him, having a discussion, and having him look toward my shoulder.  Definitely didn’t build a trusting relationship.  He kept talking about how large our advertising budget was, and how could I feel comfortable approving those big invoices?

Now 4 signatures were required, mine plus the 3 new people’s.

The middle guy was also odd, but I didn’t have to deal with him very much.  Vern, the man I now reported to, never once had a face-to-face conversation with me.   He would only talk to me on the phone, and usually from outside the office, screaming at me.  Totally weird.

He went through 7 administrative assistants in his first 2 weeks.  On their way out the door, they would stop at my office and tell me that I was next.

Vern also started firing all of the vendors that were doing great jobs and were saving us tons of money.  The vendors would call me, and I told them that I had been stripped of all authority.

After about 30 days of this chaos and frustration, I decided to resign.  Life was too short to endure that kind of stress.

My former boss told Vern that if he let me resign, he would be making a huge mistake.  Thus, when I handed in my resignation, they wouldn’t accept it.  One of the many vice presidents asked me what it would take for me to say, and I gave him a pretty long list of demands, including a $5,000 cash bonus check.  They immediately wrote the check and gave me everything I had requested.

I hadn’t expected that, but felt I had to stay.

Nothing changed; in fact, things kept deteriorating as he continued to fire more vendors.  It didn’t appear to me that any of these 3 guys were doing much, if any, work.  And they had made it impossible for me to accomplish anything.

In addition, Vern’s wife had started calling me, telling me unbelievable stories about Vern’s verbal and physical abuse toward her and their children.  I didn’t know what to do, so I told my former boss.  He did a background check on Vern, and discovered that he had been fired from his last 8 jobs in the 4 previous years.

When he furnished this information to the CEO and Sr. VP, they didn’t seem to be concerned.

The  Sr. VP called me into his office for a meeting with him and Vern.  Keep in mind that this is the first time Vern and I had ever been in the same room for any conversation.  The Sr. VP, Don, said they had decided to accept my letter of resignation.  I replied, “It’s no longer on the table; I committed to staying, so I’m not resigning.”

He was speechless and just stared at me.  “But we think you should leave.”

I said, “Then I guess you’re going to have to fire me.”

Don: “But we don’t have any grounds to fire you.”

Me:  “Not my problem.”  (I was seething inside, but keeping calm, cool, and firm.)

Don called our corporate attorney and asked him what to do.  The attorney advised him to give me a letter, which I think I still have, because it’s a remarkable document.  The letter said that they were firing me, with no reason, except that I didn’t trust my boss, Vern. (I can’t make this stuff up…!)

I packed up my office, walked out, and felt like I had been released from prison.  I still had my $5,000 cash, so decided to move to California, where one of my brothers lived.  He said that I could live with his family until I found a job.

I will write more about that move in the next chapter of my story, but to finish off the “Vern” segment, I must tell you that I was contacted 2 years later by a private investigator.  He asked me if I could help him with any incriminating information on Vern.   The stockholders were suing him for $500,000 in fraudulent dealings with vendors.   Vendors had reported him for taking kickbacks.  I told the investigator that I couldn’t help him, because Vern had made sure that I never knew any details.

I’m not sure how long after all of that, the company declared bankruptcy, but I was happy to have gotten out when I did.

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11 comments


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    July 31, 2012
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      Katie

      July 31, 2012
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    August 1, 2012
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      August 1, 2012
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      August 29, 2012

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