"They Were Setting Me Up to Fail", a Guest Post
This is quite long but only about 75% of the things I went through....
I started working as an auditor at a non-profit. I am still considering whether or not to sue so I won't explicitly say the same but, you can probably take a guess: Religious org. which is generally recognized by its red trademark. Everything started out "perfect." I began in May a few weeks after graduation and everyone was really warm and receptive to me. I thought this was the perfect place to start my financial career as it was non-profit and I would, theoretically, miss the corporate bs that is the private sector. I should have been concerned from the start when the day I came in to finish signing my contract, my supervisor kept introducing me to everyone as the "part-time" auditor. When I sat down with him in his office, I asked him what he meant by "part-time" as it was agreed that the position was full-time. He merely shrugged and said "Oh, well, there's a 90 day probationary period..." I didn't think much of this until later on when things got weird.
Three weeks after my start date and working on irrelevant spreadsheets, my supervisor decides that its time for me to go on audits on my own. This was perfectly fine, except they forgot to tell me when I signed on for the job that the majority of the audits that I would be going on every week 9 months out of the years were in locations 3-7 hours away from our HQ in DC and that I would be staying in hotels in the backwoods of Virginia by myself for the entire week until the audit was complete. All they told me was that I would be required to, and I quote "do a little driving around the Virginia area to go to our multiple locations for audits." I even told them on DAY 1 that I had not been driving AT ALL for the past 4 years because I went to school in DC. They completely dismissed this and said that I would be fine. I was not fine. I was t-boned at an intersection 5 days after my first lone audit. The next day I was supposed to be driving to another location for an audit, but of course the car was not in any shape to drive. (The damage wasn't bad but it wasn't safe to drive long distance) Ankhesen, I KID YOU NOT, my supervisor was GRINNING EAR TO EAR as I walked into the office shaking that morning. Trust me, his behavior wasn't just weird because he was smiling at my pain and fear, this man NEVER ever smiled at me and I mean NEVER. The entire time I was working there he would scowl at me and he didn't even look up from his desk when I greeted him in the morning. Anyway, I am sitting at my desk in my office holding back tears expecting to work from HQ, when he comes up to me with another set of keys and says "The audit needs to be completed at the location. Here are the keys to the IT van. You should leave in the next 30 minutes to beat traffic." And then he walks away still smiling.
Note: I am barely 120 pounds wet and he put me in a Dodge Caravan to drive 4.5 hours by myself to Suffolk, Va during NOVA rush hour after I was just in a car accident the previous day.
I return Thursday morning from the Suffolk audit and as I get off the elevator and see him walking towards me, he stops in his tracks and his face DROPS. He just stares at me. It was as if he was hoping that I got into another accident. Now, my alarms are sounding and are sounding loud. The next day, I asked to speak with him and he complied. I asked him if my performance so far was acceptable because I felt as if I wasn't meeting his standards. He says VERBATIM "You are a hard worker, Kymie. Very task oriented, and we like that." Slightly satisfied, I thanked him for his time and left his office and went to finish whatever bs project I had to BEG to work on.
Fast forward a week later to Friday, July 30. My supervisor comes to my office grinning to tell me that I would be having my 60 day review that day at 2:30 and to meet him in my boss’ office. I don't know what it was but I KNEW that something wasn't right. Two thirty comes and goes and my boss’ office is closed. Then it becomes 3:30 and then 3:45 and the door is STILL closed. Finally at 4:00 my supervisor comes to my office smiling even bigger and says that they are ready for me. I sit down in the open seat and wait. He gets up to shut the door and then it starts:
“Kymie, we feel that you are not doing enough here as an auditor. While its fine and dandy to not find any issues on an audit, how does that help us help management? We aren’t on a witch hunt, but…you know…how can we help management if we don’t find anything wrong? Moreover, you don't have that hunger that we are looking for in an auditor. You don't ask for feedback nor do you ask for mentoring in developing your career as an auditor (didn't I just go to him last week asking for feed back and him telling me everything was a-ok?!). We want you to have initiative and worst yet, you have made comments in which you state that you prefer going on straighter paths, wanting to avoid obstacles. How will you ever succeed if you always want to take the easy route? If you don't clean up your act in the next 30 days, we will have to sever your relationship with us.” Then he looks up at me, gets angry and says " DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!" I am in SHOCK at this point. I just sat there fighting back tears in silence to which he repeats even more coolly "Do you understand ME?" I finally say yes, and ask if I could leave given that it was now 4:30 and our office was now closed. He starts smiling again and says "of course!"
(Note: I made ONE comment concerning the safest and clearest route from here in DC to Pulaski, VA where I would be on an audit the following week. He suggested me taking back routes in the southern parts of VA over me taking I-81 which is a DIRECT shot. I merely told him that I would prefer to go on more direct roads as I had not been driving for a long and would be by myself. I said that I would be more comfortable with marked highways.)
I leave the office and the moment I step outside the door I am bawling. I just could not believe that they were threatening to fire me over complete BULLSHIT. Not asking for feedback? Not finding issues on audits? Not needing to essentially suck up to the manager?! This is how you get fired in today’s world. I called my mom and I am just a blubbering idiot. Her suggestion to me “Fuck them. Drop off the company van and send in your resignation Monday morning. DO NOT go on that audit. You can not kill yourself over these people.” I stupidly ignored her and went on the audit thinking that this was my chance to shine and show them that I am worthy. I drive 7 hours to Pulaski, VA to the address my supervisor gave me. I get there, and its nothing but demolished buildings. I start to flip. This is my first test after a terrible review, and I am already fucking up. I call my supervisor to find out if I am at the right place. No answer. His voicemail says that he’s on vacation. I call my boss. No answer. His voicemail also says that he’s on vacation. I call one of the other auditors that I trusted (the only other black professional in the ENTIRE finance dept.) who was scheduled to help me with the audit and ask her if she had arrived yet. She was still in DC. She tells me that after I left Friday, my supervisor told her that she couldn’t go to the Pulaski audit because she needed to finish some tax packages and thus sent the other auditor (white) and his partner in crime in her place. She asks me where I am and I tell her. She says, “Why are you all the way over in Pulaski? That location has been shut down for three years. The new location is in Christiansburg, VA.” Christiansburg is 25 miles North of Pulaski. My supervisor had given me the wrong address. I finally get to the location, and the other auditor is sour. She’s going off on me telling me that I am an hour late and that this was unprofessional behavior, etc. I tell her that I was given the wrong address and was at the Pulaski location. She snaps at me and tells me that I am lying and asks for my disposition book. (The disposition book has all the addresses of the locations) I go and get it and she looks at the cover and goes “This book is from 2007, why do you have a three year old disposition book?” I tell her that it was the one my supervisor gave me. She looks in it to see that, yes, the address listed in that book for this location is in fact in Pulaski. She throws the book back on the table and says “Well, at least you are here.”
As the week goes by, she continues to snap at me and dismiss my questions in regards to the audit as I am TRYING to "ask for feedback" and "get some guidance on the auditing process." Things get worse as the days went by and finally I just snapped. They were setting me up to fail. I wasn’t going to make it through the last 30 days of my probation and they were going to fire me with extreme prejudice (pun not intended). I finished my portion of the audit early and just gunned it home. I make it back to the HQ in DC in 5 hours, parked the van in the garage, dropped off the key at the front desk and taped my resignation letter to my boss’ door. That was August 5th.
August 12th I am expecting my final paycheck in my savings account by 12am that morning. I signed up for direct deposit and I was itching to be done with these people. I checked my account at 10:00am. There was no deposit. I checked it again at 2:00pm. There was still no deposit. I decide to call up Wachovia and ask if there was anything wrong with my account. They told me no, and that it was strange because there was nothing in the system saying that I was going to receive a deposit as I normally did every other Thursday. Now, I am nervous. I call payroll and ask where my final paycheck was, they said that I should have received it. They put me on hold to see what went wrong and when they finally get back on on the phone with me I could tell that something was wrong. The accountant started whispering and said “I think you need to speak to your supervisor…” I ask her why, and she says “you just need to speak with him, Ill transfer you.” She transfers me and my supervisor picks up the phone. I tell him who it is and he goes, “Oh, Hi there Kymie! Good to hear from you. Well, I just wanted to let you know that I have your final check right here in my hands.” I go, “Excuse me?” He continues, “I heard that you received a parking ticket while you were on one of your audits. Until you send me confirmation that you paid for it, I’ll be holding on to your check.” I told him that I paid for the ticket weeks ago. He merely says, “Like I said, I want confirmation or no check” and then hangs up. I immediately send the email confirmation I saved in my inbox to him and call him back. All he says is “Oh... good…” and then hangs up.
Yes, he withheld my paycheck illegally over a parking ticket… I didn’t receive all my money until August 23, two weeks after my resignation.
I lost a total of 10 pounds while I was there. I am just now gaining the weight back, my hair is no longer falling out and I know suffer with GERD.