What's the most "Are you kidding me?" moment you've ever experienced?
Half the plant was up in arms about the assistant plant manager. Most had just recently gotten written up by him, myself included. I even got a one day suspension because of the guy.
Here are some of the dumb things he did:
- When he heard some guys had worked on equipment without locking out the machine, he not only suspended them without an investigation, he suspended everyone in the same building as well.
- He made up new safety rules on the fly, neglected to share them with the workers, busted them, and wrote them up and suspended them.
- When some parts were questionable, he approved them for transit. When the customer rejected them, he wrote up the operators even though the paperwork reflected that he approved it.
- Even after I proved my innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt, he refused to remove the write up from my record or formally acknowledge the suspension to be in error, thus affecting my future raise. When confronted he said, "If I make a formal apology, I'll lose the respect of the workers." to which I replied, "You can't lose what you don't have."
Morale in the company slipped to an all time low. People were openly hostile to management. They were stymied. They couldn't fire everyone. So they decided to put the scare on certain individuals to send a message to the others.
I got called into HR where the HR director (we'll call her Amy) and assistant plant manager (we'll call him Fred) were sitting. The conversation went like this:
Fred: Hey Dennis. Have a seat. If you haven't noticed, there seem to be a lot of people with bad attitudes these days.
Me: Yeah, I noticed.
Fred: Well, that's a problem. And we've traced the source of that problem to you.
Me: (smirks) Is that so?
Fred: Why is it that you feel the need to talk bad about me?
Me: People ask questions, I just don't have the gumption to lie.
Fred: Look, I know you're pissed about the suspension. You've gone through the chain of command. When you going to stop?
Me: When I've exhausted my chain of command.
Fred: I couldn't let the lockout snafu slide. What did you want me to do?
Me: Conduct an investigation. Discipline the offending parties. Not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Fred: I couldn't do that. I didn't have enough to go on.
Me: So you give everyone on that line a warning and move on. And you don't burn the guy who saved your ass.
Fred: So what do you want from me? Because I can't reimburse you for the suspension.
Me: Remove the write up from my record. A formal letter acknowledging the suspension was in error, the raise I'm entitled to.
Fred: Look, I know you were exonerated. Isn't that enough? I can't look weak in front of these people. If I make a formal apology, I'll lose the respect of the workers.
Me: You can't lose what you don't have.
Fred: (turns beet red) Well, you're not getting what you want. What do you say to that?
Me: I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability, and I will do it to completion. But if you ever want a favor, find somebody else. Because my answer will be to tell you to fuck off. Are we done? I got work to do. Unless I'm fired?
Amy: (looking worried) No. You aren't fired. Thanks, Dennis.
The very next day (a Saturday, as we all had weekends off) I got a call from one of the supervisors. "Dennis, we had extra work to do on one of the lines, but the operator called in sick. Fred wonders if you could come in and cover?"
After our little conversation we'd had the day before? Did he not listen?
Fred, you want me to come in?
Are you kidding me?