Thursday, February 07, 2008

Employment Agencies

Employment agencies are like the angel and the devil combined. They are like a dog with a bone when they get your details.

I woke up early today and emailed my CV to a number of agencies and already my mobile has turned into the Bat Phone. It's good, I know its good, because every call is a step closer to getting a new job... But it's the sell, sell, sell nature of the calls which makes me feel slightly uneasy. I guess that's what they are after all - Sales people. Unfortunately I just want to be gently eased into a nice new job, being sold one feels a little overly aggressive to me.

Anyway, the good news is that they like my CV. The bad news, if there is some, is that I am going to have to go and buy a suit because it looks like I am going to have quite a few interviews to go to!

I wish that the jobs were for a journalist / novelist / earth mother because then I might actually have some natural enthusiasm. As they are actually going to be for a well paid but corporate monkey I am going to have to work a bit on my attitude before I go to the interviews.

The joy of sickies

I did not show up to work today all present and correct. In fact, I did not turn up for work today at all.

I could not face it.

I said that I had not been able to sleep last night for some reason, I had been tossing and turning all night, but must have eventually fallen asleep because I woke up this morning with a banging headache.

It's actually true...

...Although I had already decided, on the horrific walk of shame from my boss' boss' office back to my desk yesterday that I would not be showing my face at work today.

New Job

Whichever way I look at it, I do need one. Unless of course I win £95 million on the Euro Millions Lottery tomorrow. I think I might, but just in case...


Since being dragged into my boss' boss' office yesterday and finding myself being threatened with disciplinary action for discussing my salary with others (which I haven't) and being randomly accused of being "ageist" (which I wasn't, I clearly haven't mentioned anybody's age in my email) I have realised that I can no longer remain in my current position. It may seem like a rash decision, but I do not see that I have a choice. They told me that they would not be taking the issue to HR on this occasion and expected me to be grateful.

The problem is (other than being bullied and slandered), I spent the evening yesterday and the morning today trawling through Banking jobs in London websites and I could not be more disinterested if I tried. Reading the words "FX, Derivatives, Settlements, Reconciliations, Prestigious Financial Institution" makes me want to wake up find myself in a different kind of institution all together!

I am fed up making the rich richer.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

"Reward and Recognition - A question and a complaint"

That's what I called my email.

And this is what it said:

Mr. Pratt*,

I was going to request a meeting with you regarding my promotion/pay rise situation but I realise it will be a fruitless exercise. I do however feel the need to express my feeling of disappointment and distress at the position in which I have found myself.

Firstly, I was wondering whether you are able to provide me with some clarification on the criteria that must be met in order to achieve a promotion at this time of year?

To me (and others in the Account Bank team), it seems that I could have done all of the following and still would have been promoted:

  • Arrive at least five minutes late for work every day. Repeatedly not apologise for my tardiness.
  • Arrive late to team meetings, showing a great lack of respect for the rest of the team, simply because I have stopped off to get a coffee before hand.
  • Frequently send embarrassing and inaccurate emails to clients in 'pigeon' English which no one can understand - even those who are fully briefed on the subject to which the email refers.
  • Pepper my nonsensical emails with bank jargon which I, and the recipients, cannot understand as it is used out of context.
  • Listen to music on my ipod at my desk the moment the boss moves away from their desk and whenever they have the day off. Then ignore John when he asks me politely to remove my headphones.
  • Upset the rest of the team by speaking to them in a condescending and unnecessarily aggressive manner.
  • Fail to show an ability to follow the simplest of instructions.
  • Lack basic listening skills.
  • Diminish team morale by creating an uncomfortable atmosphere when asked to help out with something that is not directly covered in my new role.
  • Be moved into said new role because my payment processing skills were slow and inaccurate and moreover, because I was not a team player.

The list continues... As you can imagine, I clearly feel that when someone who ticks all of the boxes above is also promoted it wholly demeans and devalues everything that I have worked for and achieved myself.

I find it slightly unfortunate that I am unable to decline my 'promotion' at this time bearing in mind I have not received a "usual" level of remuneration. It is not even that I am not being adequately compensated - I am not being compensated at all... I cannot decline the promotion as I have already been performing the role for the past 5 months. Perhaps this is why the lack of pay rise is so difficult to accept.

My one relief is that Nigel* can no longer tell me two or three times a week that I am 'junior' to him - or indeed that he 'lets me do more work' than him because I am his junior and 'enjoy working through a big pile of work' while he does 'the tricky stuff' because he is more 'senior'. Of course this is nonsense as I have been performing every function that he has for the past 5 months (apart from booking deposits because I was not allowed the system). I am glad that he will no longer be able to use this well worn Junior vs. Senior excuse. That said, in the interest of fairness, I do now feel the need to acknowledge the notable increase in the effort he has shown since he returned from his latest bout of sickness.

This does not however soften the blow that I am now expected to work for another year on my entry level salary (current remunerations are perceived as relative to National inflation), which I accidentally found out yesterday was less than anybody else on the team - including those with far less work experience and far fewer educational qualifications. I think that this is a disgrace and I fail to see how it can be considered at all acceptable. I wonder from where I am now supposed to draw any enthusiasm. All suggestions would be gratefully received at this time.

Currently I feel disenchanted, deeply disappointed, dissatisfied and deflated. If I were able to neglect my responsibilities - start the day at 9am for example, finish at 5pm, take a full hour for lunch and do the absolute bare minimum in between, perhaps I could draw some solace from this. Unfortunately I am conscientious by nature and would find it difficult to behave in such a way. My only option, as far as I can see, is to take some time for reflection and contemplation before making any hasty or steadfast decisions about my future.

To sum up, I would like it known that I do not see any Reward or Recognition demonstrated in the promotions that were announced last week. Rather I see a negative message portrayed to those perhaps seeking promotions in the future and I envisage a damning impact on morale within the team as a result. I also do not believe that I have been rewarded in any sense of the word for my hard work and commitment over the past year. My unashamed disappointment makes it incredibly difficult for me to accept this.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns.


*Names have been changed to create anonymity - Or have they?

Time for an email I think

After stewing over my situation for a few days, I decided that I had to send an email to my boss. I had to let him know what I thought about my promotion and my subsequent lack of pay rise. I felt that I had to let him know what I think about his poor management skills.

It was either that, or go a little stir crazy.

"Comp Day"

Last Wednesday was what is affectionately known as "Comp Day" at work. It is that day that all promotions / pay rises / bonuses are dramatically unveiled.

I work for a bank, a pretty damn big bank. I think that I can say that without giving too much away. I will have been there for two years in May and this "Comp Day" was the day for my hard work and commitment to be recognised (with a promotion and a pay rise). I knew that the promotion was in the bag as I have been performing a role above my grade for the past 5 months. The excitement for me was to find out how much of a pay rise the promotion would lead to. I had already accepted that I would not be receiving a bonus.

However, my luck being my luck, when I was called into his office to be told what I was getting I was asked by my boss if I wanted the "good news" or the "slightly crappy news". I went for the slightly crappy news, already fully aware of what the supposed "good news" was.

"The good news" he said, despite my request for the slightly crappy news first, "is..." he continued. Then, before uttering another word, he slid a letter across the table towards me. "Congratulations!"

The letter said that I had been promoted to a Senior something or other. It ever so kindly thanked me for my commitment and said that they hoped that I would would continue to produce similarly impressive results in the year ahead.

I said "Oh", then thought about my reaction and thanked my boss.

"Now here's the slightly crappy news" he continued.

Across came another piece of paper. This time minus the eye contact. The paper detailed my old salary, had a blank space for my new salary and a blank space for my bonus. I looked at it, in shock looked at it again. Fought the sudden need to swear at him or kick him in the face. And looked at my boss. Silence.

"I know" he said.

Of course he knows. He's the one who decides who gets what. And he is the one who decided that I would get nothing. Of course he bloody well knows!

"You got the promotion and that's the most important thing" he blurted out, quickly making things a million times worse, and increasing my blood pressure ten fold.

He gave me the obvious spiel about there being a 'big pot'. The pot however, can only contain a certain amount of money. The money can only be shared out to a certain number of people. As my eyebrows raised and couldn't possibly raise any higher, I imagined pushing my boss backwards on his black wheelie chair with both my feet and all my rage, out the window and watching him fall 21 floors into the fountains below. Me waving as he fell, smiling and thanking him for all the wonderful opportunities he had offered me.

As I picked up my letters, very ready to leave, he dared tell me that the reason my salary will not be changing is because of the 'current state of the market' and said that all banks are in the same position at the moment. I couldn't have looked any more disinterested if I had tried. I thanked him (disappointed by my politeness) and I left.

To bring you up to date... it has been a while. I no longer go to work and get paid to do nothing. I now go to work, am absurdly overworked (believe it or not), and my new bug bare is that I don't get paid enough.

This is so much worse than going to work and getting paid to do nothing.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

We waved goodbye to one monster and another one raised her ugly head.

Last Thursday should have been a joyous occasion. It was officially the Bully's last day. Unfortunately she's not gone far - just a few floors lower, but at least I'll not have to listen to her incessant whining any longer.

It was great. She invited the whole floor (that's about 200 people, probably more - it's amazing how many battery hens you can fit into a single barn) to her leaving do's. Both of them. Pub at lunch and then pub after work to 'carry on drinking'. I've not exactly had a dilemma as to whether or not to go. I simply knew that I wouldn't be. Everyone else knew that I wouldn't be too. It's not a secret that the Bully made my life hell - although I am by far not the only person she chose to speak to like a child/animal/retard* depending on her mood. I am however, quite possibly the only person to openly express my distaste in being treated in such a way. When asked whether I would be going by my supervisor who had no choice but to go by way of the unspoken rules of 'playing the game', and who was attempting to black mail me into going by making me feel sorry for the Bully who perhaps would feel embarrassed when no one turned up, and when that failed, tried to make me feel sorry for her because she had to to go, I replied, loudly:

"I didn't intend on going, no"

(Which I thought was a fairly concise answer)

"Don't you feel bad that no one is going?" (She tried again in vain)

"No, not really" I said, slightly showing off now, as I knew that I had an audience and I knew that I was about to jump up on my soap box. "She has been really quite mean to me in the year that I have been on this desk" I continued "and really, if she hadn't behaved like such a monster she wouldn't be in this situation. If she hadn't been such a beast..."

Everyone around was trying to stifle their laughter as I carried on in a similar vein...

So anyway. The big day arrived and she went to the pub at lunch. I have no idea if anyone turned up at all, but I do know that no one from my team went (which is the team she has worked on for the past seven years). Instead, I went to the canteen and read my book for an hour. For the evening do the turn out was... I can't even bring myself to say it (because, believe it or not, totally against my better judgment I do feel a bit bad)... Four people! Four people went to the Bully's leaving do and one of those was the Bully herself!!!

Also, and this is funny. Our manager, the big boss, had asked her in advance what she would like as a leaving present. I think he knew that the task would fall on him as he has known her the longest (and is the only one who, somehow, is blind to her true hideousness). Rather than having to traipse around looking for something meaningful/funny/quirky he decided it easier and quicker to let her chose her present herself. Not cheaper unfortunately, as she chose an £80 pen. He obviously briefly did the sums in his head (1 card x 200 people x even just a £1 donation each = plenty of money for an £80 pen) so he went ahead and ordered it. The problem was, once he got the card back and counted up the bounty it had collected on it's rounds, the pot only added up to a grand total of £19! He had bought the pen out of his own money in advance and now found himself £60 out of pocket!

After he had checked and double checked the envelope (I guess to make sure there weren't a few £10 notes stuck in there, wedged into the corner) I honestly thought that he was going to explode. His face went red, his brow started sweating, he started swearing... We started laughing. And then he went around the entire floor again - Had you put money in? Yes? How much? Do you want to put some more in? No?? How very dare you, now put some money in! I don't know if he managed to bridge the difference at all, but I very much doubt it. Unfortunately I have no sympathy. He has managed to overlook the fact that six people that I know of have explicitly mentioned the Bully as their reason for leaving in the exit interviews, because they simply couldn't deal with her anymore. He chose not to see her vicious, petty, embarrassing and vulgar behavior, so he could deal with the consequences. There was a wave of hushed - 'oh well, what goes around comes around' and 'if she had been a nicer person it would have been reflected in the collection' that flew around the office... Not much comfort for the boss, but plenty of joy in it for me!

I know I probably sound really bitter and twisted in my behavior towards the Bully, and that's probably because I hate her. I could be having a perfectly pleasant day and with one sly move, one loud condescending rant - loud enough of course, for everyone else to hear so that not only did I have to somehow deal with being treated like a five year old, but I had to also deal with the small problem of public humiliation. It almost became a ritual public humiliation. 'Oh look, Amy seems to be having an average, ok day - time to suck that out of her and cast a dose of public shame upon her instead'.

I thought that that would have come to an end now that she had left in a blaze of, urm, glory.

Unfortunately not so...

...Because my supervisor, aka The Bitch, said to me yesterday (shouting across a couple of desks of course) "I think that this is wrong Amy" (referring to something I must have undoubtedly done wrong on purpose because I derive great satisfaction out of getting things wrong don't you know. I do it for kicks even. Yep, yep, yep, I'll do it wrong for the heck of it, what the hell...) "Did I?" I replied "I thought that that was how you are supposed to do it"... I said honestly. I turned and looked at her "Well It's Not, Is It Amy, It's Wrong" she said. And it's not just what she said, and not just how she said it, but it was the smug look on her patronising, smiling face. It was the Bully all over again.

Don't you just love work?

*Couldn't think of any other word, apologies for any offense caused. None intended.

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