What if your boss gets fired, and no one bothers to tell you? Impossible, you say? Welcome to my world.
I already detailed in my last post why PHB and I were barely on speaking terms, so when a day-and-a-half passed without any conversations or emails between us, I chalked it up to good luck. Our duties were separate enough that unless there was something unusual going on, regular back-and-forth wasn’t really necessary.
Then, a co-worker stopped by my cubicle, and we had the following discussion:
Co-worker: Hey, what happened to PHB?
Me: What do you mean?
Co-worker: Well, I went by his office to ask him something, and it seems to have been cleaned out. And then I sent him an email and got a response that he’s no longer with the company.
Me: WHAT THE FUCK?????????
It turns out that PHB was fired the morning before, and here we were, the next afternoon, and no one had bothered to tell the one person who reported to him. Ponderous.
I still don’t know the reason why he got canned, and truthfully, other than the curiosity factor, I don’t really give a crap. It had nothing to do with the strained relations between the two of us. I didn’t have that kind of clout, trust me. Our upper management had an overinflated sense of importance, and tended to keep everything hush-hush and top-secret, to the point where you wanted to shake your head and say, “Dude, this is a publishing company, not the Joint Task Force.”
I heard three different rumors, all of which were theoretically possible, but I doubt any of the three were correct. Without going into details that would bore anyone who wasn’t working there at the time, let me just explain by saying that just because someone is an asshole, it doesn’t mean they will do things that are out of character. I didn’t like PHB at all, but the rumors I heard just didn’t sound like things he would do. When you work with someone for years, you learn how they operate, and the rumors I heard didn’t pass the smell test.
So, what ended up happening? I went into PHB’s boss’ office and received nothing resembling an explanation, an apology, or any plan of action for how to handle PHB’s duties. I spent about 20 minutes listening to hemming and hawing that reminded me of Ralph Kramden babbling when he doesn’t know what to say to Alice.
The plan of action, for the next year-and-a-half, basically involved yours truly doing the equivalent of between two-and-a-half and three jobs, depending on the time of year, with no help, no guidance, and, not a shock considering the cheap bastards I worked for, no raise, other than the typical garbage annual hike. I can’t begin to tell you how many conversations I had that went like this:
Random co-worker: Who’s responsible for handling this?
Me: I have no idea whatsoever.
Random co-worker: Well, PHB used to take care of it.
Me with a sigh: Leave me the details, and I’ll try to figure it out.
I wish I could say I learned a lot during that time period, but I didn’t. Actually, I should edit that thought: I learned a great deal, but what I learned was only useful when dealing with the company that my company took over a few years back, which ran all of our Web operations under a proprietary system. Bottom line: What I learned was only useful at that particular job, at that particular time, so I wouldn’t exactly classify it as “career development.”
For the next year-and-a-half, I kept pressing PHB’s boss both for more money and for some help, receiving only vague acknowledgements, and no progress on either front. Voice mails and emails would often be ignored completely, but if something happened to go wrong, such as an email newsletter not deploying properly, then it was conveniently very easy to find me. Go and figure.
I do apologize to my co-workers during this time. I am sure I was a total son-of-a-bitch to deal with, but I was stressed beyond belief and getting nothing in the way of answers or rewards, so while my disposition may have been far from sunny, it wasn’t directed at you guys.
Finally, after a year-and-a-half, an absolutely spectacular person, who I would not utter a bad syllable about, was hired to handle Web operations, and I got a new boss who turned out to be not quite spectacular, although nothing along the lines of PHB. And that, my friends, merits an entirely new entry, so I shall say farewell for now.