I’m sure that my old boss is really a lovely woman. She is quite pretty for a person of advanced years, is capable of expressing a sense of humor that isn’t entirely charred with evil intentions 100% of the time, and…I’d really like to give three examples here to sort of round out the argument, but I think I’m done. She lives really far away? This is a positive…?
Evil ex-boss’s (SWSNBN) only other direct report was recently given her walking papers. Let’s call this other woman, ehm, Theresa. As in the saint- which I think is spelt without an h- so Teresa.
Teresa and I became quite close, as people under extreme stress just trying to SURVIVE often do. She had worked for SWSNBN for nearly a year and had been struggling to maintain her own sense-of self and confidence under continual heavy fire. In December, SWSNBN had me input Teresa’s employee evaluation into the automated tool and awarded the very highest marks possible. Well-deserved. Teresa goes all the way up to eleven in work ethic and patience.
A mere month and a half later, Teresa warranted an emergency eval, was marked at the very lowest and let go. Hm. I am shocked. Are you shocked? I think it’s safe to say that everyone is shocked.
First of all, let me just say, that in the grand scheme of things, this is probably a good thing.
But it still pisses me off.
During the exit interview, SWSNBN told Teresa the following:
“You know what the turning point for me was? It was the hotel invoice debacle for the January conference.”
The only reason SWSNBN was not struck dead by a bolt of lightning upon saying these words aloud was that she was indoors, in an internal room.
Ladies and Gentlemen, none of you are going to care, but I give you:
THE HOTEL INVOICE DEBACLE
There was a large conference in China in January that Teresa and I played a large role in. One of our duties was to expense as much as we could in December, as another department had promised to pay for anything that we submitted in that month. New year stuff would be paid out of our department’s budget. Which was a naughty no-no to be avoided at all costs.
Generally speaking, hotels will not invoice you for a stay that you haven’t had yet. What if you raid the snack-bar. Go all rock star and destroy a room. Steal a pillow, etc. There are incidentals that they cannot account for. Understandable.
An executive admin in China was helping arrange invoices etc as there’s a 12 hour and significant language barrier. This admin was negotiating an invoice for the rooms, with a secondary invoice to be issued for incidentals post-facto. Lots and lots of scrambling later, on the evening of December 29th, the hotel finally coughed up an invoice that said “invoice” on it with a real invoice number, issued to our US office. I will not get into the hair pulling and screaming into the night that went on to accomplish this seemingly simple task.
What I will tell you is that Teresa was “on vacation” that week, but still worked 10 hour days, not including the weekend. Because there was work to be done with deadlines and when there’s work to be done with deadlines, you do the work.
SWSNBN was the project leader for this entire enterprise. She rarely came to the meetings, mind you. There was no leadership or help there, just an additional source of stress. She was also on vacation during the week in question.
On December 28th, both Teresa and I had failed to live up to the expectations of SWSNBN in some capacity (can’t remember what the beef was) but she specifically forbade either of us from taking any action regarding this meeting and it’s deliverables without first getting her approval. This instruction was delivered in the strongest possible language, leaving zero room for interpretation.
On December 29th, at 7:15 pm, we got the invoice. This invoice needed to be paid that day in order to meet company deadlines for expense reporting. Super duper exciting. I call SWSNBN. No answer. I then send her a text, an email and ring her home phone. She appears to have died. Teresa and I both continue to call her ALL NIGHT.
Why are we calling? Because this evil invoice required a photocopy of the credit card used to pay as well as a copy of the passport of the person paying. And the person paying HAD to actually be one of the intended guests. Neither Teresa nor myself were going, and, while I had a photo copy of SWSNBN’d passport, I did not have a copy of her AMEX because she had recently lost her wallet and been issued a new one and had not been in town for me to copy it.
Teresa and I stayed up all night dialing SWSNBN. The next day, the woman finally comes up for air to kill us.
“Why wasn’t this hotel invoice paid? I specifically told you to pay this invoice! Someone’s AMEX from China could’ve been used!” She went on to say that she had been hosting a dinner party and couldn’t believe that she had been expected to answer the phone and help lead us when she was on vacation.
Teresa was on vacation, too, but that’s cool. Whatever.
-We kindly reminded her that she’d hobbled both of us regarding taking any action of any kind just 12 hours before.
-We kindly told her that a Chinese AMEX would not expense to the US dept.
To which she responded that this should have been handled weeks ago, she doesn’t understand the delay and cannot believe that we were so lax in our duties as to let an important budgetary deliverable slip until the very last minute.
We had plenty of ammo for a rebuttal, but sometimes you just have to let it go. This was evidently not one of those times as now T has been fired.
I picture SWSNBN’s house as a cave built into a craggy mountain surrounded by red clouds and fierce storms.
For the record, while staying up all night, Teresa and I had brainstormed and discovered a creative solution to the invoice issue and had resolved it. Without her permission as she was MIA. But that was ok.