The Way Things Are






I know I stun you mofos
2006-01-05, 10:04 a.m.

When I start to truly contemplate the effect co-workers and professional colleagues have on me with their unprofessional bullshit and completely inappropriate remarks, it makes me wonder if I, in turn, stun them with my lack of tact or sense. I know I stun you mofos, but I thought I kept that shit out of the office and out of the workplace.

Is there some wall that I need to erect (hee!) that Iíve let come tumbling down, that would make people NOT do stupid-ass stuff that makes me fire them, or that would make Mike the fucking annoying co-worker NOT ASK ME OUT ON A DATE? Talk about ruining a perfectly good Thursday.

Hereís what Iíve been doing for the past couple of days. I know you were wondering, and I know you missed me. But first a little background.

Here at work, we ďdoĒ affordable housing. When you ďdoĒ affordable housing, you not only offer apartments at affordable rents, but you also provide services for your residents that might help them better their situation in life. One of our best-received services is a kidsí after-school program that gives them a chance to do their homework, get some help with it, and then do a fun activity like watching a DVD or doing a craft project or playing kickball or whatever.

So we have folks whose job it is to run these after-school programs at the apartment complexes. It sounds like all fun and games, but there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being in charge of other peoplesí children for a few hours each day. While itís not a baby-sitting service or a daycare, and we are not licensed as either, and actually have a special exemption from the state that says we are not a daycare, we still have other peoplesí children in our clutching hands every single day and we have to be very, very careful.

There are rules about safety, and even more importantly, there are rules that our liability carrier sets out for us that should we violate these rules and something bad happen, we are basically just fucking screwed. And then thereís common sense on top of all that.

So hereís my story (finally): I have a lady who until recently, had worked for us for three years. She had risen through the ranks from a single, low-income mom helping out as a parent volunteer with a kidsí program, to actually running one of the programs herself. She went from being a $400 per week school cafeteria worker, to a salaried employee who no longer even qualified for affordable housing anymore. People loved her. The kids, parents, us, random residents, all the owners and investors on the various properties she worked at Ė everyone.

I fired her yesterday. She blatantly violated one of our safety/liability regulations, thinking nothing would happen and she wouldnít get caught, and while nothing DID happen, she DID get caught, red-handed. She had a slow day on Tuesday when the kids in her program hadnít started back to school yet, and had some petty cash rattling around in her pocket, and got permission to walk with them to the shopping center next door to the apartments and go to the pizza place for pizza and games. But she chose to put them into her car and drive them over there, which can you even imagine?

My people have all been told: if you drive any resident, for any reason, in your car, you will be fired. Period, end of sentence. This is coming from my own unique perspective, the perspective of a woman who gets sued almost every week, and while all the lawsuits we have gotten so far are manageable, Iím just waiting for the Big One to hit.

I donít even want to go there, and I wonít describe it to you, but you can probably imagine all the horrific things that could happen with five kids in a small car on a very busy street (a street that you donít even have to touch when you walk to the shopping center), and pile on top of that the fact that our liability doesnít cover us transporting residents in our cars, and gee shit. It really would be the end of the world, at least as I know it.

So I found out about it, and I went over there, dragging Peaches with me as a witness, and I told her to send all the kids home, and I told her to go home until I figured out what to do. After some back and forth with our HR folks, I called her up at home yesterday and terminated her.

Iíve never had to do that before. Weíve had problem employees, people who work our employment policiesí loopholes just enough to be a problem, like the lady who had amassed enough comp time to call in that her laundry was wet and she needed the day off to dry it, but not enough for me to be able to fire them without paying unemployment out the ass. These people usually leave us through attrition, because they donít really want to work anyway, or I get a good financial reason to lay them off. Iím kind and gentle and not really sorry, but there are no hard feelings because I act like Iím devastated to have to see them go.

But this firing. Iím still stunned by it. It makes me wonder what the hell else is going on that I donít know about, and what is going to one day bite me in the ass. I hope itís YOU; you can bite me in the ass any day of the week. Be gentle.

Thatís all Iím going to say about that.

Hereís something to make you retch into your coffee cup. My very annoying, talkative co-worker Mike, who incidentally, in case you were wondering, is an unattractive, out of shape 60-something year old, not to mention that heís always working my last nerve with the yattering, with whom I am forced to travel on occasion, was hanging out in my office this morning talking about last nightís football game (you know which one), and rambled on to ask me if I am a basketball fan. As with all sports, Iím a fan when Iím at a live game, but Iíd rather clean the oven than watch a sporting event on TV. As an aside: I cleaned the oven last night. Thereís a first for everything.

But then Mike says ďWell, if you ever want a date, our real estate tax attorney has season tickets to the Spurs, and he keeps offering them to me to use when heís not using them. We could go down there, grab a bite to eat, and watch the game.Ē

Did yíall catch that? IF I EVER WANT A WHAT?

I looked at him with what I am sure was a stunned, disgusted special kind of disbelief, and told him that the same attorney makes the same offer to me, and that if I did decide to use the tickets one of these days, I would be going with my husband, not with him, thankyouverymuch.

Can I please have a break from the jackasses for the rest of the day? PLEASE?

And what makes me a targeted recipient for this kind of bullshit? Honestly.

If I ever WANT A DATE?

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