how to lose a job in four days
Creative and detail-focused professional with a history of creating and delivering high-impact communication materials that drive key programs and activities for a diverse range of companies. Instrumental in developing and maintaining high standards throughout corporate and marketing collateral, while ensuring that messaging and branding are clear, consistent, and support organizational and departmental objectives. Respected for ability to create harmonious team environments that value collaboration while moving contributors toward established goals.
That’s the career summary lifted from my current resume. I read it over and laughed this morning while answering a request from a recruiter looking for a proposal writer. I shook my head, especially, at this sentence:
Respected for ability to create harmonious team environments that value collaboration while moving contributors toward established goals.
Yeah, it’s professional resume-speak. Everyone makes herself look great on her resume, right? But that sentence was added by my resume writer after she collected letters of recommendation and interviewed me for days about my 20-year marketing communication career. With 7.8% American unemployment and 14-15% Black American and over-40 American unemployment, I needed a professional who knew what the market was looking for as my search for a full-time employer dragged until I became one of the long-term unemployed. What’s the unemployment rate for the long-term unemployed? Nearly 20 percent. Maybe double that if we’re throwing in the underemployed. Kicking and screaming, I answered every single question my resume writer asked (whew, the details) and she made me look awesome on paper.
Because I am awesome in person.
Yes, yes, yes, future employers, I have my faults. I am not a morning person, so let’s laugh together at your 7am-4pm workday. I’m grumpy until 10:30am, but I brighten at the sight of a single serving Keurig in the break room. I will adapt to your culture—talking less or talking more, understanding the chain of command—if given more than four days to learn how things work.
One thing I will never do is perform any type of fraudulent activity or any activity that could be misunderstood as fraudulent activity. It’s very hard to go into detail of how I lost the job at the pediatric dentistry practice I’d been so excited about for weeks. The gist: I was accused of allowing an outside IT person to access their computers. Not true. I did ask one of their vendors—their domain host—to help me verify with Google that I had access to the domain so I could use my work email address to set up Google Docs on my work PC. Why? Because the database was maintained in Word, I didn’t have Excel and I’d heard the dentist was cheap and wouldn’t purchase the tools I needed to do my job. Google Docs was free, but Google needed proof I was authorized to use my assigned email address to sign up.
A few misinterpretations of the phone conversation (eavesdropped, btw) with the hosting vendor guy later, I was fired. Oh wait, what? I didn’t allow anybody remote access, if that’s why you’re firing me. I worked with the vendor to help me verify with Google I worked here.
“But you allowed an outside person to access our patient files.”
No, I did not. I explained or tried to explain that. My job was saved.
Until the next day I was told I was hard to train because a mailer I’d sent was missing the title of the mailer on the outside and I’d used tape to seal about eight (out of 150) of the mailers because I’d run out of those sticky circle things. Oh, and I kept talking on my cell phone (missed a call from a kid’s school, did not return it even though it’s possible not probable one of my kids was dead, but rules are rules).
Hard to train. Feel we need to protect our staff from your unfriendly personality. The goddamned stickers were in the wrong place on the mailer and you used tape on 5.3% of them, making us look unprofessional.
They fired me for that. Even though their previous marketing database had been created in Word and maintained in 3-ring binders, I was fired for that. Four days into a brand new job. I’ve had bowel movements lasting longer.
The complication is I’ve been collecting unemployment from two legitimate layoffs. So I had to call Texas Workforce and ask if this firing can affect my current benefits. The short answer: maybe. Texas Workforce Commission will have to do a full investigation into the Google Docs/unfriendly personality/misplaced stickers fiasco and, if the dental practice asserts I was fired for cause, I’ll lose my benefits earned from years of working and paying into the system. Yes, I can appeal, but guess what? No payments will be issued during the appeals process.
So even though I should be laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, these uneducated, paranoid dickheads can actually affect my family budget in a very bad way. Future employer: if you are fair and ethical, I would never ever call you a paranoid uneducated dickhead in a public forum.
Paranoid dickishness in comments…