Friday, March 25, 2011

I've had experience with this

Over the years, I've learned that Dilbert isn't really a comic strip. It's more of a documentary.

At the university I worked for, while it was not specifically stated, we were basically to get approval for all activity participated in outside of work. If your extracurricular activities did not meet their approval (some of these included such things as attending an unapproved church, or starting a relationship with a blacklisted individual) they began to try to force that person out. If the mistreatment didn't either get the person to change their life to meet the boss' approval, or quit, charges for firing would be trumped up.

I knew this was happening long before I got fired. I committed several serious betrayals. I took part in a case of whistleblowing, when they fired the whistleblower (since she was a student employee, and at will, they could fire her without saying why), I took her side and tried to help her. Finally I committed the ultimate betrayal. I married her.

They, of course couldn't let that stand. Seven months after I married her (and we went to some significant lengths to hide our relationship from them), they fired me.

As they went through the process of firing me, my department director had a meeting with me to "determine if there was a way I could be returned to work". It was a part of the state mandated appeal process for all classified state employees. I recorded that meeting.

When he determined that he would fire me (he's the one that made the decision anyway), he had to submit it to the university vice president. In that letter, he outright lied, and I had the recording to prove it.

I appealed further, and nearly all of the charges against me were thrown out. Only one remained. One suspicious thing however. The hearing officer delivered his decision two weeks later than he said he would. It made me wonder if there were some sort of coercion going on.

I wanted to appeal further, but that would have required at least another $5000, and I just didn't have it. Of course, since the hearing officer only had the authority to put me back to the same position, I'd pretty much decided that I didn't want to go back to work for such an abusive place.

In the end, I'm happier not working for them. Of course, I'm not through dealing with them. I've managed to collect some evidence that they are actively trying to prevent me from getting another job. I don't have enough to prove it, but some interviewers have asked me some interesting questions.

In truth, as one of my collected quotes says. "I realized recently that my personal happiness and sanity are worth far more than anything an employer can pay me, and that nothing is worth that twisting feeling you get in your gut every morning as you drag yourself out of bed and to a job you can't stand."
-- MC Langston

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