11 October 2007

The Definition of Crazy Land

By the time I got home yesterday, I was exhausted. The day began well. My concentration level was high, sustained and I made some significant progress in the database. Life was looking up. The only minor thorn in my side was a call from our Workers' Comp insurance company suggesting that we sue our client for an injury, which is absolutely insane, but that's another story.

Then I opened my intra-office email. There it was: The email from Crazy Employee who, at 5:05 Tuesday, completely lost what little sanity she possessed up to this point. It was addressed to her supervisor, the Information Superhighway, but copied to Owner, Mr. Moneybags and me. Great.

The email was a defiant manifesto that, had I been her supervisor, would have earned her an immediate dismissal. The issue? She's an hourly employee and she feels slighted that she's not salaried. I'll bet you can guess the real reason this is such a critical dispute. That's right, she tends to arrive around 9:30 or 10:00, takes two-hour lunches and wraps up her day around 3:00 or 4:00. Hell, I'm here more than she is and I'm only five weeks into recovery from surgery.

In Crazy Land, hourly employees are expected to keep track of the hours they work and turn them in to Payroll (i.e., Information Superhighway) every week. Crazy Employee's documented time didn't quite correspond with the hours she was actually here the past couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, they were off to the tune of half a day for several days. In responding to Crazy's request for payment for salaried status, Superhighway pointed out that the company had, in fact, paid her for more time than she deserved. Crazy's response (in part):

"I will not be scrutinized and held to standards that no one else is required to meet."

Doesn't that take your breath away? Let's not even address her assumption that she's held to a higher standard. Nonsense. If I were her supervisor, those first four words would have been met with an invitation to gather her things and find a job where she would not be scrutinized. I'd also suggest to her that her current hourly wage is more than she's worth and more than a similar job could command anywhere else in the city.

I waited for Owner, Moneybags and Superhighway to arrive, anticipating the fury the email was bound to unleash. Owner came in first and called me immediately. Damn damn damn. I went to his office and he told me to close the door. He asked if I'd read the email and wondered why Crazy had sent a copy to me.

"Beats the hell out of me," I told him.

We spent about 15 minutes discussing her outrageous statements. By that time, Moneybags had rolled in. Owner made me come along for the ride; we waited in Moneybags' office until he finished his morning pre-work routine. I will not bore you with the details. It went on and on and on and on. The absurd thing is, this is not my problem. Just because Crazy includes me in an email does not mean that I need to be involved any further. Nonetheless, I listened while they discussed options for dealing with her. That was another 45 minutes of my time. Weariness was setting in.

Then Crazy Employee finally sashayed into the building. I said hello and retired to my office refuge. She used the pretext of delivering something to me and, inevitably, asked if I'd read her email.

"Yes, I did. As a matter of fact, Owner wanted to know why you included me." Might as well cut to the chase.

She then attempted to manipulate me into taking her side by telling me how intelligent she thinks I am, how much I know about employment law and about how I am, in fact, the real stealth ruler of the Crazy Land domain. You can't manipulate me. I'm a pro. It was my father's modus operendi and, therefore, I can spot it before it turns the corner a mile away. What's more, I'm very clear about the nature of my own strengths and weaknesses. Flattery will not only get you nowhere, it might be a dangerous course of action. It was a serious error of judgment on her part, akin to complaining to Owner about the kitties. Crazy is not the most perceptive person in the world.

Again, I won't bore you with the hour-long, tear-filled conversation in which I clarified my role in the company and my official position on this whole brouhaha. Specifically, I'm not involved and don't wish to be involved in any way. I did cite some legal reasons why she's not an exempt employee (which would entitle her to salaried status). I tried to distract her by asking about her family and, when that didn't stop the water works, suggested that maybe she take the day off (today) and get in a little Crazy Employee personal fun time. Or maybe she should take the rest of the day (yesterday) off.

"I'm leaving," she said.

"Forever or just for today?" I was confused, because the tone of voice could have implied either of the two. She told me she meant just for the day. I excused myself on the pretext of visiting the restroom and noticed the Information Superhighway had arrived after completing a walk-through of her new house prior to closing.

By that time, Crazy had left the building. She did not tell anyone, she did not notify anyone via email. She just left. It was yet another idiotic thing to do and a further guarantee that nothing she demanded would be granted anytime soon.

I recounted the whole annoying conversation to her supervisors. That took another hour or so. Shortly after I got back to my office and settled in to work on the database, Owner dropped by for yet another recap of my close encounter of the Crazy Employee kind.

Then, mercifully, it was time for me to leave. I worked an 8-hour day (and I do mean "worked") without the benefit of lunch and yet I got virtually nothing accomplished. This is very definition of Crazy Land.

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