Thursday, November 27, 2008

To Turkeys, With Laughs

I read this on the Fortune site and thought that it was pretty funny!

If you work in more than one place in your life, you'll probably get to work for some turkeys. It can't be avoided, they're everywhere.

Allow me, on this turkey day, to give you some examples.

I worked as a service writer in a Porsche-Audi dealership. The service manager knew nothing about cars, he was a retired Army sergeant*.

A mechanic cut out a large chunk of an Audi's body to make it easier to remove the engine. This weakened the car's body. I reprimanded him. The service manager backed him up and fired me!

Long story short, the customer sued, the mechanic got fired, the service manager lasted another 90 days and Porsche-Audi pulled the dealership franchise. I think the customer got a new car, but I'm not sure.

* I'm a military brat and have the utmost respect for those in uniform. He was in the wrong job at the wrong time.

I was hired to help open a new '$99.95 Car Paint'. One of the pay incentives was a production bonus for turning out more than a specific number of cars in a week. As assistant manager, one of my jobs was turning in the weekly production figures.

For a couple of weeks, my boss, the owner, told me that he had went ahead and done the paperwork for me. Which helped him cover up the fact that he was doing paint jobs on his friends, relatives and neighbors cars, without them going on the franchise records. Still, I felt sure that we had made bonus production.

When I opened the shop one Saturday, I couldn't find the copy paper for the copier. When I found the copier paper, I found the certificate from the franchise company with my name on it for making the bonus. I made a copy, put the original back. Never got paid for the bonus.

I quit the next month and went to Hollywood with my first screenplay.

If you go to the Ask Annie site, check out the link where employees get to talk about HR managers.

I don't know if it's posted or not, but I wrote about my experience with 'Ordeals', the tech writing company in my book.

IF it makes the Ask Annie blog, great.

IF NOT, then I'll write about it in the next post.

I don't know if HR stands for Human Resources or Helpless Rejects

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tactics for Employees - Keeping Records

You get hired by the company. It’s exciting, your first day on the job. Eager to make a good impression, you don’t want to anger anyone or make a mistake.

Don’t make the error of thinking that you shouldn't be covering yourself.

One of the most important things you can do is to keep a record of events.

You don’t have to note down everything, but the major stuff could help in the long run.

Keep a private record of your time.
Buy a notebook, even if it’s a small pocket one. DON'T use company materials.
Get in the habit of daily logging your hours.
Note anything unusual in the operation of the business.
Log instructions or comments by your co-workers or boss that could be considered illegal, immoral or anything else approaching questionable practices.


Many companies will fire you for this type of activity. It’s very easy to get terminated without cause in many states.

When I worked as a technical writer, I used to keep a log of all the work I was doing on my desk. It was the only way I could track the different books, art requests, phone calls, etc. that was necessary for writing the books. Keep emails for at least a year after the project is completed.
I had one save my job and my company over $26,000 in rework when it proved that the client’s project manager had dropped the ball on giving me the proper title for the book I wrote for them.

When I was illegally fired, I took all my log books to court. It made the difference in my winning my court case. When the company appealed the court verdict, I won again in court.

As long as you keep your records, take them home with you and don’t use them to intimidate or harass co-workers, you will have a good line of defense.

Now, if you do lousy work, goof off and expect to have the records somehow clean up your act, you have another problem.

You’re dreaming.