Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I Learned from my Ex

My ex-boss, that is.

I'll try to keep this brief, because the story could go on and on. Last year, I got a job working at a gym. I didn't like my job so much, and as the months went on, I liked it even less. But I really liked my boss. I thought she liked me, too. We got along really well. She hired my husband on part-time, and she and I developed a good working relationship.

I thought she was a lot like me. She was sensitive, at times insecure, worried, possessive of her job, her husband, and cared about her kids. She took me to lunch sometimes, we talked on the phone a couple of times, we got our hair done, our nails done.

Then she did something that surprised me. She called my husband and offered him a full-time position. What worried me about this was he already had a full-time job, and people at the gym got hired and fired in the blink of an eye. But she promised this wouldn't happen. She offered him more money and a three-year guarantee of work.

I considered her a friend. I saw a lot of myself in her. Kind of thought we'd be there long-term, so we took the offer.

It lasted two months before she decided she didn't really get along with my husband and was paying him too much money. So she fired him.

That same day I quit. I've never quit without giving a two-week notice before. But I'm sure you can imagine my feelings. I also sent her a long email, telling her that I valued our friendship and appreciated all she'd done for me. But I didn't agree with her firing my husband.

I couldn't believe how quickly she turned on me.

She called all of my husband's clients and told them he'd done something so awful, he wasn't allowed to step foot back in the gym. She didn't answer my email and told the other employees that they weren't allowed to talk to me or Mark. She told them I'd gotten into the computer system and hacked it up. And then when we filed for unemployment, she told them that Mark quit and didn't get fired.

We appealed, of course. She requested an in-person hearing. We agreed.

This is on my mind because yesterday Mark went to the in-person court hearing. Guess who didn't show? Yep. Not only that, but he got the see the documents she'd submitted. Wow. Not nice.

The point to this is--if she, someone so like me, could end up being an aggressive, petty, self-interested person--could that happen to me?

I'd like to think it couldn't. But are we really so different? If I don't work hard to make sure I'm not that way, could I take advantage of people and treat people like that? Maybe there are two sides to every human being. The 'capability for great good'--and the 'capability for great evil.' Maybe it is just up to us to decide which side we are going to honor. Which side holds the most benefit and interest for us.

What I learned from my ex-boss is that I am not infallible. Even nice, sensitive, caring people can become selfish and dishonest.

Sequel revisions:
today's goal: 36/155
actual: 40/157
tomorrow's goal: page 50/157


L.A. DeVaul said...

I think we can all be that way, Tamara. And if we give in to our ugly side, we can either see that it is ugly, and want to change, or blame others for our ugliness, and then it gets worse. That sounds like what your boss did.

David J. West said...

I have to wonder how much of what you thought the two of you were alike was just a front on her part.
I have met quite a few chamelions before and that's what she sounds like.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I've wondered that too, David. Losing her friendship was one of the hardest things in this situation. I really liked her.

Kate said...

My thoughts coincide with David's.

Also, to get to reach her level of deceit, you'd have to consciously make selfish choices over and over again while rationalizing them to yourself.

Aaron and Emily said...

WHOA, that's what happened?! How awfully vindictive. But I notice, that oftentimes people really believe in what they're doing, even if it's wrong. She probably just told herself the stuff about you guys was true, and twisted it in her head until she believed it. I guess it is scary that we all have that capability to be a certain way. But, like your friend Kate said, you have to be making those selfish choices. I know you are the kind of person that would notice if you were making those kind of changes in your life. And often, people wear two faces. You are not a two-faced person. Wait, I guess i just said what DevAul said.

Jannie said...

I totally agree with David....what an awful situation and I can't believe you still have to pick up the pieces from what she did! I'm so sorry!

Melanie J said...

Wow. What a terrible thing to deal with. I'm so sorry that happened to you.

Kate said...

Wow what a terrible thing to do. I like to think most people wouldn't be so mean though

Kate x

Dawné Dominique said...

Tamara, I've learned some hard knock lessons in life myself, and most recently, with a past boss (where I resigned, gave up five weeks holidays, full pension, health benefits, the works). The one lesson that stands out is that people wear masks. I've learned to develop something called "wacko-radar". Yes, it speaks for itself.

I can't say how sorry I am this has happened to you and your husband. Words of advice: document "everything" (save voice messages, talk to staff, if you can) and slap her with a defamation suit. That might shut her up! Some people...beware! It's worse when you don't see it coming.


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