Velvet in Dupont 30 Nov 2006 4:29 pm
I suspect you will need the following to keep the rest of this saga organized.
Cast of Characters:
My Boss – Same boss now, a Senior Vice President at Old Company
The Weasel – Division President. Looks like a weeble from all angles.
Opie – The Controller
Fat Bastard – Opie’s sidekick and another useless manager. At one point loses 30 lbs. on the South Beach diet, but then, seems to gains 11 lbs. a week, by some miracle of dieting combined with Krispy Kremes.
MellyMel – You see her comment here. We both work at the same builder now, thankfully a different place than Old Company. She replaced Kiki when Kiki walked out.
Patty and Selma – Two sales Administrative Assistants – ugly as shit and smoke a lot.
Ms. Right – My boss’ and my wonderful department coordinator, formerly Opie’s assistant from accounting.
Cocaine Carrie – Sales rep who routinely shows up in the office, incoherent with white crust dangling in her nostrils. Also rumored to be sleeping with the Weasel. A visual: Both the Weasel and Cocaine Carrie are around 5′2.
Kiki – My friend in the Construction Department, walked out in April of Year 1.
Doormouse – Marketing Assistant
LongIsland – The Receptionist
The Designer – Helped customers design the interior of their homes. I shared an office with her, also my friend.
NeedsMeds – Opie’s true Accounting Assistant who becomes HR.
CompanyGirl - The Regional CFO.
This story starts in January of Year 1.
Opie starts working and initially seems to be one of those guys who is under the mistaken impression that he was hired to “change things.” Unfortunately Old Company and its employees were VERY RESISTANT to change. Opie starts out by being Mr. Nice Guy, to everyone. He sucked up to everyone in the office - admins, managers and everyone in between. In addition to being the Controller, he was also our division Human Resources dipshit.
In February, just a couple weeks after Opie started, our CEO came to town to tell us how great and wonderful we were. We all had an offsite meeting, and Opie told LongIsland to call for a temp, and to request someone “cute and blonde so the CEO will think we really have our shit together.” A funny aside, the Weasel sent out an email announcing this visit, copied the CEO, then spelled his name wrong in the body of the email. I had not laughed that hard since my High School Geometry Teacher backed up and fell into the garbage pail.
In late February, the Regional CFO, CompanyGirl, came to town to meet Opie. I had some awful cold and had come in late to work, only to do a few things, then was going right back to bed. Opie demanded I stay to talk to them. I said, “You better change your tone with me or you will be dealing with them on your own.” I ended up coughing and hacking my way through a meeting with Opie and the CompanyGirl until 8 fucking 30 at night…when I had planned to be in bed by 4. CompanyGirl sung my praises and I was in good with her from there on out.
Okay, so Opie decided that the only member of his department, Ms. Right, couldn’t get anything “right” and he wanted to hire another Staff Accountant to “help” her. (By help, I mean, he couldn’t control Ms. Right, who worked at Old Company for 5 years and was very well versed in all things Accounting. So he wanted to control her via a “middle man.” Or in this case, woman.) In March, he beings his interview process.
After Interview #1:
Opie: I interviewed a great girl last night for a Staff Accountant.
Velvet: Um, did you say last night? I was here late, I didn’t see you.
Opie: Oh, I didn’t do the interview here. We met at a bar.
Opie: Yeah, take ‘em to a bar, get a couple drinks in them, and then the truth comes out.
Velvet: Truth? What kind of truth?
Opie: This chick is great. She’s 25, really hot, doesn’t want to get married or have kids, she’d be perfect for this kind of job.
Velvet: Am I really hearing this right? You can’t ask someone if they want to get married or have kids on an interview…at a bar no less!
Opie waved his hand at me to brush me and my girl-silliness off I suppose. I told my boss who then told Opie that he can’t hire that girl because of the circumstances of their interview. So Opie calls the staffing agency and gets another prospective employee to come over. He interviews her in his office. The paper thin walls allowed Kiki, sitting in the next office, to hear the entire interview, including Opie’s world class questions like, “What color is your thong today?” and the ever-popular “Are you married?” This one, a little smarter than the last barmaid, actually reported the incident to her staffing agency. Girls just out of college are really smart these days. If this happened to me 10 years ago, I probably would have answered the question and never thought twice.
By May, Opie had honed his interviewing skills and finally got someone to accept an offer – though sadly not for his department. She was going to be a Marketing Assistant. Someone actually nicknamed this girl the “Doormouse” so that’s the name I’m going to use. He told me that he finally got a “hottie” to work at our office. Of course this wasn’t before he interviewed one of my drop dead gorgeous friends from grad school (think Salma Hayek) who he said was too hot to work at Old Company and none of the guys would get anything done. It was probably true, but he still shouldn’t have said it. And it’s not a reason to not hire her.
Over that summer, LongIsland took a cruise with her boyfriend, who bought her a Louis Vuitton bag in the islands. Selma came into Opie’s office when I was in there and said, “He bought her a Louie!” They obviously had a conversation prior to my coming into his office. He said to Selma, “She must be good in bed.” Selma walked out and said to LongIsland, “We decided you must be good in bed.” LongIsland promptly filed a complaint. Selma, as the messenger, took the fall for Opie and never ratted him out. Why? Because he promised her he was going to be in charge of the place one day and she believed him.
One night during the summer I was leaving the office. I popped my head into my boss’ office to say bye and Opie sees me in the hall and stands in my way. I say, “You are in my way.” He says, “I’m going to rip that dress right off of you.” The Weasel hears it, but walks the other way instead of doing something.
These stories go on forever by the way. What follows is a chronological string of unrelated stories, but giving you an idea of what Opie was like, and the demeanor in the office.
Other famous Opie-isms:
“People around here don’t respect me, but start jacking with their bonuses and they will learn to respect me real fast.”
“Our company CFO has no business going to the guys on Wall Street because that job shouldn’t be done by a woman, it is for a pin-striped wall street guy.”
(To the Designer, when asked why she was no longer informed about Manager’s meetings:) “Because it’s a guy thing.”
(To other employees:) “Unfortunately I have to give LongIsland a raise today.”
(Loudly, in the hall:) “Everyone knows the Weasel and Cocaine Carrie are FUCKING!”
(To my boss, when the Weasel warned him to stop openly discussing everyone’s salary:) “I know who squealed and I’m going to get back at her.” (It wasn’t me by the way.)
Selma, often drunk at work, starts blind copying the Weasel on emails she sends to me and anyone in my department. The Weasel (because he’s a stupid fucking moron) hits “reply all,” outing Selma’s blind copy action. Selma and I had an email war about it, and it was obvious the Weasel was encouraging this behavior.
The next week one of our million dollar homebuyers calls the Construction Superintendent to ask a question about their house and he responds by calling them “White Trash” and hanging up on them.
In July, Ms. Right expresses an interest in moving into my department. Opie tells me her salary, and what a horrible worker she is, that she doesn’t have an education beyond high school, and is a real Nine-to-fiver. He simultaneously is telling Ms. Right that she shouldn’t work for us because we are “up to something.”
Opie had previously determined that the two people in our division who were reimbursed for mileage could no longer be reimbursed due to some company policy about not paying mileage. (Cheap Old Company felt that we knew we were in a business where we may have to drive to subdivisions, and we should suck it up.) Opie told both employees who it affected that their salaries would increase accordingly to offset the mileage loss. One employee was female - The Designer; the other, male. Both drove roughly the same miles a month and both received a $500 reimbursement check each month. Opie increased the male’s salary by $700 a month and The Designer’s by $400. Each knew the other was compensated differently. When Opie asked the male how it was working out, the Designer said, “I notice you didn’t ask me how it worked for me since you all screwed me so bad.” They end up having an argument where the Designer tells him this disparity is discrimination and storms out. Opie turns to the guy and says, “She’s ridiculous. It’s like asking all the guys to get their dicks out to see whose is biggest.” I said, “Hello…still in the room.” Opie says, “Oh you don’t count.”
Suspiciously, the Weasel was still managing to scrape mileage checks from Old Company. No one seemed willing to cut him off. Rules don’t apply to all you see.
In the end of July, everyone who wasn’t in upper management was told they now had to punch a clock – well, on the computer. I asked Opie about overtime, and he said the company wouldn’t pay it. I said, “Well, if they aren’t paying it, then what do I do about that?” He said, “You can either work a 40 hour week which will hinder your chance for a promotion, or you can put in for your overtime and they will eventually fire you.” After further review of who became exempt and who became non-exempt, surprise surprise, all the women were now clock punchers, and all the men were big tough salaried employees. Even though there were men who were levels below me, every single guy in that office was magically “salaried” and all us sluts and ho’s were all hourly.
The first week of August, I emailed Corporate HR to ask a few vague questions about how they made this determination of hourly vs. salary. After several ridiculous emails, they called me and asked me why I was asking them this question, as the determination was made inside the divisions for who was hourly and who was salary. Before I realized it, I was spilling my guts about what Opie said, and had emails to prove it. They asked me to forward the emails, which I did.
The next day was our Company Outing, on some stupid boat out to St. Michaels Island. (Whose fucking idea was this? Yes, lets put a company full of people who hate each other on a boat and sail them through the swamps of the Chesapeake Bay.) That morning, my boss called me to verify that first, I was awake (yeah, I suck at getting up,) and two, how I was getting to Annapolis. Unfortunately I was meeting the bozos at the office and carpooling. Then he said, “Hey, something happened. Opie and the Weasel were behind closed doors last night for a while, seems someone finally called HR on Opie and I think he got written up. The Weasel is trying to figure out who called, but when he asked me I said, “It could be any number of people.” I said, “Oops. I should probably tell you something.” He was hysterically laughing when I was done. Then he called the Weasel and said, “Hey, I just asked Velvet and she has no idea who could have done this.” And the Weasel said, “Oh, no, no one would ever think it was Velvet.” HA! I had them still fooled at this point in August, Year 1. The worst part, I got to the office parking lot and ended up having to ride to Annapolis with the Weasel and FatBastard that morning. I was so freaked out they were going to corner me and throw me overboard that I got rip roaring drunk.
Fat Bastard, while I haven’t mentioned him much, was hired about a week or two after Opie, buddied up to him really fast, and acted like a weirdo around the office. He would be in a conversation in the hall with someone and if a girl walked by he would stop, back away from who he was talking to, acting like he was letting you by, and then stare at the girl, up and down, up and down. UGH! It grosses me out just thinking about it.
All right. So, that summer a couple things were going on. First, Opie had packed the office with temps. I have no idea what they were doing, but one by one, they started quitting. Some of them would leave after the first week and not come back. Others made it one day. One actually left at lunch and didn’t come back. Another said she had a doctor’s appointment at 10:30, she left and was never heard from again. That temp allegedly called their agency and said we were the most screwed up company she’s ever seen. An hour and a half it took her to figure it out. I said to my boss, “Damn, it took me 5 months. That chick is smart, we should hire her.” Another temp wrote a letter to the staffing agency detailing why she wouldn’t return to our company. It listed mostly all the assholes (Selma, Opie etc.) and accused them of various things. I felt that letter was really symbolic of what went on at Old Company. Opie and the Weasel chose to laugh about it, reading it over and over all week long.
The second thing going on was that all summer, homebuyer after homebuyer came to settle on their new house. I sat next to the settlement room and could hear through the wall what was going on in there. Most of the settlements went down the same way. The buyer handed over their cash, then they were told that there was no U&O (Use and Occupancy) permit for their house and they would not be receiving the keys. Just like on a gameshow, they were told “fabulous accommodations would be provided by the Rockville Motor Inn.” (Or some other shitty hotel.) Families literally had moving trucks in our parking lot, waiting to get their keys so they could spend their weekend moving. People took days off work, only to find out there would be no new house for them. I’ve never seen so many irate, dissatisfied customers. People would scream and yell, or cry at the settlement table. Why? Because we were the biggest fucking asshole builder who had NO BUSINESS building houses. Some customers actually created an “I Hate Old Builder” website. I said it over and over, “When the market turns, we are going to be sorry we treated people this way.”
LongIsland found a survey on the internet of all the DC Metro builders and their customer service ranking. It was a percentage, not a ranked number though. So, you’ve got homebuilder A, and all their customers are satisfied, they get 100%. Homebuilder B could also rank 100%. Well, there are all the homebuilders in the area, pretty evenly spaced, from 100% down to 55% customer satisfactions. Then there was one lone builder, far from the pack, down at 17% satisfaction rate. Guess who? Yea.
Customer service was in the toilet, and the division was headed there as well. Summer was cooling off, but the fights, they were just heating up.
Working on Part 3. And I’m really tempted to start posting real names so if you guys run across any of these people, you’ll know.