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Don’t Offer Copious BJs at Work

It’s not a joke, it’s one of the first problems I had to deal with as a manager. I was working as a manager in an administrative portion of a major university. I worked with a mixed group of classified employees and student staff. Since there were shifts between students and things always came up, we had a way of students requesting for people to take their shifts. We basically had them send out a request to the listserv to be distributed to all staff regarding when their shift was available and whatever reasons they were looking to get it filled. One day as I was about to leave at 5:30, I get an e-mail that says:

To: listserv
From: “Matt”
Subject: Shift available

Thursday 3/31
5:00pm — 9:00pm
Building C

Reason: I have a big lab I have to do. Copious BJ’s to the person who takes this shift.

I froze. I re-read. I froze again. I heard footsteps coming towards my office. A quicker pace than usual. In walks my boss, Director of the department. He says the four words I didn’t want to hear at 5:30: “Take care of it.” Guh. I call Matt and tell him to come to the office right now. I call my IT guy to have him come in. In between that time, I get e-mails from three people on my staff that can’t believe the e-mail. One of them is going to file a complaint with the Human Rights Department. The IT guy comes in first so I have him sit with me to fire Matt.

Whenever Matt comes in, he is completely unapologetic. Whenever I tell him he is going to get fired, he gets defiant and starts asking me to cite what policies he has broken. I told him we work for a university that has a zero tolerance policy on sexually harassing words. This isn’t one of those things I could overlook, it is something that we had to take care of right now.

After he leaves, I tell the IT guy to take care of his e-mail access. He says he will do it. He doesn’t. And guess what happens?

Matt sent an e-mail out about 45 minutes after our conversation. Whenever I received it, I was thinking that it was just sent to me. It wouldn’t be the first time, no doubt about it. Then I read the message and I noticed the “To:” field said it was sent to the listserv. I again was shocked to what I saw. A diatribe by Matt regarding how “the man” (not making this up) had brought him down and that our corporate culture was an enemy of human rights. It was laughable stuff, especially in sharp contrast to the note he had sent out not two hours earlier (not to mention the fact that we worked for a university). What floored me was that the e-mail was even accepted. I called the IT guy at home and did what I knew how to do best. I asked a question:

“So did you turn off Matt’s access?”

“Of course I did. Why?”

“Have you checked your e-mail?”

“No.” click click click “Oh crap!”

“Way to go, now will you turn it off?”

“Yes.”

So ended my optimism when it came to people leaving an organization. Thanks to Matt (and some new experiences) I now take much greater precautions and expect the worst of every single termination I am a part of. Most of them go well but I don’t bet on it any more.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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