It’s Business. It’s not Personal.
Posted on January 30, 2008
In the midst of suffering from Bronchitis over the past week, I’ve had a bit more time on my hands to dwell on things that are just, for lack of a better phrase, pissing me off.
It concerns the day job. Allow me to acknowledge first and foremost that the majority of people who read this are going to say “It’s just business. It’s not personal.” And you’ll say that because that’s what you’ve come to believe because it’s what you’ve been told for far too long.
I had a co-worker who was asked to do something last year that was ethically wrong. Our boss’s boss at the Corporate level is the one who instructed her to do it and she refused. And when he insisted she do it anyway, she told him why she wasn’t going to do it and why it was wrong that he ask her to do it. He had her employment terminated a short time later. The official reason is that they phased out her position. However, she had over 20 years experience in the company, was an outstanding employee with no black marks, only had positive evaluations, the facility had openings in areas she had knowledge of and yet she was told there was nothing open.
The facility manager observed the hit on our department’s morale and remarked to me that “It’s only business. It’s not personal.” Wrong. It effected someone’s life by letting them go and the moment it did that, it became personal. Our facility manager had the power to stop it from happening and she did nothing. Perhaps you’ll say “Pick and choose your battles.” If you can’t fight for the people who work for you and who do their job well, then tell me what fight should take precedence.
This same facility manager told my boss that we had one of the tightest, best groups and she was right. We worked as team. We embraced each other’s quirks. We were a family, dysfunctional in our own ways, but somehow pulled it together and made it work. She fired my boss two weeks ago and demoted two people within our group. It was business. It wasn’t personal.
The same Corporate boss was responsible for completing certain tasks before we could, at our level, take over. That’s the way the system is set up. He does his thing, we do our thing and the company gets paid. When he didn’t do his thing, we couldn’t do our thing and the head of the company suddenly realized we hadn’t gotten paid several millions of dollars. Do you think the Corporate boss would take responsibility for not doing what he should have, especially since our boss had documentation to prove we’d requested it from him multiple times? No. He covered his own ass and created a scapegoat. The facility manager helped him sell that scapegoat. Why? I have theories, but nothing I can prove.
As for the demotions, the Corporate boss knew that replacing our manager would be problematic. After all, we know the real reasons why things happened and we would ask questions. So, he brought in a new manager for us and then a few people he knew would be loyal to that manager.
Nobody will ever dig into the reasons people are allowed to get away with doing things like this. Nobody will ever tell anybody who is in a position to do something about it. That’s our fault. We accept the decisions handed down by those who feel they shouldn’t be questioned. We’ve been conditioned.
Nobody else will say it, so I will. It wasn’t business. It was personal.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.