Lies and Deceit

I wanted to write about these issues months ago, but I always felt it was unfair to do so while I was still working for the company in question, and when I quit the issues were still too raw. Now, time has passed, and some of the outrage has cooled.

It’s no secret at all that employers lie when hiring new people. Promises of training are made, salary ranges are quoted, unpleasant-sounding job duties are not spoken about, and positive aspects are blown grossly out of proportion.

I signed on with Benthic Creatures because I believed the lies. Coming in, I knew full well that “50% travel”, which is what they had promised would be the maximum amount of travel done, really means “At least 50% and probably more like 90%”. But I believed the lie about the salary range, the lie about the job duties, and the lie about team composition. “You’ll be doing nothing but administrative training,” I was told, “and you’ll be on a team with your wife, no problem.” These were lies told to us by King Squid way at the beginning.

The truth started to come out when we were taking a totally unnecessary and pointless training in Chicago. “You might be doing some client training as well,” we were told. “And we’ll be mixing up the teams.” By October, it became clear that the management of the company not only wasn’t going out of their way to schedule me and my wife together, their policy was to separate couples wherever possible. This, actually, is a policy that I can understand and appreciate in corporate settings; but when it betrays a lie that was told to me to get me working for the company, then it becomes an issue.

By December, it was clear that Jennifer would rarely be doing administrative training; and by February is was clear that I would be phased out of administrative training as well, in spite of the fact that I did it very well and that our clients obviously liked the way I did it.

The lies became too much. I got to the point where I refused to believe anything management told me. I wouldn’t believe a training schedule until I had a paper copy in my hand, given to me by the training manager (and even then, I refused to accept it as “finalized”, no matter what I was told). I don’t like working for people I can’t trust or respect, no matter how noble the job itself may be. I’ve never been in such a situation before, and I found myself not caring about the job at all. I did the best I could under the circumstances, but my motivation was gone.

And in April, when it was clear that I was never again going to do administrative training — which I was hired to do and which I enjoyed doing — I knew it was time to leave (health issues and the fact that I hate business travel also figured into this decision). I contacted the temporary employment agency and ended up, purely by accident, with this job where I’m overseeing a distance learning center’s on-line class migration from Windows to Solaris. Sure, there’ve been a couple of hiccups along the way, but I love this job and actually look forward to coming in in the mornings.

I don’t like it when the rules change underneath me. If I’m hired for a job, I like to know that I’ll be doing that job. If the job conditions change, I’m fine with that as well; except I need to be told that the job conditions are changing. When management keeps sticking me in assignments that I don’t like, hoping I won’t notice that I’m not an administrative trainer anymore, that strikes me as dishonest and, well, quite cowardly to boot.

Last night, one of our former co-workers from Benthic Creatures, X., came over for dinner. The three of us chatted until late at night, and Jennifer and I learned that things haven’t changed all that much in Benthic Creatures. The lies continue, the little conspiracies among the managers against the trainers continue… in short, I heard nothing at all that made me regret having left the company.

I’m glad to be out of there. I’m glad that I have this job which I enjoy and where I get to go home every night and which pays me more than Benthic Creatures did. For the longest time, I tried to have respect for King Squid, but when it became clear that he either didn’t know what he was talking about or was deliberately lying to entice me to the job, I began to lose that respect. And now if I ever found myself in a position where I’d have to do business with any of the management of Benthic Creatures, I’d definitely have to think twice, since my preference is to work with people who I know can be honest and keep their word.

It’s a pity that there are companies out there that feel they can behave this way to their employees, and I honestly pity anyone who still works for Benthic Creatures. Common decency and honor prevent me from naming Benthic Creatures’ true corporate identity in this public forum, and I almost feel bad about that. But as long as I can keep up this bit of the moral higher ground, I know that company is beneath me, and I can move on.