The Doors of Deception

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One of my favorite themes to write about is character, or, lack of it in people. I love the movie “The Caine Mutiny,” which is a great study of character, or the lack of it. The mutineers were saved from conviction when Humphrey Bogart gets on the witness stand, and the more he speaks, the more he digs his own grave. It has taken me a lot of life to realize that sometimes saying nothing says it all. Courtroom scenes, especially when one of the lawyers gets the witness started and then the lawyer just stands back and lets the witness hang himself, is a common theme.


I especially like the celebration scene in “The Caine Mutiny” where Jose Ferrer, who played the military lawyer who exonerated the sailors spoils the victory party and sets the record straight, pointing out the character flaws of those who had prevailed over Bogart and exposing the untoward behavior of the conspirators. 


Once again, clean up the mess, and earn a lot of animus. I allowed them to enjoy the sinecure of my efforts, and then without warning, without so much as an oddment, I am replaced. I am still amazed at the expectations of the iniquitous managers who expect me to behave professionally, when they themselves are unable to reciprocate. Perhaps this is the fate of those of us who still hold as sacred respectful and righteous behavior. During our last meeting, I spoke less than thirteen words. In days past, I might have offered up ruminations and opinions, but experience is a good teacher, and what my mother said has proven true, if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing. They offered up no apologies, and while they offered thanks, I offered no rejoinder.


As lessons learned from life and my wise mother indicate, their deportment will likely have consequences far beyond my debasement. Their reprobate behavior has likely been noticed by more than myself. No matter what justification, blindsiding is unprofessional, as are promises based on performance that is unspecified. Be advised that it is your responsibility to define the benchmarks, and anyone who is unwilling to agree upon them, is prevaricating. When there are no benchmarks, you have given them free rein to do as they please, most often at your expense.  I see blindsiding as unethical and unprofessional, and all the more loathsome when done by those who refer to themselves as professionals.  That they feel no odium nor understand the consequences of their behavior, because they are plainly looking out for themselves, again, at your expense.



Lesson learned, and if it is an offer, they need to put the expectations in writing, and you carefully need to read it, or have another professional read it.  This was a lesson from professionals that I would have never suspected as behaving this way. All the overtime without compensation based on promises of pending rewards are in the dustbin. All I am taking away is another lesson of distrust. I would never have suspected such disingenuousness, but now I know better. There's always karma, or beliefs that one's actions will define one's fate. I would not look for good things for these people, but then, I've been wrong before.













Benjamin Goldstein Added Feb 3, 2018 - 2:23pm
I remember watching Matlock for some time. And the loose mouth witness was always the story plot that brought the show to a timely end. The funny thing is that it is not unrealistic. If you say something bluntly or ask something directly, people immediately hang themselves. Just go to any place at WB, write 'Jew' and see what happens. ;-) That is true for all topics. The left engages in psychic voodoo, classifying everybody a hater against one of their ally groups, but all you have to do to get to the truth is just to talk straight and the feathers will fly.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 3, 2018 - 3:18pm
Thanks Benjamin. Sometimes they need a bit of prodding to get their hackles up, but once they start, it's all downhill from there.
George N Romey Added Feb 3, 2018 - 4:51pm
I keep thinking a lot of the people I’ve met in business better hope there’s no hell.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 3, 2018 - 6:26pm
Thanks and so true George. It seems to me that the "straight shooters," the people who have earned your trust are the people who get the most referrals. Like finding a good auto mechanic to fix your car, or any of the trades that repair the things of everyday life. Word of mouth is the best advertising.
Dave Volek Added Feb 4, 2018 - 2:34am
Nice little article Jeff. I especially like:
Their reprobate behavior has likely been noticed by more than myself.
I had a job and one of my co-workers was trying to pull some rank on me. I told her to take it to the manager. She did. He told her to get back to work.
Thomas Napers Added Feb 4, 2018 - 5:37am
I’m sure your wise mother also told you that there are two sides to every story.  I’m sure your employer has an entirely different story as to why you were let go and doesn’t agree with any of your insults about his or her professionalism.  While I trust and like my employer, I go to work every day knowing that if someone could do my job better or cheaper than me, it wouldn’t take much for my employer to let me go either.  Similarly, if I found a better job, my employer knows I would likely leave.  After all, we are all employees at will, meaning both the employer and I could terminate the employment whenever we want, for whatever reasons we want.  So while I have a lot of sympathy for anyone that finds himself suddenly unemployed and don’t blame you for venting against your employer, I don’t pay much attention to the insults. After all, who would terminate any employee for no good reason?
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 6:05am
Thanks Dave. Looks like you had a good manager.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 6:18am
Well, Thomas, this could have been any organization, and this might have happened twenty years ago, because I have cleaned up a lot or organizational messes in my time. I volunteer to do the dirty work, and the managers take the sinecure. How professional.
However, you're supporting the position that blindsiding someone, just telling them that they are released, without any notice, warning, or written evaluation, and after that person has performed some back-breaking work that no one wanted to do is "professional." I hardly think so. As a professional, I will not blindside an employer or an employee and just leave an employer hanging, and I expect the same. I don't know what professional credentials you hold, but the ethics of my profession do not consider such behavior as professional, thanks anyway.
By the way, there is the truth and there are insults. If the truth is insulting, I would suggest that person study some business and professional ethics and learn what is professional behavior consists of, and understand that if describing their behavior is insulting, perhaps they need to alter their behavior and learn the discipline of compliance to ethical standards. Thanks for the comments. 
Thomas Napers Added Feb 4, 2018 - 6:40am
I’m not siding with an employer that “blindsided” anyone.  I’m simply saying that your employer likely doesn’t have the same story regarding the events that led to your termination.  There is another side to the story and it’s very unlikely you were told that side to the story. 
However, assuming you were blindsided, which I translate as having no prior indication of your employer wishing you not to work there, I still don't know what the big deal is.  He has every right to let you go, just like you have every right to leave. 
“I volunteer to do the dirty work, and the managers take the sinecure.”
Your tone tells me you might have been a very difficult employee to work with.  After all, I’m sure no member of any organization thinks their job is easy and high-paying, your portrayal of your employers situation.  Just the fact you think your ethically superior, have earned the right to insult and wouldn’t shake hands are all tell-tale sign of a troublesome employee. 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 6:54am
If ethical superiority is following the ethics of my profession, then I plead guilty as charged. They had an entire organization, full of people, who could have done it. No one wanted to do it, probably because, well, we see the results. There's the lesson: when no one within the organization wants to do it, they know, because they are in the organization, what someone new and is willing to take on the task, does not know. There were plenty of folks to do it, no one stepped up and volunteered, for reasons that have become obvious. Thanks for the comments.
By the way, you don't solve problems within organizations that I have solved by being difficult to work with. I do not shake the hands of dishonorable people, but that was nowhere in the essay if I did or didn't. I wouldn't shake the hand of certain former presidents if all I had to do was walk across a street and they would pay me five dollars to do so. And yes, I have written several ethics papers, one just a few days ago.
Leroy Added Feb 4, 2018 - 7:03am
As cruel as it may be, I find myself agreeing with Thomas.  How do you gracefully terminate or replace any employee?  Hopefully, they gave you a couple of weeks notice.  I got a two-day notice after thirty-four years.  The policy is thirty days and I could have challenged it.  The lack of notice was due to incompetence.  Challenging it wasn't worth it for twenty-eight days.  I could have further challenged the implementation of the policy and likely gained six months reprieve.  I didn't, and, in hindsight, it was the best decision.    I don't harbor any lasting bitterness.  I was treated better than most employees in the workforce.  It was a bitter pill to be terminated for something that was the company's fault.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 7:41am
Leroy, the graceful way would be to inform a person that they are not performing up to expectations, and offer them time to correct the situation. Any HR person would tell you that to just terminate someone without warning or advising of their underperforming is not ethical. Again, blindsiding. Unethical, HR (at least any who were HR professionals) would never approve such behavior. 
You gracefully terminate someone by first allowing them a reasonable amount of time to correct the situation. In the same way, if I am unhappy with an employer, I can express my dissatisfaction, and if I resign, there was notice. This has happened, as well, when I advised of an untenable situation and nothing was done to address the issue, so I resigned. This is ethical business, not blindsiding. Few, if any, people certified in HR (and I am an SHRM-CP, btw) would call termination without warning fair, unless it was an egregious, deliberate action. Again, I am not known for unprofessional behavior.
I understand, Leroy, that some battles, such as yours, are not worth fighting. I cannot divulge any information as to when this happened or with whom, for obvious reasons. It could have happened twenty years ago. There were politics involved, and some "good old boy" connections that also made the behavior unethical. Legal restraints prohibit elaboration. Thanks for the comments.
Leroy Added Feb 4, 2018 - 8:03am
"Leroy, the graceful way would be to inform a person that they are not performing up to expectations, and offer them time to correct the situation."
Now I understand more of the situation of why you were terminated.  I agree wholeheartedly that employees should be told they are not performing up to expectations.  I wasn't terminated but I was hit by that a couple of years ago.  My company goes to great lengths to avoid this situation.  It goes too far in my opinion.  There were weekly one on one meetings with your boss (one hour per employee) as well as monthly meetings.  In addition, there were weekly and monthly group meetings where group performances were discussed.  Nevertheless, it didn't stop a former boss for seeking revenge.  He was punished because of an accident for which neither of us could have done anything about, so he punished me.  He had no direct responsibility for me, although he was nominally my boss.  I reported to someone else.  Consequently, the weekly and monthly meetings with him never took place.  He blindsided me with provable lies.  I started to file ethical charges against him and another individual.  It's a lost cause.  You can't win, not unless you take it to the courts.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 9:51am
Thanks Leroy. I have terminated a lot of people, but never, ever without a firm, clear warning of what they had to do to correct the situation, otherwise they would be terminated. In many cases, they simply refused to do what they were told they would have to do when they took the job. There was no ambiguity. Many of them were challenging me, hoping that they could get away with not doing something and it would have no consequences. Many of them were wrong, and many as well  said they didn't think I would fire them. To have not fired them would have been dishonest on my part. They were all given fair warning, they just didn't want to work. I consider myself a fair person, and I expect that from others. As stated in the essay, that was not what happened. It came with no warning, from a relatively new manager, who was fired himself not a year after I was released.
opher goodwin Added Feb 4, 2018 - 9:56am
It seems employment rights are much better here in the UK. You cannot be terminated without good reason. As a Headteacher I could not fire staff. I had to go through a very lengthy procedure to do that and it was very easy for incompetent staff to do enough to get through.
There are good and bad things about that. It stops incompetent managers threatening and bullying staff or getting rid of staff for dubious reasons but it also means that some incompetent or lazy staff are kept on to the detriment of the kids and the school.
Fortunately I had very few staff I would like to have got rid of and only had to take two to the cleaners.
Leroy Added Feb 4, 2018 - 10:05am
Opher, most teachers are part of the teachers union.  It is difficult to fire a teacher here as well.
Unions are on the opposite end of the spectrum.  A company ends up with employees it would rather replace.  I have mixed feelings about unions. 
wsucram15 Added Feb 4, 2018 - 10:16am
They are better there, here everything is via states and pretty much all are "at will". Unions here are now very weak, collective bargaining are words from a bygone era.  They do some things now, but mostly arbitrate and sometimes not successfully..   The IUPA is still a strong union, unlike most.
George N Romey Added Feb 4, 2018 - 10:17am
Let’s be real. Older workers are usually the first to go in a “restructuring.”  And the last to be hired. Seniority no longer means jack and it’s become a liability.
Ask any employment professional and if they are honest they will admit age discrimination is massive but unprovable.  So much for professionalism.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 1:05pm
Opher/Leroy, I too, have mixed feelings about unions, but one fact is undeniable: As unions have declined, so have wages. More than one economist has noticed the shrinking middle class in America and the decline in unions.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 1:11pm
wsucram: Thanks for comments. Many of the new automotive plants are in the southern states, where unions are weak and state law prevents you from being forced to join the union. When I worked at a GM plant, you joined the union, even if you only worked there for 89 days.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 1:17pm
Yes, George, exactly right. If you are over fifty in the U.S. now, your job prospects are mostly the jobs that they have a very hard time filling, the jobs no young person wants, the leftovers. Thanks for comments.
mark henry smith Added Feb 4, 2018 - 1:36pm
I think the standards are starting to change. Businesses are realizing that a good worker isn't that easy to find and they're willing to go outside the traditional age groups. So many kids have such bad habits, and poor retention rates that businesses are hesitant to give them any responsibility.
The reasons for being fired can be whatever. Let's not assume that there's good reason. Let's not assume that their are two good sides to every coin. Some people do whatever they can to protect their turf and find ways to discredit people who threaten them. In the workplace all kinds of "mistakes" can happen that aren't the responsibility of the person blamed.
I worked for a magazine, a national one, good job, good benefits, and I took it upon myself to streamline a way of entering data. I just did it and it allowed me to take long naps. But the other guy who did the job when I wasn't there made a mistake and put the wrong file in, and all hell broke lose, and I was accused of not doing my job, was going to be fired on the spot when I came in the next day, but the boss knew me, and let me explain. I showed him what had gone wrong, how I'd improved data entry, and how the other guy was an idiot. I didn't get fired, but I didn't make any friends, and rather than accept my way of entering data, I was told to go back to the old way and erase all of my files. I left soon after, and the idiot remained forever.
In the near future people who can think at any age will be more valued than people who can't at any age. Stay strong, Jeff, George, Elaine, and all who want to keep staying vital.   
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 4:55pm
Thank you for the comments Mark. Age discrimination is rampant in America, and hopefully it will be addressed.
A. Jones Added Feb 4, 2018 - 10:51pm
I suppose the title of this thread is a pun on the title of the Huxley philosophical essay, "The Doors of Perception"?
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 4, 2018 - 11:00pm
Well yes, A.Jones, you got it! Congratulations! Many of the obscure references go unnoticed. You win. Unfortunately, all I can give you is my praise, and my thanks for noticing. I loved Huxley's "Doors of Perception." Glad to see there's some literacy out there. Keep up the good work and keep reading.
opher goodwin Added Feb 5, 2018 - 4:41am
Leroy - unions do have good and bad aspects. I've been a union man all my life in all my jobs. If it wasn't for unions we wouldn't have the quality of life we enjoy, health and safety and pay levels. On the other hand we wouldn't have luddite protective practices.
A balance is what is required in my book.
opher goodwin Added Feb 5, 2018 - 4:44am
Jeanne - looking at America from here it would seem to me that this ludicrous attitude towards socialism is at the heart of everything. Unions appear to have been driven out so there is low pay and no security or protection for a lot of people. Trade unions are seen as left-wing socialism. Shame.
It is better here but Trade Unions have been weakened.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 5, 2018 - 7:30am
Opher, I am with you. The unions did indeed bring prosperity, good wages, reasonable hours, and better working conditions. The corporate owners said they would bankrupt the companies, but that didn't happen. This is why I like unions.
Then, there are the unions that protect bad employees. We had an employee who was no call no show and the union defended him time and again. There are people making loads of money that the free markets would not pay much of anything for such work.
There are good and bad of unions.
mark henry smith Added Feb 5, 2018 - 12:18pm
I will now make a point of reading, The Doors of Perception.  
Johnny Fever Added Feb 6, 2018 - 5:28am
Regarding unions, the unions didn’t provide “prosperity, good wages, reasonable hours, and better working conditions.”  All that stuff was provided by the company where these union workers work / used to work.  After all, I’m not a member of a union and I have a good wage, reasonable hours and a comfortable working environment.  To be sure, most corporate owners don’t like union labor, that’s why so many union manufacturing jobs have been eliminated.  Corporations instead choose to set up plants in non-union states or overseas.  We can thank unions for reducing the need for labor and increasing the need for people to live off the public dole.  
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 6, 2018 - 9:22am
Mark Henry, Doors of Perception is about drugs, specifically, lysergic acid diethylamide. Just so you know.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 6, 2018 - 9:24am
Johnny, I suggest you read some history of labor in the United States. I'm glad you have a good wage, reasonable hours and a comfortable working environment. Whether you know it or not, unions contributed to those amenities that you enjoy.
mark henry smith Added Feb 6, 2018 - 3:39pm
In our Constitution, Declaration, the word democracy doesn't appear once, but union is there throughout. Just thought I'd mention. 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 7, 2018 - 2:23pm
Also, Mark, take a look, and you will not see anything about privacy, or the guarantee thereof. Nothing. Not there, not even a reasonable expectation of it. Nada.
mark henry smith Added Feb 7, 2018 - 3:35pm
But I did see freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and isn't that kind of a guarantee of privacy? That there has to be just cause?
Perhaps not. And I have never understood the expectation of privacy believing in God as I do. I really have no secrets, since I write about everything that's ever happened to me honestly, the truth just being so much better for the most part than anything I could make up, but it appears that some people aren't that comfortable with what they've done.
In thinking about this, doesn't the right not to be forced to testify against oneself make privacy a right, meaning private communications not given under oath not be used as evidence of guilt? 
Autumn Cote Added Feb 8, 2018 - 5:09am
I believe it's required by law that companies have annual performance reviews.  Accordingly, if you were let go without any warning (as in nothing was brought-up in the performance review) you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.  
George N Romey Added Feb 8, 2018 - 11:46am
I worked for a small company from 1999 until 2013 and was never given a performance review. Even an informal one other than some occasional bitching. Before that worked for a medium size company for nearly 5 years. Same thing.
mark henry smith Added Feb 8, 2018 - 12:28pm
I'm going to look into that idea of the legal responsibility of businesses to give annual performance reviews, or will see it posted here sooner. Thanks Autumn.
George N Romey Added Feb 8, 2018 - 12:33pm
It depends upon the state law in relation to a work to right state. In Florida an employer can fire you or let you go on any grounds and even for no stated reason. It’s very, very, very hard to win a wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuit.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 8, 2018 - 2:09pm
My state is an "at will" state, where no reason has to be given.

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