Glass Ceilings & the Urge to Shatter Them

I’m hard on myself.

Yes, under the illusion of Mr. Cool, Calm and Collective is a man who is addicted to success and who hungers to be greater than what he is at any given moment.

My right arm has a large tattoo on on in Japanese. The symbol is called Kaizen, which means continuous improvement or, in other words to never settle. I’m a firm believer that sometimes to move forward, you need to take a couple steps back, just to put things in perspective. I joined my current employer back in March, NOT because I was struggling per say, but I knew that in order to sustain a decent level of living I would need to do SOMETHING other than collect small royalty deposits from my unpublished book and unemployment. (I was laid off from my previous employer on December 30, 2009) I also needed a form of group medical insurance because on the independent level, insurance costs a pretty penny, even to those with decent income.

To my desire, my first choice of employers offered me a job. It came with County benefits and a generous retirement package, as well as a promise that after I fulfilled six months on new hire probation I would receive a guaranteed ‘salary adjustment.’ The salary I was hired on at was explained to me as a base salary for all employees coming in on probation and that once six months had passed, and my review was favorable, I would receive an adjustment to the salary that I should be making. Therefore not a tradition 1-3% raise.

With this promise, I dedicated myself to delivering a great performance. I humbled my ego and I lowered my vocabulary to the level of a 5th grader to deal with this company’s regular clientèle. I also promised myself to to keep smiling through any hint of adversity, as within 6 months the adjustment to a lower level of living would pass. I even allowed this company to disrespect me by allowing them to use a variation of my birth name Wesley, instead of my business and other LEGAL name, Show’Chi. Instead of fighting for my freedom to be called what I desire, to uphold my professionalism, I created the character known as “Ley.” “Ley” would become the anti-Show, however my love of acting and the challenge of fine tuning my fictional performance acumen, “Ley” would eventually soothe my pain. The character helped me establish peace with my ego, as again this wasn’t for fun or passion, this is just work; a means to live my life a little easier with potential for rapid growth and stabilization. With my resume and experience, I felt the position will be very temporary as would the salary. So I figured, hey, if I’m going to act to please the ignorant clientèle and bosses, I might as well use a stupid name and character to keep myself smiling on the inside, and yes the character “Ley” will be included on my acting resume for future consideration, but I digress.

So I made my sacrifices and kept it moving. I went on to learn all the company’s processes and routes pretty quickly, and became a favorite in the company. As “Ley,” my customer service skill was outstandingly off the chain, and I would get praise left and right from all the general staff and management. Everything was going to plan, so when that “adjustment” to my salary came through my performance would hopefully generate a new precedence in growth.

Then, I started making friends.

Part of doing my homework included feeling people out on a professional tip; Seeing how their growth had come along and how can I improve on anything they did and everything I was doing. I also needed to learn about any political obstacles or puffery that may have been relayed in order to lure me into the company’s corporate grasp.

“Don’t trust anybody.”

“Everybody here is fake, and they’ll stab you in the back without warning.”

Okay, I thought to myself, this is the norm. It’s a corporate call center. ALL call center management and workers who actually enjoy their jobs are like that. I also discovered that the office snitch is very public about being a the office snitch, which was weird to me considering I used to work at that facade of an office known as Ford Motor Credit which was populated by several office snitches, but none of them were very public, unless they were in management.

One general consensus however, shook me a little bit, and it involved average “salary adjustment.”

One guy told me he pulls $19/hr, which is respectful as hell. Time on the job = 6 years.

A lady told me that this is her second tenure at this company. She was also on probation at the time, and that she was rehired at $3 LESS than what she used to make per hour.

Finally the straw that had me twisted was a member of management telling me off the record that the highest adjustment coming off probation was 3%. Suddenly, my mind backtracked.

I put up with an ill customer base, created a character so that I could come to grips with using a fake personality at work, work ALL weekends and kill the way I live my life or potentially COULD be living it had I NOT taken this job instead of holding out for something immediately more worthy for 38 cents MORE per hour?

I fucked up. I let my guard down and got suckered into settling for something in which the promises made were too good to be true, and if all my sources are accurate — they are. I’ve been kind of down on myself lately because of this. I feel like a jackass and a hypocrite. I have a household to take care of and a wedding to plan and I offset my financial goals by 6 months now.

Had I’ve known months in advance that this wasn’t going to go as planned, I would have skipped the position from the get-go, but no. The promise of a county job and the financial stability that writing doesn’t offer drew me like a moth to the flame.

By the way, to add more fuel to said flame, the position I took comes with an added dejection which I found out a few days ago. Something big went down, and 75% of the management staff were forced to either move to a different part of the company or take heavy demotions. I don’t know the whole story, but they are all being replaced. Up front, it sounds like a great opportunity for a promotion. HOWEVER, the boss’ boss contends that instead of opening the spots up internally to those with resumes that would fit the position and those with experience, he’s going to open it up to the PUBLIC DUE TO THE RECESSION, AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL FIND A FEW GEMS THAT WOULD HELP OUR CALL CENTER STAFF. Huh?

First of all, if you’ve never done this type of work before or have any experience on how to use the systems, how do you expect to manage or coach anyone who is under you? Furthermore, the ideal candidate will be likely be trained by a member of the existing staff who would work UNDER them. My thoughts: You’re joking, right?

That’s insulting to everybody on the floor working towards a promotion on several levels. Logically, the positions should be filled by the best existing workers who want the opportunity. Then, once they are in place, you hire entry level people to fill the peasant spots left vacant by the newly promoted management staff… Sheesh, I thought the management at FMCC was backwards. At least they DID promote/hire from a logical standpoint.

Bringing in new management who are completely unfamiliar with the job and having their staff train them shows NO confidence in their existing crew to do anything but be an underling for the rest of their tenure.

Those who choose to stay and settle for this nonsense get no respect. Me? I’m not in the business of building my own glass ceiling… I’m in the business of shattering them.

Free agency negotiations begin RIGHT NOW!

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