I was working with a division involved in training. One month several employees were surplussed and the local management said that should take care of their obligations. Then next month, a few more were surplussed. Again assurances were given that this should fix all of the problems. It was amazing how quickly the list made the rounds between the two multistory buildings that housed the division. And needless to say, productivity was almost nonexistent for several days as management attempted to come up with a plausible response.
While I was on my surgery rotation in medical school the chief resident sent me down to the library to get a medical test book prior to making rounds. As I got back I heard the chief of surgery ask”Where’s Sonja?” and the other medical student who knew the chief had sent me for the book said “Oh she’s probably goofing off, you know how girls are.” I dropped the book and he turned around and all 123 lbs of me went into rage mode and with one hand on his neck and the other on his chest I threw him up against the wall and pinned him and said “You knew damn well I was sent down to the library to get that book.
If you want to look good, look good by being good, not by trying to make someone else look bad.” Chief resident rescued him and chief of surgery clapped his hands in appreciation and picked up the book and then pretended nothing had happened. It went all through the hospital that the skinny girl pinned the much bigger guy and he was the laughing stock for quite a while. Extreme rage can make you very strong. One night I was looking out my bathroom window and I saw my neighbor in her bathroom, holding her hairbrush, singing and dancing in front of the mirror. I couldn’t stop looking when she started to primp and pose. I finally quit looking, scared that she might catch me watching. It was really entertaining, though.
He started accusing me being this James Smith and ignoring his calls. I tried to convince him for a few minutes but after realizing I am getting nowhere, I told him I can not spend any more time with him on the phone and hung up. Phone rang immediately and I did not answer. A couple or may be 3 days later, he was on the phone and we went through the same rigmarole, “James Smith is not here” “I don’t know who he is”. “Nobody around me knows neither”. This time he started threatening me with contacting my employer and getting me fired etc. I said, “Go ahead and do whatever you can as I have no idea who you are and you have no idea who I am”. The next day it went into me being an asshole for not paying my debt and a lot of other invectives.
At this point I recorded his phone number, his name, his company name and everything I possibly can and went to my HR department and filed a complaint and asked my desk number to be changed. They immediately contacted legal and company attorneys got involved and the phone calls stopped without having to change my desk phone number. This happened at my first workplace in the US. I did not even know you could buy small stuff like computers on credit. I thought credit was for things like home mortgages or cars.
Future events would show that this mode of management was not isolated. The entire corporation was destined to make mistake after mistake despite several changes at the top of the corporate level. Entire divisions and branches were shut down and over ten thousand employees were terminated in the DFW area alone. The company has never recovered and never will. Today it is still around, but as the Magic 8-Ball would say, “The future is cloudy”