Sunday, December 02, 2007

Employee Guide to Playing Human Resources (2/3)

Step Four: Play HR using one if not all of the following tactics.
All of the following are fair game whether you plan to stay or are actively looking for a job with the exception of the last which only applies to those who have found other employment. Remember, if you are looking for another job, the District is only allowed to confirm your employment period, your title, your salary, and whether or not it was a voluntary resignation or not or a layoff. Any innuendo, “off the record” disparaging comments are against the law. So for those of you planning to leave, enjoy the game of “Playing HR” to the hilt.

Document: Once you get wind that you are a target, start writing EVERYTHING down. This is your primary ammunition for up coming events. Keep a phone log of all your conversations. Keep a daily record of all your accomplishments and take notes at all your meetings where work is assigned. Ask questions to make sure they clarify what they mean when they speak. Simply ask, “Now let me get this straight, you want the following….” When your boss or another colleague starts acting like a jerk or bully, write down verbatim what was said. Record the times, places, and the names of people in the room. Write down not only your verbal response, but how it made you feel. What was your reaction? Are you feeling dread, fear, or anxiety? These are tools to be used later in the game. If you have trouble writing it all down, just jot down the pertinent facts in a small notebook and ask a family member or good friend to ghost write or type for you as you tell them your story. Most importantly, keep none of the documentation at work. There is no lock that cannot be opened. Your desk is not your private property. Keep everything on your person, lock it in your car, and take everything home with you.

Compare & Contrast: In your documentation be sure to write down inequities between how you are being treated as compared to other staff under the same management. Point out blaring or gross indiscretions that were over looked by the same manager because of favoritism. Look for the egregious acts such as time fraud, L&I fraud, harassment of any type, and theft. Make sure you have evidence. Use that camera on your phone if you have to! Cloud the waters and distract the “investigation” to another topic. It will dilute their energy, point them to real issues they cannot ignore and bog down the system.

Clarify at Nauseam: During the “investigation” you will be asked some of the most demeaning questions meant to break your spirit. There will be accusations from the mundane to the ridiculous, all to raise your ire and break your composure. They want to instill fear and provoke an inappropriate outburst. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. Pause at every question. Drink water if you have to. Start out with, “I want to make this clear, you are asking me….” Then paraphrase what they say. Then ask them on what basis they would make an accusation, ask them, “Why do you think I did ….where did you get the idea I did…what is your source of information...who is your source…?” Ask for documentation. Is there a memo written, an email, a recording of a voice mail message? Ask for dates and times. Ask to see the evidence. If they don’t have any, be sure to say “Really?” Pause again. You can then ask them why you are there. If they do have “evidence,” tell them that the situation may have occurred but your understanding of the facts are different and/or to your knowledge, have been twisted. Reveal the fact that you have been tracking everything; that you have an electronic or handwritten journal. DO NOT have it with you at your first meeting. When you do bring it in, only photo copy or print out the pertinent sections to prep you to discuss the issue at hand. Verbally feed them details of your counter argument bit by bit over several meetings. This gives you time to think and prepare between meetings. Work it slowly to your advantage. Counter every argument in writing to be filed in your personnel file. In fact, never let anything negative get into your personnel file without a written rebuttal; take the time to write a reply to a poor evaluation. Tell your side of the story. It is also critical that you do not give them copies of your original journal, only formal written documents summarizing the meeting and your argument. If you do give it to them, they will peruse it to find gaps and build a counter argument to use against you. It is not a work product; it does not belong to them. It is your ace in the hole. Play the long game. Bog them down. This is all on the clock, so it doesn’t matter if you are actually working or spending your time in HR.

Editor's Note: Thank you to another guest contributor. This is part two in a series of three.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good information; I've "been there, done that" -
I wish would have had this information when I was "called on the carpet", with union representation, no less; was a joke!