Sunday, June 13, 2010
Before I became a management person, I was working with a woman named Jane. She had told me once about playing bridge on Wednesday evenings. We were working second shift and every Wednesday, around 5:00 p.m., we were treated to her histrionic display as she crawled along the wall, clutching at some part of her body, as if in great pain, and she would announce dramatically that she was "deathly ill"! Obviously she was acting, but she wasn't a good actress as all of her co-workers knew she was faking it; we debated which poor actress Jane reminded us of and we decided on Shelly Winters. We had bets on her exact departure time each week.
At break time, I would re-enact Jane's performance. In the locker room, I would crawl along the wall, clutching my stomach and wailing. Somebody told Jane that I had been "making fun" of her and Jane demanded an apology. I laughed at her and gave her a demonstration of her Wednesday performances! I told her that just because management was stupid didn't mean that her co-workers were, because we knew she was rushing home to play bridge at 7:00 p.m. She tried to deny it, but I said, "It is beyond the realm of possibility that a person would get sick EVERY Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. and besides, you told me once about playing bridge on Wednesdays!" She said, "Well, I suppose you'll tell on me." I answered, haughtily, "Why, no, that would be against Union rules!"
When I became a supervisor, she actually tried the same phoniness with me. As she was leaving one Wednesday, I told her that she would be required to bring a doctor's excuse the following day. She told me that she had never had to do that before, because she wasn't missing a whole day. I told her that was NOT what was written in the Plant Rules and although others had foolishly let her slide, I would not. The following day she brought an excuse from a doctor from New Holland (who, it was rumored, would write an excuse without even seeing a patient). I refused to accept the excuse as it was written the day AFTER her supposed "deathly ill" performance. She said, "Well, all the doctors were closed last night!" I told her she should've gone to the hospital as she said she was "deathly ill"!
The next day, I requested that the the Union Steward accompany me to New Holland to see the doctor, and I asked the receptionist for an excuse and $2.00 later I had an excuse without ever having been seen by the doctor. The following day it was posted on the bulletin board that the Company would no longer accept excuses from that doctor! A great number of people were upset with Jane, because they blamed her (instead of me) for causing them to be unable to use that doctor for excuses. My "fait accompli"!
The next Wednesday, Jane stayed at work rather than risk further disciplinary action. Jane bragged to another worker that she had found a "way around the rules" (and the worker told me!). The next Wednesday, Jane brought in a prescription which stated that she could not take the prescribed medicine while working around machinery. Jane made one fatal error: she didn't know that I had three years of Latin in high school and could read prescriptions. I suspected that the part of the prescription about not operating machinery was false, because the doctor's instruction in Latin was to take ONE pill in the morning. She had driven to work to deliver the prescription as her excuse from work. She left for the evening, thinking that the prescription excused her. The next day, HR called the doctor's office to verify the prescription and the part of the prescription about not operating machinery was false. She was fired for falsifying the prescription.
I knew that she would try to damage my car, because that was typical behavior of disgruntled employees. I drove my car home at break and had my brother drive me back to work. My husband picked me up from work that night. I traded cars with my brother one week and with a friend another week. I figured that after two weeks, she was too lazy to keep up with surveillance.
Years later I saw her and she said, "You are a mean bitch." I said, "Yes, but I'm a mean bitch who can read Latin and I never missed a day of work!" I never fired anyone who didn't fire himself/herself!