I Was a Threat and Had to Go  

New2Midlo 52M  
723 posts
5/25/2021 5:33 pm

Last Read:
6/12/2021 7:49 am

I Was a Threat and Had to Go

We've all heard someone make such a claim legitimize getting whacked from a job. It's typically those you know be incompetent who make it, so no one takes it seriously. However, in my case, it's true. Below is my story. I know it's a bit long, but I think it's worth the ride, if only for the moments when you find yourself saying 'He did what?'

It started out as the best thing that happened in my career. The first time I was an actual executive with a VP title and everything. All of North American sales and marketing reported to me. The company was privately held, based in Switzerland, but mostly run by Germans. I was the first American to run the business in over a decade as was my boss, the president of North America.

Unfortunately, I quickly realized my boss was in way over his head. He'd never actually managed anyone before and his previous role was as an application engineer. The controller and I agreed we'd mentor the president; we were confident he'd rise to the occasion. Except, not only did he not rise, he withdrew and became more resentful toward me as time went by.

When I started, he told me he would be in the office from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. as he was responsible for the logistics for his offspring at school. He'd be working from home and available on his mobile outside that window. Except not only did he keep that same schedule year round, he was completely dark, when not in the office. And that's when he decided to come in at all. On the full days he worked from home, he was not only unreachable, but occasionally posted golf scores on his page (according those who were friends with him). There were periods of time where no one knew where he was or could get in touch with him. One of those was when a board member from Switzerland popped by. 'We were in the same meetings, how could he just disappear?' Uh, dunno...ask him if he ever surfaces.

The man refused to make a decision on anything. The most jaw dropping example was at a baseball game. We'd booked sky boxes for the entire staff, complete with catering. Sometime around the 6th inning, a hostess popped by to ask Jason if we were about done eating or would we like a final food restoc My girlfriend and I were sitting behind Jason and looked at each other, stunned, when he literally began stammer, finally spitting out 'uh...go ask our controller'. That's how paralyzed he was.

Another perfect example of his complete lack of ownership was the day our office was in the path of a complete nightmare of a storm. Hail, wind, torrential rain. We lost power, but that shouldn't have been a problem because our building had a generator. Except it wouldn't start because Jason had failed to sign the maintenance agreement. So there we were; about 20 people dead in the water without power. After it was clear that situation wouldn't be remedied any time soon, I headed over to Jason's office to huddle up on next steps. I planned to let my own people go home, but he owned the operations side. I wanted us to be aligned on our actions. When I reached his door, he was in front of it, his cute little backpack on his shoulders, key in hand. When I asked what he was doing, he said 'I'm goin' home.' I stood there dumbfounded as he walked away, his people stuck in the dead building because he hadn't given them permission to leave. I turned on my heel and went around, sending everyone home. The most telling aspect of the story came the next morning, when the warehouse manager called my cell to inform me the power was still off and that they needed direction. Despite him being completely useless, I always deferred to Jason on operations issues and responded to the warehouse manager that Jason would have to make that call. She interrupted me mid sentence to say she'd already tried him and it went right to voicemail. Then, she said something to the effect of 'you and I both know Jason's MIA and couldn't make a decision even if I did reach him.' Wow.

Because of his paralysis, I became the de facto leader of North America. And I worked my ass off for my team; 60 hour weeks were the norm. I quickly garnered their respect by being decisive and having a vision for the future (and communicating it). There were literally occasions where a customer service person would stop at my door and say 'I'm so excited for the direction you're taking us'. This was the shit I lived for.

But with Jason, it was quite the downward spiral. He could see he'd lost the team's respect, whereas I'd gained it. His resentment toward me grew stronger by the day, as he saw me being who the team looked to. He'd occasionally try to force me to kiss the ring, by berating me for doing something he didn't like, but would come up empty when I'd ask how I should have handled it. We were spending too much on promotion, but I caught hell for planning skip some expensive trade shows, where we didn't have anything new promote anyway. There are those who would suggest he was afraid of . Those episodes became more and more common, until they reached a breaking point. I remember telling him 'you want be a leader, then you have lead!!!'

Shortly after, there was some sort of upcoming celebration planned, with both the Swiss owner and the CEO coming in participate. I had solid relationships with both. Things with Jason had gotten the point where it was time for all of his laundry come out. It was time for a coup. Obviously, I kept that myself, but Jason would have had be brain dead not realize I had reached my limit and would serve up a huge mound of dirt on him the Swiss.

That's when Jason actually grew a pair of balls and made a decision ( save himself). He lobbed a note the aforementioned owner and CEO stating I had be dismissed with utmost urgency. This note also outlined my various, and completely fictitious transgressions, support his decision. Because the Swiss are scum bags (I've got a dozen data on that one), they let him do it. I know what happened because the owner and his wife invited dinner with them, after the dust settled. Hans said it came out of the blue. I remember looking him in the eye and asking, 'didn't you think the timing was a bit odd, Hans? He absolutely had get rid of right before you and Walter came over?' Blank stare. With Hans being Swiss, it was dropped there.

Returning when I was shown the door, Jason waited until a day I was working from home inform . He said I was done, that someone would be by collect company property in my possession and deliver my personal effects, and that I would be arrested if found on the company property. Then came the crown jewel that I didn't learn about until later. Jason went around the members of my team I was closest and informed them they were have no communication with and doing so would be grounds for termination. What would lead the president of a company put illegal conditions on employment for select individuals?

In the since, the owner recognized he was in over his head (we was a young guy and his grandfather was the founder) and hired a professional management team. I'm sure the new CEO took a all of minutes see Jason for what he was, although it took a year before Jason was demoted back to engineering manager, having (not) led the North American operation to double digit losses.

New2Midlo 52M  
1075 posts
5/25/2021 5:33 pm

Sloths snooze for about 15 hours per day.

sweet0necter 48F  
2059 posts
5/25/2021 7:06 pm

I would be so angry.

New2Midlo replies on 5/25/2021 7:58 pm:
Oh, I was and still bristle when I think about what went down.

samboismtl514 38M

5/25/2021 7:41 pm

Nice story and post. Really enjoyed it.

57FredFred 65M  
752 posts
5/25/2021 8:10 pm

Jason reminds me of Lt. Norman Dikes from Band of Brothers. Foxhole Norman could never make a decision and would always disappear when the going got tough I had a Director of Finance who bluffed her way into that position. But eventually, her house of cards fell down. Don't mess with Karma, it can be a bitch.

New2Midlo replies on 5/25/2021 8:55 pm:
But did Jason get what he really deserved? Were justice truly served, he would have been walked out the door and not simply demoted. I'd say karma took the week off, when it comes to this guy.

positively4you 72F  
4605 posts
5/25/2021 9:28 pm

Sounds like the peter principal. Very common in government.

New2Midlo replies on 5/26/2021 12:23 pm:
Except literally no one thought he could do the job at the time he was put in the position.
Here's the story the controller told me: The Germans were pissed that the Swiss owner wanted an American running the US business, not a German as it had been for some time. Initially, there was a search conducted, but qualified candidates wanted more money than the company was willing to part with. So, internal candidates were considered and the Germans endorsed Jason soley because they figured they could push him around. And boy, did they ever. The US was getting hosed on sales credit and Jason never stood up to them, preferring to let them steal his lunch money whenever they wanted.

The controller was never considered for the role, being told they would never hire a woman president.

The Germans tried to push me around, too, but quickly learned I push back. The were so pissed about losing control that they told Jason that no support would be provided and emails from me deleted. I still have that email, if you want to see it.

pagancountrygirl 64F  
6466 posts
5/26/2021 2:51 pm

If only Jason had been a better puppet! Things seemed to be working fairly well until he decided to grow some faux balls and upset the apple cart.

Hmmmm....I know I left that wand around here somewhere!

New2Midlo replies on 5/27/2021 9:37 am:
He was a horrible puppet, being beaten up by the Germans, which took money out of our pockets.

The truth is he had a bullseye on his back. The aforementioned female controller approached me one evening about working together to have him removed and install me as president.

Looking at subsequent events, that wouldn't ever have worked. First, Swiss don't ever admit their mistakes. More importantly, Hans and the CEO loved Jason. They bought his 'good guy' persona. He and Hans were the same age and had known each other for over a decade. The CEO saw him like a son. Jason ran the US business into the ground. That would get any company president tossed out on their ass, door slammed behind them. Instead, they made him Technical Director...in a team that only has one engineer!

What chaps my ass is that after they hired a 'real' CEO (the previous one retired) and he started to build a professional organization, they ultimately hired a new VP of Sales and Marketing. The guy they hired was basically me, but slightly less qualified!

Apologies for the ongoing babble, but this was a real shit sandwich, and I'm still pretty bitter about being hosed out of a job I loved and excelled in.

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