An Unethical And Underhanded Business Decision In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have been working for a locally owned company in Dickinson, North Dakota for a little over three years.  Sometimes this company is busy, and sometimes it is slow.  About two years ago, I was promoted to manager of this company.

Myself and some of my coworkers, have had second jobs, and third jobs, outside of working for this company.  The owner of the company that I work for, and my co-workers are generally calm and mild-mannered.  None of us want to quit working for this company, because each of us are left to do our job with very little interference, each of us is treated pretty fairly, and we are fair with each other.

Last week, myself, a co-worker with two years experience, and co-worker with five years experience were scheduled to perform work for a new customer in Dickinson.  There was another long time customer that requested work last week, that one of us three experienced workers could have done, and allowed a new hire to be the third person on the other job for the new customer.  The owner of our company said to me, “No, this is important, and I want the three of you to go.  Tell the other customer that we don’t have anyone available.”

Myself, and my two co-workers, had to put aside whatever personal and work activities that we had planned, in order to go perform work for this new customer.  When we arrived at this business location, I introduced ourselves, and I asked to speak to the manager.  After about three or four minutes, the manager walked up, she was a lady who myself and my co-workers knew from other work that we had done.

The manager said, “I never got a contract back, we never signed a contract, we don’t need you.”  I was very taken aback by this, but I didn’t react in proportion to how I felt.  I said, “Oh, O.K.”  I realized that it probably was true that someone didn’t sign a contract or get a contract back.  I realized that in the lobby of this business was not the place to have an argument at this moment, especially since I didn’t know about the contract not being signed or returned.

I apologized to my co-workers, and I told them that I would telephone the owner of our company to explain what was happening.  I tried repeatedly to telephone and text the owner of our company, but I could not get in contact with him.  After about half an hour, I told my co-workers to go ahead and forget about doing this work for today.

I was very angry about what had happened.  Ever since I was about 26 years old, I had been responsible for scheduling contractors, equipment, and material.  I always tried to be very clear with all contractors and suppliers about what was needed, when it was needed, and if there were any changes or anything else that they needed to know.  It would not do me any good, my company any good, or anyone else any good, to allow a mistake to happen.  In fact, making a few costly mistakes would have resulted in me losing my job.

This lady manager, who I am tempted to refer to as “this fat bitch” for the remainder of my story, could have sent one text message, one e-mail, or made one phone call to the owner of my company a month ago, a week ago, or one day ago, stating, “We don’t need you after all, sorry.”  However, the way she chose to handle this, was to not inform the owner of our company that anything was wrong or that they didn’t need us, and to allow us to put this work on our schedule, to decline other work, and to show up with three people to perform this work.  She seemed kind of pleased with herself, and snarky when she said, “We never got a contract back, we never signed a contract, we don’t need you.”

The owner of our company has had this business in Dickinson for twenty years.  The overall manager of the business that we were going to perform work for, has been the manager there for twenty-eight years, and she has known the owner of our company for that long.  The corporate sales manager who did this underhanded thing, has been at this business for less than two years.  I don’t know why or how this lady felt that handling this the way that she did helped her or benefited her in any way.  I would expect that she will have negative consequences from this, though I don’t think she ever thought of this, or she would not have done it.

Though this kind of thing can happen, especially when one or both parties is trying to be sneaky, treacherous, or underhanded, it had never happened at this company that I work for in Dickinson, or with any other project, contractor, or supplier that I have dealt with.  However, now that I think about it, about half the time women do do things like this.

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