Three Strikes, You’re Out!: Part 1

The university that I work for is in the process of making A LOT of changes.

Once these changes are completely put into action, no one at the university will be able to purchase their own travel or process their own travel reimbursement request. It will all flow through a center that specializes in travel. 

They had me piloting this program. Working out all the kinks, typing up all the processes, etc. and at the end of the pilot, I would have to apply for the position I had already been piloting for months and be hired…or no I would no longer have a job because I would not be able to fall back on my previous position.

During this process, we changed travel agencies. Our new contract with the new travel agency requires the new travel agency them to have two travel agents located on site. 

These travel agents are responsible for booking travel for the entire university but would also be responsible for pulling reports to see who our travelers use most often when traveling (Southwest vs JetBlue, or Hilton vs Holiday Inn) and working with those companies to establish contracted discounts for our travelers. 

…basically 1/3 of what I’ve been doing each and every day but they will make $15,000 more than I am being paid and they have the ability to work remotely….

To be clear, even though these agents are hired through the new travel agency, they are located on the university’s campus (in my building just steps from my desk actually) …

so, I applied for the position. 

On Thursday morning, just two days after the first phone interview (Tuesday, February 26th), I received a last-minute meeting request for later that afternoon. During that meeting, I was written up for stupid petty stuff I had been doing for MONTHS, and no one had bothered to say anything about. Things like wearing a beanie at work (because I had come in and the phone immediately started ringing before I was even able to set my bag down let alone take my coat or hat off… so I got down to work and forgotten to take it off) or walking 10 feet to the printer in my socks because I take my shoes off while I am at my desk and when I got up I forgot to slip my shoes back on.

…all stupid shit I’ve done for the more than three and a half years I have worked at the university I’ve worked with no complaints or issues. Stupid shit my current supervisor never once pulled me aside and was like “Hey, I would prefer that you take your hat off when you get here.” or “Hey, can you please make sure to wear your shoes at all times?” Instead… she jumped immediately to writing me up.

The second phone interview (Monday, March 18th) was with the woman who I would report to at the new travel agency. At the end of the second phone interview, I mentioned that I report to Jackie* here at the university. She then told me that she would need to look into how the interview process would look going forward because the next interview would generally be with a couple of members from the new travel agency’s team as well as my current supervisor, Jackie* and her boss, Donna*… But because I report to Jackie*, it was very likely that the interview process would look different for me.

I waited a week as they figured out how that process would look going forward and was then notified that the interview would be held off campus and that neither Jackie* nor Donna* would be at that interview… that I would be meeting with the Director of Collegiate Services and Technologies at a café just off campus.

I met with the Director of Collegiate Services and Technologies on Friday, April 5th. I thought that our interview went really well. We discussed my previous work history, the position, and the new travel agency for the better part of an hour and fifteen minutes. She then told me that she too would need to look into what the interview process would look like going forward, but that someone would be in contact with me to let me know.

About a week later it was brought to my attention that the new travel agency had reached out to Jackie* and that Jackie* was made aware that I had applied from the very beginning. It was also brought to my attention that after my in-person interview, the Director of Collegiate Services and Technologies called Jackie* and discussed my interview during her drive home…

Why hold the interview off campus and hold the interview without Jackie* or Donna* present if they were going to be filled in on everything immediately afterward?

I interviewed for the position on Friday afternoon. Jackie* kept her distance at all costs on Monday. She did whatever she could to avoid talking to me.

…Then come Tuesday morning, she had her usual conference call with the new travel agency. Normally even though we work in cubical city, I can hear murmuring but can’t make out what they are saying… During this call she spoke loud and clear to make sure I could hear what was being said and they talked about things I said in my in-person interview.

During the in-person interview, I was asked why I was looking to leave the university. I told her that due to the changes happening at the university, I wasn’t confident in the job security. 

During the conference call, I could only hear Jackie’s side of the conversation but it was as if someone asked her “What are you doing today?” and she responded, “Well apparently talking to someone who is concerned about losing their job!” 

I. shit. you. not. 

After the conference call ended she kept her distance for several days…she wouldn’t come into my cubicle to talk to me. Instead, she would peak over the cubicle wall or instant messages me.

I got an email on Wednesday, April 10th letting me know that even though I am highly qualified and they don’t have any other candidates that meet their criteria or needs, they have decided to pursue other candidates (They were unable to find a suitable candidate until the middle of August. According to our contract, they were suppose to have 2 agents on staff, on location by April 1st.).

The morning of Monday, April 15th, I received a second last-minute meeting request… During this meeting Jackie* said, “You are literally one of the nicest people I have ever met. You are doing incredible at your job, the best anyone in the position as ever done. You came in and found so many inefficiencies you eliminated the need for us to hire one of the two other vacant positions…” etc. etc. So she doesn’t understand why I feel like there isn’t job security in this position… among other things.  She also confirmed she was filled in on all of my interviews but denied interfering in any way… 

During this meeting I was also written up for the second time for being “passive aggressive”. For not being social enough. For staying at my desk, keeping to myself, and continuing to work when others were standing around gossiping and shooting the breeze. My boss is doing everything *she* can do to avoid me and yet *I* am the one that gets written up for being passive aggressive… 

Then, on Friday, April 19th (the Friday before Easter, I got an e-mail from the Director of HR at the new travel agency because Jackie* reached out and “shared my concerns in regards to the interview process” and she (the Director of HR) wanted to discuss my concerns that afternoon.

As you can imagine, I was thoroughly confused upon receiving this e-mail. And it also happen to be the Friday before a week long vacation, so I was trying to get as much done and ready for handover to my backup… So I kindly responded and let her know I was preparing to be out the following week and therefore was unable to meet with her that day, but was willing to schedule something after my return. I never received a response.

My dad thinks Jackie* realizes that I’m good at my job and I *can* be a valuable asset but instead of treating me like one, she treats me like shit and tries to keep me under her thumb and treats me like absolute trash so that I don’t realize I am worth more. 

I am struggling to see past all the betrayal and backstabbing. I barely have it in me to keep my sugar filled squirrels close let alone in line… so I’m struggling to understand how people have the ability to scheme and connive like they do on tv. 

and unfortunately, all this drama and bullshit and stress has impacted my health. So, I’ve been feeling sicker than normal… Up in the middle of the night in pain, more nauseous than normal which means I’m not able to eat and when I do/can I often throw up. It’s just been a mess…

I wish I could say that this nonsense ends here… but unfortunately it doesn’t. There is definitely more to the story that I will be sharing in a Part 2! So be on the look out!

*for privacy sake, the names shared here have been changed

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