Three weeks ago, Super Frugalette and I swapped blog posts about our biggest financial mistakes. Her $24,000 loss due to a bad work contract got so much interest that we both thought a continuation post was a great idea!
Here is the sequel to my biggest financial mistake….
So the biggest mistake was that I did not have a lawyer look at the document. Yes, I lost $24,700, but within 6 months I received a $10,000 raise and my bosses’ job. Here’s how.
After the Work Take Over
When the new owners took over, jobs were cut left and right. Since I was the lone person in the marketing department, I had some job security. I continued my work basically without a boss for months. The new owners were frequently away. One day when one of the new owners was in Maryland, I was called into his office and informed that I had a new boss.
She was a French woman who had spent years working in South America. I was informed that I was going to start working out of the Florida office. Yes, informed. I would be commuting from during the week to a different state. I did not take this very well…
I had just adopted a new kitten that needed to be fed at lunch time. How would my kitten be fed at lunch? I had also been accepted the University of Maryland’s part time MBA program in Baltimore. It was the most competitive program in the Baltimore area and I worked very hard to get in. The program suggested taking an introductory class in accounting before entering the program if you have never had an accounting class….which I hadn’t. On account of my travel, I was going to have to drop the class.
My New Boss
I desperately wanted another job. However I was now commuting to Florida. This left me unable to find a job in Maryland since I was now always in Florida.
Additionally, my boss was not made aware that 75% of her job was going to revolve around in-store signage (you know all those signs you see displaying prices…). Signage is a huge part of retail and our signage budget was close to $500K a year! Yet she had no idea that this responsibility was part of her job!
Her lack of knowledge regarding the signage and the fact that she had never worked for a retailer, only for the vendor, made the transition very difficult. She was a bright woman, but that knowledge gap made it was harder to get things done.
Difficulties at Work
We struggled to work together. I was resentful of my new commuting lifestyle. I also had to negotiate to take my Monday and Thursday MBA classes in Baltimore for my fall semester. This meant that when September came, I would take a 7am Tuesday morning flight to Florida. I would then leave on Thursday afternoon. I made it to class by taking a cab from the airport. I always had my luggage right next to my desk!
I was also resentful that I was no longer managing anything. She was “managing” everything even though she had no idea how to get things done.
Moreover, there was a huge cultural issue. She worked in South America for the vast part of her career. In South America, there is one “boss” and everyone else is an assistant. There is no concept of “project manager” or even “coordinator”. However, if you are a control freak…it would be right up your alley.
I liked my job and title of “manager” and so to become an administrative assistant was frustrating. The straw that broke the “camel’s back” for me was my 2% raise.
I Had It At Work
She felt that I “didn’t contribute very much”. I was livid! Contribute! I put my entire life on hold!
I was angry and hostile and it started to show in my work…and I was even angrier that I couldn’t find a job in Maryland since I was still on a plane to Florida every Tuesday morning for an MBA program.
Finally, I had it and I did it.
I walked into her office closed the door and told her that I was very angry about my raise. I felt it was unjust and wrong. However, I told her that I was going to give her my best work because that is the type of person I am and the employee that I want to be. Her face went into a look of shock and then she said that my attitude would carry me far. We got along famously after that for a couple of months and then…
Better at Work But Then
She was fired.
She was fired right before we went into holiday season, which is the busiest time in the marketing department. It was a nightmare. She had spent tens of thousands of dollars on radio advertising–meaning that spots had been purchased. However I had a two-fold problem. I did not have the information I needed to produce the spots and I had very little time to get the spots to the radio stations.
The advertising was designed to highlight different fragrances in different regions of the country. However, the fragrance and cosmetic department had not provided the actual fragrance special offers that were applicable to the different regions. The fragrance department could not confirm that the promotional offers would be in the stores when the radio ads were going to be aired.
The radio campaign was poorly thought out…the fragrance department has never had a good record for ensuring that promotional items (like gifts with purchases) were in stock in general. We should have never centered a campaign around a department that was so unreliable.
Thus, I had to put some pressure on the fragrance department and had to copy the owner on an email stating that we would lose the 30K if the fragrance department could not provide a) which offers we were to promote in which regions and b) confirmation that the promotional items would be in stock by the time the spots aired. It worked, I got confirmation and then I squeezed three weeks work preparing the radio spots into one week.
Got the Job Done
I got it done. It was exhausting. I was happy I got it done. I did not want the company to lose $30K. Besides, I take pride in my work and wanted to do a good job. The store managers were counting on this advertising as well. In January, I was called into the owner’s office. He was impressed with the way I had handled the campaign and offered me my old boss’s job. I wasn’t going to be made a director (like she was) but I was going to receive a 10K raise. I accepted the offer ….
Moral of the story: Always make a 100% commitment to do your best. It may not pay off initially, but it will pay off in the long run.
FYI—In case you were wondering about the kitten. I recruited my father to come down and “kitten” sit. Eventually the kitten found a new home at my parents house.
Super Frugalette blogs about bringing elegance to all areas of her life–in a fiscally contentious way.
Crystal’s Comments: Wow, that sounded like a whole lotta crap to deal with before seeing a break in the clouds! I am super impressed by anyone who works that hard to accomplish their goals. You go girl!!!
Anybody else have any juicy job stories for us today?