Category: South Africa


(CONTINUED FROM MY PREVIOUS POSTS)
I WAS EXTREMELY SURPRISED BY THE TELEPHONE CALL FROM JOHNNY. HE WAS VERY FRIENDLY AND PROPOSED A MEETING. ALTHOUGH I KNOW HE IS A TERRIBLE CAD WHEN IT COMES TO WOMAN I BROKE ONE OF MY OWN RULES (AND MANY OF MY OTHER RULES IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS). I SUGGESTED MEETING HIM AT A FAST FOOD TAKEAWAY IN MY SMALL TOWN, WHERE NO ONE FROM WORK WOULD SEE US TOGETHER. YES I WAS ALONE, AND WOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS TWO YEARS AGO WHEN I FIRST MET HIM, BUT I FELT TIRED AND DESPERATE.
WHEN HE ARRIVED IT WAS CASUAL AND HE BEHAVED HIMSELF. HE TOLD ME ABOUT HIS SMALL RIVAL COMPANY HE HAD ESTABLISHED WITH FINANCIAL HELP FROM HIS CHINESE FRIEND AFTER THE CORPORATION HAD FORCED HIM OUT. HE ALSO TOLD ME ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE (STILL WORKING FOR THE COMPANY) WHO WERE SUPPLYING HIM WITH VALUABLE INFORMATION. HE OFFERED ME A JOB, CREDITORS & DEBTORS & R2 000 INCREASE. I AGREED AND REQUESTED A CONTRACT.
AT THE NEXT MEETING HE BROUGHT THE CONTRACT AND HE TOLD ME HE WAS NOT READY FOR ME, I MUST WORK FOR THE CORPORATION UNTIL THE DECEMBER HOLIDAYS SO THAT I COULD GET MY BONUS AND I COULD START IN JANUARY. I WAS SO TIRED, PUTTING IN LONG HOURS AND WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED ABOUT THE DELAY. THE NEXT 2½ MONTHS SEEMED LIKE SIX MONTHS.
I HAD PLENTY OF LEAVE DAYS, BECAUSE THERE WAS ALWAYS AN ISSUE WHEN I WANTED TO TAKE OFF AND I WANTED TO TAKE ALL MY LEAVE BEFORE RESIGNING BUT I RECKONED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. I APPLIED FOR 18 DAYS LEAVE AND THEY APPROVED IT AND ON 4 DEC I WAS ALREADY ON LEAVE. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY LUCK. THEN MY BONUS APPEARED IN THE BANK A MEASLY 25% BONUS. JOHNNY ALLOWED HIS WORKERS TO HAVE A FULL MONTHS LEAVE AND THEY GOT A FULL 13TH CHEQUE.
I FELT COMFORTABLE WITH THE IDEA OF WORKING FOR JOHNNY BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAD LEFT THE COMPANY WERE NOW WORKING FOR HIM AND THEY WERE ALL PUSHED OUT BY THE CORPORATION. IF I WAS ABLE TO GET WORK WITH ANOTHER COMPANY THERE IS ALWAYS THAT WORRY WILL YOU FIT IN OR WILL THEY LIKE YOU. I ALREADY KNOW THESE PEOPLE AND THEY KNOW ME.
AFTER CHRISTMAS I DECIDED WELL IF I AM GOING TO BURN BRIDGES LET ME MAKE A BONFIRE. I GOOGLED LETTERS OF RESIGNATIONS AND FOUND A SCATHING ONE WHICH I ADAPTED.
FOR A FEW DAYS I EDITED, CONTEMPLATED AND FINALLY HAD IT FINE TUNED. IT BASICALLY SAID THAT I WAS SICK OF DOING THE WORK FOR PEOPLE WHO TOOK THE CREDIT FOR MY HARD WORK AND WERE IN POSITIONS WHERE THEY HAD THE TITLE BUT COULD NOT DO THE JOB. PLUS I WAS RESIGNING WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
I EMAILED THE LETTER TO SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE AND ASKED THEM TO SUBMIT IT TO THEIR HR CONTACT PERSON.
I SAT AND WAITED FOR THE DAY THEY WOULD CONTACT ME AND DEMAND THAT I WORK NOTICE PERIOD. (ANOTHER ONE OF MY RULES BROKE, NEVER LEAVE A COMPANY IN A BAD WAY).
I HAD MADE UP MY MIND, I WAS NOT GOING TO WORK NOTICE AND TRAIN SOMEONE AND HAND OVER ALL MY KNOWLEDGE AFTER THE WAY THEY TREATED ME.
VERY EARLY ONE MORNING, I WENT IN AND HANDED IN THE LAPTOP, ONLY THE RECEPTIONIST WAS IN, THAT WAS GOOD, NO AWKWARD EXPLANATIONS ABOUT WHERE I WAS GOING OR WHAT ABOUT NOTICE PERIOD. I WALKED OUT AND DID NOT LOOK BACK.
A WEEK LATER THE RECEPTIONIST PHONED ME TO ASK ME FOR THE PASSWORD TO THE LAPTOP. THEN SHE SAID THE CORPORATION INFORMED THEM THAT THEY COULD LEAVE IF THEY WANTED TO AND ALL THOSE WHO STAYED WOULD BE INCORPORATED WITH ONE OF THE OTHER EXISTING COMPANIES OWNED BY THE CORPORATION. THE PREMISES WOULD BE OCCUPIED BY A COMPANY SELLING PAINT BRUSHES WHO WERE MAKING A BIGGER PROFIT THAN OUR COMPANY.
PHEW! CLOSE CALL, I HAD GOTTEN OUT JUST IN TIME. WHERE WOULD THEY HAVE FITTED ME IN. THOSE COMPANIES ALREADY HAVE THEIR ACCOUNTS PEOPLE THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT ME WITH OPEN ARMS.
I STARTED WORKING AT JOHNNY’S RIVAL COMPANY. ALL THE CLIENTS FOUND OUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND STARTED TO CLOSE THEIR ACCOUNTS AND OPENING ACCOUNTS WITH JOHNNY. IT IS OBVIOUS HE IS GROWING MUCH FASTER. THE DURBAN & CAPE TOWN STAFF ALSO ASKED HIM FOR JOBS NOW HE IS OPENING A BRANCH IN KZN AND CPT.
THE FIRST MONTH WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME, I DID NOT HAVE A LAPTOP AND I DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE BANK ACCOUNT YET, SO IT MEANS RELYING ON OTHERS TO SUPPLY ME WITH THE INFO, WAITING IS NOT SOMETHING I ENJOY, BUT I GOT MY PAY EVEN THOUGH I HAD NOTHING TO DO FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS.
THEN MY LAPTOP ARRIVED AND I HOPE FEBRUARY WILL BE THE MONTH WHEN I WILL BE ABLE TO SAY THIS WAS NOT A BAD DECISION AND WITH TIME I MIGHT HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THE INFO I NEED. THANK YOU FOR READING.

I was polite and worked well with Lettie. I did not gossip or give her anything that she could report to Leann and I hope they were bitterly disappointed. If she needed paperwork or info I jumped and provided everything with a smile.

LeAnn one day told me that after that first day, when I met the CEO, he told them in the car, back to the corporate head office, that I was going to be a very difficult person. She said she was so impressed about how much she could rely on me and how hard I was working. It was true that I was really working long hard hours but reliable sources had informed me that they were merging us with the corporate head office and vacating the current premises.  They have already done this with the other branches throughout South Africa and the staff have told me how unpleasant the conditions are. You join a team which is already fully staffed, you are the outsider and treated as such. Our stock must be kept separate from their stock and the cramped conditions were mostly filthy and unpleasant.

Lettie complimented my work several times and I think she meant it but I don’t doubt that she was looking for things to report to LeAnn. There was nothing. The cash balanced and I worked after hours because LeAnn and Goulam was making sure I made no progress during the day.

There was only one hassle – one of the financial reports had me stumped and no one could help me.

I got a break. There was a break in at the office. They had reduced the security guard patrols to cut costs and one Sunday (either the alarm was not set or the thief disconnected the alarm) but either way the thief or thieves had several uninterrupted hours to loot all the company computers about 30, plus surveillance equipment.

The figures of my report were lost and I used this to full extent to buy me time. I was not allowed to ask the person at head office to assist me to compile his report because they did not want him to see all the actual figures. I was just instructed to make it happen.

I want to change the subject a little to explain about Johnny. I met Johnny for the first time in March 2012 when I applied for this job. Although a very likable Chinese man he has one annoying tendency to hit on all women. He liked purchasing cars on a whim and spending large amounts. He also used company money to buy properties, boats, cars etc. Funds were also siphoned off into Chinese bank accounts. When the company got into financial trouble he signed the deal with the corporation heads and agreed that they would control 51% of his company in exchange they would pour money into the company and build it up and once it was financially stable again he would have an opportunity to buy the shares back again.

This did not happen, once the corporation moved in they investigated Johnny and got rid of him dragging him to court with all sorts of proceedings but none they could actually stick on him because he is actually quite a slippery fellow.

When Deedee and I were sure that our time had come for the corporation to get rid of us she contacted Johnny to see if he would hire her but he said he did not have a position available.

I also threw a hint but it seemed that it fell on deaf ears and I was quite disappointed that he had head hunted several staff for his opposition company but I had not been contacted.

After the break-in I got a text message “Hi, it is me  “

I was rushing madly around, people wanted 10 things simultaneously from me and I felt vulnerable without the aid of my computer.

I had placed some items for sale online and thought someone was playing the fool with me so I picked up the phone and was about to send a text something like “bugger off you childish %*&%” when I was called to one of those stupid corporate meetings. When I returned to my desk my cell phone rang “Hi, it is me” the man repeated. I hesitated I did not recognize the number and then he said “ it’s meee!” and I suddenly recognized the Chinese accent. “Are you ready to leave the company?” he asked. “YES!” I replied.

Continuing from my previous post. Bettie had prepared coffee and cookies for the biweekly 6am corporate meetings and had gone after work once a week to buy Goolam his special brand of bottled water that he preferred. When he arrived at the office he would demand his bottled water and a glass and Bettie would run around and serve him like a servant when there is a char/tea girl on the premises who could perform these duties. In the end Goolam was difficult about releasing her final pay and when she complained to him previously about LeAnn treating her unfairly he told her to go home and pray. (Mocking her Catholic religion). That is how cold these people are.

Bettie had left and not only was I struggling to keep up with my work they expected me to do several financial reports and I am not a qualified accountant. I was going through hell.

Deedee and I have both worked for the company for 4 years. She is creditors and I am debtors. LeAnn on her first day told Deedee that she was the only one that showed potential and brainwashed Deedee into helping her get rid of Bettie, they both had attacked her and made life difficult for her. When LeAnn complemented me or tried to rope me in as an ally I found ways to make snide remarks or showed her that I am not interested.

After Bettie left the company, LeAnn decided Deedee had served her perpose and it was time to get rid of her too.

Lettie was hired. We were told not to expect company bonuses at the end of Dec 2015 if the company did not make targets and we could not get air conditioning because they claimed we could not afford it but the recruitment agency for Lettie cost R35 000.

Lettie, a tall thin woman, with a strong jaw line, proved to be a dangerous jackal. She would check Deedee’s work and then report to LeAnn regarding the backlog or errors and finally Deedee was ready to have a breakdown.

Deedee disappeared for a month and then returned to work with a letter stating that she had been in a psychiatric hospital after she had a nervous breakdown. She placed the blame on LeAnn. The corporate HR were called in and Deedee they decided would be transferred to the corporate head office and Lettie would do creditors in future.

When I went into LeAnn’s office she could not hide her joy and said, “I got rid of her … yippee … I did it for you, aren’t you glad”? We had worked for the same company for 4 years our paths seldom crossed and she was no threat to me. I could not believe how LeAnn was trying to brainwash me but she could not figure out how to get an angle on me because I gave nothing away. She wanted to know where I wanted to see myself in the company – that type of thing and I refused to confide in her or allow her to influence me.

After that LeAnn decided Lettie must target me and LeAnn and I saw very little of each other after that day.

The previous day I had met the corporate CEO, a short Indian man who really thinks a lot of himself. You can see he thinks he is the funniest speaker in any meeting.

LeAnn arrived with her consultant, who was an Indian man wearing the traditional white robes and sandals. Goulam I found out had to consult LeAnn because she was not very good with corporate financial matters.

I worked very hard, I put in extra hours and I was still running behind with my work. This was devastating to me because I have never ever before been behind with my work.

LeAnn wanted a meeting every morning, expecting updates from everyone and by the time I got out of the meeting half the morning was gone and my work kept on piling up. Micromanagement was taking up even more of my time. Several people had to approve and sign off the most simple of tasks. Depression set in and I started to panic.

LeAnn started targeting Bettie. She walked up to her one day and said “I want to see you” and walked away. Bettie stopped working and followed LeAnn into the office and LeAnn talked to her like some people talk to a stray dog “not now, I will call you when I am ready”. The constructive dismissal tactics were implemented making it unbearable for Bettie.

An auditing firm was called in to investigate irregularities. LeAnn one day went to Bettie told her to get out all the petty cash boxes and to bring all the cash, slips and recons. One auditor and LeAnn sat 5 hours interrogating Bettie. There was no problem with the petty cash it was actually over but they treated her like a criminal and when she asked if she could get some water they declined and held her locked up in the office like a prisoner.  A few days later Bettie submitted her resignation. When she had 5 days left, LeAnn walked up to her and said “I want that chair you are sitting on … push it to my office”, Bettie replied “I am still sitting on it, I still work here”.

They had awful screaming matches and both hated the other and tried to win allies amongst their colleagues. Bettie was supposed to hand over to her replacement but the corporate HR had not interviewed or hired anyone to take Bettie’s position.

Bettie was finally asked by LeAnn if she would work an extra week which she did but when it came for them to pay her for those extra days Goulam delayed payment without reason for two weeks.

Some of Bettie’s HR duties were given to another colleague of mine and I was to handle the petty cash and financial reports but both of us were told that we were not allowed to ask Bettie advice. Why ask Bettie to work an extra week if she was not allowed to show us how to continue with Bettie’s duties?

Meeting the Corporation CEO

Ok, so my saga with the corporation is coming to an end, perhaps someone might read this in the future and benefit by what I learnt.

  1. I kept my head down after the construction and impending retrenchment was announced.

  2. I did not listen to those who panicked and spread gossip.

  3. I immediately accepted that they would retrench and bring in their own people.

  4. Trust no-one because your biggest ally could now want to be in favour with the new corporate body and might target you thinking it could benefit them in some way.

  5. Make sure you can account for all your work because micromanagement is no joke.

  6. Make it clear to everyone that you do not gossip.

  7. Take your time and look for other employment.

Just an update Attie and Martie moved in together after I wrote my previous posts. He threatened twice to resign but he was offered more money and he is still working for the corporation. Although I like working with Attie I am a little annoyed because the corporation said they would not be held to ransom and would not give anyone increases yet Attie got an increase twice.

I have been working for basically the same pay for 3 years and feel let down and fed-up but I am not going to threaten or beg.

So to continue from my previous posts, Elvis (the financial director) resigned and did not set foot on the premises again. Everything went downhill fast after that.

The corporate management walked in, this was the first time I could see the faces of the despicable people who make choices on a whim which affect our lively hoods and our families and they do not care at all about the people.

The false friendly introductions were made, stale corporate humour carried on for an hour after closing time. I made the whole interaction as unpleasant as I could because I cannot hide it when I am annoyed and furious and I had been struggling with a flu for 3 months and did not have the patience to deal with them.

We were informed that LeAnn wouId take over as financial manager. A woman 10 years younger than me with slanted cat eyes stood quietly as we were introduced to her. A sudden hot flash came over me and I jumped up. I was wearing several layers of clothing and suddenly wished I could remove some clothing but I realized about 30 pairs of eyes were now focused on me. “Are you going somewhere marm”? the CEO asked. I shook my head and thought if I open my mouth now there will be trouble. I looked at LeAnn, I could not see her cat eyes anymore she seemed to have shrunk away from me but I could see her body. She was dressed like a hooker. The weather was nasty outside and she was wearing high boots and a mini skirt. I could see her bra through her white transparent blouse.

What about Bettie our current financial manager I asked and the CEO froze, “ ..uh you will be reporting to both LeAnn and Bettie”. He quickly changed the subject.

It was winter we had load shedding and a bakkie had an accident on the highway. It was 7pm when I finally arrived home. Then I had to get the gas bottle out so that we could make something warm to eat and drink.

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Hi fellow bloggers, I can assure you the weather in South Africa this year is extremely unpleasant. It was 30 degrees Celsius in the shade today in Johannesburg. Definitely not suitable when you want to bake cookies or do some last minute chores before Christmas day.

I want to thank everyone who visited this blog in 2015 and wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

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