Sometimes with honest work comes corrupt coworkers always plotting their next scheme.
Take “Steven” for example. Steven landed a job working for a heavy industrial manufacturing company. The pay was great, he got along well with his boss, “Reid,” and he felt fulfilled learning something new every day about the industry. As weeks quickly turned into months, Steven developed a routine at work that earned him recognition from his peers. In fact, Reid was so moved by Steven’s output that he was promoted to group leader for his division. This step up meant a raise for Steven as well as additional responsibilities, but Steven was far from intimidated.
As time went on, Reid was promoted. Not wanting to let go of Steven, Reid conducted a transfer in order to bring Steven with him to the new department he was under. Steven didn’t mind, even if it meant he technically wasn’t quite a group leader. He still got to keep his duties and pay, but was only considered an ‘honorary supervisor.’
However, there was much more to the new department that Steven would have never suspected. If someone would have told Steven that someone was after his job, he would have had a hard time believing it. Unfortunately, his charming looks and phenomenal work ethic were not enough for everyone, especially “Callie.” As another supervisor on the floor, Callie was not only skeptical of Steven’s presence but annoyed.
As things started to heat up in the workplace, Steven thought he had reached his breaking point. But, karma has an interesting way of humbling wannabe big shots.
Steven’s first impression of Callie was indifference. She was one of the only female supervisors in their division. By word of mouth, some of the other workers warned Steven that he had to ‘watch his mouth’ and work diligently around her because she was a little strict.
Despite her being one of the most disliked supervisors, upper management favored her quite a bit. Her face was on nearly every poster throughout the company building because Callie’s status promoted ‘diversity’ and ‘opportunities’ for growth.
“If only,” Steven thought, “they knew just how ‘devoted’ to her job Callie truly was.
It didn’t take long for Steven to be considered for yet another promotion in his new division. Under Reid’s discretion, Steven found himself sitting front and center in front of Callie’s desk as she grilled him with interview questions. Callie may have been well-established in her role as Supervisor, but Steven knew that Reid did not feel that she was the greatest fit.
Not too long after the interview, Steven finally got to leave Callie’s scathing glare and met some of the other supervisors on the floor. It was a relief when Steven realized how relaxed everyone else was. Though they didn’t have much to say about Callie, Steven knew he could feel the awkwardness. In fact, the discomfort in the air was so thick, a butter knife could cut it.
Thankfully, Steven got the promotion. Callie, however, did little to hide her disapproval of Steven being her new colleague. She was always abrasive, constantly agitated with Steven and went to great lengths to call him out on the smallest things.
Yet the minute Steven asserted himself, Callie suddenly decided to pounce.
A few days into Stevens’s new position as supervisor, he met another supervisor whose wife was soon due to deliver their first child. By the second week, his wife unexpectedly went into labor and Chris had to leave work early. He went on paternal leave for six weeks as given by the company, leaving Steven in charge of the workers completely on his own. Sixty employees was a lot to handle a once. Steven was barely making ends meet for them. Between filing incident reports, running inventory, and everything in between, Steven felt like he was trying to keep his head afloat.
On multiple occasions, Steven swallowed his pride and approached Callie for help. Knowing that he was struggling, Callie practically lived in her office until it was time to go home. One day, Steven approached Callie to inquire about a procedure. Instead of offering assistance, Callie scoffed and said, “Ugh, if I have to do your job for you then I don’t actually need you.”
Stunned by her rudeness, Steven said, “Nevermind,” and walked out. He persisted in keeping things running smoothly. According to his Fitbit, Steven’s average daily steps more than doubled when his coworker went on paternal leave.
A few days later, Steven was running reports when he came across an error. One of the quality gates was not being followed. As part of his job, Steven wasted no time in emailing the discovery to one of the quality engineers. Upon hearing the news, everyone lost their minds.
This was a four-hour operation on a twenty-hour part that the entire division was skipping entirely.
As it turned out, one of the reasons Callie got the position in the first place was because she was running her dept so ‘efficiently.’ However, this discovery brought to light the real reason Callie appeared to work miracles in the division. Callie made the decision to skip this quality process so she could save time.
This may have sounded great, but the engineers never signed off on this, and Callie’s habit of cutting corners caused massive damage control. The process had to be reinstated and the parts that were never checked had to have warranty extensions. This ruined the company’s reputation, but not as much as Callie’s.
As everything transpired, Callie became more vindictive. In fact, Steven overheard Callie tell others she would never be fired and could do what she wanted. She would wander the departments and if she didn’t like someone or didn’t appreciate something she did or said, she would make the Supervisors write them up by the end of the day.
She wanted Steven to find a reason to write unsuspecting employees up if she heard them say something negative about her in even the slightest way. Steven refused, and each time he didn’t, she would take it out on the employees herself. Callie’s retaliation included forcing the supervisors to stay late to do inventory or something else menial just because she could.
She would not let the employees make any decisions until she approved it. Therefore, something like overtime had to wait for Callie’s approval and she would not respond until the end of the day causing the depts to scramble. Then if there weren’t enough overtime employees to do the work, she would blame it on the higher-ups. While the higher-ups knew this wasn’t right, we all needed our job and tried to do the best we could for Callie and the employees.
But Callie only got worse.
Things Just Keep Getting Worse
The first day Steven’s coworker was back from paternal leave, both of them were summoned to Callie’s office. As soon as the two of them sat down, it was clear that Callie was on yet another power trip. She started berating Steven for how poor of a job he did while his help was gone.
“Everyone has been running around here like chickens with their heads cut off,” Callie snapped. “I’m surprised things are still as operational as they are.”
Steven bit his tongue as Callie went on. His coworker, on the other hand, looked visibly annoyed. Clearly, he did not feel like being smothered by Callie so early in his return.
Callie went on, “Steven, I feel like you’re just trying to make the division look bad. Make ME look bad. It’s like you never even came to me for help.”
Steven was speechless.
The previous comments Callie made, and the fact that Steven’s work was beneath her seemed to have completely left her memory. After the meeting, Steven was convinced that Callie trying to devise a plan to have him fired. Frustrated by how far she was willing to go to make herself appear ‘better’, Steven called Reid right away.
“We need to have a chat,” Steven said.
When he got together with Reid, Steven quickly started explaining the things that were going on between Callie and everyone in the division. Reid was shocked after hearing Steven’s claims, but most importantly, he was sorry that the harassment, the abuse, and the vindictive nature of Callie were causing a strain on the company and nothing was being done about it.
Ironically while Steven was speaking with Reid, another supervisor called him to complain about Callie as well with the same grievances. Reid was stunned and said he would speak with Callie.
“I don’t want to lose you, Steven,” Reid said. “These games are going to stop today.” Then, Reid lowered his voice and said, “There’s an opening in a different department with your name on it. You say the word, and I’ll have you switched over before the next quarter.”
Steven felt bad for bailing on the others, but he was delighted to transfer to a different division. Steven was certain this was going to be the end of Callie’s terrible authority over his job and mental health.
A few weeks later, as Steven was leaving work, Callie approached Steven. With her resting scowl, she tossed her hair to the side and said, “You never turned in your laptop and phone.”
News had spread quickly about Steven moving to a new division.
“Oh,” Steven said. “I didn’t know I had to turn them into you but I can have them by tomorrow.”
Callie smirked after hearing Steven’s response. “Don’t worry. I’ll have them back soon enough.” Without another word, Callie stormed off.
Steven didn’t think too much of it at first, but when it was time for his performance review with his new boss, Callie’s words came back to haunt him.
Steven’s job would never be the same.
And They All Fall Down
After about six months of working in his new division, it was time for Steven’s performance review with his new boss. The review went great as Steven hoped. His new boss was thrilled with his work and expressed how he was surprised with how quickly Steven picked up on his new responsibilities.
At the end of the meeting, Steven’s new boss said he had one more thing he wanted to address with him.
“Is everything alright?” Steven asked, concern rising in his chest.
Out of nowhere, his new boss randomly mentioned how Callie tried to intervene in the review just the day before.
With a chuckle, Steven’s new boss said, “If I didn’t know any better, it seemed like she was trying hard to get you fired!”
“You’re kidding,” Steven said, remembering the conversation about his equipment.
“Yeah, but ol’ Reid gave me a second opinion. Honestly, I don’t believe anything that woman says. She nearly had us all fired,” Steven’s new boss said.
Thanking him for his time, Steven calmly left the office. On the inside, he was fuming.
Callie had truly pissed him off.
Despite his rage, Steven decided to move on. There were so many things he could have done to ‘get back’ at Callie. Instead, he decided to let nature take its course.
As days passed, Steven made sure to keep tabs on his old division. Callie still ruled with an iron fist, but turnover rates went through the roof. Employees and other supervisors were quitting at an alarming rate. Higher-ups were scratching their heads about what to do. But, the more time they wasted, the more employees left.
One day, Steven casually mentioned the division’s inability to retain employees to Reid. He could see the frustration in his eyes as he vented. Reid had had countless meetings and interventions with Callie, but she would not let up. Her attitude worsened ever since Steven left. Every time Reid went to higher-ups with his concerns, they found excuse after excuse not to fire Callie.
People were even quitting without notice and no one was doing exit interviews. Steven told Reid that Callie was writing people up to force them out before he left. When they would hand her the resignation letter or two weeks’ notice, Callie would tell them to leave immediately and throw away the letter. Then she would tell HR that the person quit on the spot and that was the end of it.
Reid was angered after hearing this. Frustrated, Reid confided in Steven claiming that he wasn’t sure what to do anymore. Steven felt bad seeing Reid in such a bind. He felt that it was only right that he help Reid out in any way he could.
Steven reached out to the remaining employees from his old division as well as the new ones and started instructing them to email their letters of resignation to Callie and CC Reid and HR. It took a little extra persuasion, but Steven also convinced everyone to attend their exit interview and call the company integrity hotline for good measure.
Things were progressing well and Steven had all the supervisors on board except one. This was the same supervisor who really needed the job after having his first kid, and Callie was not writing him up because he had been reluctantly playing along with her games.
Through a stroke of luck, Steven found out that Callie was lowballing his raises as a cost-saving measure. This ultimately turned out to be why she was not harassing him. When Steven told his old coworker, he was furious and wanted to quit on the spot. Callie was essentially taking it out of his family’s mouth for her own personal gain. Steven told him that he understood his pain, but encouraged his coworker to speak with Reid before he left.
Reid and Steven’s old coworker had a very productive meeting that same day. After talking things through, Steven’s coworker decided to stay. This meant that all the supervisors were finally on board to get rid of Callie.
A few days later, Reid brought in an HR bigwig from the headquarters in Kansas. Over the course of a week, each supervisor was sent in for an interview without Callie knowing. By the time the interviews were over, they had gathered emails, texts, eyewitnesses, and a mountain of evidence against her.
Things weren’t looking good for Callie. Not one bit.
A Happy Ending
Despite everything, the company wanted to keep Callie’s scandal on the down low. At the peak of the day, the higher-ups brought approached Callie and informed her they no longer needed her. They even offered a very generous severance package.
However, Callie-being Callie lost it on the HR representatives. She threatened to sue the company for discrimination and even called a lawyer.
Disgruntled, the higher-ups ordered the HR representatives to present the stack of evidence and rescinded the severance offer.
Callie was finished. In the end, her attitude made her walk away completely empty-handed.
After a few months, Steven got word that Callie found a new job as a plant manager at a different factory. I casually mentioned to the union reps at my factory where Callie was working and suggested that maybe they should give the union at the other factory a call.
Ironically, Callie was fired within three months for employee harassment.
Last Steven heard Callie had to sell her house and move out of state to find a job.