Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Therapeutic Thursday

Happy Birthday to Marvelous Marvin Hagler!

I have respect for someone who uses "Marvelous" as a first name.

If I had to use a qualifier as a first name, it'd probably be "Slightly Mediocre" or "It could be worse".

Those don't flow as well, though, so Happy Birthday MARVIN!!!!

My throat is corroded with post-nasal-drip. I hate it, although I must admit that it makes me sound sexier on the phone. I've got a Kathleen Turner thing going on, but the caller would be disappointed to find that I look more like Kathleen Freeman, the actress who played Sister Mary Stigmata, AKA "The Penguin" in "The Blues Brothers" movies. (see picture at left) Oh well...that's allergy season for you...full of illusions.

No plans for the holiday weekend other than helping a friend celebrate his birthday and other stuff of that nature. At least I'll get crabs out of it...and not the "gotta get special salve" kind of crabs either. Crabs ROCK the house, they do they do. My contribution will be an ice cream cake. JOY!

Anyway, let's look at this news item that JUMPED out at me today.

Here's the headline:

Now...this caught my eye because who out there in this world hasn't gossiped about their boss?

Girl, please.

(BTW, those who are self-employed and gossip about their boss really need some professional help.)

Here's the basic layout, according to the article:

Can you be fired for gossiping about your boss? Four town employees here say they were, raising questions about fairness, free speech and a staple of life in the American workplace.

The employees were fired in April after speaking to a lawyer the town hired as a fact-finder to rout out chatterboxes.

They say questions about a close relationship between Town Administrator David Jodoin and a female employee, identified only as "A" in the lawyer's report, drifted into Town Hall sometime in March. They say they weren't the only ones who discussed the rumor, and dismissed it as untrue after briefly talking about it.

The four employees in question are Joanne Drewniak, Sandra Piper (assistant to tax assessor and tax assessor, respectively), code enforcement officer Michelle Bonsteel and her assistant, Jessica Skorupski. (see picture at right. They look like your typical city/county employees, right? People you'd hand your property tax check over to, or other things of a civic nature.

But here they are...out of their jobs because of "gossip".

Furthermore, the article states:

The women say they were told that nothing they said to the lawyer would be held against them. Then they were fired. The ensuing publicity has given the rumor new life, the women say.

The Hooksett 4 have their own opinions regarding the rumor:

The women say what upset them about the rumor was the perception of impropriety by the public and preferential treatment "A" was receiving, including higher pay than Drewniak and Skorupski despite having less seniority and experience.

"What an insult," Piper said. "Doesn't length of time and length of service count for anything in this community?"

Of course, the town government officials aren't talkin'. (Big surprise...) Here's the weird thing...these women can appeal to get their jobs reinstated, but WHO do they appeal to? Why, the same folks that FIRED them, of course: the Town Council. That's a "fox watchin' the henhouse" philosophy, isn't it?

But I think I can see the other side, or at least a snippet of it.

Let's face it...there's gossip at a party or in your own home. Everyone's done it. You have some friends over, and inevitably the subject comes around to, "Did you hear...", or "I heard that..." It's as predictable as screaming cheerleaders, and sometimes just as annoying.

But on the flip side, there's gossip AT WORK. Gossip discussed AT WORK, about people one WORKS with. Yes, frustrations with unfair treatment nurture speculation and gossip. I've been the subject of it and the spreader of it (and I'm not necessarily proud of that).

If these women were talking about this stuff AT work, even in someplace as innocuous as the break room or the lobby, someone else is gonna hear.

To further build, if someone else is gonna hear, they're also gonna hear it WRONG due to hearing impairment (legitimate or selective). If they hear something wrong without context, then it's going to be even uglier.

Let me give you an example from my own history:

  1. When my first husband and I split up, my mother told her parents the bare minimum details...we split up, Mike was into weird religious practices, etc.
  2. My grandmother understood what Mom was saying.
  3. My grandfather...between his own crappy hearing AND his lack of giving a shit about anything beyond the end of his nose...somehow interpreted the news as "Sudie joined a nudist colony."
  4. My grandfather proceeded to tell all the relatives on his side of the family (including my sweet Aunt Verla) that I had joined a nudist colony.
  5. I didn't find out how much my grandfather "spread the love" until Aunt Verla died at age 101. Then, right before we were to come in for the service, one of my cousins (can't remember if it was Donald or Leonard) asked me if it was true that I'd joined a nudist colony. I almost screamed, but I didn't want to get kicked out of the funeral home.
So you see...this gossip thing has me of mixed opinions. NO, they shouldn't necessarily have been fired for it, but maybe written up or something would have been far more appropriate.

I gotta tell you, though, this is the most interesting part of the article:

The women hope public pressure will help. Several hundred people have signed a petition seeking their reinstatement, and Piper said the women are planning to produce red T-shirts proclaiming "Rehire the Hooksett 4" with a bullseye printed over the heart.

At the Brick House drive-in on Hooksett Road, diner Claudette Burbank said she wishes the women well.

"I really don't think it's fair," Burbank, 61, said between bites of french fries. "We all know everybody gossips about their bosses."

Yeah, that's probably true.

But the thing with bosses is this: even if you gossip about them, they've still got the power. They can get rid of you, or make you so miserable that you want to leave.

And BTW, is there any way I can get one of those T-shirts? If anyone from Hooksett, NH is reading this, let me know where I can get one.


So with that, I bid you a grand you and you and you...