Faithful reader and frequent commenter JonF e-mailed today:
A blessed Good (and Great) Friday to you and yours, Rod.
I am writing, unfortunately, to let you know of some griefs that have befallen me and ask your prayers. And perhaps also give you a small tale in the ongoing decline of our culture.
On Monday I was terminated from my job. The reason? Well, last week on a project that was not going well (due to the client having submitted bad data to us) I disagreed, vehemently, with a young, relatively new coworker (a woman) over the best course of action for us. I did not swear or threaten and of course there was nothing physical (and certainly not a whiff of anything sexual), but this young lady reported that I intimidated her and generally disrespected her. And management took her at her word and the new CEO of the company (who is in Miami and barely knows us except by name and face) promptly fired me. I did get the impression that local management was not altogether on board and I had an oddly cordial exit interview with our Maryland president (another woman).
I suppose this does not rise to the level of the sorts of outrage stories you occasionally highlight though it does, I think, show the inability of Millennials to handle conflict or deal with disagreement. I do have to wonder how this would have proceeded had the ages [Jon is in his early 50s — RD] and perhaps genders been reversed– though I can’t imagine myself running to management about something this minor other than to get senior input as to what the proper course of business action should be in the dispute (our management was unavailable– in a meeting– when this happened and the young woman refused to wait to talk them– she went ahead and did what I urged her not to do despite my arguments, and her actions turned out pointless, or perhaps even mildly disruptive to our client), My lawyer friend, as a friend, not a lawyer, also questions whether there’s a subtext of age discrimination in this.
You are free to cite this (with my name) in any blog piece if you want, or I may also comment myself if the appropriate thread comes along, though I will not name names of others involved in this as I do not believe in calling out people in public forums behind their back.
What this means for the immediate future is that I will be in some financial distress soon (there was no severance) and I doubt I will be down for Walker Percy Weekend after all, though I have not canceled anything yet (I hadn’t make air reservations, just bought the ticket and made a hotel reservation.)
This upsets me. It really, really does.
Obviously I wasn’t there, and can’t know what happened. Maybe Jon mistreated this young employee. Here’s what I know for sure: I have met JonF a couple of times, and I can tell you that he is a kind, thoughtful, gentle man, and, well, a gentleman. You know from reading his stuff here that he is a political and cultural liberal. Maybe I’m wrong, but I find it extremely implausible that he intimidated or disrespected this young woman. I find it all too plausible that she couldn’t handle ordinary office conflict, and played the card she knew she could play, given how gutless companies are now when a member of one of the Approved Victim Classes claims oppression. And now, a good man is out of work.
Anybody in that office with a lick of sense will steer very clear of this young woman now.
In any case, please remember our friend JonF in your thoughts and prayers. If there’s anything else we can do for him to help him out in this difficult time between jobs, I’ll let you know.