I've had just over a day to process all this, so here it is.
Steve was fired. Let go. Cut loose.
Was it related to the economy? No. Work performance? Absolutely not.
Steve lost his job because of personal differences with the company's corporate blowhards. Because he is, in their words, a "disgruntled employee."
WHO DOES THAT?? What is this, the sixth grade?
Listen. We have a son who will turn 13 years old tomorrow. He's in middle school. Sam is at a point when we are teaching him it is a fact of life that he will encounter difficult people. That's just how the world works. We tell him it is his job to always handle himself appropriately and do his best to be kind and respectful to others, no matter how badly their personalities may clash. Sometimes it is helpful to simply walk away, but you can't always just gather up your toys and go home.
Unhappy relationships are tough, but even the best of relationships take work to maintain.
Steve has said working for this company is like being in a bad marriage; nobody communicates, and everybody blames someone else for any infraction.
My husband tried. For months he has set a positive example by going straight to the sources of gripes and grumbles and insisting on working through issues so everyone can move on. In his supervisory role he was probably too kind at times, giving second (or third or fourth) chances and plenty of corrective instruction in order to keep people working.
But he didn't buy into the corporate BS. He is a man of high morals and is driven by things far greater than money: Integrity. Kindness. Family. That's what I see. If you ask him? He was taught to do things the right way - to do the right thing - no matter who was or wasn't watching.
As it turns out, his former employer talks a great talk about putting people first, but their follow-through stinks. In fact, the company's motto is People first 24/7. In our house we've added to it a little: People first 24/7. Unless you're not the right people.
In an interesting twist, my brother worked for the same company, on the same crew as Steve. They fired him, too.
Oh yes they did.
WHO DOES THAT???
In the grand scheme of things we will come out on top. Today I am angry and feeling defensive, yes. (And if Steve wasn't disgruntled before, he sure is now!) Because in 17 years of working in the pipeline industry - and I mean working, putting pipe in the ground, operating equipment, not giving orders or pushing papers from an office - Steve has never come close to being fired. Ever. Has he butted heads with some higher-ups? Of course he has! That's life. The people who have to keep everything within budget and on deadline don't always see eye-to-eye with the folks who have to stand knee-deep in the mud with rain pouring down while they try to bail out the hole so they can work. That's just how it goes. But each has their job to do and most adults can learn to overlook their differences and work alongside each other toward a common goal.
So yeah. I'm pissed off that of all the crappy employees they could have chosen to weed out, they picked two of the best workers in the field. Apparently your work ethic means nothing if you refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.
Whatever. Life goes on. The natural gas industry is a great one to be in these days. Business is booming and it won't be long before both of these guys have settled into new jobs, hopefully far, far away from the corporate madness. The paychecks might be a little slimmer but as long as we can feed our family and keep the bills paid, we're good.
Yesterday I teetered briefly on the edge of madness just thinking about how we'll make it through the next few weeks. Between Steve having some time off between work projects, then coming home to be with his dad during brain surgery, and now being cut loose altogether, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
But then the phone started ringing ... friends sent messages of support ... prayer warriors added us to their lists ... and so many people we love collectively took my face in their hands and forced me to focus on what is important: Steve. Sam. Rachel. Me. Our faith. Our family and friends. We are warm and well fed, and we have much for which to be thankful. Praise God.
I'm no Pollyanna, but I can say with confidence today that I know everything will be OK.