Oops, Did We Forget to Mention…You’re Fired?

14 06 2008

There are several key ingredients for a perfect Friday the 13th. All of these were present here yesterday.

  • A severe thunderstorm with plenty of lightning – check
  • A few more medical bills arriving in the mail – check
  • Tons of major road construction combined with traffic jams near the house – check
  • Finding out from a random pharmacist that you were terminated from your job two weeks ago – check

I might have had a better day if I had been running through Camp Crystal Lake being chased by a hockey-masked guy named Jason (“It’s got a death curse!”). At least there would have been scantily-clad female camp counselors around, although they do not look quite as good when disemboweled.

The day started out pleasantly enough. I dropped the little kid off at her daycare and made my merry way to Walgreen’s for one of my routine, expensive trips through the pharmacy drive-through lane. I received the standard pharmaceutical greeting from the speaker and said something like, “I’m picking up yet another prescription for Licensed to Blog.” The drug-giver on the other side of the thick glass typed in some fun words/numbers on the keyboard, looked puzzled (never a good sign) and voiced through the crackly speaker, “Do you happen to have a new insurance card?” You can guess where it went from here. I no longer seemed to have valid insurance. The medicine would be something like four billion dollars without it.

I returned home an eternity later after encountering a sudden storm with lots of exciting lightning bolts landing nearby and crippling traffic problems on the first two routes that I tried. Eventually, I reached the vice president of my now former employer, who was absolutely mortified to find out that no one in the company had informed me that I had been terminated two weeks earlier. (I have been on FMLA due to the crazy swelling that I have boringly detailed in quite a few blogs on this site, and they decided they had waited long enough for me to get better.) I want to add here that I completely understand the termination. The doctors have not been able to pinpoint exactly when I would have been healthy enough to return to that job again. However, after almost 7 years in very good standing and a with a fine reputation in the schools and community agencies that I visited for my job, my bosses neglected to let me in on the secret firing. From what I was able to gather, neither of the primary bosses wanted to be the one to tell me, and each thought the other was doing it. Jason is more professional than that.

I am not shedding any tears over the loss of this job. There had been many recent changes far too boring to mention here, and the office had even been moved to a different town. Still, I had never been fired before in my life, and it leaves kind of a “pit in the stomach” feeling.

More importantly, I had no idea that I could have spent the last two weeks working on Cobra to keep my insurance as up-to-date as possible. (The notification is apparently “in the mail” but has not yet arrived.) So, there I was, needing one of my anti-kidney-rejection medications and scheduled to see a new specialist in St. Louis in three days without any valid insurance.

Back to the vice president. She worked her tail off yesterday afternoon to insure that I would, at least temporarily until the Cobra kicks in, be officially back on the insurance as of Monday morning so that the St. Louis appointment will not be affected and medication can be obtained without taking a 2nd mortgage. She also tried to purchase a few days’ worth of my medication for me on the company credit card. I believe there will be an angry meeting or two next week about the proper process of letting someone know they are fired.

Things would have been much clearer if I had been working for Donald Trump.

Or this guy

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28 responses

14 06 2008
jenefur

Yikes! I feel your pain… my hubby also got ‘laid off’ after his medical leave. At least they had the balls to tell him. Dealing with COBRA is a whole other story. GRRR! Good luck with all of this crazy medical stuff. Still praying for ya!

14 06 2008
Peter Parkour

Well if that isn’t enough to make you buy into the whole Friday the 13th thing, I don’t know what is. I’m very sorry to hear about this latest hardship after everything you’ve been going through, but I am glad to hear you at least came away with a semi happy ending to this otherwise horrific tale.

14 06 2008
Alyson

Wow. That’s crazy. You’re in my prayers.

15 06 2008
Tubbo & Dubba Tubba

Hahahahaha! Love it. Sorry, nothing personal. We just have a thing for watching others misery. Call us cynical if you like.
(Great, now we’re gonna get hate-mail. Oh well. Nothing new.)

Please check out our site for more mean, cruel hearted humor like this. It’s awesome. Trust us.

See ya ’round! We WILL see you around.
~The Tubbo Twins

P.S. Did you notice the curvy thing (~) in front of our name? Wasn’t that a nice touch?

15 06 2008
Catie

GRRR. My dad has been in that situation before (he has myofascial pain syndrome) where an employer decided–out of the blue and without giving him any kind of warning–that he was out. I’ll be in prayer for you guys as you look for a new position.

15 06 2008
Alice

Dude, that sucks!

It’s awesome that you’re so cool about it though!
Good luck with everything!

15 06 2008
nathaliewithanh

Was there a reason for the firing? You mentioned having been on a leave of absence, have you been treated differently than anyone else in the company?

I am asking because if they absolutely needed you back at work, I would think they would have offered you the opportunity to come back before actually firing you. This is weird. If they granted you a leave of absence, doesn’t it mean you get your job back in the end?

Are you sure you are not being wrongfully dismissed because of your health problems?

15 06 2008
Matt

Nathalie, I’m on FMLA due to a severe swelling condition (you can see some of my other blogs if you want details). A new company had “bought out” our company, and they are changing a lot of things. I was in very good standing, but the new people in power don’t really know me all that well. I wasn’t surprised…just surprised that no one told me! And, no, you don’t automatically keep your job. FMLA laws only cover that for so long. After that, the company can decide that they need to hire someone else to do the job that you were doing. That’s just how it goes. I’m not healthy enough yet to have returned to that job. My doctor(s) are completely in agreement about that, but it doesn’t matter after a certain amount of time. I was in good enough standing, that, when my health returns I think they would consider re-hiring me, but I plan to go in a different direction.

15 06 2008
Black Coffee & Bourbon

I read this post and the lawyer in me wanted to sue someone for you. 😀 I am glad that you are cool with the situation and I cannot believe no one told you they had let you go. They treated you like Milton in “Office Space”! Jerks.

15 06 2008
nathaliewithanh

Well I’m sorry to hear that. If you planned to go in another direction, perhaps it was the little “encouragement” you needed. However, they treated you in such an assholish manner I would let Mr. Black Coffee & Bourbon sue someone for you. It would make ME feel better.

15 06 2008
jesseybean

That sucks. I was “let go” when I left for a month to get married out of state and go on my honeymoon. When I came back they told me that I was schedueled the day I left and I was a no show. (Hello, I was driving from Utah to Cali and was getting married in 2 days! They knew I wasnt working that day.) Anyways, I didnt know I didnt have a job until I got back to town, and by then my insurance was terminated too. Those bastards. Good luck!

16 06 2008
cstair

haha I’m sure Jason would get the message across very nicely with minimal bloodshed and decollation.

http://suburbanconnoisseurs.wordpress.com/

16 06 2008
Mac

It is so-o-o wicked hard to balance career and health. You can’t have career without health. You got your priorities straight.

Bosses often don’t “get” it. One boss told our kidney recipient after the transplant that he too (the boss) had kidney problems once: kidney stones. If it had been a lung transplant he probably would have cited the flu, too.

In re: Friday the 13th. Our donor opted out of a Friday the 13th transplant surgery. Instead insisted on Wednesday the 11th: 9/11. Not THE 9/11, but five years earlier. Still eerie.

In re: The Firing. Seems like “notice” is not optional. They OWE you that. And the opportunity to do COBRA too. That new VP is not doing you a favor, she is trying to make it right. Under ADA what about reasonable accomodation:work from home, for example. Do you have a local ADA office that could advise you? Hang tough, Matt.

16 06 2008
Taoist Biker

Does Jason contract? What are his rates?

That was entirely classless to let you go about assuming everything was fine while your insurance ran out. I agree with Mac, the VP is helping out but not just out of the goodness of her heart. They owed you notice so you could make your COBRA arrangements at the very least…not even counting sheer human decency for someone dealing with medical problems.

Sheesh. Glad you’re looking at going in a different direction so you can have some sort of positive spin on this.

16 06 2008
Pammy Girl

My HR person “forgot” to pay my insurance for 4 months but continued taking money out of my check. Of course this wasn’t caught until I had massive surgery and starting receiving bills totaling close to 25K. Two years later I was told that unless I changed my attitude, I’d be fired. At least I was told (I quit before they could fire me). I know you say you’re not too heartbroken or are at least understanding about them letting you go, but I’m not. What a bunch of jerks! Who fires someone when they’re sick? Spineless!!! I believe you can contact the better business bureau as their actions violate certain employee rights.

16 06 2008
betme

Matt ~ That is so scary! I am impressed with your positive attitude over this craziness. I understand that you were a financial burden to the company. BUT, I couldn’t find it in me to fire someone when they were in need of the medical coverage. I have kept employees on the insurance for extended periods, working out deals with them to pay what they could on the insurance. (which was a lot lower than COBRA rates. )

16 06 2008
jeffsher63

You’re handling it much better than I would. It sucks, but the old adage “when one door closes another opens” (or something like that) pretty much always seems to come true. Hang in there…

16 06 2008
maleesha

That’s HORRIBLE. I imagine she was paying for your prescription to avoid any lawsuits. I mean, this is just screaming “Bad Press! Bad Press!” It does seem like you will be a LOT better off not working for them in the long run, but what a bunch of Grade-A Turds.

16 06 2008
karmental

Matt,
I would check to see if your company was self-insured. Your current status may be more related to your financial burden on their health insurance costs than your doctors’ inability to give them a date when you may return to work. It’s great you have a positive attitude but be diligent in researching your rights and long term impact on getting health insurance again. Hang in there. I hope your extremities deflate soon.

18 06 2008
Sarah

I’m really impressed with your positive attitude during this situation. I would be going through a roof right now. What jerks!

18 06 2008
romi41

this is so hard to believe! Just terrible about how they told (or not) told you…at the very least of course they should be compensating you in the mean time!!! I wish you could sue and get some solid coin out of it….that would learn ’em…

19 06 2008
dobeman

This is like that scene in “Office Space!”

“We just fixed the glitch”

How crappy! I’m pretty sure “Mental Anguish” would be a perfectly reasonable justification for the $19M you should sue for.

On another note…I got here from my Mom’s blog (Talkin’ Trash with Trisha Truly) and the weird thing is that I am a frequent poster on your wife’s blog. My mom doesn’t have your wife’s blog on her blogroll, just yours. HOW WEIRD!

What a small world this blogsphere is!

19 06 2008
pamajama

I would like a prescription for the medication that allows you to take stuff like this in stride without screaming, cursing, stomping your feet and acting like a 2-year old — my method for handling such.

It makes me think of the time my daughter-in-law went to the pharmacy to pick up her anti-anxiety medication for panic attacks and they told her that her insurance had been canceled. I always thought she must have made that up, cause it sounded way too much like sit-com material, but I guess not.

You’re smart not to let them get you upset, since high blood pressure would certainly not be advantageous at this point.

20 06 2008
stopbouncing

I totally thought Office Space when I was reading this.

I do no understand how you could be so level-headed. I would be on the evening news with all of my friends saying things like, “Wow, I mean, she talked about hitting a man with a heavy-duty stapler, but we never thought she’d go through with it. Someone must have left half a cup of coffee in the carafe.”

Kudos for you for taking it with a fantastic grain of salt. And good luck with your new direction.

22 06 2008
brad bobo

I’m sorry to hear that. Welcome to the world of the unemployed. I just lost my job Wednesday due to downsizing. I’ve never been unempleyed in my adult life. I definitely understand the feeling in the pit of your stomach you mentioned. I wish you the best and I’m praying for you.

Brad Bobo

23 06 2008
Mon six word memoir… or epitaph? « nathalie with an h’s Confessional

[…] memor was Matt who got fired but they forgot to tell him. I take the poor thing under my precious little wing and all I get is friggin’ homework. So […]

26 06 2008
Billy

I don’t think I have ever heard of such a “monkey on a math problem” way of terminating someone. My God man, I am sorry. That’s awful.
I work for an airline and I am on the brink of constant unemployment. I can hear the “cha cha cha ha ha ha….” coming.

8 08 2008
KiKi

“Secret” firing…… wow. I think I’ve heard it all now.

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