The woman who emailed me about this issue was unable to post a comment. She asked me to post this for her:
I assure you, I am not pulling anyone's leg. I wish I was.
I am in programming. I'm the only programmer, and the only one in my current company that knows anything about computers or programming. My boss doesn't know enough to even know if I'm doing a good job or not.
He tends to rely on the opinion of men he meets on airline flights.
Fortunately, years ago we purchased a computer accounting system from an outside vendor, and their owner/accountant/programmer keeps telling my boss how good I really am (I find his bugs and correct them when he can't).
I'm 58 years old. I changed jobs frequently, until I finally realized that nothing got any better, and probably never would. I can do the work, but because of my poor people skills, good companies won't hire me. I finally realized that I have probably been hired by a series of bad companies, and that explains my experiences. I have two very common, and entirely harmless, autistic traits: 1. prosopagnosia, which is "face-blindess", i.e., I frequently cannot recognize the faces of people I've worked with for years, and 2. uncharacteristic eye contact, i.e., too much, too little, or in the "wrong" rhythym. This means that a certain group of people get a "creepy" feeling about me, which I cannot fix, and they don't understand no matter how hard I try to explain. This, in itself, is part of what makes even high-functioning autism a handicap, not just a difference. Changing jobs just means that I'm faced with an entire new company of strangers, without any foreknowledge of who I will have unsolvable problems with, or how to go about dealing with the problems that will always come up. At least my current job is "the devil I know".
We used to have a "real" HR person. She and I got along great, and she instituted a series of improvements. However, she left after 6 months (I suspect in frustration/disgust), and a few months later, her changes were rescinded. Since some of those changes had to do with long-time employees getting more vacation time, when they were rescinded there were a lot of hurt feelings.
"Alice" is also miserable here. She and I are both dependent on our health insurance, myself because of pre-existing conditions, her because of her husband with pre-existing conditions. She announced to me at one time that she saw HR as her way out of this company and into a new job; that's apparently why she pushed to fill this long-standing empty position, and my boss didn't really care either way.
With 20 years of seniority, and being only 4 years from early retirement, I don't like the idea of changing jobs if I don't have to.
I'd hate to wind up with no seniority in a new company, and then in this tough economy have them start layoffs.
I work in a "right-to-work" state. This has to be one of the original oxymorons, because what it means is that you basically *don't* have any right to work. It means that employers can fire anyone, at any time, for any reason. Their only potential liability is that if they fire too many people, their unemployment insurance payments go up. That's it.
We have already been sued, years ago. We're still here. And we've had major embezzlement incidents, 3 of them, in a company of less than 50 people.
I have come fully "out of the closet"...I've told my boss about my condition, and he knows it is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, that doesn't protect you in the case of mass layoffs. That seniority thing looks better to me right now than a different job.
My problem is: how do I live with my conscience? Knowing that I should really stick it out, and try to stay put until I can arrange to retire, how do I deal with watching co-workers suffer? It isn't an issue of legality; we're too small a company for most federal laws to apply to us, and there are so few protective state laws that there might as well be none. I've finally gotten myself into a comparatively comfortable position...my desk is in the computer room, we have to keep the door closed for the a/c for the servers, most of the employees have been moved to the opposite side of the building, and I successfully fought being moved with them by pointing out that re-running all the cables to the servers would be hugely expensive (true, and not an exaggeration, although at first my boss refused to believe it until I documented it).
I'm doing okay...but I feel so sorry for the employees who are not.
I try to ignore it...but every few months, another incident happens that has me so upset, I find myself contemplating "just quitting" on the spot without even having a job to go to.
Any insight that might help me cope would be welcome.
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