Chapter 4: Who To Trust In the Workplace Part 4
Vijay’s told me that his manager and both vice presidents were friendly and supportive as they investigated the inventory discrepancy. “I was called to present my data. I thought we were working as a team to find a solution. … The scientist was panicking. She was always asking me what was happening. It was an ISO regulated place, [meaning that any change to manufacturing must be documented in a very specific way, and made available to auditors upon request]. You need to follow the paperwork, and [the scientist] didn’t have the paperwork. She was afraid she would lose her job.”
The scientist looked over Vijay’s records in great detail. But whenever other people were around “she would give totally different answers.” Vijay was extremely stressed. “I was by myself. I asked my manager to go to the meetings, but she was always ‘too busy,’ saying that I could handle it myself. Even though she said she would support me 100% on this issue, she never did come with me. It was the beginning of my career [but] I always followed the process and documented everything. I think they knew the scientist had made a mistake, but from a corporate point of view she was more valuable.”
Without someone to rescue him from the trees, Vijay was let go in the next round of layoffs, the only person terminated in his group. “They were trying to protect themselves from being sued for wrongful termination, and didn’t want to give me all the pieces of the puzzle. I needed a good reference, and they gave me a good package. They helped me find another job quickly. To this day, I wish I had not been put in that situation.”
I asked Vijay what he would have done differently today from a perspective of ten years out. “I would have prevented myself from getting in that situation in the first place.”
Bingo. Once the situation starts, it is often very stressful, and difficult to resolve. And what was Vijay’s big mistake? Trust. He trusted a person operating under a different value system.