Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wisconsin 101: The tell-tale heart

Yesterday (I am writing this a few weeks before this post will appear - essential to the plot, as you will see) was the last day of my old job. I have not written much about my job here as I do not think it is prudent to air one's dirty work laundry in a place where it is possible - albeit remotely - that one may be identified. The first amendment, contrary to what many people who think they are educated believe, does not protect one from one's employer. An employer can legally and constitutionally - as long as the employer is not the government - fire someone for snarking about the employer.

I am glad to leave the old job. I liked most of the people I worked with, but the CEO was impossible. I have read about people in horrible job situations and always thought they were exaggerating or perhaps they were the ones at fault and that might be the case, but I can tell you that I have lived it and it is real.

It's kind of like I never believed in-laws could be so horrible until I got some of my own. Now I get it. There are some mean people out there. I guess I am lucky to be so shocked at this kind of thing - bad bosses and mean relatives. It means that I have had good bosses and good relatives up to now.

Anyhow. Last day of the old job and it was the first of the month.

I take the bus to work. I buy a monthly pass that is validated electronically every time I use it. I cancelled it as of the last of July because I did not want to pay $67 to ride the bus on August 1.

That meant that I had to pay for my ride with cash on the last day.

But I thought, "I should see if the pass works."

In the back of my mind was, "And if it does, maybe I won't pay the $2.25."

But also in the back of my mind was, "But if it does work and They know I used it even though I canceled it, I will be charged the monthly fee because that's what I would do if I were in charge of the passes."

Behind all that was, "What if I can just wave the pass at the driver and not touch it to the pad? But that only works if the regular driver isn't there. Some drivers make you touch the pass, others don't."

I sighed, remembering that the morning driver always makes me touch the pass to the pad, and got $2.25 out of my wallet.

The bus arrived. I got on.

It was a different driver.

My lizard brain (ie, the brain without a conscience) took over. I put the cash back into the pocket of my purse and pulled out my pass instead.

I waved it at her. I started walking back to My Seat.

"You need to touch the pass to the pad," the driver called at me.


I touched the pass to the pad.


They had cancelled it. I was kind of surprised because I did not expect that level of efficiency from my company's HR department, which seems to spend all of its time looking for more ways to cut benefits and disadvantage the employees.

I put the pass back in my wallet and got the $2.25 out from the pocket of my purse.

"Oh, don't worry about it," the driver said as she waved her hand.

"But I need to pay," I said weakly, because I wanted her to convince me not to.

She shook her head. "Just make sure you get it straightened out when you get to work."

I put the money back in my purse and walked to My Seat.

The whole ride, I thought, "I got away with it!" and "I'm going to get caught" and "I am not doing the right thing."

I couldn't stand it. When we got to my stop, I went to the front of the bus.

"I really need to pay," I told her. "My card was supposed to be cancelled. It's my last day of work and I was curious to see if it would work or if my HR had messed up."

"Oh, OK," she said.

I had put the money back in my wallet. I pulled it out of my purse and tried to unzip it. It wouldn't unzip. There was a dollar bill caught in the zipper.

The light turned green. "Don't worry about it," the driver said.

"But I need to!" I tugged some more. I finally got the wallet open and pulled out the dollar. It was torn. I tried feeding it into the machine, but the machine wouldn't take.

"Really!" she laughed. "Don't worry about it. Have a great last day!"

Well OK. I will.

On the way home, I got on the bus - I no longer had a pass because I had surrendered it to HR, along with my badge - and pulled out my wallet. I knew the driver - I had seen him off and on for over a year. He saw me getting out my wallet and waved it away.

"I don't have a pass any more," I said. "It's my last day at this job and I had to turn it in. I need to pay cash."

"Nah," he said. "Don't worry about it. I gotcha."


webb said...

There are good folks out there ... and apparently two of them work FOR your bus company.

Hope the new job and company are much better. It's not fair that you have had go deal with bad in-laws and bad job at the same time.

Joan said...

So glad you escaped from the fishbowl!