Threatened Because I Don’t Sell Enough Ads

Question:

I work at a dead-end job, selling advertising on maps all over the United States. My boss is a self-made millionaire. At my job, there are certain requirements. The biggest one is you must sell at least $1,500 a week or you will be suspended for a week. Cold calling is hard but asking people to buy advertising from outside their community is difficult at times. I have been working there for just under 2 years. I would say since Nov. 2010 I would say I have been treated different. I know some of it is my fault but not all of it. But I was having bad weeks. In December 2010, I was threatened if I didn’t make $1500 I would be suspended (they call it LOA) for 2 weeks not just one. So I got suspended for 2weeks. And when I would come back from being off I could feel and see I wasn’t wanted there anymore but I just didn’t say anything.

The week I came back was right after New Years and I didn’t make 1500 so I was LOA again for 2weeks. To make a long story short I came back this last time and got my 1500. This week I went to work on Mon. and the boss (not the big boss) told me that I had to make 300 daily or I would be suspended for 2 weeks again. I asked her why cause my job is based on daily money only weekly, and why was I the only one who had to do it that way cause it don’t state that in the handbook. She said that is the way it is. So Tuesday came and she told me 300 and I asked why again, no answer. About 1.5hrs into work I made a sale of 150. Right after I hang up the phone I get a call from the “big” boss. He was being mean to me for no reason and raising his voice.

I have an anxiety condition that is well known in the office. I couldn’t breath cause I was upset set and having a panic attack. I went to the bathroom to gather myself. I couldn’t calm myself down so I told the boss I needed to leave cause I cant breath and she said if u leave you will be suspended. I told her I would be right back and I would bring in a doctor’s note. Some how it turned into a conversation about how I should find another job. That when I was laid off for three weeks. It should have been an eye opener to find another job. All I wanted to do was go to the dr. cause my chest hurt and I was having trouble trying to catch my breath. I asked her if I was fired and she still stated for me to find another job.4 or 5 times she said this. Then she stated are you just waiting for us to fire you to get unemployment. Now I’m confused! If I was doing something so wrong or not doing what I was told to do, why not just fire me and fight the unemployment? Keep in mind we are in her office. Finally I said if I’m not fired I’d be back with a dr.s note. And left. I couldn’t get into the dr. for another 1hr 45mins so called her and told her that it will be a little bit cause I don’t have insurance. She then told me that I was suspended now for 4 weeks for insubordination. 4 weeks? Insubordination? What did I do? All I wanted to be go to the doctor’s for get medication to go back to being treated like crap at work. She also stated you don’t have to get a doctor’s note.

What am I suppose to do? They are making me quit. Treating me like crap and making me live off of nothing. If I were in the wrong or I did something that I wasn’t suppose to do why not fire me? All this doesn’t sound right! I need help and fast. Another thing, today I got my hands on a handbook that none of us were suppose to have. They took them back and when we asked for them we never got them. In the handbook states the suspensions are only one week, not two. And I only needed to make 1 out of 3 requirements. I made 2. Is this legal? I feel like I’m being forced to quit. Don’t the employee rights? No employee should feel threatened. It’s called constructive or wrongful discharge. Isn’t that illegal?

Signed,

Pushed Out


Answer:

Dear Pushed Out:

It’s depressing to read your long unhappy account. Cold calling is a difficult job and you must have developed some skill at it in spite of the stress and rigid requirement of making $1500 a week. Does your employer want you to quit? Yes, you don’t have to be a brain to read that writing on the wall. Can an employer legally make it so stressful that you quit so that his company doesn’t have to pay unemployment compensation? Our site addresses communication-related questions, not legal. Consult with your Unemployment Office to learn if you will be entitled to unemployment compensation if you quit. Explain how you are being suspended and that you have been told to find another job. Also probably you should consult a labor attorney for that information and to learn if you might have a case. Take a log of what happened when you meet with one. Usually you can get an answer to your question in a free half-hour consultation. Of course, a legal recourse entails money that most us don’t have even when it taken on contingency. In your situation, I expect that the wisest thing for you to do is to find another job, one with less stress in light of your anxiety and all that you have been through in this one.

Would that each of us could find a job that we love. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards for you just now. From here, I hesitate to offer career advice not knowing your interests and skills acquired. But I recommend that you seek out such advice from a community agency. Possibly there is one such agency connected with job training programs. I don’t know what you’ve been doing during your days and weeks of suspension. Hopefully you’re not just getting used to not dressing for work. Have you done any job hunting? Are you volunteering at a hospital, tutoring children at the library, or doing home care? Are you pursuing anything that you enjoy: reading, singing in a choir, working out, etc.? Life can take a downward spiral if we see ourselves as victims. I hope you won’t allow this unhappy job experience to sour you. The whole working world isn’t bad news. Wherever you live, kind-hearted souls are needed to help the lonely and unfortunate. Sooo I hope you might find a place both to earn enough to put food on the table and to give your self away. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Would that you might do what you can to learn from the unhappy job experience that appears to be ending, admit that you are at a dead-end and move on.

William Gorden