Discrimination. It’s a loaded word and tough to navigate what qualifies and what is simply people being D-bags.
About a week after I accepted that I was NOT getting the new job, the President of our company was fired. He was a big reason that I wanted this job and left Austin. You see, I had worked in parallel to him at a prior company and thought he was one of the clearest, most articulate and motivating leaders that I had met. I wanted to work for him and learn from him. I did my best to land the role, and did!
He (and my direct boss) let me run with strategies and special projects because they trusted that I’d kick ass. I never missed a deadline and never f’d up. My job was super-fun and demanding for nearly 2 years. Then, we ran out of money and it got too stressful to actually feel productive or successful, that’s when I started to look.
His replacement (the President’s) started 2 weeks later. I did my best to be proactive. I scheduled time with him to share what I was doing today, the ideas I had to grow the business and what I was “known” for doing well. He was not very interested. Which, I get. He likely had a big agenda and small timeline.
My boss resigned within the month. Within 2 weeks of my 4th near-perfect review, I was put on a 30-day “Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)” that included tasks appropriate for an intern and not cascaded from my current role, former role or skill set. It literally included things like “clean out the Marketing Room,” and “find up to 10 bloggers.”
I tried to keep a good attitude and layered in my current job for “measurement.” I scheduled time with the new HR Director to review my reviews, show her the unsolicited positive feedback I get from peers and partners and “try to understand” what was happening. I was pretty clear that I understood the team would need to be reorganized and that the timing of my pregnancy was tough.
She diverted everything back to the “PIP” and let me know we would review it in 30-days.
F that. I documented everything and submitted a formal “statement” that outlined how curious the timing was, identified that every meeting with either the new President or HR Director started with a question about my pregnancy and logged the details of my tenure at the company in contrast to the tasks being asked of me.
Needless to say, I also did my part crush the “PIP.” Sure, it was humiliating to be asked to do such dumb work and it was stressful to maintain my real responsibilities and try to prep for maternity leave. BUT, based on the other teammates put on “PIP’s” or demoted, it was clear they want a different kind of company. Less strategy, more short-term wins.
I decided to go on leave as soon as I qualified and avoid the hostility. It will be interesting to see what role they offer me in October, and, I don’t have to worry about that now.
I did my part to make the transition smooth and to keep Partners informed of who would help them. I did my part to provide information, PTO balances and medical records. I am anxious they didn’t give me any formal paperwork, but will follow-up for my peace of mind.
Are they being this way because I am pregnant? Or do we simply not share values? I suppose I don’t need to know. As disappointing as it is, it’s “over” for now.