The Journey With My Former MA is Over

November 1, 2010

I had completely forgotten that someone from the Department of Labor was going to call me about my former MA’s departure. Perhaps I had subconsciously blocked it from my memory. So I was a little surprised when my receptionist held the phone out to me and said, “Do you a moment to speak to someone about Ms. MA?”

I had completely forgotten that someone from the Department of Labor was going to call me about my former MA’s departure. Perhaps I had subconsciously blocked it from my memory. So I was a little surprised when my receptionist held the phone out to me and said, “Do you a moment to speak to someone about Ms. MA?”

The person on the line was courteous and professional. She introduced herself and informed me it was to be a recorded conversation. She read me the rules of the game, and told me I was not to speak to MA. I thought to myself, “OK, I had no intention of contacting her, so no problem. Won’t speak to her.” Imagine my surprise when she started giving the same spiel to MA! I didn’t realize we would both be on the line.

Anyway, the woman from the DOL ask me why Ms. MA was terminated. I told her that she wasn’t terminated; she gave two-weeks notice, then left after only 10 days. I didn’t go into the details of the hissy-fit. I read from notes I had made, quoting her own words as to how unhappy she said she was. Ms. DOL asked me if she had said anything before about her dissatisfaction with her job or the work environment, if she had tried to do something to keep her job, if she had ever been written up or disciplined, or if there had been any warning prior to the incidents in question. No, no, no, and no.

Then she asked Ms. MA to give her side of the story. Have you ever been so angry that you make so much catecholamine that you vasoconstrict to the point of your hands and feet going numb? I am so glad this was done over the phone. That way no one had to see me purse my lips so tight that I probably could have bent a piece of metal between them. To hear her tell Ms. DOL that I came in that day “in one of (my) moods.” How I out of the blue told her that she’s not doing her job and that the other girl does a better job (even though it was true, I never said it out loud). How she stayed to “be the professional that she is.” How I didn’t speak to her at all for the rest of her stay, until I just told her one day to get out. I could have vomited (except my lips were pursed tight, remember?).

I was given a chance to rebut. I wanted to yell, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Instead, I said employers don’t give notice. And while we did not conduct friendly banter, nor did we discuss the incident in question or her upcoming departure, I did not give her the silent treatment. We talked about the work at hand. And then I expressed my confusion about why Ms. MA was applying for unemployment benefits, as it was my understanding that you couldn’t do that if you were working elsewhere.

Ms. DOL sounded surprised, asked me if I was alleging that she was employed. I told her that she had told others and that she had written a note to that effect on her calendar (yeah, note to all employees - don’t try to go “nya-nya-nya-nya-boo-boo” and write “start new job” with a smiley face on your work calendar and then apply for unemployment). I knew that didn’t constitute proof, so it was my turn to be surprised when she gave me a number to call to report fraud.

Today, I received my copy of the denial benefits. Not because of her possible current employment, but because she left. She gave notice, she left voluntarily. Yes, I know, she could appeal. She could do it just to tick me off. But for now, it seems, the saga it over.