It’s unusual for me to be posting but Daryl thinks I should. I walked out of my job on Wednesday. I’ve been very disappointed by how things have turned out, I’ll explain.
When I went for my interview John (my now ex boss) explained that for the past few years they had had people running the branch as a franchise but this had not been working and the branch had lost most of the technicians (from 7 to 3) in the last 18 months or so as a result the branch had been loosing money and needed picking up. The company had decided to bring it back to be a company branch with a manager employed. He said that as I was new to Australia and no management experience as such he would take me on on a 3 month temporary contract as an administration/operations assistant, acting Branch Manager while I learned the job and he could assess if I would be suitable. I took the job.
After about the second week I had been trained in most parts of the job and was going solo managing the branch. I sorted out all of the filing systems, cleaned the office! and got the branch looking more like an professional office. When I first arrived I couldn’t see how the branch had been running at all there was no wonder they had been loosing money. There was no organisation and no way anyone could know what was happening day by day. Most of the equipment was old and didn’t work. To Johns credit he listened to everything I said and if I said I wanted it I got it.
In my first month I lost another technician (although he said nothing to do with me I must add!) I had 2 techs and enough work for 4-5 so the customer complaints were coming in thick and fast but I dealt with them and we recovered.
After about 6-8 weeks of my being there John came to Brisbane and asked how I felt things were going, I said I was happy for the time being but if I was to be taken on as manager properly after my 3 months I wanted more money as the job was very stressful and could be very demanding – I got phone calls from 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. He said as far as he was concerned he was very happy with what I had done with the branch and he said he would put a package together for us to discuss and he could see no reason why I wouldn’t be made branch manager permanently. In the meantime I was to introduce myself as branch manager to anyone who asks.
Over the next few weeks things went smoothly I was trying my best to get more techs but with no luck. John saw that things weren’t looking great and again all credit to him he sent a tech from Sydney to help out. He was initially supposed to come for 2 weeks then a month (all the time in a hotel) he ended up being in Brisbane for 7 weeks. Eventually I got a couple of calls from people interested in becoming techs and things stared to look up. Then another tech left. When I asked him why he said he didn’t want to go into all the ins and outs but said it was nothing to do with me.
I was left with 1 tech and the borrowed one from Sydney. Both of which said they loved working for me and things had never been better. John said the figures were looking really good and said pro-rata Brisbane was number 1 branch in Australia (6 others). I had got 2 people looking like coming on board within the next couple of weeks and with work coming out of our my ears the branch looked like it had really turned a corner.
Monday John sent Bernie, another manager, to Brisbane he said to help me out with the new tech interviews and training. When he arrived he went outside for some fresh air and was on the phone. I noticed a ute pull up and a guy get out. He was talking to Bernie then they both came up to my office. Bernie introduced him as John, someone John (my boss) had met with and had sent to speak to Bernie. They went off for coffee. I got a phone call from another manager looking for John. She had been told John was in Brisbane. I told her that as far as I was concerned he was due to go to her so must be running late. While Bernie was out my tech came in to drop off some money and was still there when Bernie and John got back.
Bernie came into my office and John was in the other room speaking to Craig. Bernie asked if I knew who this person was as he was confused over the questions he had been asking him. I said I had no idea. I went out to speak to Craig and John went into my office. Craig didn’t look happy but I told him to wait till later and I would phone him. When I got back into my office John asked me if there was anything I would like to change – I asked with regard to what. He said with the Branch. He went on to ask me to write a list of things I thought worked well, things that need improving, any ideas I had etc and to treat it ‘like a little project’ were his words. I was so dumbstruck I didn’t know what to say. I must have looked like I complete idiot.
Bernie was due to go to do a quote so John asked if he could tag along I said yes – I just wanted him out of my office so I could phone John and find out what the hell was going on. His phone was off so I couldn’t get any answers. I was utterly confused. Craig phoned and asked who the guy was and I said I didn’t know but was trying to find out. Craig said he had said he was coming on as Manager to run the branch. At this I went from confused to supreme anger! Bernie came back, he said he didn’t know what was going on. Eventually at about 8.30pm John phoned. He kept apologising and saying the guy was wrong and that nothing had changed I was still running the show and he had only spoken to the guy about the possibility of him buying into a franchise. I asked what that meant for me he said that even if he came in it would be on the proviso that I remained. I said I didn’t believe that anyone would buy into a franchise only to let someone else manage it. John assured me nothing was going to change and I was to continue on exactly the same and to work on the presentation I was due to give at the Managers conference in September.
Tuesday I went into work as usual. Wednesday Julia phoned. (She is the Melbourne branch manager and a fellow expat from Leeds) She asked if I was okay? I said well I am now but not thanks to him on Monday. She said oh thank god you know. I said know what? I explained about what had happened and what John had said. She said Oh I’ve got to tell you he’s lying to you. She said John had actually been in Brisbane on Monday. He had been interviewing the other John for the franchise. He had then flown to Melbourne and told Julia about it. She asked him if I knew about it and he had said no not yet keep it under your hat. She said she couldn’t lie to me and had nothing to loose as she had handed her notice in the day before.
I couldn’t believe what she was saying. He had completely lied to me. He had waited till I had built up the branch and made it more attractive as a franchise then pulled the rug from beneath me 2 weeks short of my 3 month contract. I phoned Daryl told him, he told me to come home straight away. I phoned John and told him I was going to leave Friday. He asked why, I told him I felt I had been used and lied to and completely disrespected. He said he didn’t think he had. He said I was letting him down walking out in this way and could I at least give him 2 weeks notice so he could advertise for the admin job and give me chance to train the person up.
Needless to say I packed up my belongings into a box and left that day.
How dare he even ask me for any help after what he’d done to me. When I look back now I realise everything he promised was only verbal. On paper it appears that all I was was an admin worker. He knew exactly what he was doing and stupidly I fell for it. Right from the beginning Daryl had said this sounds too good to be true. It turns out yes it was.