I was watching that movie Fun With Dick and Jane the other night and while it was a comedy movie, for me anyway, it hit a few raw nerves even after many years. Iím referring to the story line and not the movie itself.
Basically it’s about a guy who hangs up the men’s dress shoes and his suit after he loses his job after being promoted to Vice President of Communications (what a career change it was for him too) and then set up to take the fall for a CEO who tries to take all the companies pension and retirement funds for himself. The company then goes bankrupt and in the process, Jim Carey’s character loses everything. While the things that Carey and his wife do in the movie are quite funny, for me it brought home the fact that this sort of thing happens all the time. In most cases though, the people involved have an inkling that there is something wrong but for whatever reason, they ignore it. In my case, it was the worst thing I could have done.
I didn’t quite lose everything when a similar thing happened to me but I came very close. I worked for one particular company for many years and was quite happy doing what I was doing, I loved shopping for boots online for work. In the back of my mind I knew something wasn’t quite right but I had no reason really to be suspicious. The turning point came one day when I was promoted to take over from the sales manager who was leaving. It meant more responsibilities and more hours off course. I was also offered a partnership in the company which would have meant taking on the financial responsibilities too. I thought about that after taking a look at the companies financial records. I signed an agreement with them pending my lawyers recommendations if it was a safe venture or not. Not long after I signed, I started to get phone calls from utility suppliers and other places. As it turned out, they faked my signature on a lot of forms and put all types of bills into my name from creditors to utility companies to minor personal loans. I got a bill for over $5000 for an unpaid telephone bill. All in all, the nightmare turned into many tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid bills and money owed to creditors, I had to stop buying cheap shoes online. Needless to say, the people responsible fled the state and I never heard from them again. In the meantime, it took many months of negotiating, affidavits signed, one court appearance and many visits to my lawyer to get it all sorted out. Because they forged my signature so well and knew all my details, there were a few bills that I couldn’t get out of paying. I didn’t want to go bankrupt so I managed to pay them but the heartache and pain all of that caused to my family, was sometimes unbearable. I wanted to many times just rob a bank, buy shoes online and be done with it all, just like in the movie. But thankfully I didn’t have to resort to that.
While this really has not a lot to do with management as such, sometimes something that sounds too good to be true, usually is. Even if you are working for a reputable company, that doesn’t mean that certain individuals in a position of power are. If you are offered something and it sounds a little suspect to you, DON’T sign anything without getting advice first. It may just save you having fun with Dick and Jane like I did.