July 12, 2011

Brass?! More Like, a Gilded Pair

I have only been canned (well, officially.  I don't count having a temp position expire.) from a job once in my entire life.  I worked for a health insurance company (a pretty well known one too, actually) for about 18 months between 2005 and 2007.  I'll be the first to admit, it was the wrong job for me.  Not that I couldn't do the work, (Well, aside from troubleshooting medical billing errors.  That shit made me cross-eyed.)  but as far as meshing well with my peers, I was the red-headed stepchild. 

During my brief tenure, plenty went right, and plenty went wrong.  However, the most notable event of my employment was the injury to my back in January of 2006.  The short version of a long, complicated, and legal story is that I hurt my back moving equipment around for about 5 hours.  My shadow trainer told me that I couldn't leave before everything was done, despite my inability to stand up straight without leaning on something.  Add on top of that, believing the guy when he told me that if I went to the hospital and reported the injury, I'd be fired since I was still within my 90 day probationary period.  (I was young, stupid, and far too trusting.)  I ended up in the ER the next evening because I ceased being able to feel my feet and couldn't get out of bed without help.

Over the next 6 months or so, I went to doctor after doctor trying to fix my back.  I finally found the Rejuvenation Center in about March of 2006. (They employ miracle workers, I swear.  Jodi, my therapist is very good at what she does, and I credit her for my current level of mobility.)  Every weeknight for 6 weeks, I spent an hour on a DRX9000 machine with the express purpose of treating my L5 vertebrae, which was, in layman's terms, squashed, dehydrated, and beginning to bulge.  For months after the nightly sessions were over I was going through weekly PT appointments.  There were times I would hobble into the therapy room so drugged up and tightly cinched into my compression brace, Jodi wanted to know how on earth I was still functional.  Apparently, taking 4x the dose of flexeril and 2x the dose of percoset and still being in pain, much less able to walk was uncommon.  Who knew?

Meanwhile, my employer is reviewing my case and had decided that while I had had back problems previously, I had done enough damage to it at work to merit them paying for my Workman's Comp claim after all.  So, here I was, the black sheep of the department, costing them all sorts of money.  I wasn't well liked, and I wasn't helping the group to be as cohesive as it could have been.  It wasn't a tough choice for them to find a reason to let me go.  Once I was gone, they no longer had to pay for my very expensive health care bills.  (We'd reached an agreement that, because I hadn't reported the claim right away, they'd just continue to use the regular insurance instead of workman's comp, being that they were a health care company and all.)

Add on top of my getting canned, they tried to say I was fired for gross misconduct.  Not true, and the judge for my unemployment appeal agreed with me.  (Note to all employers, first of all, if you have your own legal department, consult them before you appear at a hearing so you know what you're up against.  Second, if you're going to have several witnesses, make sure all their stories line up.)  The short version is, if you're going to fire someone for misconduct, make sure that the manager and the director of HR are in agreement about what the employee did wrong in the first place...  So, instead of having to wait the whole 12 weeks before I'd see any unemployment benefits, I was granted all of it, including my back pay.  Whew!

here's where this gets relevant.  Today, I come home and get the mail.  Along with junk, and my parking reimbursement, I get a letter from said former employer.  It was a solicitation asking if I was in the market for health insurance.  Um...  Hang on a minute.

First of all, I have health insurance thankfully.  Second, you FIRED me, remember?  Why on earth would I want to send YOU money?  Third, even if I did want to send you money, I used to work for the department that would troubleshoot medical billing errors.  Call me bitter, but I don't want to run the risk of my OB/GYN fat-fingering something on my bill and having to call in and talk to vindictive ex-coworker #1 and have them see that I'm negative for the clap.

Now, they did include a postage paid envelope so I can send back their form with my interest.  I am tempted to write a sternly worded note along the lines of "I really think it would be in both of our best interests for you to take me off your mailing list.  You're wasting money on postage, and it's just pissing me off to get your solicitations."  However, in the interest of maturity, I think I will be content with just thinking about doing so while I grumble and crumple the papers up and throwing them into the trash.

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