OK, this may be quite a long story about how my being hired caused a coup to start early:
First for some background. After closing my store and having several months of unemployment, I took a job at one of the office supply stores running their copy center. It didn’t pay much (and may be the source of a few posts later), but it was work doing what I know. The manager didn’t want to hire me because he thought I would leave next month when something better came along, since I was over-qualified for this job. So in December I promised him I would give him at least 6 months no matter what, and I was hired. 1 month later, I get a call from a local franchise shop that I had applied to a few times wanting to talk. I tell him my situation and that I want to stay true to my word and give the place at least 6 months, but he wanted to talk anyway, so I agreed to meet with them. We had a great meeting and at the end he asked if he could call me in 6 months. Of course, I said!
6 months to the day he called me and asked me to come back in at meet with him. So i did. Here is how the shop was at that time. The owner had a minority owner he brought in since he was not in the shop very often. His name was Rick. He was a previous pressman and tended to view work thru those eyes. There were 2 designers on staff doubling as CSRs. One was good, the other, not so much. There was a press guy who was VERY good, but they had him working almost 60 hours a week! Remember I said that Rick viewed everything thru press eyes? Well, everything went on the press if it could. 500 sheets black ink? On the press. The only copier that had was a POS Canon that barely worked. Last person they had was an old salesguy. He used to own a different franchise location that went under, and the guy here bought his assets and customer list and kept him on to work the list as a salesman. What the owner wanted to do was bring in ME to oversee things because he didn’t trust the people there, and they kept screwing things up. Sublet orders didn’t have the right amount charged, they forgot to charge the customer the tax which meant that we ate it, etc. And they got pissed when he mentioned their mistakes. I accepted the position and started the next day part time, while giving my notice at the other place. So for two weeks I worked 9 to 3 here and then 4 to 10 at the other place. But I am about to start a new adventure in printing! Yah!!!!!
The third day I am there I get a call from John (the owner) saying that Rick just told him he wanted to quit and demanded that John buy out his ownership share. I just got a raise and a promotion! And now a lot more work. So for the next week and a half I have Rick showing me the particular way that this franchise does things that are different from my previous background, and Rick is negotiating his buyout with John. During this time I decide to take a look at sales. The sales guy we brought over seemed to have been doing pretty much nothing in the last 5 months. New accounts were only 3 or 4 a month, and less than $100 each. He was coasting. So I send him an email saying let’s get together for lunch, my treat, and talk about ways to goose his sales to benefit all of us. He replies back that he is busy. Interesting. I show this to John and ask what range of power I have here, and he says anything up to firing him, but if I recommend we do that, he will do that. So I email back and say that I can appreciate his schedule and perhaps we can meet for a morning coffee or a beer after work, I am pretty flexible, but I want to meet with him before the week is over to get things moving. I got a reply back ‘I’ll see what i can fit in”.
So to sum up so far, I am hired, part owner decides to quit 3 days later and wants a buyout, sales guy seems to be dodging me. Now on to week 3.
Week 3 starts and Rick is gone, they haven’t reached a settlement yet. That Monday the good designer had a scheduled day off and I heard nothing from the sales guy all last week. So I let John know and he emails the sales guy and say to call me that day or he is fired. Day end with no call, and the sale guy can’t be reached on the phone (no answer or return of messages), so John send him an email telling him to bring back the laptop, clean out his desk and GTFO. Tuesday morning comes and in walks the sales guy, drops the laptop on the desk, grabs a few tings form his desk and says we can mail him his check. Leaves with a smirk. 10 minutes later, the good designer goes into the owner’s office and quits, saying she got an offer somewhere else she wants to pursue. John and I are looking at each other not sure what’s going on, but we get thru the day, still with bad designer and press guy. Until morning.
Wednesday morning we get an email from bad designer saying how dare we fire the sales guy thru email, fuck us, she is quitting, thru email! OK, 4 days ago I had 2 designers, a sales guy, press guy and a leaving part owner. Now I have a press guy. Crisis mode! First thing I do is use the relationships I have with most of my former employees. I have a designer that worked for me for a long time while was very good who was able to come and help me out on a part time basis until I could hire someone full time. I can do design work, but I am slow. And since I was doing everything else, I needed that relief. So the rest of the week was some very long days and chatting with John every night for a few hours after work to figure out our next move.
Well one thing I am not sure if the previous idiots knew, but John was a computer guy and had all the work emails set up to forward copies of everything received and sent to a folder for him. He was looking at it and found some really disturbing stuff. It seems that the sales guy and both designers had left and started working at a new printing place about 2 miles across town. So we started researching this new company. For a time reference, I started my stint here June 1. So it is now mid June and we find that this new shop was incorporated in April of that year, just 2 months prior. He does more digging and finds that the registered owners are Rick and the ex-salesman! So those 2 bastards started a competing printshop while working here. What it comes down to is it looks like they were going to stage a coup and leave as a group, taking as many customers with them as they can, leaving John here high and dry. Hiring me accelerated their plans just a bit. Not enough to stop the pain but enough to help mitigate it on John’s end.
Shortening this part down, after one desperate, bad hire I found a good designer, who left me after 2 years for a promotion opportunity and then found my last one (who I used as a guest post last month!) who fit here perfectly. We are still friends and communicate often. The press guy eventually left as I cut his 60 hours down to 40 and then down to 30 as we started getting more digital equipment in. Knowing he needed more hours I found another location that needed a part time press guy and would be willing to use him as well, but he wasn’t interested in that and quit. He was the only one not in on that deal, as they didn’t need his skills (Rick was a pressman). We also hired a salesguy who in 6 months replaced almost everything they had taken.
The rest I am not completely privy to, but there was a court case where Rick was fined and ordered to not go after customers on out lists for a period of 1 year. Fat lot of good that did because he had taken about 40% right off the bat already. We also found out he was telling some of the customers that they were still the same place, but had just ‘changed names’. What a fucking scumbag. John’s lawyer wanted criminal charges pressed, as they set this shop up while working here, and that wold be a breach of their fiduciary duty to uphold the stock value of the company by opening a competing business, but the judge was a very big jackass that just laughed at that idea and threw it out. In my opinion that was a bad decision. But as of right now, our sales are up, we have purchased our own building and several new pieces of equipment. Rick has moved his store to a new location in a more run down building in a worse part of town. Karma is a beyoch.