May 30, 2007, 9:11 PM UTC

A reader from North Carolina writes:

My former bosses…worked for a heating and air company…one was a bully to the guys…but not to me…he was very sweet to me. It wasn’t until after I was gone that I learned that he treated the guys much differently than he treated me. Quite the eye opener. His wife was definitely paranoid. We worked extremely hard for them. We did things with the utmost professionalism. We didn’t drink or do drugs. I’d turn in anyone who wasn’t pulling their weight and they were gone, so we were left with a very tight, professional crew. We watched out for THEM and their business… multiplied their customer base… and represented them as top notch… Loved what we were doing… and in return, we got phones monitored and accusations of off duty affairs… accusations of plotting to take their customers…

One minute they’d say, ‘your phone minutes are free…use them as you wish when you’re not at work.’ then the next thing we know, we’re told that we spent more time talking to each other than with our spouses… we were told we could do side jobs, just don’t use any of their equipment to do it, until we did one…and then we were told that we weren’t allowed to do any side work cuz we could make more money on our own than working for them, so if people wanted us to do side work, to tell them no, that they needed to go through the company and we’d be paid our hourly wage…that we were taking away from THEM if we did side work… We would talk to each other about jobs…troubleshooting over the phone if one of us got stuck and we couldn’t make contact with the boss… and really helped each other out… then we were told we weren’t allowed to talk to each other period… and if we got together during non work hours, we weren’t allowed to talk business at all… Then, finally, she told me that we were too valuable to them and that she couldn’t ‘let’ us leave…and that eventually, every employee will try to screw you…that’s what her sister told her…apparently she’s off her rocker, too… so, she said we’d have to sign a non-compete clause, after we’ve already worked for them for 3 years… and the non-compete would not allow us to work together for another company, open our own business or use any ‘marketable skills’ that we used while we worked for them… for THREE years AFTER we quit working for them…and it would encompass every county they have ever done business in…. We were told that we wouldn’t receive evaluations, cuz if they told us we were doing really well, then we’d expect a pay increase… This was all at the same time as we were being told we were sooo valuable to the company and they wanted us to be with them for many years to come… During all this non sense talk, I didn’t respond…just took it all in…thinking it was absolutely nutso… which she then turned against me, saying my non response was a sign of guilt… I look back on this as I write it and wonder how I managed to stay there as long as I did… Sooo…one of their neighbors turned them in for operating their business out of their home without a license… and they ‘terminated’ me cuz they had to get down to one employee… my buddy gave his notice… and we opened our own company a couple weeks later. They’ve since ‘stalked’ our website… have refused to pay vacation pay that was earned… submitted my attached unemployment for the last month I worked there as me having refused to do work that was available when there was no work available… and went through my phone log calling every phone number on it, sure that I was making plans to leave them and stealing customers… they accidentally called me… cuz the number on my current phone was the number my child had when I was working for them, so it would have been one of the numbers I had called…they said it was a ‘wrong number’ when I answered it. Too funny… their name showed up in my caller ID. They called a professional associate and told him off…that they knew he knew we were plotting against them… he called me and asked, ‘what in the world is going on with them?!’ They’re still trying to figure out how we screwed them over…they’ll drive themselves crazy looking, cuz we didn’t do anything but represent their company to the best of our ability til the very end… and THEY let ME go… I had no plans until that time! They’re nuts. And I’m sooo glad to be done with them! Whew!

What do you think? Is this boss crazy?