CYA

Background:

  • It was the 2nd year I'd worked on this huge mailing project my team worked on from June until November. It was to send legally required regulatory notices to retirement plan participants.
  • This was in the middle of when I was trying to dig myself up from the PIP I was on.
  • My team had to work with these client facing people called the communications strategists (comm strats) to get the clients approval on the print pieces that were being sent out to their employees.
  • There was another team that dealt with getting the pieces actually printed and mailed.
  • I was working pretty closely with a member of the print team named Sara, since she was assigned to do the printing for most of the clients my comm strats were assigned to.
  • There was a comm strat named Tina who was awful to work with. She had a habit of not telling us about approvals or changes until they'd piled up. She'd then dump them all on us at once and leave for the day or on vacay. This year, she pulled her most egregious stunt: she dumped a crazy amount of work on me and Sara and told us she'd be OOO the rest of the day because she was getting snow tires. For the next 5 years, when me and Sara saw each other, if one of us said snow tires, we'd both narrow our eyes in anger at Tina.

The situation:

  • Tina wasn't a fan of submitting tickets via our workflow system to get work done. She'd always try to email or IM. Me and Sara knew the deal, so every time she asked one of us, we'd tell her to submit a ticket via email and then cc the other person.
  • In early December, my boss came to me and said there was big trouble with TJ Maxx, one of Tina's clients.
    • Tina had kept emailing and IM'ing me or Sara to get an address list for TJ Maxx. That required a ticket to be submitted.
    • She ended up getting some other dope to send her the address file in Excel. What she didn't realize is that TJM also wanted emails sent to some of their people. Including all the heads of their benefits department.
      • There was an alternate print vendor that could be used for one-off mailing projects and emails, which is what Tina did.
    • When those people didn't get their notices, they asked what was up. It was then discovered that like 25% of their people didn't get them because Tina hadn't provided that list to the vendor.
  • I knew Tina was going to try to pin it on me and Sara, so I got all the emails me and Sara had sent her and put them in a Word file.
  • We had a call where the CEO of our division, the head of the comms department and other bigwigs were trying to figure out what had happened. Tina and I were asked to explain what happened.
  • The CEO opened it and explained what TJ Maxx told him.
  • Tina then tried to speak, but I said, "Hold one second. Everyone, please check your email." I sent the Word file to everyone at the meeting.
  • There was silence for like a minute, and then the CEO said, "Thank you. This is very thorough." And then told Tina to start explaining.
  • She's stammering and trying to figure out how to wriggle out of this, because her plan was to throw me and Sara under the bus.

A few months later, Tina "left to pursue other opportunities." TJ Maxx also dropped us as a client like 6 months later. I always wondered whether the mailing error was the reason.

A couple of years later, the head of comms was speaking at an all-hands meeting about service issues. And then directly confirmed that Tina's error was why TJ Maxx left in an offhand comment. Sara didn't make the connection until I talked to her.

So while I'm not going to be out here trying to actively investigate the hater who's trying to make you look bad, I have seen this type of info be revealed in due course. I'll keep my ears peeled and let you know if I hear anything. Keep your head up friend.

Tags: