small-business-development

Claim harassment against me? Get fired.

This one has some moving parts, and plays out over a year or so.

At one point, I was managing a small team of business development reps at a small software company. These are the recent grads that would be phone monkeys, making cold calls trying to set-up appointments for the real sales people.

I had two reps at the time: Amy and Paul. They were young, but hungry. They listened to training, and were generally great employees. At one point, Paul and I realized that we had some mutual friends, and that helped our relationship.

Fast forward a few months from their hiring, and my boss grabs me one morning for a meeting with HR. Apparently, Amy had filed a harassment complaint against me, alleging some crazy things. She reported that my single goal was to ruin her career, and that I would make sure she was fired.

The HR meeting was a formality, as no one believed it, but they had to do the investigation. Nothing came from it, but I would never be alone in a room with Amy again. If she came to talk to me with no one around, I would go to a common area of the office or invite someone into the discussion.

A few more months, and Paul asked me to be a reference. The company was a mess, and the CEO was running it into the ground. I was more than happy to do it, as I was job hunting myself. I just asked that he keep me in the loop about interviews and offers, and I would cover his time out of the office.

Not surprisingly, he landed a job pretty quick and gave his notice to me. Also at this time, IT was doing hardware upgrades to laptops adding more RAM, allowing us to run the latest version of our product for demos.

I coordinated with IT to have both their machines done one day, and told them to take a long lunch.

Well, a little over a year before this happened, one VP had been fired. After he left, I learned it was common practice for IT to review all the Skype chat logs from the machine. Luckily, it meant me getting a small bonus because the VP was trashing the company to me, but I wasn’t, and I was vaguely praising the CEO (I’m no dummy, and don’t have those conversations over channels that can be reviewed.)

With Paul out the door, and Amy being a lying cunt, I asked IT to review their Skype logs during the upgrade, because “something seemed fishy”.

I was right. Even though Amy deleted her chat logs, Paul didn’t. There were chats in there about how they were both job searching, and Amy had gotten an admin password for our CRM. She had been pulling customer lists to take with her.

Furthermore, she had been bragging about receiving a $1,500 bonus to drop the harassment complaint against me, as the CEO was worried that any complaints or lawsuits would scare away the investors needed to keep the company going. Oh, and she chatted that “They made me sign a non-disclosure about it, but they won’t find out.”

Oh, she was toast. Director of IT and I went straight to HR and the CEO with the print outs. The decision was quick: both were to be terminated immediately. Amy for unauthorized access of data and breach of her non-disclosure, and Paul for some bullshit reason of not reporting her.

They got back from their lunch, and I immediately called them into HR. Paul was given a 2-weeks severance, but Amy needed to pay back her $1,500 “hush” bonus. Because of her gross misconduct, she wasn’t eligible for severance or unemployment, and the re-payment was deducted from her final check and quarterly bonus. Her exit check was for less than $10.

Paul had two weeks off, with the severance. We remain connected, but I love seeing Amy changing jobs on LinkedIn every 6-9 months.

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Peace Corps Volunteer Works with Beekeepers in Ghana to Generate Sustainable Income through Honey Sales

“Through the training, we hope to teach community members about establishing bee colonies and sustainable harvesting practices. Eventually, we’d like to produce enough honey to provide some to the school-feeding program at the local primary school, which contributes to childhood nutrition within the community.” - Peace Corps Volunteer Molly Rooney

vimeo

“You go into the shop and - you know - you cut yourself, you burn yourself, you fuck stuff up, you - like, you know - ruin something you’ve worked on for three weeks.  And you never make that mistake again.  So this is how I learned.”

Ron [Scott] has since become a leading figure in the Coalition against Police Brutality, which is devoted to the creation of Peace Zones for Life. After repeatedly mobilization demonstrations and filing lawsuits against authorities, the organization launched this project after finding that many instances of police violence occurred in response to calls regarding domestic conflicts. Thus, to get at the root cause of police abuse, the organization seeks to reduce and eliminate the need for citizens to call the police in the first place. It promotes ‘community-based conflict resolution and mediation initiatives,’ using 'methods that will allow the citizens options to submit their grievances for resolution by their neighbors or persons whom they trust; thereby, remaining outside the police / criminal justice system and eliminating conflict within our communities.’

Moreover, the organization seeks to involve neighborhood youth themselves, many of whom had once been sucked into gangs or drug dealing, into conflict resolution practices and community-oriented, small business development. Above all, Peace Zones for Life is a grassroots initiative driven by people who are taking responsibility for the social, economic, and physical health of their community. It does not assume that inner-city residents themselves are solely responsible for the deterioration of neighborhoods ravaged by decades of race, class, and gender oppression, but it does insist that they are the necessary change agents to remedy our crisis situation.  

The idea of Peace Zones is a transformative one that builds on the concept of restorative justice. In response to the cancerous growth of the prison industry and the now widely recognized problem of overcrowded prisons siphoning away scarce resources, the restorative justice movement offers methods to heal both ex-offenders and their communities. Our present criminal justice system is based on the concept of punitive or retributive justice. Punitive justice views antisocial behavior as an offense against the state, which therefore has the right and responsibility to punish offenders and which does so primarily by isolating them. But now that prisons clearly serve as warehouses for the millions whom capitalism has made expendable, now that our families and communities are being devastated by the incarceration (often for nonviolent offenses) of millions of brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers, our survival depends on our making a paradigm shift in our own approach to justice. We need to take it upon ourselves to practice a concept of justice that will empower offenders and the community to work together and build a healthy community.

—  Grace Lee Boggs, “”Let’s Talk About Malcolm and Martin,” The Next American Revolution (2012)
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During her service, Peace Corps Volunteer Rachael Saler taught Filipino women to crochet discarded plastic bags into colorful handbags and change purses as a way to engage local communities in business ventures, and teach environmental awareness and recycling. Since the Bag-O Plastic project launched in August 2010, more than 100 women from Bago City in the Philippines have sold 200 bags, earning 63,000 pesos (about $1,500).

For each bag that is sold, the woman who crocheted it receives 80 percent of the earnings. The other 20 percent goes toward the purchasing of zipper, runners, tags, etc. Each woman collects, segregates and washes plastic bags to be crocheted and sold. Women have also begun exchanging plastic bags for rice with other merchants and started plastic-bag collection bins in local commercial areas.

Rachael, who holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Syracuse University, credits her mother for the Bag-O Plastic idea. When her parents visited in 2009, Saler’s mother told her to consider crocheting recycled plastic bags into handbags. Rachael was so inspired by the project she extended her Peace Corps service for a third year to continue it. She completed her Peace Corps service in December 2011.

USU to host Utah Small Business Development Center Network
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LOGAN — Utah State University was recently selected by the Small Business Administration to host the Utah Small Business Development Center Network.

The new lead center will be located at the Logan campus through USU Extension and will include regional service centers throughout the state. USU’s agreement with the Small Business Administration takes effect April 1 and will be renewed annually.

The network, which currently hosts 15 centers at colleges and universities around the state, will provide business owners with advice, mentoring and training to help launch and grow their businesses. It has been hosted by Salt Lake Community College for the past 20 years and by the University of Utah for 15 years prior to that.

Marion Bentley, director for the new USU-hosted program, said the university is the perfect fit to host the network since USU already has development centers at central campuses in Logan and Price, and at regional campuses in Brigham City, Tooele, Vernal, Blanding and Moab.

“We are well-equipped for this opportunity and are excited that we will now get to work even more closely with the SBA and Governor’s Office of Economic Development partners and our sister colleges and universities throughout the state,” Bentley said in a statement. “Our goal is to help Utah entrepreneurs and businesses be successful, to help strengthen our economy and to provide jobs and employment for Utah citizens.”

USU will now begin a search to recruit a state director who will manage the network’s programs and services while working through the transition with the service centers and staff throughout the state.



USU to host Utah Small Business Development Center Network