The owner’s wife stopped by to take a tour of our shop one day. Just as the boss was bringing her over by the press that I was running, my knife slipped out of my hand and I caught the blade awkwardly, cutting my finger. After my finger was bandaged up, a meeting was convened in the human resources office up front to discuss the incident.
It was a large corner office with the blinds drawn against the evening light. There were loose files piled all over the tables and cabinets. A couple of my co-workers lounged on leather sofas across the room, while my boss and I sat before the HR woman’s desk. My boss insisted that I had cut my finger on purpose because the owner’s wife had been there. My co-workers across the room grumbled in agreement. I wasn’t sure why I would do that or what I would gain by cutting my finger in front of her – a point that I tried to argue in my favor – but again, they just insisted that I was playing dumb in order to appear innocent.
We went around like this for a while, every argument I made they twisted around as more evidence of my guilt and my shady motives. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood up, declared that I quit, gave my boss the finger, and left the room. I could already hear them behind me twisting this latest turn. They said that this was just a ploy to make it look like I was telling the truth. The funny thing is that they were actually right about this. They had kept at me until I started to feel the I really was guilty of something, and I really had just quit to make my point.
But I hadn’t cut my finger on purpose, and I had given up on trying to make them see that. The HR woman caught up with me in the parking-lot, asking me to come back. Of course, I had counted on someone coming after me, but now I didn’t really care. I told her, “There’s no way I can defend myself. They do this all the time. They always look for the absolute worse in everyone. I’m done.”, and I turned and walked off.