The heading was true, I was fired from Quicken Loans for writing a blog. The blog I wrote on myspace (which did not include my name or any full names of people, only just first or just last names), was concerning the fact that the mortgage market in general was down but that Quicken failed to adjust quotas for bankers accordingly.
I was written up 2 days before on a performance letter. That means they gave me 30 days to make 16 sales or I would be fired. I was given that letter July 31st. On Aug 2nd, the day I was fired, I had 5 confirmed sales- way above my pace to meet goal. But I was fired for writing the blog. Also, my manager threatened legal action, hinting at a possible slander lawsuit. He also made me sign a paper saying I would not contact quicken loans employees for any reason ever.
But I would also like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the other things I've seen at quicken. Nevermind the not-so-subtle hints by my manager that I should overstate a client's income to get them approved (an illegal activity) or over-state their appraised value to get better pricing (which would change after the appraisal, but after the client had already committede $500 to us), and never mind the company's constant training on adding "Green" to loans- which means overcharging clients on purpose to add more commissions to me.
How about the fact that I was a top producer on the team for months, winning several awards for production while I was on the Livonia team. When the market started to go south I requested consideration for a transfer to a non-sales position. This was not unprecedented, since other employees from my specific team (Mike, Jeff, Scott, and Alicia for example) were offered tranfers, I was told that transferes would not be made an option to me. Was there some form of discrimination going on? Perhaps. I was told that because I had made sales in the past I would never be considered for a non-sales position.
How about the fact that we were required to work late. In May one day we had a team meeting where my boss announced that no one went home until 11PM. (We started at 8 AM). This was mandatory and anyone who did not agree could submit a letter of resignation. We were told we must come in on weekends, and I was actually one of the people who worked less hours than most, which totalled to 50-60 mandatory hours per week. I actually have seen a management training video floating around on Quicken's employee network where employee Tony tells employee Brian that he cannot leave work until he makes a sale, and collects Brian's car keys, saying he can have them back once a sale is made, or be put on a performance letter.
How about the fact that vacations are strongly discouraged. And I don't mean they won't be approved. The company provided leads are sorted into Silver leads (leads that are probably bogus or won't qualify based on given information), Gold Leads (leads that will probably qualify but aren't very profitable) and Platinum Leads (high value leads that will likely close). The lead category you got was based on your production in the previous 2 weeks. So if you took a week or 2 week vacation, regardless of your past achievements you were back to Silver leads, making it almost impossible to earn your way back up. Same thing with incoming calls. In order to be qualified for incoming customer calls, you had to convert 20% of incoming calls into sales, including wrong numbers and other calls not filtered by the company's phone answerers. How do you get back on the list? Well the list is disabled on weekends, so only by working on weekends can you get the possibility of incoming calls.
While we're on weekends, let's talk about their new training program "Summer School". It was a 4 week saturday morning training held for one hour every saturday at 9am. I was told it would be mandatory to go for these. My boss insisted "it's just 4 saturdays" though in August the school was extended 4 more saturdays, and will probably continue on from there. If you missed a saturday you could make up the class late friday night. Now the company had held previous traning classes during the week, why not this one? Well this way they made it mandatory for you to make the drive all the way to work on a saturday, where they could pressure you into working all day on a day you might have otherwise had as a day off.
They would schedule mandatory meetings late nights sometimes less than a week in advance. A particular meeting was held friday night (scheduled the previous friday). That meeting conflicted with a contest, where any employee that made 2 sales could leave work early the following friday. Those that succeeded were disappointed to find a mandatory meeting scheduled during their earned time off.
The things I put here are along the lines of the things I put on my blog. My blog does not contain my name at all, and none of my clients have ever seen my face, so there's no way that my blog could be connect to me unless you already know me personally. However they cited that no client would do business with me if I felt this way (despite my recent sales) and they fired me. My manager was actually removed from the office by his boss while I was being fired because he was screaming at me. I tell you the truth.
The company then sited "performance issues" to the Michigan Unemployment office as a reason for dismissal. Upon my own invesitagation I've found a large number of high producing and low producing employees fired for minor reasons during the past month, indicating that quicken is firing people for minor reasons so they can lower the work force without having to say they "laid people off", so they can keep a positive image.
They've also been removing content from their wikipedia page to remove all negative content and have been contacting the detroit free press to push positive spinning articles about themselves. Perhaps to hide the fact that they're engaged in a class action lawsuit by past employees for unpaid overtime? Perhaps to hide their shoddy loan practices?
Well, Quicken Loans, in order to sue someone for LIBEL (not slander, as slander is spoken) you must prove the items discussed are not true. Can you do this? No you can't so please stop threatening people. Instead of firing the messenger, why not fix the problems with your company and culture instead?