This subject also came up the other night while talking with two friends who had both just quit working at a horrible place, the only benefit being they'd met each other during their short tenures there. They told some horrifying things about it; the building that had no windows, the broken promises especially when it came to their pay, the no-breaks rule, the no-talking to co-workers rule, the having to sneak next door to grab a soda since the bastard owner didn't even supply a vending machine rule. Answering phones all day to people who threatened lawsuits. I could literally feel their relief at having this place be in their past; I've been there quite a few times. Those jobs you leave on Friday afternoons like Fred Flintsone leaving the quarry, all Yabba Dabba Doo, blasting loud music in your car, relishing the two days of freedom ahead, only to have Sunday night arrive all too quickly, when you then experience the dread in the pit of your stomach wondering how you will be able to bear another week of the place. There's nothing worse.
If I ever wrote a completely HONEST resume' (and who really ever does that?), it would have to include the following:
- Call Center for Dell computer tech support - I lasted the three-week training period, period. After hearing about how bad it sucked there from the full-time employees and seeing for myself the lack of will to live I felt every time I entered the building, I knew the sooner I got out the better it would be for everyone, mostly me.
- Data Entry/Customer Complaint person for well-known satellite TV company - This was one of those places that had no windows and a very factory-like atmosphere that also included no breaks. Excuse me, but having a basic knowledge of human resources, I am aware that employers are required to give two fifteen minute breaks for every eight hours an employee works. I don't know how these places get away with not providing that, except maybe no one has ever complained? I don't know. I lasted there for about a month, until I bugged the temp agency enough and they found me something else. Don't put a smoker on a job assignment that doesn't provide breaks, assholes. Actually, don't put a NON-smoker in a Nazi place like that at all.
- "Paralegal" for small desperate lawfirm - The lawyer who owned this firm had just recently parted ways with the larger lawfirm in town and was Very Bitter and also ready to Prove Herself. Some of the office staff's duties beyond the scope of legal assisting included: making her nail/hair/facial appointments, making her dinner reservations, picking up/dropping off her dry cleaning, vacuuming and dusting the office including the upstairs which was also personal quarters for she and her husband...and this woman was a cold-hearted bitch on top of it all. She was on her third marriage at the time, something I'm still sad I didn't bring up when she gave me my 90-day review and told me she had accomplished so much more than I did by the time she was my age (27 at the time). I walked out of that review and quit via phone call the next day. Later I found out within several months of my leaving, her law partner had also left and she only had one person from her original staff who loyally stuck by her side. And that person was related to her.
- Jewelry Counter Person at Walmart: I also lasted only the duration of the training period, plus one shift. I hear it's not a bad company to work for; I wouldn't really know.
- Accounting Drone in small town courthouse: I really thought I'd enjoy this job. We were back in my hometown for the summer so Brian could work as an intern on a golf course before starting school. I knew I wouldn't be there permanently and did feel guilty about that...at first. After three months of bitchy catty office women, non-stop gossip and monotonous boring pencil and paper pushing, I could barely contain my glee upon turning in my resignation letter. They were not pleased with me leaving after three months, but hey - shit happens. To you, fuckers! Hahaha!
- Bookeeper for small construction company: This was a job I took after we first moved back up here, while waiting an agonizing month to get an interview at USC. I didn't mind the twenty mile commute. I didn't mind the 7:30 to 5:00 work day with half-hour lunch. I didn't mind it was out in the middle of nowhere so the half-hour lunch was spent reading in my car. I might have minded the fact there were no paid sick or vacation days until after you'd worked there for a year and they only gave five paid holidays per year as well. I might have minded that, had I stayed long enough. What I did mind was the owner of the company and his male-chauvenistic, tightwad, Type A Heart Attack at Any Moment Screaming Fits at his entire office staff almost daily.
I loved how I ditched this job so much; in fact it ranks among my favorite cut and run stories of my whole life. On a beautiful sunny early October afternoon after working at this place almost a month, I got the call I was waiting for; the college had decided to hire me. My now-boss apologized for the lengthy hiring process and asked if I could start the following Monday. I told her I couldn't wait. I then started thinking about how I could make my great escape with the least amount of awkwardness (for myself). That night, I didn't sleep. Instead, I stayed up scheming and wrote them a three page letter about how I was sorry for having to leave on such short notice, but that maybe they should show their appreciation to the poor girl who I was leaving behind; the one they were paying nine bucks an hour and no benefits who worked her ass off for them. I saved a copy of the letter in my journal.
The next morning, a Friday, was payday. I drove out there with a spring in my step and a song in my heart, though I was pretty nervous. Because of stressing about it all night, it had taken on Mission Impossible-type logistics in my head. I parked at the edge of their small dirt parking lot, as close to the road as possible. I walked into the office and straight to my desk, where I knew my paycheck would be. The office was one big room; everybody could see you at all times. I didn't see the check there at first and started to freak, until I noticed it sitting on my keyboard, no envelope or anything, just a plain check sitting right there in front of the construction guys and everyone to see. Professional. But whatever; I grabbed that bitch and replaced it with my letter. I told girls I needed to get something out of my car and they barely noticed, with the early morning commotion going on (which was a key component of my evil plan). I calmly walked out of the building, my steps quickening the closer and closer I got to my car. I got in and without looking to see if anyone saw me, got the fuck out of there. I drove straight to the bank they had their account with and cashed the check immediately. I didn't know if they would try to hold the money or what, but I wasn't taking any chances. After that I went shopping and bought myself a new outfit to wear on my first day back to work at the college; the job I'd been waiting to go back to for so long. It was such a happy day. And to this day, whenever we pass that stupid place on the way out to my inlaws' house, I give it the ol' one-finger salute every time. With a big-ass smile on my face - suckers!
Lest you think I'm a bad person or without a conscience, let me just say this. Most of my jobs have been great experiences and I'm a very caring and loyal employee. I am still in touch with a lot of my past co-workers to this day and they're now more like family than anything else. I've cried and been cried over several jobs upon leaving them. When you work for good people, you want to do the best job you can possibly do for them; at least I do. But if you're an asshole of a boss? I have no kind thoughts or words for you. If you can't at least FAKE treating your employees with respect, go fuck yourself.
Anyway, those are some of my horror stories. If you ever feel the need to share some of yours, I'd love to hear them.