Rachel over at her blog headquarters known as A Comedienne’s Sidekick, is asking her reading audience about their worst jobs. I couldn’t resist.
My worst job was not working at McDonald’s. There were some elements of yuckiness to it, like having to clean the men’s room, and also having to deal with moody customers after a power outage had prevented them from having their morning caffeine. However, that kind of thing built character and I learned to build up my patience reservoir.
My worst job was partly my fault. I was out of work for awhile, so I was desperate. I found an innocuous ad in “The Plain Dealer” asking for an office assistant/receptionist. I sent in my resume and was set up for an interview. I was excited and nervous.
It was a small office building. I went down the short, dark corridor towards the vacant receptionist desk, and looked around. There was a conference room to the right, and an office next to it. There was light coming through the windows, which was much better than another office I worked in Downtown where they always had the blinds closed. I thought this was a good sign. When I called out for someone, a woman who was clearly close to her final stages of pregnancy, came walking down the hallway with a pleasant smile on her face and a folder in her hands. We introduced ourselves and then the interview started. She warned me in the interview that the guy who owns the business has a Jekyll & Hyde personality. She told me that he’d scream at her in one instant, and then would be completely nice within seconds. I listened, but really didn’t hear the warning. I thought to myself, “How bad could he really be? This is a business, I’m sure he’s professional.”
Well she called a few days later and asked me if I still wanted the job. I gleefully and loudly said “Yes!” It contrasted with her soft-spoken voice, so I’m sure I caused some temporary hearing loss.
I stuck with that job for…I think…five months. Within that five months I was insulted, sworn at, yelled at and on the opposite spectrum, completely ignored and left out. When I started there, the file room was a mess. He went in there one day, couldn’t find a file after looking for a few seconds, and unleashed a wave of swear words. I’m not talking about “damn” or “hell”, I’m talking something like, “WHERE THE F**K IS MY MOTHER F**CKING FILE??? HOW MANY F**CKIN TIMES DO I HAVE TO LOOK FOR THIS (enter some serious blaspheming here and there) FILE???” They decided to make me in charge of straightening up the file room after that. That part was fine, because I like jobs where I can sit down and clear my mind while creating neatness. It got my mind off of the nutcase. I would get calls from his clients telling me what a great guy he was, and I didn’t know how to answer them, since I would hear him insulting those same clients about how dumb they were.
When I said it was a small office, I meant it. It was just him, another accountant then the assistant who hired me and yours truly. I would be so grateful when he’d be gone for the day because he’d be with customers. It would be a holiday to me while I was at work. One time, and again this was when I first started, so I was still trying to learn things (and the assistant had gone on maternity leave), I messed up on sending some documents to one of his clients. I admit, I messed up. Nothing earth shattering, but enough for him to shatter the silence. He got a call from the client and took it in the nearby office and left the door open so that I could clearly hear him insult me. Nice. He then yelled at me and told me I had to listen better (I’m not denying I needed to brush up on that skill) and he was hoping I would’ve learned by now. After we straightened things out, I went back to the filing room and tried to compose myself by making copies of stuff. He came in with a smile on his face and said “Are you okay?” F*ck you. How’s that for okay? Well of course I didn’t say that. Hell I can’t even type the whole word without feeling awkward.
Well after too many months of putting up with that kind of crap, and having one final day where his screaming was the last straw, I finished my shift and then never went back. I called him early in the morning the next day and told him I couldn’t work with his temper and that I was quitting. He tried calling back, but I never picked up the phone. He punished me by holding my last paycheck till one week before Christmas. He probably could’ve held onto it longer, so maybe I should count those blessings.
I’ve never walked out on a job without giving two week’s notice. I have even given a month’s notice before just so I wouldn’t leave them in the dust during a busy season. So it was mind rattling to me when I left my worst job. Part of me doesn’t like that I did that, but then I cringe at the thought of working there for two more weeks. I deserved respect, and he didn’t provide that for me.