Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don’t Like Your Job? It’s Okay. You'll Probably Die at 9:00 am on Monday Anyway

We’ve all heard about the risks of heart disease. There are some that you can’t control: being male, being older (though that’s relative to me) and family history. Some factors you can control are: smoking, high “bad” cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, stress. And, other factors according to my new friend, Deepak Chopra, MD, are lack of self-happiness and job dissatisfaction.

Deepak says that in our culture, more people die at 9:00 am on Monday mornings than at another other time. Coincidence? We think not. We are the only species that distinguishes days of the week. The only ones who care about what time it is. The only ones who dread going back to work on Monday mornings.

Some of us can say our jobs are rewarding. Some of us can’t. Some of us can say that we don’t get paid nearly enough for what we do. Most of us can probably say that. Some of us have terrible coworkers. Some of us have coworkers who are great friends. Some of us are under constant pressure, stress and deadlines from the moment we walk in the door. Some of us have to take our work home.

Nothing like being able to work in jeans and sexy boots.

I know, personally, that I’ve had very few jobs that fit into the high job satisfaction category. The ones that do are the ones where I worked for myself. When I wasn’t micro-managed. Or, psycho-managed. Is that a real term? Gosh, I hope I just coined that. That is beyond true.

One of my worst jobs ever lasted 2-1/2 months. I was fairly fresh out of college. I was told that the executive assistant position would open up to design possibilities. The job that I really wanted back then. Heck, I was young. I figured I’d work for the owner of this company. Learn the ropes of this family-owned business. See what the other designers were doing and also learn from them. Then I could work my way into my desired role. What I found, though, was that it was the job from hell. That should actually be in all caps. THE JOB FROM HELL.

Have you ever ridden up or down in a tiny elevator with a woman who farted the entire way. Every time. Let me repeat that. Every. Time. It was as if the vertical movement released the gas in her body. It wasn’t silent and it certainly wasn’t without smell. I quickly learned to make an excuse as to why I needed to delay the torturous altitudinal departure with her. I was in awesome shape running the possible ten flights of stairs top to bottom to be able to catch up with her.

I was told we were too busy to eat while she stuffed Jenny Craig couscous meals into her mouth everyday and spit half of it out while yelling that at me. We were never that busy. I threatened to quit if I didn’t get lunch. I got a raise. And lunch.

I was asked to cut the tags off the mattresses. You know the ones that say, “Do not remove without penalty of law?” Yea. Those. I refused to do that too. She didn’t want the customers to be able to comparison shop. Messed up, huh? I said I’d quit if I had to do that. I got a raise. And, I never cut a single tag.

I was told not to help the people that came in if they didn’t look well-to-do. I was asked by nearly every customer to help me sneak them in so they could look at things without the owner knowing. I got a lot of thank you’s from them and I got to help them make design choices. The one day I didn’t help someone right away who looked like a grubby bum, I got yelled at. How did I know he was a premiere chef in the city? He looked like a grubby bum I told her. I did sell him a $900 crystal something. I got a raise. And, I never judged anyone after that.

I had to find phone numbers for the owner. Always last minute. Always in a foot high pile of torn corners with chicken scratch (read: totally illegible) on them. The owner would be screaming at me in a feverish pitch that she needed the number. NOW! I’d go ask the quiet women hiding in accounting for the number. When I suggested taking the pile of scraps and at least writing them in a book (the ones I could vaguely make out), I was told that her system worked fine. She actually screamed that. I told her I couldn’t work with her screaming at me when she needed a number. I got a raise. One day the pile “disappeared.”

I had to take memos. As any executive assistant should. But, did I mention that I had to stand across from her desk when I did? And, did I mention that she was an odd pear-shaped woman in her 60s? Who would wear Go-Go dancer-type, tight-knit dresses that were way too short? And, did I mention that she’d sit with her legs spread open? Without underwear? None. Nada. I thought my eyes were going to burn out of my head. That wasn’t even what a lady should look like down there. How I ended up being a lesbian after that experience, I’ll never know. I’d get screamed at to look at her while she was talking to me. I told her I didn’t deserve to be screamed at. I got a raise. And, I learned to hold my clipboard at just the right angle that kept my vision intact.

Did I mention that she was incontinent and peed on my office chair several times? And, on the furniture on display? Yea. Not good. Did I mention that I was the 13th executive assistant in 8 months? Did I mention that I got locked in The Silence of the Lambs basement? In the dark?

Her husband was a wonderful guy who obviously married her for her money. When he had his stroke, he was stuck there. He received OT and PT in his office. He’d have me drive him home when he got so tired he couldn’t keep his head off his desk. I’d load him up in their giant, white pimp Cadillac and get him comfortable on the couch. Then, I’d get a call from HER yelling at me to bring him back. I’d apologize to him and he’d understand and we’d drive back.

The best two weeks of that job were when she and her poor husband went to Florida. The two daughters, who owned 49% of the company, came in and we redid the five floors. Something that hadn’t been done in thirty plus years. I got to design. I got to create. My opinion was valued. Lunch was brought in for us every day. I got screamed at when the owned returned for letting them do that. I said they were better off and that sales would improve by bringing in new clientele. I was told that she was disappointed. That she wanted to give me her 51% of the business. Now she wasn’t sure. She was psycho. I quit. My pay had just about doubled but it wasn’t worth the stress or the tears everyday I shed when I got home.

So, no matter what job I’ve had since then, it just can’t be as bad as that. Maybe now I do have a screwed up vision of what a good job should entail? It has made every job since then seem like fluffy bunnies and rainbows. Even though my Monday mornings haven’t been perfect, at least they no longer entail illegal activity or scary wooha. How about you? Let’s talk Monday at 9:30 am. Maybe.

Please share your jobs from hell!

Please visit my facebook page at http://facebook.com/barbarabeige and "like" and comment. Thanks!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and comments. Thanks!