Posts in Category: Day Jobs

The Fake Fiancé, or: Show a Little Faith?

I have an obsessive nature and a strong desire to turn into Jim Rockford. These personality traits don’t mesh well with my sea of largely dishonest friends. The fact that all but a small few of my friends are notoriously full of shit probably speaks more to my character than to theirs. Nonetheless, I want to trust my friends. It’s difficult when you catch them in lies; it’s even more difficult when you catch them in repeated lies, especially when they’re lying repeatedly about the same stupid things. However, I get some sick pleasure from grilling them on the lies and watching the whole fabrication spiral out of control until they either admit they are bullshit artists (but I’m better!) or run away. And by “run away,” I mean “hang up on me” or “sign off of Instant Messenger,” because many of them have a hard time lying to my face—that’s usually how I figure out they’re lying.

Such is the case with my old friend Kelly, who I’ve known since junior high, and since that time she’s been full of shit. On top of that, she’s loud and abusive, pathologically hostile and emotionally crippled. These things might make you wonder why I’d be friends with her, but if you’ve ever read this blog, you understand we’re two peas in a pod. Except for all the lying.

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“My” New Girl

I hate my job because it doesn’t pay me what I’m worth, on plenty of levels it’s degrading, and it has nothing even remotely to do with my theoretical career path. However, I did like a few things about it, mainly that I never had enough to do so I could fill the void by doing more important things like blogging. I didn’t get the chance to do much blogging, though, because right around the time I decided to dust the ol’ blog off and start ranting on a regular basis, my boss announced he had hired my replacement, and she’d be starting Monday. This was three weeks ago.

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Notes from Stupidland…

I wrote up nearly 50 pages of material explaining in detail every single pitiful aspect of my job. What follows are some transcriptions of the sloppy, barely literate notes my trainee took:

“To find WR in da shop, do they stock parts go to your #1 order processor type in your part # & under neath dat you WY C P-Loc = S 32” (instructions on how to find parts in our computer system; it makes as much sense to you as it does to me)

“It gives you the part # & descrption then you go into part # type # gives you vendor” (no idea; I don’t even know what “it” refers to)

“They are on top left bins (in front of me)” (in reference to some paperwork boilerplate)

“In da bak of office (by comp.) right side top of file cabinet you will find some manilla enevelopes w/writting on them inter-department delivery”

I should also note that everything I typed in boldface is highlighted in yellow, indiscriminately.

Do I really think she’s that stupid? Sort of. I think a lot of the incoherence comes from her not really taking notes—just trying to look like she was doing something. It’s anybody’s guess, though. She might think these are really good, sound coherent notes. Maybe the way her mind works, they will help her succeed. I’d just hate to be there on the day somebody moves the “top left bins” in front of her, or moves the “manilla enevelopes.”

The bulk of her notes, though, were mainly directions, names, phone numbers, dates, and times. I decided to be nice and not post them, but I’m not exactly surprised to find she was more interested in keeping track of her social life than in learning how to do the job. I quit now, so I can snicker at the thought of them forcing her to do a job she can’t. I’m not a bad teacher, even though I resented her being there in the first place. “My” new girl, the one before the current girl (of whom I refuse to claim ownership), didn’t do a horrible job, comparatively speaking. At the time, I thought she was an abomination, but now I’ve realized she was obnoxious, not as smart as she thought she was, and frustrating. I didn’t like her undermining what little authority I have, I didn’t like her sitting there with me all day (thus preventing me from fucking off, and also yap-yap-yapping in my ear).

I had many problems with “my” new girl, but during the week I had her doing things on her own, to my surprise…she made a couple of minor mistakes, but she didn’t fuck up nearly as much as I thought she would. It would appear that, when faced with a problem, without having me to rely on, she broke down and consulted my procedure manuals and did things right. The mistakes she made were mostly mixing up numbers, a problem the guides couldn’t help, anyway.

And then, after about a week on her own, she quit. I don’t know if she felt she couldn’t handle the job, if she thought it was too tedious when she was by herself, or if she got a new job. Most people don’t just up and quit a job because it’s boring; I’ve only had two jobs in my life that didn’t bore me out of my skull, and trust me, I’ve had more jobs than anyone on the planet. But I’ve never quit one because I was bored; I usually quit them because of the paranoid fantasy everyone has conspired to get me fired. Of course, usually I’m right. I actually caught a glimpse of her personal e-mail over her shoulder, and it looks like she had a few from Manpower, so I’ll assume she got a new job.

I was happy with her gone, but this new new girl is a nightmare. She takes every bad quality of “my” new girl and intensifies it by about 1000%; even worse, she’s related to not one but two people who work there, hired to perform a job whose storied history includes a guy who wasn’t even fired after literally not doing any work for three straight months (no, I’m not referring to myself). It’s clear they don’t care about the position, and it’s clear that she’ll never get fired, and it’s even clearer that she won’t quit.

So I quit. I knew I’d never get fired, but fuck this jobs. Shitty jobs are shitty jobs, and I needed the money and the insurance, but I don’t need an ulcer (and yes, I got one) for a job that is, at the end of the day, a complete waste of time. And a job I was slowly being fucked out of in the first place; they wouldn’t have fired me, but they were giving me what they felt was a promotion and I felt was a demotion. So that was it. Fuck those motherfuckers.

And now I can snicker as I imagine the new new girl lost in a sea of paperwork she doesn’t understand, opting to check her MySpace page every 30 seconds instead of trying to figure out how to do the job. Oh, also, I took back my procedure manuals. I deleted them from the computer. She has nothing to go on but the month of training I gave her, which would be more than sufficient if she wasn’t an imbecile. I took them partly out of spite, but mainly because I made them to help my boss in the likely event that I quit and he couldn’t replace me right away. But he fucked me, so I don’t owe him anything.

Oh, did I mention I made a scene? It was my most epic resignation ever. I usually just quietly sidle out one day, or give notice without elaboration. But that’s because most of my jobs don’t piss me the fuck off. I had grievances to air, and I wanted to air them in front of my coworkers so my boss couldn’t spin it that I got a new job and was just moving on. I tried to do it in front of the new new girl, but for the two weeks before I quit, I told her there was nothing to do and to go away; she was more than happy to oblige (did I mention we didn’t get along and I made her cry at least twice?), so she went off to help her aunt in the back and never returned to the warranty office. I didn’t complain, but she was off somewhere in the back when I quit, which was unfortunate.

Nonetheless, I explained in blunt, profanity-laden terms that I had been royally fucked and I can’t take it anymore. They stuck me in the warehouse for half-days (which would have been bumped to full days once the retard was fully trained), and—this is another reason I wanted to make my scene in front of at least a few coworkers—I wanted to let them know that I was shocked by how comically easy the job is. I’m in pretty bad shape, so I was kind of looking forward to doing some physical labor (so that as soon as I quit it for a better, cushier job, I’d get all fat again). Except…there is shockingly little physical labor. Everything small goes on a cart that is pushed from one end to the other. Everything large goes on a pallet that’s carried by a forklift. That’s it, unless it’s so tiny or light it can be carried by hand.

Now, I’m sure there are safety reasons for it, and the lazy ass in me doesn’t mind it, but fuck, I’ve worked in coffee shops with more grueling physical labor. And at least in a coffee shop you have to use your brain once in awhile. It’s a shitty job with asshole customers that becomes a mind-numbing routine after a month or two, but it requires more brainpower than looking at a part number and location on a sheet, finding the location, finding the number, putting it on a cart, and pushing the cart across a room. I had mastered the entire job in half an hour.

Did I feel like an asshole for insulting my coworkers’ livelihood? Fuck those motherfuckers. Most of them were glad to inform me that I wasn’t doing “real” work, so I was equally glad to inform them that their definition of “real work” is bullshit. It’s certainly different from the warehouse I worked in during high school. Besides which, most of them are either drunks and semi-legal immigrants (or both!) who either can’t do better or don’t want to do better. They want to drink on the job. They don’t know enough English to do more than read simple numbers. Either way, fuck ’em.

I told my boss I didn’t appreciate being completely fucked over because I was nice enough to be honest and let him know I had no intention of staying at this job any longer than I had to. I also let my coworkers know about some secret gossip nobody was supposed to know about. Because fuck them. The new new girl is training for my job, but one of the reasons she went off with the aunt is because, at the point when she was fully trained for my job, she was supposed to learn this other job and then, eventually, do both. The aunt would then usurp the job of an old codger, who they would force into retirement. People like the old guy, which is why they didn’t ram it down his throat sooner. He can still do the job, albeit a little more slowly, so what the fuck? Answer: the aunt is my boss’s best friend/second-in-command’s sister. So they create a position that’s not open for her niece, then move the aunt to another closed position, ousting two more qualified employees in the process.

My boss clearly didn’t like hearing that. He tried to cut me off, but I wouldn’t let him. He tried to defend himself, at which point I told him to fuck himself. Then I stormed out, never to be heard from again…

…until ten minutes later, when I realized I hadn’t punched out. I called a coworker and had him do it for me, to spare the embarrassment of coming back. But I had planned that resignation for weeks, literally (I stayed on to get holiday pay). I had slowly made all of my personal effects disappear the preceding week, so I left a free man, and I left nothing behind.

Because fuck those motherfuckers. I may be unemployed (again), but I can laugh.

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Workplace Comedy

The gossip mill is abuzz with the news that the girl at work who trained me to “student surpasses teacher” level forced my former boss to make good on a lunch he owes her. He owes everyone in the office lunch, and this is the first time he’s ever actually done something about it. Why would he do this?

Simple answer: the idiot, who I left her to finish training, cannot learn. The Trainer wanted to go out and have lunch with The Boss to discuss, at length, her problems with The Idiot. But, of course, nothing happened. He’s been backed into a corner, and he’s finally admitting it. Because, remember, if she fires The Idiot, work slows from her aunt, and his lead man—brother-in-law of the aunt—has threatened at least once to make a power play to usurp The Boss’s job. This is bad because, at this point, the lead man does all the work and The Boss takes all the credit.

Turns out: it’s not just up to The Boss. He doesn’t manage the entire branch, and the actual branch manager—as well as the regional manager—are exceedingly unhappy. The Trainer has tried to keep up with it as best she can, but she’s juggling more responsibilities than she deserves, so the warranty work has slowed down. Customers have started complaining, and The Boss can only stave them off with the “the other guy quit and she hasn’t been trained” excuse for so long.

This week, shit has really hit the fan.

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Dicked Around

Longtime readers might remember a passing reference to a job interview I was pretty stoked about awhile back. It’s pretty clear that I didn’t get the job; if I had, I probably wouldn’t be quite so enraged about everything. What I neglected to mention is that—perhaps adding to my rage—it was down to me and one other person, and the other person got the job. I received a pretty heartfelt phone call in which they told me they had to go with the other candidate, strongly hinting that they felt he was unqualified (not that I was, but hey, they liked me) and he was being pushed on them because he was an internal candidate.

Well, I got that interview through my friend Mark (now would be a good time to check out the new Cast of Characters link in the sidebar), who worked for the law firm. He would send me periodic e-mails with other jobs I might be good for. Many of them I felt like I was too unqualified for, and I didn’t want to keep applying to jobs I had no shot at and risk pissing off the HR lady. Around September, a similar job in the same department opened up. I applied…and heard absolutely nothing.

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Just got an e-mail from Mark regarding the job. To his credit, he’s trying to undo the damage he’s done by feeding me little bits of info.

I sort of snickered when he mentioned that he was the first person to interview for the position and that she didn’t schedule a follow-up with the marketing department right away (as she did when I interviewed for the position). Then I felt legitimately bad when he mentioned he was replaying the interview in his head over and over again, thinking of questions he answered poorly. It wasn’t just his penchant for honesty that did him in—it’s his unrelenting negativity. After feeling bad, I got pissed off again: he knows he’s the kind of guy who will walk into a job interview knowing he didn’t get it—so why go for it in the first place, when he knows I need it (and, in this particular case, want it) more?

Based on the questions he thought he botched, Mark attempted to coach me into giving “correct” answers. The irony, of course, is that I’ve already got my bases covered. His main concern was saying “no” when asked if he’d ever have interest in pursuing a career in law; I stated flat-out in my cover letter that I’d love to get some firm experience, even in the marketing department, before pursuing a J.D. His other big concern was “hyping” my web skills. Yes, there are two positions open—yet another reason to be annoyed he didn’t mention it; he really was just trying to eliminate any competition, no matter what, for this job he didn’t believe he’d get—one for print material, the other for web. According to my largely fictitious resume, I have ample experience with both media, but I did hype the web skills more. I remembered from my previous interview that they were shifting to focus more on the web, and the web-design group is part of the marketing department.

Now, here I am, taking my accumulated knowledge and blitzing the HR lady, without any success (so far). Meanwhile, Mark has had his first (and probably only) interview. What the hell?

Based on what Mark told me, I decided I should wait until Friday before contacting the head of marketing. I still feel kind of strange about doing it, but like many others have said: if I don’t risk pissing some people off, I’d never hear anything. So either they’re going to be elated and the ball will start rolling, or they’re going to be pissed and it’d be the same basic result. What’s the harm in going for it?

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Photo Blog: Over the Counter

In January, I received a helpful e-mail from my health insurance provider. It informed me that Zyrtec—the allergy medication I’ve taken since I was 15—would now be providing prescription-strength pills over the counter, so if I attempted another prescription refill, they’d have no problem charging me $145 instead of the usual $15.

I don’t usually take my allergy medication in winter, because there aren’t as many outdoor allergens to ruin my life. But allergy season is upon us, and as such I finished my Zyrtec prescription on Sunday and had to take a trip up to Walgreens to find the over-the-counter version. They had a bunch of options: five tablets, 14, 30, or 45. I would have preferred to go big, for maximum value, but the 30- and 45-tablet options were locked in little cabinets. I don’t really like pushing the button and having someone from the pharmacy assist me, because, aside from the other sordid reasons, there’s a girl working in that pharmacy who I unintentionally stalked for about three months about eight years ago.

Now, when I say that, don’t get all in a tizzy thinking I’m some psycho nutbar. Different people have different definitions of “stalking” (apparently). Standing behind a tree in her front yard, chain-smoking and staring at her bedroom window—that’s stalking. Asking a girl on a date multiple times, including prefacing one or two of them with flowery (and, I’ll admit, embarrassing) declarations of love—that’s just a delightful cocktail of persistence and stupidity. No matter how you define it, there’s nothing more humiliating than seeing her. She actually stopped working there for awhile, but now she’s back, and I’m compelled to switch over my prescription pickup location to a slightly farther but much less awkward location. But fuck, it was Sunday, I didn’t want to drive 10 minutes when I could have driven three.

I also didn’t want to risk having to see or speak with her if I could avoid it, so I didn’t push the little assistance button. Even though it was kind of a rip-off, I grabbed two 14-tablet thingies and went home.

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Job Shit

Update on that law firm job I wanted:

Over the course of the past month, one thing became abundantly clear: nobody at that firm was interested in hiring me, despite the fact that the HR lady told me in no uncertain terms, “It was down to you and one other person, and it was a really difficult decision.”

I called the HR lady several times, left a couple of messages, sent her e-mails, applied using the “apply online” form on their website, and when I didn’t get a response (okay, technically, one time I did get her on the phone, but it seemed like an accident and she tried as hard as she could to get me off the phone ASAP), I brought out the big guns. I don’t actually have any big guns, but what I mean by that is I e-mailed the department manager directly, since he was supposedly the one who liked me so much. He forwarded my resume back to HR, and the lady sent it back to me with a snippy e-mail saying she was already aware of my interest in the job but they were looking at candidates with legal experience first. Fair enough, although the fact that my “friend” Mark works in a library in a law firm doesn’t exactly make him Clarence Darrow, so I didn’t understand the big deal. Also, if the department manager wrote anything to her—like, for instance, “I loved this kid! Bring him in immediately!”—she deleted it when she sent the forwarded message back to me.

Meanwhile, Mark has sent me vaguely paranoid updates on his proceedings with the job. I’ve sent him responses designed to undermine his confidence under the illusion of supportiveness. Actually, after what I’d been through, I really did feel like I had no shot at the job—if even the department manager ignored my resume—so I guess I can’t be too mad at him. I was being stonewalled, and that, at least, wasn’t his fault. The HR lady definitely knew of my interest, and now the marketing manager also knew. So I figured, even though I didn’t really want Mark getting the job, I shouldn’t be a total asshole to him. At least he was honest enough to tell me…even if it was after-the-fact and only because I e-mailed him to say I saw the listing and was still interested.

Mark actually broke through to the second interview phase, and I thought, That’s it—I’m done for, he’s got the job. He e-mailed me at some point last week wondering how similar his experience was to my own. I told him it was pretty much the same, so he shouldn’t necessarily feel optimistic.

And, shock of shocks, he e-mailed me yesterday:

Subject: Does this sound familiar

Body: HR Lady: “It was down to you and one other person, and it was a really difficult decision.”

That pissed him off, and it pissed me off, and what’s worse, it’s not exactly a confidence booster. If “it was down to you and one other person” is her standard line, it crystallizes all the other bullshit I’ve put up with from the HR lady. Granted, she both excels at and enjoys railroading prospective candidates, so I guess it wouldn’t have any real effect on her to know that telling this to an applicant still gives them hope. Most job interviews, if you don’t get it, you don’t hear back, and if you do hear back, they just tell you they went with somebody else. Saying “you were ridiculously close to getting this job, but [insert minor, possibly bureaucratic reason for not getting the job]” just tells you, “You should troll the company website until the job pops back up and then pounce.” Finding out she told Mark the exact same thing, phrased the exact same way (only omitting the part about an internal candidate, since he was the internal candidate), makes me assume it was never down to me and one other person, or that if it was, the chasm between myself and the other candidate was impossibly big.

Lucy has a different, more optimistic perspective. She really does seem to think that—miracle of miracles—they really did like both of us, but for various reasons went with somebody else. In my case, they went with an internal candidate; with Mark, they apparently hired an actual attorney, which became a joke in his department. “An attorney got hired for a staff job? He must really suck.” I’m not sure if this means the responsibilities and/or qualifications for the job have changed, or maybe they just got along with the guy a little bit better. Who the hell knows?

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My sister called me up tonight and gave me two suggestions:

  1. Join the Peace Corps
  2. Teach English abroad

I know she’s trying to help, but…seriously? Seriously?!

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Free Work’s for Suckers

For nearly two years now, I’ve been “working” for a semi-legitimate film-criticism website that has, so far, earned me a broken computer that I can’t fix (which was supposed to be a bribe that I could either use myself or sell on eBay—hard to do either when I can’t make it work). In my defense, I don’t do that much work for it, and when I do it’s pretty much self-satisfying. In the beginning, the guy who runs it would send me the shit cluttering his desk, which nobody else wanted, and I’d happily review it. I haven’t done that in a year; he still sends me the clutter, but I don’t review it.

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