Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jobs I've Hated, Part One

I once went to work for a man named Lester. I'd tell you his last name but that's also the company name, which unlike Lester, still exists.

I got the job through a temp agency. They said it was a great place to work, and I'd love the people. The next week the rep from the agency called me to get directions to the place, so I'm thinking she had no clue what Lester's place and people were like.

Part of the agreement when accepting employment was to have your photograph taken. I learned why one day when the company president had left his album lying out - It was titled "Ryan's Angels," and contained a photo of every female employee that had come and gone, complete with degrading comments.

There was a "reception" desk, even though nobody ever came to our offices, with an alarm clock stationed dead center. The alarm went off every day at 2:00 p.m., as warning that Lester might show up any time. As soon as he walked in the door I was to take his mail to his car, put it exactly where he wanted it, which was on top of 300 other untouched mail packets still in his car. Then I was to check the gas gage, and if it read less than 3/4 of a tank I was to call the service department at Lester's company next door and have them fill the tank.

Lester never knew my name - he usually had Linda, his assistant, pass the orders: "Find Mr. Mean (not his real name) a mirror for his Navigator that does not say Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear. She said these things with a straight face. One day Linda sent me to Mean's office. He said to go to the vending machine next door and make a list of everything in it. I knew he knew what he wanted. "What are you craving?" I asked. "Just make the list."

I returned with the list and he pulled a wad of bills from his pocket and told me to bring him two candy bars. I tried to get him to keep the money and pay later but he insisted I carry more than I made in a month to buy two treats. I returned with the candy and the wad of money and got instructions to put one of the candy bars in his glove box. I imagined him holding candy bars at different angles to the rear view mirror, studying how close they appeared to be. After worrying about carrying all that money, it was not the money I was accused of taking. Lester forgot he told me to put a candy bar in the car, and accused me of stealing it.

Lester once called from his bathroom, while doing his business and looking at a magazine ad for a watch. He wanted one like it, and today. When he wanted to talk to his wife, who was at home with him, he called and told us to get his wife on the phone. If he wanted to speak to his daughter who ran the company next door, he called and told us to get her on the phone. Need I tell you that every call also had to be recorded?

Thanksgiving came, and my child became emergency room ill. Her little neck was swollen wider than my hips, she had a fever, and she hurt. After numerous physicians looked at her, they sent us home with no diagnosis, but told me to make sure she had no activity whatsoever until she got treatment with her regular doctor on Monday, as if this were mono related, she could "bleed out". While anxiously waiting for Monday I called a coworker to give a heads up that I'd be absent. Before the doctor's office opened Monday morning Linda called: "Too bad you won't get paid for the holiday since you're missing the day after. Company rules."

After my daughter's recovery, I wrote a letter to management, enclosing a copy of the "rules" along with proof of the medical emergency that kept me from cataloging candy bars and shopping online, for a fool with too much money. It was determined that an error had occurred and I was promptly paid for the holiday. Suddenly there was a need to change my hours, requiring I stay in the office (alone) until 6:00 p.m. every Friday, in case Lester needed something.

Lester didn't need anything, but I did. The following Monday morning I called in done, and joined the other angels in the album.


  1. Kinda reminds me of Mrs. Wiggins on the Carol Burnett show..that was my favorite sketch growing up. Sorry your story wasn't a sketch but glad you made parole at that dump !!!

  2. Ugh! I had an aweful boss like that - but not quite to that extreme. That's really over the top.

  3. Oh my...this sounds HORRIBLE. Your humor makes it such a good story but, geez! I'm so sorry you had to live through it, but I'm glad for the fodder it gives you for your writing.