Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun Friday XXIX: Take This Job and Shove It



Happy Friday, everyone. If you're in a region of the world that has a long weekend coming up, enjoy! I'm praying the weather reports are wrong, and that we'll actually get some sunshine on Saturday and Sunday.

For this week's Fun Friday, I want you to tell me about your worst job. We all had to start somewhere...what was your worst of the worst?

My worst job was a slow death in a beige cubicle. Everywhere I looked, all I could see was beige. Even the people were beige. I was surrounded by co-workers in their twilight years who said, "It was just a summer job when I was fifteen...just a summer job...." That place was a trap I was desperate to escape. I would have gnawed off my own arm if the museum position hadn't come along.

I should have known I was in trouble when the office supplies I inherited from my predecessor had the word Help scrawled on them. Or when the vacant cubicle next to mine was filled with name plates--names of the poor souls who came before me but hadn't survived. When I left that place, I took my name plate with me. There was no way I was adding to that trophy wall.

There wasn't much for me to do, but what there was was mundane, monotonous, and tied up with red tape. Any creative spark was quickly crushed under foot. I went crazy with boredom. The other bright, ambitious souls who'd been trapped along with me left before I did, with each departure leaving me sadder and more alone.

I worked with a team of women who, left to their own devices and without much to do, grew nastier and nastier. They devolved into a pack of wild dogs, snapping and snarling. They chose victims and circled, making their prey's life one of misery and ostracism. My poor male boss had no idea what was going on and couldn't understand it, so the situation only got worse.

I have never felt more free than the day I left that office for the very last time. And I will never work in a place like that again, ever. The very worst day at the museum is a million times better than a "good" day there.

Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty, I'm free at last.

5 comments:

  1. Before I came to my present position I had worked 6 years for a company in a job that didn’t fulfill me. Although they treated me satisfactorily I knew that I would eventually leave. The only thing keeping me there were my co-workers who were awesome people. Then an out-of-province company acquired us through a hostile takeover, and many people were so eager to leave they jumped ship before the incentive bonuses could be paid out. That was too much money for me to just kiss goodbye, so I stuck through to the end. With less than four months left the administration implemented a new dress-code, which required many people to go out and purchase new clothing, on budgets they didn’t have. They began to limit vacations, monitor coffee-breaks and scrutinize “appointments”( God forbid someone go and interview for another position with only a few weeks left.) The morale of the entire department eroded before my eyes…the catch phrase when sneaking out early on a long weekend was “What are they going to do…fire me?” Productivity sagged and sick days were taken with wild abandon. I’ve always believed that employers should treat their employees as the asset and investment they are rather than as an expense because the only thing worse than losing a happy employee is keeping an unhappy one.

    I don’t miss that place. I currently work in an amazing environment, with great and understanding boss and supervisor. I look forward to coming to work each day, and gladly stick around if needed at the end of the day.

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  2. Get to work, avoid office politics, make it through to lunch in the hot sauna that is my shared office, go cry in car as I half-heartedly eat a sandwich, survive the afternoon (more of the same), cry on the drive home, repeat. That was my life for the better part of a year, with my husband asking...no, begging, me to quit. I vowed that, after that experience, I would never put myself in a situation that would force either my husband or I to work in such circumstances again. Either one of us can now choose to "flip burgers" for a living and we would be OK. I LOVE that freedom to choose. I will never feel trapped like that again.

    Life is too short. Each one of us needs to find what drives us, what fuels our souls and a miserable workplace cannot possibly be one of them. That terrible experience lead to a truly fantastic opportunity and I am pleased to say I have been blessed in many ways in my current place(s) of employment.

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  3. My worst job ever was at the Museum. Being belittled and talked down to. Constantly having your supervisor looking over your shoulder - that was the worst. Not being permitted to participate in museum activities like exhibit openings. Even though it took me over 3 months to recover from the stress induced breakdown the best day was the day I left. Miss the people in other departments they are all great.

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  4. Wow, what sad stories! I was expecting light-hearted ranting, but it all goes to show how important the workplace is to our overall well-being.

    @ Lisa - what a terrible situation to have been in! It sounds like surviving it made you an even stronger person, and I'm glad you found a job where you are happy and appreciated.

    @ Helene - welcome to my blog, and thanks so much for commenting. I don't know you well, but from what I've seen, you are such a powerful, confident, happy person. I can't even imagine how awful that job must have been to bring you to the point you describe. I am very happy you escaped, and honored that you shared your story. Now you are changing lives every day--how cool is that?

    @ V - Oh, boy. I'm so sorry to hear that. I had no idea you were suffering so much. It's sad that one person has so much power to spoil things, because it is a great place to work. I can understand, though, because my first boss there was NOT a good fit, and I surely would have left if he hadn't. I hope you are on your way to something better. I wish you all the best.

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  5. I shared this post with an old colleague, who reminded me of one great thing that came from this horrible job...at least two wonderful close friends and many more kind acquaintances who I am still in contact with.

    My friend also reminded me of the time my boss asked if I was happy there. I said, "Honestly, I feel like I could die in that cube, and no one would notice until my body started to smell." For some reason, he still expressed great surprise when I quit.

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