Worst Job Ever
Molly Dugger Brennan
I have been away from home for several days on an eye surgery/socializing with old friends whirlwind tour. Except for the cutting a hole in my eye part, I had a grand time. The eye thingy worked out great too, because now I can see like a freaking hawk. I can see individual hairs on the dogs. I can see tiny birds in the trees. I can see deer in distant fields. Unfortunately, now I can see cobwebs and dust. I can see my own wrinkles for the first time. I can see moles and chin hair that I did not know I had. It's a mixed blessing, really.
At dinner one night, one of my friends offered one of the best conversation starters I'd ever heard. What's the worst job you've ever had? This question really intrigues me and it sure got the ball rolling at dinner. Everyone has had some job experience that is at best awkward, and at worst, psychologically damaging. So, I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.
Contest Alert! Leave your worst-job-ever story in the Comments section below. You've got 3,000 characters to play with. In my usual magnanimous fashion as Queen of All that is My Own Blog, I'll choose a winner and bestow a prize. I've not decided what the prize will be but I guarantee you that it will not be of the caliber that you will be able to regift it. This is more of a bragging rights kind of thing. I choose Friday, 30 November 2012 as the end date for this little contest. Are you in?
As promised, here is my Worst Job Ever story. It wasn't the work that made it the very worst, it was the boss, the vice president of my division. This job was at a typical, completely interchangeable, Beltway-bandit tech company. I was writing user manuals for custom software packages. I thought the vice president was okay, kind of discomfited, kind of socially inept, but you get that a lot when you take a techie-type and force them into management because that's the only way they'll get promoted past a certain point. It's not a natural fit and weirdness often ensues. This guy was ambitious enough and tight enough with the main client to get all the way to division vice president, which really is an accomplishment.
So one year, in order to thank all us worker bees for a job well done on a huge, important, lucrative project, this vice president invites the entire division to his lakeside home for a party. It's a pretty property and the food was good, so as far as work parties go, it was quite pleasant. Lots of shrimp and not an Amway salesman in sight, so I was having a good time. I'm starting to like this V.P. a little more. He's okay after all. He has given me unlimited seafood and rum, how bad can he be?
Part of the gathering was a house tour. You could wander all through his home and get a feel for what a vice president's salary could get you in the world of real estate. It was a home furnished sparely, but with great pieces. The real attraction in the home was the floor to ceiling windows facing the lake in nearly every room. The view was amazing. It was a splendid house.
Some of the programmers spent more time lost in rooms far away from the party than did the rest of us, but that was consistent for them. They spent a lot of their time at work hiding out. These guys were more comfortable in small, quiet herds. So I was surprised to see them, as a group, march quickly through the noisy crowd and straight to the bar.
What's up? After a couple of shots, one of them opened up and spilled the beans. In paranoid whispers, eyes darting around the room the whole time, he said that they had been perusing the bookshelves in the master bedroom. Thought there was no better way to get to know a guy than see what he kept in his bedroom, particularly the reading material. So there they were, reading the book spines and searching for personality clues, when they come across an entire shelf on bestiality, particularly focused on sex with German shepherds.
Eeeeewwwwww! What the fuck? I didn't believe them. Made them take me to the bookshelf. Immediately regretted doing that once I saw the books. Oh. My. God. I went tearing through the house looking for signs of dog ownership. Are there food bowls, dog beds, leashes, chewies? Even walked up to Mr. Perv himself and asked if he had any pets. The answer, thankfully, was no.
Most of us who had seen the shelf left the party shortly thereafter. Monday morning was so very awkward. Everyone in the know stopped talking about their dogs. Everyone who knew seemed to spend more time cleaning the office kitchen after the V.P. had been in there. Our Lysol budget tripled in a month. Things just did not recover from the creepy. The level of discomfort got so bad that we started floating our resumes to other companies. One by one, we left the project.
So a party that was meant to foster teamwork and express gratitude for nailing a big, important project broke us apart because someone was too lazy to hide his puppy porn. That's leadership.