My sister and I were recently discussing all the things we have done to make money over the course of our lives. Growing up poor was awesome because there was never a job that we were too good for. We freaking loved to make money and we were straight up hustlers. Calm down. We weren’t hookers. Well, at least I wasn’t. Some of the guys I slept with didn’t pay me.
It’s a dog eat dog world out there and my sister reminded me of the time I jacked her job at a car dealership after she was hired as a part-time receptionist. Apparently, when I came in to interview for the other part-time position, they decided I was better suited for the job and moved her ass to the back with the mechanics to polish engine parts. Whatever. I don’t feel bad, I did her a favor. Thanks to me, my sister could assemble all of IKEA completely blindfolded, using only her teeth if she wanted to. Annnnd years later, I even got her a job taking care of those pointless miniature horses for some guy who was taking a romantic RV trip across the United States with his mother.
Anyway, my boss was a gigantic bitch and I could quickly see why every other receptionist would quit after a couple days. I put up with her pissy little attitude because I needed the money to pay for school. Once the broad realized I wasn’t going to back down and would work any hours I could get, she actually started to like me. In fact, she liked me so much she gave me a sentimental glass angel figurine for Christmas in lieu of a bonus one year.
After I had been there awhile, I started to feel mighty comfortable. I would roll in ten minutes late everyday, give my favorite sales people the good calls, wait for the creepy, middle-aged, car washer to slither on up to my desk with one hand suspiciously shoved in his pocket and tell me he was in love with me. Then, I would place any filing in the “to-do” pile for the evening receptionist and read a magazine. It was a pretty great set-up.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games. Sometimes, I had no choice but to work and this would require me to use the intercom system. LOTS of power here, lots of power.
Fortunately, I am extremely gifted at finding ways to entertain myself in insufferable situations. I would perfect my impressions by paging people with a series of accents…Indian, British, Asian, Irish, Jewish Mother, a series of African clicks. I even figured out an ole’ modus operandi to get the higher-ups to answer their calls by simply announcing who was holding for them to the entire dealership. “Jim Smith a panicked women who is not your wife is holding on line 1. She claims it’s urgent. Pretty sure she’s prego. Repeat Jim Smith Line 1.” The call would be picked up immediately.
No. I have absolutely no idea why I wasn’t fired.
This was followed by a series of odd jobs: plasma donation, house cleaning, delivering papers in frigid weather all over my college campus, restocking display cases at a chocolate store (I started to get fat and had to quit), babysitting (more of hostage situation, the parents hated their kid, held my sister and I captive for $75 a week to deal with the little bastard), a peer counselor for troubled teens (I am positive I was extremely helpful). Eventually, I graduated from college and applied for a job at a law firm.
I wasn’t really qualified for this position so I relied on my powerful skills of persuasion, an inflated resume and my sister’s “professional” letter of reference. I poured my heart and soul into this job. I arrived early, engrossed myself in learning, took calls after hours, wrote threatening letters to people. I was all business. Annnnnd I was making some moola baby!
After I had been there a few months, I had pretty much figured out the dynamics of the joint. This all changed one day when I had my head buried in some files and heard a “tap tap tap”. I looked up and one of my bosses, who was the size of third grader that was fat and balding, was knocking his coffee cup against his door frame.
He motioned for me to come over there, put his hand over the receiver on his phone and said, “Coffee. Cream. Extra sugar.” I nodded and brought it to him. A few hours later, I was in the middle of another project and I heard the “tap” again. I ignored it. He tapped louder. Once again, I got up and brought him coffee. He was looking at a dirty email and apparently, this is why his legs were not working. My eyes narrowed.
From then on, every time I heard the “tap” I would go into the kitchen, lick the rim of a clean coffee cup, bring it to him and take his dirty one. This was the only time in my life I recall wishing I had herpes. He had me come in on a Saturday to organize his entire office, run to the post office during rush hour after he dicked around all day, and then stay late every night. He was on a total power trip and taking advantage of me. So I decided I hated him and made it obvious.
Eventually, I found another job and informed him I was quitting. He wrote on my exit form that I had “problems with authority” and “struggled to be insubordinate”. These words remain forever etched in my brain. Omg. Brilliant. He was totally fucking right. Call it foreshadowing if you will…
Which is precisely why 15 years later I am my own boss, working exclusively with my sister and one of my closest friends. Because no one is going to tell me what to do, except for my children. XO