You know, I have this talent for pulling in the most annoying people on the planet. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m bored and need fodder for this blog and other writing endeavors or if I have royaly crappy luck.
And usually this talent manifests itself at work. I’ll give you three examples:
First there was know-it-all-Nora. We needed an admin assistant – a nice name really for a gopher. Somebody to do all the stupid crap that nobody else wants to do. Get my drift? So we decided to hire the daughter of a friend of mine. Though I hadn’t seen her in many years she seemed to have matured quite a bit and I was happy to give her a job. Within about 48 hours it started to become a problem.
I would ask her to write a letter. A no brainer activity since we have templates we use for various types of letters to clients and prospects. You simply plug in the name and the job into the template, print it out – print an envelope and you’re done. Well Nora didn’t like that at all. No, she felt that a different font was in order and that for some reason we needed to print the postal bar code on the envelope. And then there was the wording which she felt she could truly improve upon. No matter how many times I told her that the owner wanted things the way they were and wanted the letters done as I showed her she would not relent.
Out of frustration, I let it slide. I just rewrote the letters when she wasn’t around. I asked her to update the database. Call past clients and verify addresses, make any changes and let me know her progress on a weekly basis. Instead I discovered she was simply calling people and having nice long chats with them. The database was never done and I ended up having to verify everything she’d reported as done.
It got unbearable when she started issuing orders to me. Now, you don’t really know me but if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you probably know I wouldn’t take kindly to this sort of thing. The fit hit the shan as they say – and after lots of stupid touchy feely, let’s just all get along crap from the owners, they finally saw the light and gave Nora the boot. After a couple of weeks my jaw unclamped and harmony returned to the universe.
A few months later, our bookeeper who is a heck of a gal had a death in the family and was quite understandably overwhelmed by the loss. She gave her notice and left. We scrambled but managed to find another bookeeper who had all the markings of a damn fine replacement. Well that illusion lasted about two weeks.
One of the owners started coming to me and showing me the many emails Sylvania was sending him. She was advising him to fire employees who had worked for them for years (literally), insisting they had to join a businessmen’s association or she could no longer work for them, taking it upon herself to compose marketing letters and campaigns and basically refusing to have anything to do with the books and the keeping thereof.
She was so intimidating that the owners were scared of her and kept at me to do something with her. I of course recommended firing her, which they just couldn’t do. No they, being the bastions of bravery that they are preferred people to fire themselves. Yes, that’s the ticket. If you just let them stay on and wreak havoc with your business until they are as miserable as they have made everyone else then they will finally just leave.
I must admit, that in a way it sort of worked. Suddenly she was cutting back her hours and confiding in me that the owners were crazy. I had to agree with her but for reasons she was unaware of, like the fact that they were still signing her paychecks for example.
Suddenly the other job she managed to land wasn’t as rosey as she thought it would be and voila she increased her hours again.
She had all manner of advice for me. What I should be doing, who I should be marketing to, how I should be handling the employees and the owners and what we would have to do to put the place in order. Not to mention the fact that she had the resident carpenter in a rage over completely manufactured maniacal intent on the part of the owners.
Little did she know that the previous bookeeper was a neighbor of mine and she and I had had several talks. And I was quietly working on getting her to come back to work.
Well, finally the bosses had had enough of her when she sent them over 10 emails on the same thing. They begged me to tell them how to handle these incessant emails (now mind you, her office was but 25 steps from theirs and an email was completely unnecessary) and I told them to go and talk to her about them in person. But they were afraid.
I’ll admit Sylvania from Transylvania was creepy and had that kind of smile that made you wonder if she carried a big knife behind her back – but the two of them could have taken her.
Finally I told them that the previous bookeeper was interested in coming back to work for them. Overjoyed, they told her that they were laying her off. They volunteered to write a letter of recommendation – but she left so fast they had hardly started to compose it. With good reason, we later discovered – as she had messed up the sales tax – tax report, hadn’t recorded the income properly, had all the files mixed up (which took weeks for our returned bookeeper to sort out) and apparently had no idea to use Quick Books. How we managed to avoid bouncing checks and screwing everything up completely during her tenure, I’ll never know.
Now to our current jerk in residence. Rodney the genius. Now Rodney is a crackerjack craftsman and that’s good since that is what he was hired to do. He makes amazing models and props and works efficiently and ably. All good, right?
Not so much. Apparently Rodney has too damn much time on his hands because he is constantly making ‘suggestions’ as to what marketing should be done, how we should handle clients, and the ways in which we can drum up some business. Did I mention this is a guy who makes props and sculptures and so forth? And that he wasn’t hired to do anything administrative whatsoever? I mean I don’t know when he does all that prop making since he is constantly in my face about who, what, where and why. And he absolutely must interupt the morning meeting to ask questions that could surely wait.
But today took the cake – literally. It happened to be one of the owners birthday. I’ve worked for these guys for 2 1/2 years and we’ve become friends to say the least. I decided that I would do a little something for him and made brownies and got birthday hats, noisemakers, etc. – all silly stuff – just to make him feel good, you know? No big deal.
I let everyone know and at the prescribed time we all gathered. Well silly other boss got some very quick burning candles and they started to melt all over the brownies -so we stepped up the singing. And I told birthday boss to blow out the candles. But old Rodney screamed “No! We have to sing right first.” So they like the goofy bots that they are did. And of course the brownies were covered with wax.
Which I have to say really pissed me off. I mean, who the hell is he? This was my party, I made it, literally, I paid for it – he had no place to open his big yap about anything except to stuff some brownies in it.
You may think I’m being petty and maybe I am – but this shit really pisses me off. I mean what is it about my stupid-ass job that has people lusting after it? Surely it isn’t the fame. Definitely not the pay and from the looks of things, not the respect. So WTF is it? Do they know something I don’t know? Am I about to win the fricking lotto? Am I about to become the most famous lucky person on the planet? Is my measly, insignificant job so fricking appealing that they are staying up nights trying to think of ways to take it from me by using their exemplary intellectual and strategic skills? Or are there just a lot of pathetically insecure people who think that the grass is greener?
I’ll tell you what though…if Rodney or anybody else pulls this crap again, I’m handing them my clipboard and phone and going after their fricking job. If I screw it up, so what? They didn’t want it anyway in the first place right?