Saturday, May 17, 2008

Moving Jobs?

I haven't blogged about my job yet, have I? Hmmm, I better get on that.

Perhaps you would like to know what exactly I do, and what my typical day is like. Maybe you don't. Either way, I'm going to tell you.

I am the production coordinator at an ad agency that deals with enviromental and politcal stuff.

So what is my job like...well.

On my first day of work, I walked into the office and took a good look around. It was a friggin pig sty. Pizza boxes everywhere. Various office supplies scattered haphazardly about.

"We cleaned up for you," Rob said proudly. "Tried to make it look like less of a college dorm." They didn't succeed. Rob was a likeable guy, a carpenter with no political or advertising experience, and along with Mike, and the BOSS, and I guess me, we made up the Vancouver office. Four others made up the New York office.

Rob had only been there a couple of months. Mike had only been there a year. In this 15 year-old company, he was their longest employee. Red Flag #1.

My first day was OK, considering Mike was a terrible teacher and with each minute I realized that I would have to repeatedly ask to be shown how to do things. I also realized how horribly unorganized the office and their "system" was - and how screwed I was considering how horribly unorganized I AM.

Part of the chaos comes from the fact that the office is split in two. One here in Vancouver,the other in New York. I had no idea that despite the time difference, the offices operate as one. Talk about confusing.

"So the boss is away today?" I asked Mike.

"Yeah, but he gets in tomorrow." He looked at me (looked at my chest actually - I always had a feeling that Mike hired me more for my looks rather than my resume - which he apparently really liked too), paused. "The Boss has a problem with women, I thought I would warn you. He means well, but he will get in your face and yell. He's very moody. The last one in this position, she ended up yelling back at him and well, she doesn't work here anymore." Red Flag #2.

I suddenly remember my phone interview with Mike. Me:"Is this a nice, friendly place to work, because my last job was such a tense, unsupportive environment, I couldn't go through that again."

Mike:"Well, when there are deadlines, we will all yell and scream at each other. But we can still go for a beer at the end of the day." Red Flag #3.

Second day on the job and I meet the boss again (he briefly interviewed me). He seems nice enough still, like the nice guy who hired me. And when I mentioned I could get pirated software instead of buying it (thus saving them money) he beams, then shoots a look at Mike (who handles the budget), "Oh Mike is definitely going to marry you now - saving money, you're his perfect woman." Mike turns red. So do I, as I scurry back to my part of the office - that was definitely an awkward thing to say, right out of The Office.

In my part of the office, I meet Lindsay, a timid, young graphic designer who comes in when needed.

A few hours later, I hear the Boss on the phone with a client. "Do your fucking job, you fucking moron. Stop this bullshit - BLAM - this is fucking ridiculous - BOOM - do you fucking understand me - BLAM - well do you? - BOOM! FUCK"

The BLAM is him kicking the wastebasket. The BOOM is him THROWING IT AT THE WALL. The swearing keeps coming and his voice gets louder and louder. Soon the phone is CHUCKED ACROSS THE ROOM. He slams door for the hell of it. And then he starts yelling at Mike and Rob. Calling them fucking morons for something or other. Red Flag #4.

I look at Lindsay. She's huddled over her work. She rolls her eyes, "Yeah he does this every day." Red Flag #5. "We had another graphic designer before me," she continues, "She came in on her first day. He yelled at her just like this. She cried and never came back. Normally Rob and Mike are his punching bags." I could still hear Don screaming at them for something that I will later find out had nothing to do with them.

The next week, Don is gone for the whole time. He's in DC. The atmosphere in the office is pleasant. Until I am introduced to OTHER BOSS - he's in New York. He likes to call you a lot and find fault with everything you do. Several times a day.
My first EVER conversation with OTHER BOSS went something like this: "The timesheet you sent me was corrupted."
Me: "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know, I'll fix it."
Him: "Sigh. We are off to a rather auspicious start, aren't we? (his voice is totally dry, seething with contempt) Well, I have here in the schedule that Stefan is supposed to be sending the finished logo to the client. Has he done that?"
Me: "I assume so."
Him: "See, you just started and we already have a problem. In this business you, NEVER assume."
I try and make a joke out of it, Me:"Right, cuz it makes an ass out of U and Me." Him: "Don't think we haven't heard that before. There is no joking in this business."
Obviously. Red Flag #6
Me: "I will check with Stefan to see if he's done it."
Him: "Yes that's your job. You have to make sure everyone does their job. You have to call and remind them several times a day. You have to hound them."

Later I found out that as much as I email, harass and phone one of my colleagues, they still won't get things done. And that it's my fault because I OBVIOUSLY didn't harrass them enough.

A glorified babysitter. This is my job. I am also a middleman. When my co-worker has something that needs to get done, such as a logo for a client, they come to me. I choose from the list of vendors - the list that everyone has because I update it everyweek and send it to them - and then tell the vendor what to do. I don't actually KNOW what they are to do, because I have no idea what the project is, but I pass the info on. Then the vendor does it, passes it back to me. I pass it back to the co-worker. He wants somethings fixed. He tells me. I tell the person.

Can you imagine what would happen if you eliminated my job? The co-worker would tell the vendor directly and exactly what they wanted. The vendor would pass the project directly to the co-worker to review. GASP! THE SIMPLICITY OF IT ALL! Red Flag #7

Oh, and I also coordinate the schedule. Meaning, I BUG people to tell me what they have planned for their clients in the coming week. Most of the time, I get half-assed responses (which OTHER BOSS likes to pick apart because half-assed is not good enough - mind you these are THEIR responses, not mine). Then I fill it in the schedule for everyone to see. But nobody actually bothers opening it up and looking at it. Then I look at what people are to be doing in the next week and I start harassing them about that: Have you done it yet? When is it going to be done? Will it get done? Can you tell me when it's done? Are you done yet? Are you done yet? Are you done yet?

Another part of my job is to hire new freelancers. We suddenly needed an ad reel compiled. Our regular editor was no longer available. My boss was in a huff, in my face, telling me it had to be DONE NOW! FIND A FINAL CUT-PRO EDITOR FOR TOMORROW!

Luckily, I had already put an ad on Craigslist out a few days ago, forseeing that our regular editor would be booked. I asked for help on picking the right candidate cuz I knew nothing about hiring, but everyone said to figure it out myself - all they had to know was Final Cut Pro.

So I hired a guy who had a good demo reel and lots of experience and off we went. The guy, Duane, comes in. Of course, the boss is an hour late so I have to explain what to do. Problem is, no one told me what he has to do, what the project is, etc. I don't even know how to operate the giant computer he would be working on. So the first hour is wasted.

And then my BOSS tries to explain to Duane what he wants and HOLY HELL is my Boss horrible at explaining things. And when Duane makes a mistake, the Boss gets pissed off.

I start to feel sorry for Duane. Here is this guy who has never been here before, neatly dressed in a suit, with various degrees in journalism and communications and tons of professional editing experience - being lectured by my dumb old boss.

My boss later yells at me as I walk by. "Where the hell did you find this guy? He asks too many questions. Remember, we like them dumb around here. Next time you hire someone, try to keep them dumb, OK? Just get him to finish up and get him out of here." Red Flag #8.

Notice I say yell, because he did yell it and poor Duane is sitting in the next room and can obviousyly hear everything.

The kicker comes later. It's the end of the day, the boss has somewhere to go. He storms in the room, "How are you doing Duane?"

Duane looks scared. "I'm just trying to compress the files before we can burn it."

"Is it compressing?"

"I think so."


"I - I, think so, I haven't used this type of software before to compress."


"Yes, then it's working."


I couldn't even speak, I was so afraid. And no, I am no exagerating on how many times he yelled the F-word at Duane.

So the boss storms out, leaving me and duane in silence and all I could think about was how embarassed I was to work for a man like that.

And that's when I decided to quit.

At first I was thinking of doing two weeks, find another job. But when another yell fest from the BOSS and another critical pick-apart from OTHER BOSS drove me to tears on Friday, I realized I'm not coming back. The long weekend is upon me and it's going to be even longer because Monday I am sending them my letter of resignation and telling them exactly why I can't work in such a tense, poisonous atmosphere, doing a ridiculous job that shouldn't even exist and in an industry I don't give two shits about. Not to mention the fact that I work 9-6 but am barely allowed to leave for lunch - they expect you to eat quickly at your desk and shut up. Did I also mention I had to FIGHT to get the holiday off? A statutory holiday that they weren't going to give. To think I would have to do that each time a stat holiday came up - not to mention that the benefits that were promised were non-existent.

So yeah. That WAS my job. I am not sure what I am going to do now since I need money, but I have my 2 weeks pay behind me and I think I'm going to join a temp firm and do that work until I find a job that I love - or atleast won't be afraid to step in the office every day.

Life's too short to spend your life in fear.


kimberlie said...

oh that job sounds horrible!! Glad you got out!

Girl About Town said...

Oh my God. That's beyond awful. You absolutely did the right thing by leaving.

A suggestion - something I have learned from experience - it is always better to try and go for positions with bigger organisations because they are less likely to treat you like this. In a large organisation they are forced to look after their staff to some degree, and there are supports in place to ensure staff aren't ripped off re holidays, hours, etc. With small companies you are basically at the beck and call of the one big boss who can treat you however he likes.

This has been my experience anyway.

I am sure you will land on your feet and find the right thing for you, who knows, it may just be around the corner!!

Sending lots of good vibes your way!

Wondering Woman said...

I've worked through temp agencies and I think they're a great way to land a good job. Plus it's wonderful when you find yourself in a horrible place and you can say, so what - I'm only here for two weeks. I got plenty of job offers from places who didn't even know they wanted another permanent employee so it opens up lots of opportunity that wouldn't be advertised. Since your boss from hell used such colorful language perhaps you should sign your resignation letter with something he can relate to, Fuck You! ...............Good luck

Kass said...

God! How horrible. I had a similar situation in London, where I stayed in a job for 2 days after being treated like shit. It's just so not worth it, even if you need the money.

Delicieux said...

Geeze. That sounds like a NIGHTMARE! Thankfully you got out!

Good luck with your job search... again... ;)

Vegas Princess said...

Oh My God. I don't even know what to say about all of this because I am so astounded that you had to deal with something so horrible. Thank goodness you got out of there. You lasted a lot longer than I would have.

Tawcan said...

Damn you seem to have bad luck with work environment. Boss yelling at workers and beaming out f words? That kind of stuff is never allowed at my work.

Good idea to quit.

Odette said...

Oh crap! Good thing you are getting out of there! I know that you'll find what you are looking for! (P.S. In a few months I'll need this same speech!) Plus it is not as though you are limited in your options. There are plenty of positions out there for people as bright and talented as you! It is just a matter of finding them! Ha I know how much of a challenge that is, but if anyone can do it, I know that you can! :)

cathy said...

OH MY F--CKING GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET THE F---OUT OF THERE AND QUICK. :)

egan said...

Well written story. I'm glad you walked out on these guys and their idea of a company. Swearing excessively in the office doesn't foster any growth, nor does yelling. I was sort of hoping you told them to fuck off, but you're better than them. You'll find something and so will Duane.

Memphis Steve said...

I admire you for leaving. I stuck it out in a job like that. More than once. I always stick it out. And it never pays. I end up getting screwed by them one way or another and I'm looking for a new job anyway. Better to leave on your own terms, with the stress left behind for the assholes to deal with instead of you, then to wait for them to blow a gasket and get rid of you so they can blame you for some colossal mistake they made. It's true, you know, that the biggest assholes always get promoted. The more incompetent and obnoxious a person is the higher in management they go.

Farrell said...

I cannot believe that place actually exists and that they are in business and have more than one employee.
good decision on your part - RUN. As fast as you can.