Life deals us the oddest hands sometimes, it makes it hard for us to figure out if there’s some divine meaning to life, or if we’re all just some crazy experiment gone awry and we’re just waiting for the scientist to self destruct. Working for other people is a hard thing to do, especially when you have your sights set on working for yourself at some point.
I’ve had my share of stressful jobs, I’ve worked retail a lot, in all different scenarios, including door to door sales. I’ve waited tables, worked in a gas station (was robbed), delivered pizza – until it was time to get serious and get a “real” job. I’ve worked my way up the “clerical/office employee” ladder ever since. I’ve had my fair share of nightmare bosses.
Most recently I worked for a Dermatopathologist (the two years before my current job), which was very interesting and at times gross work. I learned a lot about skin, the medical world and how dermatology and plastic surgeon offices worked. Be that as it may, I always thought I was paid nicely and was allowed time off when needed, and if I didn’t use the paid time off I was given, I got it at the end of the year in a check, I even got a Christmas bonus or two. But the honeymoon was over when it was time for me to buy a house.
I discovered that my boss had a hard time seeing beyond her own nose in her private time, which I can’t say I wouldn’t struggle with myself if I were successful. That being said, I think personally that in an office environment of five or six people, the relationship with your employees is somewhat important for daily peace and I think that I would strive to maintain a healthy, friendly relationship with any employees I may ever have. But when I needed paycheck verification for my mortgage broker because we were paid with handwritten checks, my boss made it clear she was NOT going out of her way to get that for me.
I honestly thought I would not be able to get my house. She became my enemy overnight. I felt that anyone who would stand in the way of “the American dream” of home ownership for an employee who gave 120% every day at work, deserved nothing more than the work I put in. Nothing extra to impress the boss beyond what was required of me. It was sad really, I was upset at my boss for not wanting to assist me in this small task but also disappointed that she would allow my opinion of her to fall so low without caring about it.
I thought a lot of her because she was female, a physician and the primary wage earner in her house, despite the fact that her husband was also a physician – and actually saw patients regularly. I looked up to her because I thought she was funny, smart, mouthy(!), was successful and wasn’t a snob. Then she proved me wrong.
Stupid, I know. She was a Doctor, why on earth would she care what I thought of her? Exactly. I learned my lesson. My fate will not again lie in the hands of an employer to such a degree if I can help it.
Okay, let’s fast forward a year and a half. Tomorrow will be my one year anniversary at the law firm I work in. One year ago when I started I worked for the investigative agency, but in January was promoted to legal assistant. Still not sure I like it, but everyone there likes me and I usually like them back. Usually. I have my days though where I could leave there and never come back and it would not hurt my feelings at all. I’ve never had that strong of an emotion at any other place that I work.
But I’ve also never been on a cruise that my boss paid for as a Christmas bonus. He said two things as he told me what he was doing, “I hate giving you money for a Christmas bonus for two reasons – you’ll pay bills with it and won’t have any fun and the government will tax it.”
How nice. There are days that I could absolutely tell him to take this job and shove it because he makes me so mad. I’ve been talked to in ways I’ve never experienced but also been challenged in ways I’ve never experienced. I’ve learned things I’ve always wanted to know and that’s something no one can take away from me. Everything I’ve done before was pretty much by the book, text book boring type stuff. This job and all that it entails is very dramatic – so much so that I really never watch Law & Order or any of those super dramatic shows anymore just for the drama.
Everyone craves a little of it, even South Park has drama. Imagine that, a boss that played nice but didn’t come through for me in the end and a boss that is as hard assed as he wants to be that endows with appreciation in unexpected ways.
What a puzzle this life is.