Dancing with the Devil

Devils come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are easy to recognize.  Some are not, at first.  But they all show their true colors sooner or later.

In the case of this story, the devil showed his colors later in the relationship.

He was a boss.  My boss.  He owned his own company.  It made him very aggressive, narcissistic, and mean.  Very mean.

I will not mention his name, or the name of his company (altho if you really want to know, message me and I will tell you, as people should be aware to stay far away from him).  I will say that he was in a very customer service type business.  A landscape company.

He was very charming upfront, to get your business.  All white smiles and silver haired charm.  But as soon as you signed the dotted line, that all changed.  He lied and cheated you every chance he got.

You were an asshole.  Everyone was asshole, according to him.  Especially his landscape/construction crews.  They were F*ing Asshole Mexicans.  He treated them like animals.

The first year I worked there was like the honeymoon.  Praise, raises, Christmas trees, Christmas music, parties, bonuses.  When I went there to interview, I was smitten.  A very charming office in an old farmhouse, complete with two retrievers and a fireplace burning.  It was a fairy tale.  I could not believe how lucky I was to go to work every day, with nice people and surroundings, and a golden retriever to lay at my slippered feet at my desk.

But then.  His true personality slowly leaked out. It turned into the War of the Roses. I had plenty of warning signs.  He talked shit about previous employees all the time, they were all assholes, and he fired their asses.  Every single one.  Many of them.  Especially the admin employees, who warmed their hands at the fireplace.  They never lasted more than a few months or a year.  No wonder they gave me such a nice one year anniversary party.  I was one of their longest term employees!  There was another one, who I became close with.  He quickly brought me up to speed on the dealing of the devil.  So I was careful.  I watched, I listened.  And most importantly, I never talked back or stated my opinion, because he was always right. The only other long term employee?  My so-called assistant, who was his girlfriend.  Actually more than his girlfriend.  She had a million dollar stake in the company, her previous divorce payoff.  If she didn’t like you, you were a goner.  I digress.

But then.  One day I just couldn’t do it anymore.  He wanted me to agree with him on something.  One of his f*cking asshole Mexicans, a long term employee, had asked for a 10 cent raise.  TEN CENTS.  Now, mind you, he worked these these poor people into the ground.  12-14 hour days in the hot sun of the summer, 24-48 hour days snowplowing non-stop in the winter, or shoveling driveways.  Have you EVER shoveled driveways for 24 hours straight?  They were lucky to get a half hour break.  Most had no food or water with them, the crews were not allowed to stop and buy food.  The Superindent, my friend, would swing by with nourishment and drink that he bought out of his own pocket for the crews.

Back to the poor guy who asked for a 10 cent raise.  The boss fired his ass.  On the spot.  F*ck him, asking for a raise.  He wanted me to agree with him.  I just couldn’t.  I struggled for a response.  So I asked him the one question that had been burning in my mind for the past year….

Why do you own a landscape company if you hate Mexicans?  (Doesn’t have to be Mexicans, you can substitute any other group of people).  They are the backbone of the company!  Without them, there is nothing.

Well.  That was it.  He started ranting and raving at me and throwing things around the office, while I cowered at my desk.  He was so enraged he was spitting in my face.  I thought (maybe prayed) he was going to have a heart attack or stroke in front of me.  He did not stop until his girlfriend called him off, like a rabid dog.  I just sat there like a statue.  I was too frightened to move.  I should have called 911, I should have left, I should have done a million things.  I did nothing.  I just sat there and took it

So then.  The abuse continued.  Ever. Single. Day.  I would come in to find hate email, hate notes on my desk.  Then his tirade, which would leave me sobbing, and then I would have to try and work the whole day with red swollen eyes and a huge headache like nothing was wrong.

The girlfriend turned on me pretty quick.  She quit talking to me.  She ignored me except to send me drunk text messages at night or on the weekends asking why I stayed there.

So then.  No more praise.  No more raises.  No more fires in the fireplace.  No more retriever at my feet, they were leased to the girlfriend’s desk.  (I kid you not).

So then.  At Christmas, there was no music, no tree.  Nothing.  So I brought in a small table top tree and plugged it in.  The next morning the tree was moved.  I found it and plugged it in again, this time in a different spot, with an extension cord.  The next day, the extension cord was gone.  I was so stupid that I did not realize what was going on at first.  This man did NOT want any sign of Christmas in his office.  So I took the tree and shoved it into the kitchen garbage to make sure he saw it.

So then.  There was no year-end bonus.  No Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.  Nothing.  Just an awfulness I cannot begin to describe.  An evilness.

So then.  He fired the Maintenance Manager.  Because he had the nerve to drive in early every day and nap in the parking lot until one hour BEFORE his start time.  F*cking Asshole, he should have been working the SECOND he arrived.  Mind you, he was salaried, and already worked a 60 hour work week.  And he was a new father.  Hence the naps in the parking lot.  But, he was a f*ucking asshole, he had to go.  It was awful.  I locked myself in the bathroom, crying, listening to him crying while packing up his desk.  His wife had quit her job, they had no other source of income.

I should have quit.  I was desperately seeking a new job, but I just should have quit and starved to death rather than work for this monster.

Eventually I did quit working for him.  Wait, I’m sorry, I was fired.  Because he came back from a hunting trip and I was leaving work 15 minutes “early” for a dentist appointment.  He started shouting at me and verbally abusing me in the doorway.  I was frightened.  There was no one else there at work, I was the last one in the office, as always.  So I ran.  I ran away from him, into my car, with him chasing me and shouting at me.  I sped away as quick as possible.  My cell phone rang.  I did not answer it.  Minutes later he texted me, telling me I was fired and not allowed on the property.  I cried all night.  But then I was relieved.  I did not have to look in his face, ever again, and see the evilness there.  I still have nightmares every now and then.

And this, my friend, is how you know you are dancing with the devil.

 

It’s all about that work, no turkey!

turkey

I was pondering about Thanksgivings past.  I am SO grateful they are gone, and I can enjoy the holiday tomorrow ALL DAY AND NIGHT!

Back in the day when I worked for a very large pharmaceutical company which shall remain nameless, I worked a lot of hours.  I mean, a LOT, especially around year-end closing time, as I worked in Accounting.  We had 52 international affiliates to close at the end of November, and then the Parent Company at the end of December.  We started doing prep work in October, and finally would finish up with everything end of January.  During that time, we would work 80-90 hours a week.  Seriously.  I hear that company has changed their ways since then, but back in the cave men day when I worked there, we used a stone tablet to mark our numbers down.  I remember the day we upgraded to an abacus, how exciting!  Then we were granted ONE computer, to do all 52 affiliates.  Can you kids just imagine?  I kid you not.  We did a lot of manual calculating, on calculators with tapes, so we could double check our numbers when things didn’t add up.

Anyway, moving on.  I was newly married and moved into our home.  My father had just died, and my mom didn’t feel too festive.  So I was happy to take over the Thanksgiving holiday, and invite ALL the relatives!

What was I thinking?  I barely had time to sleep, and here I was hosting a holiday that was VERY labor intensive.  My husband at the time traveled a lot, so he was no help.

I remember that first year.  What a nightmare.  I worked until 9 pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and then hit the grocery store on the way home.  All the turkeys were frozen!  When I got home I put the turkey in the sink with cold water like they said to defrost it.  I had bought the biggest turkey they had.  I didn’t realize how long it would take to thaw out.  So I started cleaning the house, polishing the silver, ironing tablecloths, setting the big table, setting up extra tables.

I was up all night.  When you work 90 hours a week, your housekeeping goes to shit.  I put the turkey in the oven in the morning.  Everybody came over, we were having a good time, until it was time to take the turkey out of the oven.  My mom was going to do the gravy, so she was helping me take the stuffing out of the bird.  I said, for such a big turkey I couldn’t fit much stuffing in!  My mom then gasped in horror and pulled out the bag of guts, or giblets or whatever you call them.  I had no idea I was supposed to remove it, it was my first turkey rodeo, lol.  Anyway, she said, shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s ok.  And we served a delicious feast!  Everyone stayed really late, eating and drinking.

Unfortunately, I had to be back at work at 6 a.m. the next morning, and we worked until 2 a.m., which was usual.  And yes, Saturdays and Sundays too.

Now, you would think I’d get smart and tell people that while it was fun, I just couldn’t do Thanksgiving anymore.  Or Christmas, because it was even busier then.  Or New Years.  And by the time Easter rolled around, I was half dead.  Oh, and then I enrolled in grad school.  2 classes a semester, which meant 8 hours a week of class time, plus about 10 hours of week of group meetings, plus homework.

However, I was a gluten for punishment, and continued to host Thanksgiving every year.  But I finally got smart and prepared way ahead of time, and did my Christmas shopping etc. in the summer.  When I finally graduated, and got a different job internally that didn’t require as many hours, I wondered what to do with my time!  I think I work better under pressure.  If I have nothing to do, I get lazy.  No more nightmares of holidays past.

But this year?  I am glad to be a lazy slug.  I think I deserve it, after all the health issues I have had the past couple of years.  I make the desserts now, and go across the street to my sister’s house for dinner, with other neighbor families.  And at Christmas I go to my brother’s house, next door, and bring appetizers or veggies or something.  My SIL is a great cook and baker, so we eat like kings and queens.

One more reason to be grateful this holiday season!

Top Ten Reasons to be Self-Employed

10. You don’t have set your alarm

9.  You can go to swim class 3 mornings a week

8.  You can work in your pajamas

7.  Your cat can be your assistant

6.  You don’t have to drive in snowstorms

5.  You can work when you have insomnia

4.  You don’t have to get involved in company politics/gossip

3.  You are your own best friend and advocate

2.  You don’t have to cry on your way home from work every day

And the NUMBER ONE reason to be self-employed:

1.  You don’t have to work for an egotistical, narcissistic boss who is a liar/cheater/scammer/thief

Counting my lucky stars today!  So blessed to be FREE!

She – Door #2

bride

She got married at the tender age of 22.  In fact, a mere five days into the age of 22.  She was so young, so dumb. She thought she knew it all, and had the world by the tail. She and her husband both had good jobs. They bought a cute little townhouse right away. They commuted together on the train downtown. Their weekends were full of fun. Life was good. She had chosen Door #2.

As their careers both advanced, so did their time commitments to their jobs.  She spent more time at work than at home.  He spent more time on the road then at home.  They upgraded their homes, their cars.  They upgraded everything but their relationship.

Instead, they both started grad school.  So in addition to working ever-increasing hours, they were now both committed to a very rigorous schedule of classes and group meetings.  It seems they were never home.  Because they weren’t.

Their relationship turned into ships passing in the night.  They were no longer each other’s best friend.  The few times they got to spend together were taken up with mundane chores and small talk.

Their families were not very understanding.  They didn’t understand what was taking up all their time.  They did not know about “DINKs”, Double Income No Kids syndrome, where it seemed to be more about making the money and working, than about family life.  Neither one of their jobs was forgiving.  Work/life balance was unheard of back then. She remembers having managers who never saw their children for months on end, and being grateful she didn’t have any of her own to worry about.  When SHE had kids, she wanted to be home more.  The finance and accounting world was all-consuming, especially at year-end.  She remembers missing family dinner on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  She remembers getting dressed up at work on a New Year’s Eve to go out for a few hours, only to be back at it early on New Year’s Day.

She was tired.  Always tired.  But hey, they were rolling in the dough.  New cars, nice wardrobes, and superb vacations whenever they got the chance to get away.  But Door #2 wasn’t looking so good anymore…..she wondered if she had chosen the right one.