Monday, October 10, 2005

The Orifice

Back in August, I posted a Fall Preview of things to come here at The Dog's Breakfast. Since Fall is in full swing now, it's time for me to follow through!

It's a good time to write "The Orifice: Assholes I Have Worked for and Almost Worked For", because my boss of the past 14 years is retiring at the end of this year and I couldn't be sadder. He's someone I really and truly love, and let's face it... I've been with him longer than any other man in my life! He's also the only reason I've stayed at my job as long as I have. So... without further ado, let's examine bad bosses and interviewers of times past:

• My first job out of high school was at a large pharmaceutical company. I was a secretary to an insane individual named (and I am NOT making this up) "Dick Wildman". It was 1973, so the definition of secretary was pretty loose. Not, however, as loose as Dick made it. Sure, I had to get his coffee (and got screamed at when I didn't define "regular" as "black"). But I also had to walk on his back, field calls from collection agencies, divert process servers and ex-wives. I drew the line when he asked me to come in on a Saturday to clean his office.

• After leaving that place, I went to work at the first cable TV company (when cable was something that people in rural areas used to get any TV reception at all). I was a secretary, again, to three men. One of them would tap a quarter on my desk in the morning which meant, apparently, "get me a Coke from the Coke machine". I'm surprised he didn't use a whistle. Another would tell me I had to work late, and then leave me sitting at my desk doing nothing until 8 PM before saying "Oh, go home. We don't need you after all."

• Then came my job at Newsweek International, working in the Production Department for an insecure woman who was constantly trying to get me fired for, I swear, being too smart. Read about why she was right here. She did ultimately get me fired, but only because she had some major dirt on the editor and he knew it.

• I did a brief stint at Modern Bride Magazine, where I worked for another crazy woman who looked almost exactly like the crazy woman at Newsweek. They don't make red flags any bigger than that.

• My next job was a "American Hairdresser/Salon Owner" and "Professional Men's Hairstylist" magazines. All the men wore toupees, because that's who our advertisers were. The publisher was an incredible jerk whose idea of humor was telling overweight women that he was going to grease their office doorways to make it easier to get in and out. Being 20 years old, I figured that anyone who could dish it out like that could certainly take it, so when he came to work with a new toupee one day and said to a colleague, "How do you like my new piece?" I quipped, "Well it's certainly the best looking piece YOU'LL ever get." I didn't last long.

• From there, I went to a small sales promotion agency. My boss was a sleazy guy who wanted to get me into "the movies", and made me go on a date with a Saudi prince client who stalked me for a year. (and I found out later that he was paid to arrange the date by the prince. Nice, eh? I didn't even get a cut.) This boss had a tendency to call me at home, at night, saying that he was on my street corner and could easily stop by for coffee.

• After that, I went into printing sales. On one job interview, which took place after hours, the oh-so-suave boss showed me his W-2 from the previous year and told me I'd never make as much money as he did. He pointed out that this was because "the women will hate you and the men will just want to get into your pants." The high point of that interview, though, was when he said, "So you've told me all these good things about yourself. Tell me about your flaws." I paused and said, very seriously, "Well, my forehand isn't as good as my backhand."

• I went into business for myself for 10 years, but ultimately went back into the work world when things dried up. Unfortunately the job I landed was working for the Grand Poobah of Assholes. This guy would walk down the halls yelling things like, "Hey Karen! What happened to that blowjob you promised me?" No one said anything to him because he owned the place. Until the day I walked into his office to meet with him and a client. The guy was a good friend of his, but someone I didn't know at all. He (my boss) looked up and said, "Oops..Marian's here! Guess we can't talk about pussy anymore." I walked out, went to the VP and said if something was not done I was going to slap the place with a sexual harrassment suit. He ultimately screwed me out of a huge commission, basically forcing me to quit.

• Did you ever see "Glengarry, Glen Ross"? That was my 6-week experience selling cars. I could (and will) write an entire post about that experience, but for now I'll just tell you about the sales advice my manager gave to me (aside from "don't wear underwear"). He took me outside the showroom one day and said, "Look. If a guy thinks you're going to sleep with him if he buys the car, you let him think that. I'm not saying to DO it, just let him think it." I thought for a moment and coyly asked, " should I send the gay guys to you?" I'm still bummed that I wasn't carrying a little tape recorder, because if I was you'd be buying cars from "Panthergirl's Jeep Eagle" in Manhattan...

Believe it or not, there are more jobs and more weirdos... but given the ADD nature of blog reading, I'll save the rest for the book!