If you would have told me that my first job out of Ad School would be working for the company I started at, my first response would have been laughter. Yet, there I was, hanging out in the glorious advertising department of said company. Prior to beginning there, it’s mandatory that everyone attends orientation. Although I worked at their headquarters, everyone who’s hired does the same orientation at one of their stores in Miami.
I’m the only one from headquarters.
The rest of the people are training to be dispersed to varying stores throughout Broward/Dade County. A blond lady around the age of 40 takes a seat to my left, looking fidgety and as if she’s been around the block once or a thousand times. To my right, are a girl who will be working at the call center and gentleman who speaks NO English. Legitimately not one word, and the girl from the call center is helping him write and understand his forms, translating the important things he needs to know.
“Wish this thing would get started already,” the blond lady says.
“I know, right? Like we don’t have better things to do?” I reply, trying to seem cool and tough.
She nods, indicating she agrees and makes a “PSSH” sound before throwing her head back in sarcastic laughter.
This is going to be a long day.
The lady who will be leading orientation is short and Hispanic, with long blond hair and dark highlights, tight pants, too much makeup and long fingernails. As she takes the floor, I figure this can go one of two ways: really good (informative and quick) or really bad (waste of time and aggravating). My money is on the latter…should’ve bet the farm.
“Hey everyone, I’m Shannon, and I’ll be leading orientation today. Can everyone take their top folder and move it to the bottom of the stack? Also, can someone tell me anything about the company?”
What followed was a barrage of idiotic questioning, supplemented by thoughtless idiotic answers. Some of the riveting questions were as simple as, “What does this company sell? Can anyone tell me?” or “What are the company colors?” Yikes.
A brief moment of relief…lunch break! Sweet!
The blond lady follows me down to the cafeteria before uttering, “Mind if I sit with you?”
“Sure,” I said.
The conversation went on to discuss her father’s profession as a strip club owner, and how she got tired of working there. She used to have a wealthy boyfriend but he left her and while she loves photography and would work in the field, there’s just not enough money. Also, she hoped they wouldn’t make her cover up her BACK length Jaguar tattoo (not the car, the animal).
When we get back, the woman in charge is ready to discuss the company benefits.
“After three months of work with this company, you become illegible for your benefits.”
Wha-…did she just? No, she couldn’t have said illegible, I’m hearing things!
“If you are part-time, you are not illegible for benefits.”
Twice? Okay, this is not a mistake. Can it really be that someone this misguided is in a position to teach others?
I lean over to the blond lady and ask, “Did she just say…illegible instead of eligible?”
“Fuck yeah she did,” she said.
“That’s what I thought.”
In the process of the next two hours, this woman used that term several times, forcing me to wonder…am I not eligible for benefits, or am I sloppy and not understood well?
I’d love to sit here and tell you that was the one and only time something like that happened. There are two other favorite moments, however, that id’ love to share with you.
“P.J. Smoove” is the nickname for someone I used to work with. While insanely knowledgeable about the company, he had his own way of doing things…mainly, the wrong way. To give you a sense of who he is, I’m going to tell you this story first.
About a year ago he went skydiving for the first time and decided he didn’t need anyone to jump with him. Moral of the story, he landed wrong, breaking both his legs. He’s incredibly stubborn and believes himself to be correct.
All day…every day.
“Allyson, can you please send me the un-complete list?”
Don’t correct him, don’t correct him….fight it!
“Um, sure P.J. I’d be happy to send the incomplete list over to you as soon as possible.”
I figured that was a decent save, right?
“Yes, the un-complete list would be great, thanks.”
The only time that has surpassed my experience with “P.J. Smoove,” has been with whom I affectionately referred to as “Oscar the Grouch” at the job I moved on to.
“Oscar the Grouch” was a special case. Everywhere you work has that one person who gets off on their power trip, feels like they’re never wrong, and they are essentially think they’re the end all be all. HE…was that dude.
I was still relatively new, but all this guy had done during my time there was attempt to make it as difficult as possible. Yet, unbeknownst to him, he was about to lose all credibility and make me fall in love with him simultaneously.
“Allyson, can you come here for a moment? When you’re writing for this product, you need to realize…this company…is SUPER in-no-vah-tive.”
I spell it phonetically so you see how he said it. Not innovative, like normal….in-no-vah-tive.
He then proceeded to repeat the word, several times and I thought well…I may not be illegible for benefits, but to think I’m not in-no-vah-tive enough? That just makes me feel un-complete!