When I decided to leave the Marriott, I wanted a regular 9-to-5 job. At that time, my daughter was just getting started in school and working nights, weekends and nearly all holidays wasn’t going to cut it. Making the transition from running a banquet staff to doing office work was not easy. It took me nearly 9 months of hard interviewing. I worked with job counselors and headhunters. I actually had one potential employer tell the headhunter that my “personality was too strong” because I actually tried to ask a few questions about the job after she simply sat there and said nothing during the interview. I thought, how could I possibly know about the job if she won’t talk to me? So, I asked. Guess I was supposed to be telepathic.
Finally, after months of searching, I had an interview at an actuarial consulting firm. Do you know what actuaries are? They are the people who sit in front of computers all day and calculate what kinds of risks insurance companies assume when they insure anyone. Life, health, casualty, they all have actuaries behind them, telling them what rates to charge and all those good things. Think of accountants but with less personality. Yeah.
This particular firm was looking for someone to take over the office manager’s job when said office manager went out on maternity leave. Her baby was due in December and they hired me in May. As I said, actuaries do not like risks. Indeed, before they hired me I had to have a telephone interview with their consulting psychologist who had to vet me and assure the hiring partner that I wasn’t some crazy axe murderer or something. Oh, and I was also supposed to re-vamp their entire filing system, which I discovered later was simply making about 20 copies of every document they ever produced and stuffing them, loose, into large, lateral file cabinets. Oh, yeah.
Nonetheless, they hired me and the salary was good. One thing about them, they paid their support staff well because they didn’t like turnover (another form of risk), so once you were in, you were IN.
I gave up my tux for pumps, my pleasant 4-mile drive to the hotel for an hour and a half bus/train ride, but I had weekends off, so I suppose it was worth it.
Kim was the office manager and she now had nearly 6 months to train me. Although personally, I liked her and we discovered that we had much in common, as a co-worker/trainer/mentor she was a complete nightmare. She should have been an actuary, she was so risk averse. The first month…MONTH…all she had me do was fill out FedEx forms. Oh, and I learned how to use the fax machine. Guess she thought I wasn’t quite bright or something.
She was a tight-assed, anal little bitch, if you’ll pardon me. Her boss (and mine) was one of those guys who needs someone to tell him to breathe in and breathe out. Smart as hell but dumb, you know? He sat in his office, staring into space most of the day, every now and then he’d tap a few keystrokes on his computer, and he brought in over $500K the first year I worked there. I know because I saw the financials that year. But he would forget his drivers’ license when he went on a business trip and Kim would have to make an emergency trip to his house to get it and then drive it to the airport. Crazy stuff like that.
Months wore on. Her biggest job was doing the monthly accounting and sending it to the home office in Washington state each month. She fretted over that constantly and was so worried that I would screw it up. She had no clue about computers and couldn’t seem to grasp even the simplest concepts about them. Plus, the office was new and she had built out the space and therefore was constantly following everyone around making sure they didn’t spill anything on the wood floors, etc. (Later, when she went into premature labor and had to leave a month earlier than planned, one of the other actuaries would ask if her water had broken over the wood floor.)
She was ISFJ and at the time I was ENTP. If you know anything about Myers-Briggs, you’ll know that was oil and water. She was all about the rules. I believe rules are for people who don’t have any common sense.
On the day she went to the hospital to have the baby a month early, I had a call from a vendor who was doing something for a big holiday “do” that she had been planning. ALL the other branch offices were coming to our office for the annual party because we had a brand new space.
For months I had BEGGED her to let me help with this. Didn’t I have hotel/banquet experience? Couldn’t I have taken some of the burden off her. Ohhh, noooooo. That would mean relinquishing control over something. God forbid.
So, the day she leaves, I have to rifle through her desk looking for information that I have no idea where it is because she had to keep it all a holy secret from me. And I proceed to find an entire list of sticky notes with “disapproving” comments about me. I had “added up figures in my head” while she was training me on the accounting. Well, she was hogging the adding machine so what else could I do. I was sitting right next to her and we got the same answer, so the fuck what? I frowned at her when she asked me to tab a report right then, and I was in the middle of typing another document for one of the other guys. I made a typo on a first draft of a document for her boss. First draft, right? Like how many times is he going to change it anyway? I was stunned. What a sneaky, passive-aggressive little creature she was.
But here’s the deal. She went out a month early. Then she had a kidney stone. Then the ligaments in her knee gave way from the pregnancy. So a 6-week leave stretched into nearly 6 months. And all the time people in the office asked me…”How come you don’t look as frazzled as Kim did and yet everything is running so smoothly?” Ummm, maybe I knew what I was doing after all. So, Kim, where ever you are, I hope you’re not making life hell for some other very capable person whose skills you refuse to recognize.
I ultimately moved over to another department to work for one of the other principals. I was never so glad to get out from under anyone’s thumb as I was the day I moved my stuff to another desk. Of course, then I worked for a guy whose wife was schizophrenic and constantly called me up, screaming at me and accusing me of having an affair with him. Which I was NOT and would have never even considered.
But that’s another story.