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We will not be updating MVWJ for the foreseeable future. The site will remain up and you’ll still be able to enjoy past posts. Thanks for your stories, comments and support. We hope to see you at My Very Worst Date and My Very Worst Roommate.

The Cheap Doctor

I applied to the doctor’s office when I saw it on my university’s job listing website. The description said it had part-time hours during school and full-time hours during the summer. It was perfect. I applied and was offered the job.

I was eager to start full-time because I needed the money for my bills. I started “full-time” only to find out that meant under 30 hours a week. I was struggling financially and had to take on another job, at an old job 2 hours away at my hometown, in which I worked 24 hours over the weekend. Apparently the doctor didn’t understand my need for extra hours because even though I told him multiple times I was going home to work he would always ask, “Are you going home this weekend to see your family?”

It would have been more beneficial for me to just live with my family, but I had signed a lease on an apartment with a roommate thinking I would be able to live in my college town. Plus, I felt bad for quitting somewhere so quickly.

As I worked over the summer I got more and more responsibility from the supervisor who I was taking over for. Soon I was in charge of processing insurance claims, running payments and all other general office work.

When school started I went back to my six hours a week. I soon took on a second babysitting job in the evenings and weekends to keep up, no longer did I have time to drive home every weekend. Strangely enough, every time I started going in for the 2 hours at the end of the day I had the exact same amount of work I had every day during the summer. I had no idea what my supervisor was doing all day, but it wasn’t her job.

I should mention that this office was extremely strict. No gum, no cell phones and not even any food was allowed. Of course, my supervisor got to do all these things because she was the doctor’s wife. Minus the paycheck there was no incentive to working there such as a free lunch or cookies for a birthday or something special.

But then my co-worker told me there was a Christmas bonus. I was so excited when Christmas came around and I really needed the money. I opened up my check to find $25. Not what I was expecting, but I decided it was better than nothing and tried to be happy about it. A couple hours later a women called that occasionally referred patients to our business, “Oh I just wanted to call and tell the doctor thank you for the gift card. That was so kind. I really wasn’t expecting it. Please tell him thank you for me!” Surely no one would be that excited for a gift card under $25.

A week later I couldn’t take it any longer and asked my co-worker, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want, but I’m just curious what you got for your bonus.”

“$267, you?”

I could barely get the words out to tell her how much I got. She tried to make me feel better by saying it was probably a percentage thing. Sure she was “full-time” all the time, but I had worked full-time all summer, came in whenever I could, and worked full-time every break I got at school.

Around that time I got offered a really great internship. I worked the two hours Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays at the doctor’s office and the internship was going to be all day Monday and Wednesday. I was so happy to have an excuse to quit and told them that I was no longer going to be able to work because of the days I was having to do the internship.

My supervisor’s response, “You don’t work there Thursdays? Well you can just come in then.”

Somehow my attempt to quit did not work.

I didn’t have as much work as I did before my internship, but I still had 2+ days of work every time I would come in. Finally since I am graduating I was able to tell them I wouldn’t be working once I finished school because I was going to find a full-time job in my field. I told them about three months in advance.

Two weeks ago I had a giant group presentation that we had been working on all semester that went into my work time. I told my supervisor I would be late, but I would come in as soon as it was over. She texted me the day before saying it had been slow all week and that I wouldn’t need to come in.

The next week she told me the same thing. I again was grateful since it was finals week. When she sent that text I couldn’t help but thinking my last day was coming up, but couldn’t remember the exact week. Apparently it was that week. When I told her thanks for letting my have the day off she responded, “That was ur last day right? Thank u for all ur hard work.” Guess I’m not even getting a going away card.

On Edge

I am currently working in MVWJ as a transportation dispatcher, which is basically getting our cabs to pick up train crews to go from point A to point B. The job itself wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t for the company and the people who run it. It’s owned by a local guy who owns a good portion of business here in town. None of us ever know what we’re going to walk into on a daily basis. Our head supervisor is a former Marine, who if you dare get sick, you’re scheduled on your next day off, usually without warning. We are required to do what they call “highlight” early or late, which means we either have to come in four hours early or stay four hours late. I am on first shift, which means if I highlight early, it means getting up at 2am to see if I am needed at 3am (I live across the street so I don’t need to call any earlier) and there’s no guarantee that you have to go in early.

You rarely know if you will have to stay late until you’re already making other plans, after they’ve told you all day you weren’t needed. Nothing’s worse than when they decide to tell you as your putting your headset up and walking out the door. They’ve been known to chase people down in the parking lot to get them back in to stay! If you have a day that you can’t stay or come in, you’re written up, and they don’t care why. Most of us are parents and some of us have had massive health problems, but even when you’re contagious, you’re expected to be there. The supervisors are also some of the most ridiculous people that I have ever met in my life! One supervisor in particular will virtually scream at you from across the room for something you supposedly did wrong. He has been sent home for his behavior, but won’t ever get fired. I’ve been sexually harassed, insulted, screamed at, threatened, you name it.

One of the worst things is the intimidation tactics they use. They will scream at people on the floor, threatening to suspend them for insubordination for things that are just crazy. We work with the big train companies — CSX, Norfolk Southern, Sooline, Amtrak and Union Pacific. UP has their own system that we have to close out and sometimes, if we are unusually busy, we get behind doing this. That’s when the supervisors come out to yell at us for not getting them out fast enough and threatening suspension. I’ve never worked in a place where people are so afraid to come into work. The only reason why we stay is that the money is halfway decent but that’s about it. I guess it’s a bad sign when there are only three or four people out of about 200 to 300 who have been there longer than three or four years. One has been there about 10, but she’s the exception. All I can do is keep looking for something better.

Chain Store Capers

MVWJ at an ice cream chain was a mixed bag; I liked most of the people I worked with, and on many nights we could have work efficiently together and leave confident that we’d done a good job. But If S (manager) or L (wannabe manager) came in the next morning, they would find something, even just a smudge on the glass, to blow out of proportion and claim we left a mess. Both of them fed on drama and would often complain about someone to a coworker only to turn around to the person they complained about and say they were doing great and complain about someone else. Every few weeks they would find someone else to target, and while I knew they were probably just blowing off steam, every time it came around to me it made me anxious.

We worked in a small area so it was common to touch someone gently on the shoulder so they’d know you were there and not back into you, but B would often wrap his hand around girls’ waists and hips as he moved past. He would come up behind me and “hug” me from behind, pressing into me and conveniently getting his hands right under my chest. Whenever I closed with him he would try to get me to lay down with him in the back of his car and talk about sex with our respective significant others. Talking was actually most of what he did, and he would often follow me around the store to brag about how awesome he was while I tried to get everything spotless so S and L wouldn’t freak out.

One girl, H, who always worked very hard and was my favorite person to work with, had a boyfriend that called and came in more and more often to make a scene and shout or throw things. Everyone complained about him, but none of us talked to her about it. One night, the guy tried to kill H and she was severely wounded. I felt awful for not speaking up about the warning signs. The next shift I worked, the prick I worked with had the balls to roll his eyes and go on for quite some time about how she “should’ve known better” and that she was stupid, though he had also never said anything to her about the crazy boyfriend.

I landed a very part time job that worked around my schedule at the store, but S found out and started complaining that I was being sneaky. Having had enough of the drama, I found an on-campus job to start in the fall and finished out the summer. On my last shift S smiled and told me to come back and visit, but I’ll never know whether she meant it or if she started badmouthing me the second I walked out the door.


The Landscape of Hell

Day 1 as a new hiree at a landscaping job, I excitedly head out the door. B, my new boss, calls literally just as I am headed out the door and cancels the workday.

Day 2: I drive the 30 min to work only to find today’s workday also to be cancelled.

Third try is a charm and I work 10 hour days 6 days straight. Upon return from the long weekend I find three new high school  hires, including a real-life Barbie. Shockingly, after 10 hours of work in the hot sun Barbie does not return for a second day of torture to her fake nails. The other two new hires are fired the next day for making honest mistakes made as a result of a lack of training. As the sole employee now, I am told I can work whichever schedule I desire. By the end of the day, however, B has managed to change the schedule a half dozen times before finally implementing a schedule whereby tomorrow – a previously scheduled day off (for which I had made plans that B was aware of) – is now a mandatory full day.  The following day at 8:23 AM, B calls to cancel the workday.

During the course of my employment, I am yelled at and treated in a demeaning manner, often enduring undeserved and irrelevant rants and of course an erratic schedule that seems to change as often as the weather in our area (hint: every five minutes). I am expected to work 10-hour days in the sweltering heat without break even for food or drink, and B strongly suggests I pee in a bottle, as he does, in the back of the trailer (I am a woman). He places said bottle in the cooler next to my Gatorade. Then came the day B ignorantly drove 1,000lbs+ of mulch-filled trailer over my foot without so much as an apology or offer to take me to a hospital. I tough out the remainder of the day without complaint, despite being unable to bear weight on said foot.

I work long and hard for B despite all the above because a) as a university student I am desperate for the work and b) I am a really hard and proud worker who does not give up easy.

The last straw though was when pay day rolled around and my cheque was missing hours. I worked for B for a month and was one of his longest-working employees. Later I discovered that he owed at least two former employees thousands of dollars in hours and equipment; those employees recounted similar stories to mine (down to the pee bottle stored next to their lunch and drinks).