Power Dressing

My Very Worst Job was at a copier company when I was 20. My boyfriend and I were a bit poor back then, so I didn’t have much in the way of proper business attire. As such, I showed up for the interview in a sundress. The two brothers who owned the place barely asked me anything and then hired me on the spot.

I was the office manager, answering phones, taking complaints from customers (of which there were several) and trying to appease them, typing, filing, interacting with the techs and doing their accounts payable and receivable. I was also forced to call the customers and harass them when their payments were late.

The accounts almost never balanced. And we’re not talking a few dollars here and there; they would be missing thousands at a time. Thinking I might be making a mistake at first, I would check and double check my work, but the results were always the same. Luckily I had no actual access to the money itself so no one could blame me, but I was still afraid of the wrath of the younger brother (who we’ll get to in a bit).

Much of the time, I was left completely alone. The techs would be out in the field, and the two brothers were out doing god knows what. They were rather lazy and didn’t seem to understand how to run a business. When the older of the two did come in (which was more often than the younger) he would tell me stories about stealing his wife’s credit card and racking up charges on it at brothels in Vegas where he would sleep with other women. When I expressed my disgust, he acted like he couldn’t understand what was wrong with that. Once he brought in a porn CD and sat there watching it right in front of me on my own computer. At one point he asked me why I never wore sundresses to the office anymore and admitted it was the reason they hired me.

The younger brother was even worse. He was a total pig regarding women as well, and an a-hole besides. He made it clear that I wasn’t allowed to do anything at all in the office besides my exact work (not even Solitaire or something to pass the time), despite the fact that on most days I would finish my job duties in an hour or two and have no one to even talk to. Whenever his fiancé would call, he would yell all sorts of rude things at her and cuss her out and tell her to stop bothering him. When he hung up, he would call her names and make fun of her.

Despite the fact that he was almost never in the office, when he DID make it in, he would strut around like he was God’s gift to the world and try his best to be intimidating. He liked to stand right behind me and stare over my shoulder as I worked (and criticize and nitpick whenever he could). He would get into rages and yell all the time and put me down. He also made a way bigger deal about the accounts receivable discrepancy than his brother. All while sniffing continually as if he had a perpetually runny nose.

Things got so bad that I would cry every morning when I woke up, just knowing that I had to go back to that place. There was a huge turnover because the techs would get fed up and leave. The younger brother took a liking to one tech, S, who started later than many of the others. S got tons of special treatment, and instead of working, he spent most of his time hanging out with the younger brother doing god knows what away from the office. Eventually, S came in one day when no one else was around and told me what was really going on. It turned out he actually couldn’t stand the younger brother who had been stealing tons of money from the company to support his cocaine habit. That explained the missing money and the constant sniffling.

Right after that, I searched extra hard and found a great job to go to. I gave them only one week’s notice, and they were lucky to have gotten that.

Comments (13)

MarcieSeptember 15th, 2010 at 7:24 am

Wow. Drug-addled bosses, embezzlement, sexual harassment, bullying… I am so sorry that you had to work in a horrible situation like that. Congratulations on your new job!

Jade LynnSeptember 15th, 2010 at 9:12 am

Sexual harassment in the work place makes my skin crawl

BikeLizardSeptember 15th, 2010 at 9:48 am

The cocaine explains without excusing so much of what went on there! I can’t believe Older Brother watched porno in front of you on your own computer as a method of seduction.

You’re totally right, they didn’t deserve one week’s notice. It also sucks that you had no one to turn to about the sexual harassment, one of the down sides of working for a small company I suppose. I hope you’re on to better things.

PS- Commenters, can we agree that this is a shitty, shitty job?

tronnerSeptember 15th, 2010 at 9:58 am

Of course it was – she couldn’t even play Solitaire!

AndrewSeptember 15th, 2010 at 10:49 am

Oh I definitely agree it was a shitty, shitty job. But then again, sometimes I think I’m the only one who usually always sides with the OP unless they’re a complete moron.

Frau BlucherSeptember 15th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Yeah, sounds disgusting…I worked with a cocaine-porn junkie who was always sniffling.
I sympathize about not having interview clothes. However, even when I was really poor I made sure i had one decent outfit for interviews. A sundress is ok though, if you wear a light summer sweater over it. At least now you have a better job!

BriSeptember 15th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I would’ve made the same mistake and worn one of my sundresses too. Most people haven’t worked in an office setting when they’re twenty, or had a formal interview. I remember showing up to my first job interview in a black, low cut dress (thank god the manager was a woman). It was only a retail position, but everyone else was dressed up in blazers and dress pants. I also wouldn’t have picked up why I was hired at 20 either.

Young workers will tolerate a lot. If you look at most of these very worst jobs, they’re usually people’s first jobs or a crappy job they got in their late teens. Employers seem to think they can treat younger workers with less respect, pay them very little, and sexual harrass them. It’s ok to pay someone if they have less experience. However, it is NOT ok to treat younger workers boorishly because they’re too naive to quit and/or sue.

MattSeptember 15th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Haha, you really shouldn’t have given them even that one week’s notice.

Frau BlucherSeptember 16th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

exactly, in your 20s you know you have to start somewhere and you also haven’t picked up any street savvy…my VWJ which I submitted, was in my late 20s but I’d had quite a few before that, only that one lasted a few months.

RHJSeptember 16th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

You should have dropped a tip with the cops. Spending thousands a month on cocaine, I bet they could have nailed him with enough on hand to charge him for dealing.

TanekSeptember 18th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Alright I’ll agree that this was a shitty job. However, that being said I still don’t understand why people feel entitled to be able to play solataire at WORK.

meSeptember 19th, 2010 at 6:11 am

wait your work computer or personal one? did u report them for sexual harrassment? did u call the wife and tell her about the brothels? if he wasnt safe she could get an std, including hiv. glad u got out of there.

Donald UrquhartSeptember 24th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

That sounds like a really, really, really horrific job and I’m sorry you had to endure it for as long as you did. However, now you know why everyone says to dress so conservatively when going to a job interview, so you are as sure as you can be that you got the job for your skills instead of your looks. It’s sad that sexual harassment is so difficult to do anything about except quit, but unless you go in with a lot of money then about the only thing you can do is quit. I also disagree with some of the people on here who say you should call up the wife and talk to her, I think you should stay out of these people’s lives from here on out, with the possible exception of an anonymous tip to the cops about the cocaine.

Donald from Treatment For Hypotonia

Leave a comment

Your comment