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Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Kid You Not!

Is it worth it?

A number of people I know are looking for jobs, beginning new careers or fulfilling their dreams.  It has made me think hard on what I want to do.  One thing I know!  I do not want to work for a power-hungry-demeaning-rude-snide-(usually very wealthy)-know-it-all-unappreciative-cantankerous sort.

...and I've had my share of just such a boss.  Boss #1 when I was 19 or 20 acted inappropriately.  I screamed!  My boss in Saudi Arabia, after working for him 3 years, said "Hey you - get me coffee!"  While on maternity leave with Son #1, another boss had an affair with a friend I brought into the company, and then hired HER as his assistant.  I kid you not.

Years ago, I thought the end-all, be-all would be to own a Louis V. handbag.  A real one; not the China-town-version.  And, so I got one.  But I got it the hard way....

My boss was a female CEO who we'll call Dr. R.  If I listed job duties they'd include:  buy husband underwear, cover for her affair(s), and take verbal abuse quite regularly.  "The Devil Wears Prada" movie had a scene of Meryl trying to get on a plane in a blinding rainstorm.  I lived that.  On a Friday night, Dr. R. was in Florida.  I was home with a bunch of girlfriends.  My Guy was out of town.  The phone rings and a hysterical Dr. R. screams into the phone:  "Virginia, my cat is dying.  You've got to get me back there!"  I kid you not.  No planes were leaving due to a potential hurricane.  I called Hooks Airport to inquire about a private jet.  Long story short...she ran throughout the airport, catching the last flight to H-town.  I had a limo awating that took her home, picked up Dying Cat...and then on a road trip to Texas A&M Vet's school.  I kid you not.

She (tried) making up for "all of this" by giving great gifts.  And, oh my...I accepted them.  Cold hard cash, a "Louis" bag, Cole Hahn scarves (in picture w/Louis), more cash.  I took it - the abuse, the gifts, the shoddy treatment.

Even before Dr. R., I worked for oil tycoon, Mr. B.  It did not last long - just an hour after he threw a stapler at me.  Let me set the stage.  I was young(er), worn to a nub with my dying Mom, and our two sons required lots of attention.  Add the commute!  Traffic in Houston wears everyone to their nub.

Again, flashback to "The Devil..." movie.  When Mr B. entered the office, the receptionist would buzz the first office: "He's here."  They in turn buzzed on down the hall.  We'd sit tall  at "attention."  I was the last stop.  My office guarded his. 

In my supply closet was a private phone line (not connected to the oil company).  I had to get in at 8:30 and listen to my to-do's for the day that he left on the recorder.  Without fail, he'd call at 8:40.  IF I did not pick up the phone, "Katy, bar the door!"  Of course, he was checking to see if I got to work on time.

I'd been with him three months and Mom had died while I worked there.  I was a door mat.  Pure and simple.  One morning I allowed a gentleman to go in even though Mr. B.'s door was closed.  When he left Mr. B.'s office, I was buzzed in.  And then it hit.  "You are a __________ idiot.  Why on earth would you let someone in when my door is closed?"  On & on...and bam!  A flying stapler just missed me.  I kid you not.  I did leave that very day after being coached by my head hunter.  I went in and said:  "Mr. B., I'm out of here.  It's obvious it's not going to work out."  ....and home I went. 

I've been out of the professional/corporate world for 10 years and have worked hard - on myself.  If only I knew then what I know now.  There is no way on earth....I'd allow people to treat me in such a manner.  No one should be treated less than anyone.

It's about kindness - we DO get what we give.  And instead of a Louis V bag oh, if only I had received respect!  I'd much prefer respect: with a heap of love, a spoonful of laughter, a dash of kindness and a pinch of patience.

So I'm in a fortunate stage of life...where I can sift, ponder and pray about what to do next.  The missing ingredient on my many job searches was prayer.  It was all about the BIG job, working for the BIG cheese, getting the BIG money.  I'm so over that.  Although I've got the Louis, I don't even carry it. 

If I had a daughter I would tell her to pray and respect herself.  I kid you not.


Pam said...

I was a nanny for a big power couple in my 20's. "Andrea" didn't work however. She spent hours in her attic "painting" and smoking unfiltered camels. She treated me like CRAP and then felt bad and emptied her closet to me. I didn't last long and when I left..left every last piece of crap she gave me. GREAT post Va!

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Oh, Pam....good move - to return it all!

Dawn said...

Wow..VA...I love this post.
I have never worked for anyone like these former bosses...I know I would have taken some of this when I was in my 20's...but today...NEVER.

Love that YOU get to decide your future (with help from ABOVE, of course) xoxo

Empress of The Eye said...

Been there, done that. "The Devil Wears Prada" is everyone's favorite movie, but it just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

Michelle said...

Oh, I feel your pain.
This is my first time visiting your blog and on the first post, I had to comment. You summed it up perfectly. Even with my poor wages working for a Major retail gourmet kitchenware company - if only I received a little respect and kindness, it would make the job much more tolerable. I almost quit today. A previous boss, when I was much younger, was nicknamed Hitler. This boss now seems nice in comparison to my new boss. I think I'll call her Mary Tudor. Because the anger she posessed when I forgot to tell a customer that "bakeware is on sale for 15% off today" was unreal. I really think she wants my head on a spike. I have a daughter who is a French major in college and minoring in women's studies. And believe me, I am proud that she is not jumping on the corporate ladder and becoming a doormat for uncaring, insensitive bosses. You are right ... if only we knew then what we know now. You've inspired me!

Dianne said...

You indeed are older and wiser! Isn't it nice to know that age does bring some goodies?!

Emily said...

Vava, what a horrible experience! I am grateful. All of my bosses were very nice! You are right, kindness does matter!

sewmuchwhimsy said...

Vava, wow, you had awful bosses!! I thought I had bad ones in my past, but yours make mine look like saints! I will remind my daughter of your wise advice when she starts hunting for her first grown up job after college graduation next summer. xoxoo Gretchen

Anonymous said...

Such an important post! So glad you're happy!



Acanthus and Acorn said...

A good story and lessons learned. I've had some crazy bosses, but always tried to be a good one myself, especially to women!!!

Cathi said...

Great post! Fortunately I have never worked for people like you describe...I probably would have been the one throwing the stapler if they treated me badly..haha...

Kindness and respect is indeed where it's at! Good for you and good luck in whatever you choose to do next! xxoo :)

Anonymous said...

Best post EV_ER!!! I love your life stories so much...each with a lesson at the end, like Aesop's
Fables. I've only had one boss, and he was a complete idiot. I decided long ago I'm only cut out to work for myself!xoxo