Monday, April 13, 2015

Terrible bosses, bad jobs and happy endings.

The worst job ever? A terrible boss? We’ve all had one or the other. Lucky me, I’ve had both and at the same time. It sure didn’t feel lucky at the time. It was darn awful. The luck came later.

A while ago, I had a temporary job at a call center. The work was okay, just making calls and reading a script. The problem was that whenever I had a question I was told to look in the training manual. So I did that and I did whatever the training manual told me to do or say.
Here’s where I have to tell you something you might not know about call centers. The management folks listen in on calls. This makes sense. They have to check up on the employees to make sure everyone is doing the right thing. Apparently, I wasn’t doing the right things. I found that out on a couple occasions when my supervisor would stop by for a chat. She’d tell me I was “off script” or “following the wrong process.” Then she’d ask me why I was doing whatever it was that I was doing. And, for some crazy reason, she didn’t like it when I referenced the page number of the training manual.

Even after all these years, I can see the curl of her lip and the blank look in her eyes when she spoke with me. It was as though she couldn’t believe someone so inferior had been parked in her cubicle row. “It doesn’t matter that the manual says that,” she’d say. “Just do what I said.” I would’ve been totally fine with that approach if it hadn’t been for her dreadful attitude. Having her lurking nearby, listening in on calls, waiting to zero in and expose my every inept response made most every minute of every day terrible.

When does the luck come in, you want to know?

It came years later, while working on a story. I needed an inspiration for a bad boss. Viola! There she was. My dislike for her was so strong, my memories were--and still are--crisp and vivid. Having her there in my memory made creating the nasty boss I needed for my new novel, Unfinished Business, almost instantaneous.

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