H is for Hopeless

HLast Fall I was doing some subcontract work and was assigned to work with a client who was (at least in her own mind) “high-profile”.  Her actual claims to fame were mediocre at best and dubious as a baseline.  A few days into our working relationship it was very apparent that “high profile” really meant “a royal pain in the posterior”.

Our first weekly check-in call was spent with her reciting a litany of all the shortcomings, sins and transgressions of her previous assistant.  Ok, I figured, let her get that out of her system and we can move forward.  Oh how naive I was!

I put together the first newsletter for her, sent her the link to take a look and let me know if changes needed to be made. She emailed back that everything was “a-ok” and to go ahead and send the newsletter.  20 minutes after sending the newsletter I get an email.  In a nutshell it was  “OH MY GOD! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? YOU’VE MADE ME LOOK HORRIBLE!!” and then my phone rings and before I can pick up I am getting a second call.  She had called the agency I was working through and she was calling me herself and she was LIVID.

So, I quickly log in to look at the newsletter and, sure enough, it’s a MESS.  Formatting is horrible – 2 sections completely squashed together, about 8 different fonts, none of the links work correctly and… not at all as it had looked when I scheduled it.  Puzzled, I looked at the revision history and found that there were 2 logins, after my having scheduled the newsletter. Apparently the client had been in and “made some minor edits”.

Meanwhile, the agency I was working through is screaming at me that I’ve damaged their relationship with the client and the client is screaming that I’ve made her look like a fool to all of her subscribers and then I pointed out to both the agency and the client that the newsletter was edited after I’d scheduled it and I had no idea it had been edited. Client denies my assertion.  I take and send screenshots of the revision log. Ooops, guess who didn’t know the revision log even existed? At that point the agency simply said to me “don’t let it happen again” and the client fell silent. This should have been my first clue that rational interaction was hopeless.

In hindsight, I should have walked away then.

Over the next few months I was accused of not sending emails (screenshots proved otherwise), not scheduling broadcasts to go out (screenshots proved otherwise), not doing things I had been told to do (screenshots of “draft” emails, still sitting in her outgoing mail proved that she had never really told me to do those things… sure she’d written the email, but she’d never sent it, so I had no way of knowing things needed doing). Eventually, someone in the agency got in touch with the previous assistant who said that yes, she had been through all of those things with that client and so had a string of assistants before her. She was a serial complainer – and pleasing her was a hopeless endeavor.

About 4 months in, as I was writing the email to the agency to ask to be reassigned, I was told that she’d given her notice that she was unhappy with the services provided and would be moving to another agency.  The agency I worked with then threw me under the bus in attempt to retain her as a client.  Completely disregarding that I had been able to prove that everything she’d accused me of doing or not doing was a complete fabrication, they apologized for my “woefully unprofessional performance” but…she had her mind made up. And I had MY mind made up and resigned.

Bottom line? Go with your gut. Even if you need the money, sometimes you have to cut your losses and walk away.


G is for Gullible

GI’ve worked quite a bit for nonprofit organizations.  For a few months, many years ago now, I worked at a homeless shelter. Most of the people who worked there had worked there for years and I did not “fit in” with the folks who were well ensconced (there were several members of one family who all worked there).

I was stationed at the front desk on the second shift (4PM-Midnight). I answered phones, controlled entry to the door, helped with cleanup and generally was not too busy.  On the desk was a computer. The computer had internet access and though I did not use it to do anything like social media or personal email, I often wiled away time playing solitaire or finding interesting articles on the internet.

Shortly after I started, the bosslady noted that SOMEONE had been accessing the internet on the computer and that inappropriate sites were being viewed and if it wasn’t stopped immediately, there would be trouble. She then went on to say that they had JUST paid “well over $1000” to have all of the pornography removed from the computer.  REALLY? Over $1000? For something I could do in just a few minutes? Wow.

A couple of days later, I attempted to log onto the internet and it was blocked. Being tech savvy, I was able to easily circumvent the block and didn’t think twice about it.  Apparently, though, I was not the ONLY one who was tech savvy. A day later I got a call at way-too-early-in-the-morning saying that there was an IMMEDIATE mandatory staff meeting.

MORE PORN ON THE COMPUTER. And whomever had put it there was going to have to pay the $1000+ to have it removed. AGAIN. And “we know it was someone on second shift” and all eyes were upon me.

Again, I am tech savvy, so, on my shift, I pulled up the computer history and could easily see the days and times these sites had been visited. Guess what? Not ONE of them was during my shift.  In fact, it was the (oh big surprise) new young man who had just been hired. (Most of the staff was female).  After I carefully saved the evidence, I cleaned all of the offending material from the computer and left the bosslady a stack of screenprints, matched to the schedule and let her know that the computer had been cleaned of the offending material. Came in the next afternoon to their high-paid tech telling bosslady “there’s absolutely no trace of any pornographic material on this computer”.

Wonder how much that cost her….

D is for Delegate

DPeople hire me to take over Administrative tasks for them so that they can focus on their core business. I know that sounds really easy, but apparently delegation is a tough job. I had one client whose business was growing by leaps and bounds. She needed help. She needed a LOT of help.  We had outlined the things she would hand over to me. I reminded her. I followed up.  And I waited. And waited.  We finally had a talk and she explained that she was just so used to doing everything herself that the process of having to explain it to someone else just seemed much more difficult than just doing the task herself.  I patiently explained that if she could just explain a task to me ONCE, she’d be freed of having to ever do the task again. Theoretically, she agreed and I felt like I had buy-in, but still, no tasks came.  We eventually talked and parted ways with her decision that maybe she needed someone local. Someone whose physical presence would basically nag her/annoy her into giving things up to be done by someone else.

I’ve had other situations where the person I worked with ended up delegating pretty much the entire day-to-day operation of the business to me.  This has only happened once in my self-employment but it also happened a couple of times in my corporate life.  And it wasn’t too bad (except for they were taking home the Executive salary and I was still getting my Admin. Assistant paycheck even though I was doing the majority of the work!)  But then those folks moved on and the people who took over the position then scaled the job back to just really basic admin tasks and took away all of the authority that I’d had, as well. (This is another “D” word… demotion! And it was also very demoralizing…)

Are you someone who delegates at work? Or a person who gets things delegated to them?

B is for BS

BIn the course of this whole “being self-employed” adventure, I am finding that there are a lot of people who really want and truly think that they NEED an assistant but they don’t really have a clue what to delegate or how to delegate.  They also don’t know how the process works for hiring an Independent Contractor and so I end up in a lot of situations where it’s more like a traditional job interview situation. Here’s the thing, though… you wouldn’t ask your doctor or your plumber “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, would you?

So…I responded to an RFP (request for proposal) and had a phone call with a potential client and she said she was really impressed but she had some more people she was interviewing and she would get back to me “by Wednesday, FOR SURE”.  Well, here it is, Thursday afternoon and no decision.  She did email me some follow-up questions yesterday (All of which fell into the “traditional job interview” category) and I responded.

A few times this scenario has played out and we get to the point of me sending a contract and they get hit with the reality that I *gasp* actually expect to get paid the rate that I quoted them and I never hear from them again (in spite of my follow-up efforts).

I am mid-range in what I charge for my services. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a potential client think they could get someone to practically run their business (at least all the marketing, social media, customer care, technology) for under $10 an hour.  The thing is….if you hire me, you aren’t paying for any benefits, any office space, no coffee breaks, no potty breaks, no 3 martini lunches.  I charge you for the time I actually work and that’s it.  A lot of times they’ll play this BS game before that happens:

Potential Client: “You charge HOW MUCH??  I can get someone in (insert 3rd world country) to do this for $2 an hour”

Me: “And you are free to pursue that, if you wish.”

Potential Client: (harumph) “You aren’t even going to TRY to negotiate? Lower your rate by $15 an hour to get me as a client?”

Me: “My rates are my rates. You wouldn’t ask your doctor to negotiate, would you?”

Potential Client: “Fine. I’ll just go hire someone from (insert 3rd world country)”

And then I get 2 emails that are basically them still being incredulous that I won’t come down $15 an hour on my rate and they go hire someone from a third world country and then end up having to re-do a bunch of the work that gets given back to them which ends up costing them more than if they’d just paid my rate in the first place.

And yet… I will happily do what I do before even considering a return to the corporate world. Being the Boss is great!

A is for Apathy

A After an inexcusably long absence, I’m back.

When in the course of career events you get laid off, once again, one tends to become somewhat apathetic. Me? I was unapologetically apathetic after my stint at Disorganization, Inc.  I simply could NOT psyche myself up to go through the cycle again. Interview – Rejection – Interview – Overqualified – Interview – No Degree? No Hire – Interview – 2nd Interview – Offer – Start – 6 – 18 months later  = layoff – Rinse & Repeat! And so, I decided to bite the bullet and start my own business.  And I’m still working on building my business and getting clients and negotiating contracts and all of the blood, sweat and tears that go into being a business owner.

I’ve been so engulfed in the whole “creating a whole new life” process that I became apathetic about blogging.  Well, that and telling myself “tonight I’ll start again” and then looking at the clock and seeing it is once again 5AM and no blog post written.

So, once again, I decided that there must be a solution to that and found the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge. And then I found an old friend who is a kick-ass writer and twisted her arm asked her to blog here with me.  So, you will be seeing posts from Tabi Rasa here, as well.   Plus, now you’ll get to read my adventures as an entrepreneur.  And I already have some unbelievable client stories to share!

Strap in and come along on the ride that will be the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge and check out some of the other blogs in the challenge!


After the Temporary Insanity Ends

It’s been almost a week since my last day at Disorganization, Inc.  It’s taken me that long to feel that I could write about it and not end up gnashing my teeth and becoming catatonic. Yes, that is a tich bit of hyperbole, but honestly, not much.

Shortly after my last post, there was another cut made.  Somehow, the remaining folks got it in their heads that the cut had, in some way, been my “fault”.  That something I had said or done had precipitated/necessitated the cut.  As a result, the following three weeks were something I would wish only upon my worst enemy.  Seriously… when your co-workers are having to draw lots, with the loser assigned to share a cubicle with you, there is no way in which that can be construed as anything better than a hostile work environment.

Management came and asked me some questions about the dynamics of what had been going on. There had been rumors and I was told that I was the only one that they could rely upon to be honest.  For all I know, they talked to everyone and gave them the same schpiel.  Because I do have a personal Code of Ethics, there were questions asked that I did not feel I could or should honestly answer. (So, I simply declined to answer those). I felt that there would be no point in “calling people out”.  That’s just not how I work.

In any case, the job has ended and I am moving on.  No, I didn’t get fired. It was, afterall, TEMPORARY. It was supposed to be a few days, that ended up dragging on for weeks and then months.  From a Project Management perspective, it was nothing short of a nightmare.  There were unclear objectives, there were office politics that were “off the charts” and, quite frankly, the whole experience has put me off ever wanting to work with a large corporation again.

You may (or may not) find it of interest that my direct supervisor actually cried when I left. Although, in hindsight, maybe the tears cried were those of relief.  Maybe not relief at my departure, but relief at the ordeal that comprised “Temporary Insanity” was coming to an end.

So now, I move on.  Let the next chapter begin…

Temporary Insanity’s End Is In Sight

Things haven’t gotten any better at Disorganization, Inc., in fact, they have gotten worse.

I cannot fathom how someone who has employees saying every day that they have “done their share” at lunchtime and then has those same employees sitting doing online shopping and job hunting finds me insubordinate…. yet, that’s what I got smacked with today.

And so, my friends, I am actively working to wind up my time at Disorganization, Inc.

I have no chance of winning here. I cannot see things getting any better and sometimes, as they say, you’ve gotta “know when to fold ’em” and this is one of those times.

I figure, at this point, it’s a game of “beat the clock”… can I find a new opportunity before I get shitcanned?

I do not suspect the agency that got me this job is going to do anything to help me. And I’m fine with that. I’m a big girl and will find my own opportunity.  Still, it would be nice to have them not actively fight me.

I’d like to say “it’s been fun”.. but that’d be a lie… Let’s go with “it’s been educational” and walk away.

Matthew 7:1-3

I’ve found it interesting in the course of my temp job that most of my co-workers hold themselves out as Christians and yet display some of the most horrible, mean, catty, spiteful behavior I have ever been witness to…

They are judgmental, they are meanspirited, they act very self-righteous and as if their shit doesn’t stink.


I don’t get it.  Every Monday in the little viper den that we all share, it sounds like a revival… talking about all the things that happened at church over the weekend.  This discussion is loud, impossible to ignore and destroys my concentration.  Glad you had a good time at church and that Mr. So & So was “saved” but, really, we need to get to work now.

I have no problem with people who choose to be religious. What I have a problem with is people who are sanctimonious. Don’t be praising G-d out of one side of your mouth and telling outright lies about your co-workers in the same breath.

Trust me, if we enforced The Golden Rule at my office, there would be a LOT of really unhappy people.

I, for one, am tired of being lied about. Tired of being talked about. Tired of seeing co-workers who do nothing all day get moved into supervisory positions.  I have less than zero respect for the person who was promoted to be our overlord (at least, she treats us as if she is our overlord) and I cannot WAIT to find another job so I can leave the viper den and work with PROFESSIONALS again.

And I know you are probably thinking that I am being mighty judgmental just writing this, but here’s the thing. I don’t parade around trumpeting about how pious I am and how much I love G-d, nor do I think I am perfect or better than anyone else.  I don’t lie about people, I don’t treat people disrespectfully, ESPECIALLY when they’ve never done a thing wrong to me and I work every day.. I don’t sit around goofing off, collecting the same paycheck that the hardworking folks collect.

I’ve tried to be friendly. I’ve tried to get along. I’ve tried to give folks the benefit of the doubt.  In return, I’ve been lied about, I’ve been spit on and I’ve been threatened.

Hoping I get some more interviews… soon!

Temporary Insanity Stomps Onward

So, in spite of the fact that the project I was hired to do was over almost a month ago, Disorganization, Inc. is still sinking it’s talons into me and preventing me from moving on.

I know you’re probably thinking that I’m being ridiculous and can leave any time but, you see, as a special bonus quirk of the employment world, they don’t want to hire you unless you’ve finished the project and have been released. Also, no one wants to hire you if you’re available immediately BUT no one wants to wait for someone who has to give notice.

Add to that the fact that I have a bona fide Work Nemesis now because SOMEONE told a lie and Work Nemesis didn’t bother to ask me so she BELIEVES the lie and has set about making my life miserable and it’s getting old really quick.

As much as I like having the paycheck (small as it is), I am more than ready to be released from this job and move on.

To that end, I contacted the agency I’ve been working with and had to talk to Agency Harpy instead of Agency Dude and she was completely unhelpful and generally, well, a harpy and it’s just ridiculous.

I had a phone interview over a week ago. I knew that his promise to get back to me “early in the week” was a lie before we even ended the call.  It was a total waste of time and I really, really didn’t need to have my chain yanked again.

This was after the Agency Fiasco a few weeks ago.  Gung Ho Agency Gal calls with the “perfect” job for me. And it was. And the interview went really, really well and the people I interviewed with thought I was PERFECT for the job and I thought that the job was PERFECT for me and then…. then the owner decided that he only needs someone 15-18 hours a week (to do two jobs that were formerly about 30 hours a week for each of the people doing them).  And then she had this other really great job and that interview went all right but then they presented the Dude with a candidate with 5 years of industry-specific experience and…yeah… I didn’t get that one, either.  Not surprisingly, I haven’t heard from Gung Ho Agency Gal since.

Well, I’d better head to bed. Wish me luck (tomorrow is Friday, the 13th and the last Friday the 13th we had, I got laid off… so, yeah, I’m a tich superstitious).

Temporary Insanity Is Driving Me To Drink!

We wrapped up the project we’ve been working on at Disorganization Inc. on Thursday and were told we’d be off on Friday and to “have a nice weekend”.  Ahhhh! Three entire blissful days without needing to navigate the Viper Pit! Bliss!

And then, this evening, I get a message that there is an “optional” work opportunity on Saturday.  Yes, that’s right, Friday evening after having Friday off because there was no more work to do (and anticipating all day that I was going to get a call that the assignment is ending), we are then contacted and told we are free to come in at noon on Saturday.

Ummmm…NO!  Enough is enough. I am through with the loyalty tests and the mind games.  If you have a job for me, GREAT!  If you don’t, FINE!  But don’t ask me to sacrifice weekends and work 12-14 hour days because you feel you can use the fact that I need to be working against me.

I have given 110% to this job.  I’ve worked 12-14 days in a row 12-14 hour days. I’ve given up my social life, I’ve severely damaged my closest relationship and my health is suffering.  Add to that the fact that I work with a roomful of people who wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire…. I’m just not feelin’ giving up yet ANOTHER Saturday, when I’ve already made plans, to go spend time with people I don’t like one little bit. And if that means that I lose a long-term opportunity, I’m fine with that.  I’m tired of getting my chain yanked. I am tired of all of the petty bitchiness.

I’m done.