It’s just starting to sink in and I feel sick and depressed. Little back story:
I graduated from college in May of 2010 with a worthless degree in History. I went through a really rough time after graduating, losing my gf of 3 years, and moving to a state I hate. I got a job offer and I was desperate to get out of my parent’s house. The job was for $10/hr, 9-5 M-F. The first 120 days I was to be on probation, after that probation I would have an employee review and it was strongly hinted that a raise would follow after that review, depending on how I did.
In my desperation to get out of my parent’s house and to start my life after getting my first “real” job out of college, I signed a 12 month lease for an apartment I could barely afford. (Oh, I luckily don’t have any debts or car payments or anything like that, so I could swing it on $10/hr, but just barely) I was really banking on getting a raise at the end of my 120 day review. (My mistake, I know, but it was heavily hinted that I’d get a raise)
Well I worked my ass off. I completely transformed the company’s work process. It was a very small company, only 4 other people in the office, but we had 30+ subcontractors around the country. Anyways, my review came around and my boss gave me all top marks, said that I was doing amazing, that she was so happy to have me…..but no raise. She said we didn’t have enough accounts and she couldn’t give me one. (She drove a BMW, had maids, and took home a 6 figure salary. Later during a fight she would tell me that she paid my salary out of her take home pay.)
Anyways, on top of not getting a raise, I got 5 days paid vacation time off per year. That’s about half the national average for the US. If I got sick, it came out of my vacation time. If I wanted to take a vacation she probably would have given me shit for it and would not have let me. So no raise, no vacation time, oh, and no health care. I was still on my dad’s plan, so she didn’t have to give me health care. She was paying for everyone else to have health care, but since I was on my father’s she didn’t have to pay the extra $300/mo.
After that review, when I found out that I wasn’t going to get a raise, that I was to continue to get paid my probationary pay, my morale tanked. I felt like I was getting fucked over. I no longer felt the need to go above and beyond for my boss. (I would have done anything for her in the beginning. I even went out of my way to make chemically etched copper business cards for her birthday. I volunteered to come in on the weekends to help out. When she had a bad day I went next door and got her a brownie and ice cream. She told me that I was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people she ever met.)
Anyways, things started to spiral downward slowly. Several weeks ago there was a watershed incident. I was to run the deliveries for the day, but my boss’ son didn’t explain that I had to do some special route and deliver some suitcases to a doctor’s office that he forgot to give me a key for. Since her son was a subcontractor, he paid me and I was off my boss’ clock while doing the runs.
Anyways, I got lost, almost ran out of gas, was half an hour’s drive out of my way from home, an hour off the clock, etc. Needless to say I was pissed. I texted my boss that I was not happy. She called me and I was admittedly a bit short with her. I wasn’t rude, but she could tell I wasn’t happy. The very next day she hauled me upstairs and scolded me for half an hour, completely taking me off guard.
I don’t do well with confrontation and my brain shut down. I told her that I didn’t have any job satisfaction, that I was unhappy about not having a raise, that I was barely able to make ends meet, that I had done everything she asked of me and more, yet I felt like I was being taken advantage of, that I was looking for a part time job to work during the evenings after I got home in order to make ends meet. She flipped her shit and almost fired me there. Anyways, I put my tail between my legs and apologized and kept my job.
My morale was really shot then. I started to resent my boss. She kept going on and on about how no one gave raises like her, that nobody took care of their employees like her, but it was all talk. She would do stuff like get us soda and snacks and keep it in the fridge, but that’s it. I liken it to gladiator armor. It covers the arms and other things, but leaves the torso and vital organs completely exposed. She would try to do little things to show that she cared, but it was never anything that really mattered like giving me a raise so I could afford to put food on my table.
Anyways, after that blow-out it seemed that all the good will that I had built up over the past several months of hard work was destroyed. Things started to get progressively worse. She demanded that we keep meticulous track of out hours worked. If we were late, she’d scold us. Well I always came in a little early and left a little later than 5. I kept track of those minutes and they added up, often to at least an extra hour. I put that down on my time sheet and she scolded me. She said that it would add up to over time that she did not want to pay me. So basically she wanted to not pay me for the time before 9 that I was there, nor the time after 5, but heaven forbid I was late one morning, then she would fuck me over. The system was rigged that it only benefited her, never me.
Everything really snapped for me when I got in trouble for taking a lunch break to have lunch next door with some friends. I apparently was operating under the assumption that I had a lunch hour in the middle of the day that I could do whatever I wanted with. The other people in my office would often take half an hour or more to walk across town to get some lunch. Most of the time I just sat at my desk and ate while I worked. Well I took a break and she informed me that I didn’t have a lunch break, that I would have to adjust my hours in order to take a lunch break. I worked 8 hours and was only allowed a 15 minute break in the morning and a 15 minute break in the evening. Neither of which I ever really took.
She also scolded me one morning for being exceedingly tired. She automatically assumed that because I was 23, it was due to me being irresponsible and partying all weekend long. I don’t really ever drink. I have sleep apnea which makes me tired as shit every day. Ironically I see one of our clients to get treatment for my sleep apnea.
I got fed up. I started looking around for replacement jobs. I cleared out my desk secretly a week ago. I cleaned up my computer and wiped all my history. From time to time she’d have me dig through a subcontractor’s computer to see if I could find anything incriminating. I was her only IT guy and so I made damn sure she would never be able to find anything on me.
The thing that really got me was that she always kept moving the goal posts. She would ask me to do something, I would do it, and then I would get in trouble for doing what she asked. I could NEVER fucking win. I can’t emphasize this enough. I constantly felt like I was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. What also really killed me was how unstable the whole situation was. She would act like we were all a family, like we were best friends one moment, and then next thing you know, I do something wrong and she’s about to fire me. Up and down, up and down, I couldn’t stand it.
Anyways, this afternoon, 15 minutes before close, she told me to come upstairs. “Oh great,” I thought, “time to get scolded by my boss again.” I went upstairs and she was sitting there ready for a fight. I knew it was coming. I sat down with a smile on my face and was very cordial and polite. She said that I was not the person she hired months ago, that my attitude was unacceptable, that she had a long list of things that were suddenly now back on her. I asked her what she meant by that because I was under the impression that I was handling everything she asked me to do. She couldn’t name anything. She tried to come up with some examples, but they were all things that she never assigned to me. It’s funny how things suddenly had a habit of becoming solely my project just in time for me to get in trouble for it not being completed.
Well I just sat there and smiled, she said she was very disappointed, I think I said that that made two of us, but the whole thing feels like a dream that I can’t really remember, even though it was just this afternoon. She asked what was going on, why I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like having a fight with her, so I told her that I didn’t appreciate being ambushed like this and that I had nothing to say. She said that if I didn’t tell her, that I would be leaving on bad terms. I said sorry to hear that, but that I have nothing to say to her. She told me to get my things and I walked downstairs without looking at my coworkers. She stood next to me the whole time watching me like a hawk. I turned in my key to the office and then was going to close out of some programs on my computer. She didn’t want me to, she wanted me to keep all my windows open so she could see what I was doing. I think I got everything closed, but I can’t remember. I might have left my personal gmail account open. I got my stuff while my coworkers sat their in stunned silence, pretending not to pay attention. I walked out of the office and shut the door behind me. I was shaking a little, but not overly showing. It wasn’t until later today that I felt like I was going to throw up. I was…am happy, but I don’t know what I’m going to do for a job, or how I’m going to pay for my apartment.
I know I can never tell any future employers what happened because they will always assume the fault is with the employee, never the employer, but I was really fucked over by this job. I just wanted to get this all off my chest.