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Worst job and lessons learned

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29 minutes ago, dennis said:

Corn detasseling. I learned that I hated detasseling corn.

This seems to be a variation of spinach flinging. 

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Worst job.... Man I have had a lot of shitty assignments in my life.  Probably my time as a cop.  The realization that what I wanted to do since I was a kid and prepared myself my young adult life wasn't what I thought it would be.  Just a huge let down.

It taught me to be true to my convictions and that I could change gears and succeed in other endeavors.

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I had a job back in Sandusky Ohio.  It was a small consulting operation and family run.  

One night the Husband of the operation decided to choke his wife.  Unknown to Hubby, a developer was still their quietly working an issue for a client in his office.  Needless to say, Hubby found is face a bit busted up afterwards.  He also spent time in jail.  

I hated that job, much like many other jobs I've had but, I learned a lot there.  

Couch

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^ This

11 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Lesson:  People do what they have to do in order to survive.  

I always tried to be thankful for whatever job I had. I was between jobs in 1980 and there were no jobs to be found. Finally I was offered two jobs the same day. One was the supervisor for the cleaning crew at a federal park that cleaned all the restrooms and shower houses. The other job was a combination job of head lifeguard, maintenance repairman, groundskeepers supervisor, and remodelor. I chose the second job. The guy I worked for had never had a full time employee before. He always hired a bunch of part timers. I convinced him I could do the work of a bunch of part timers and he went for it. It was a strange place to work but it put food on the table and offered a lot of challenges. I was glad when things picked up in the economy and I went back to driving truck.

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It's a toss up between cleaning the barn yard and picking rejected brats off the line at Johnsonville Sausage. 

I would have to say Johnsonville. When I was stripping meat out of rejected brat casings I got to shovel meat into big tubs going to the stuffer.

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More than one worst job.  But all finally got me to the point that I realized I needed to look behind the next paycheck and look to the future.  Wish I could have been "enlightened" a few years earlier, but it worked out.

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The worst was when I was in the US Air Force. I'd already been in for 20 years and spent the last 12 years either teaching or running schools for aircraft mechanics. I earned a BS in Education during that time. I was offered major command headquarters job working on aircraft maintenance training issues. This MAJCOM was a known mess in that area so I declined initially; however, I started getting phone calls from people there who I worked with in the past. They said that things were changing for the better and I would be part of the change so I took the job.

Mistake. I was working for an officer who had a degree in Botany but thought that he knew more about training aircraft mechanics than I did. Plus he was a scheming weasel totally interested in getting promoted. It was horrible as what they trying to do was going to set training even further on the back burner. Literally every day I almost put in my retirement paperwork but thought that if I kept at it, I might be able to prevent things from getting worse. I went on the offensive by becoming offensive to the officer that I worked for which put few nails in the coffin of my promotion possibilities. Finally he had me transferred to another division where I learned database skills and enjoyed the work.

Now for the funny part. A couple of years after I finally retired I got a call from a government contractor. They were hired to fix the aircraft maintenance training mess and heard that I knew a thing or two about the issues. I took the job and was able to fix a few things. Remember that officer with a degree in Botany? He put in a resume for a job with the company and they asked what I thought. Simple: If they hire him, I quit. I worked there for a few more years.

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1 hour ago, BR46 said:

 

It's a toss up between cleaning the barn yard and picking rejected brats off the line at Johnsonville Sausage. 

 

As I read this as I got to the “picking rejected brats” I thought for sure you were going to say you drove a school bus.

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My worst job was a summer job walking on girders or scaffolding 35 feet off the ground - no safety cables. etc. in those days - with a heavy grinder and grinding welds smooth on a ceiling-high track that would hold a factory's stuff through the assembly line.  The worst part was after I got over being very scared, I began to get overconfident and was moving around as easily and freely as on the ground - I had to tell my teenage self to be more careful - and then I'd scare myself!

Afterward, when I got a student research job in the chemistry building at UMBC, I had to walk past a new, high building under construction going to and from the parking lot.  The  guys working hard, sweating, or freezing - sometimes with a fire in a 55 gallon drum to stay warm, helped keep me motivated to keep my grades up!

 

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I’ve detasseled corn. My worst was working on a potato harvester. I only did it 1 summer. If you are not familiar, the harvest burrows into the ground on one side. It brings up the potatoes and dirt on a large belt made of metal bars. It sifts out the dirt and tosses the stalks and leaves off the back. The potatoes and remaining dirt clods are fed onto a pair of belts (again made of iron bars) that run between those of us who sort the potatoes from the clods onto their respective belts. One feeds to the truck, the other tosses the clods off the side. Mind you, there is steel framework under the belt. Leave a finger through the bars for too long and you WILL have broken fingers. Never happened to anyone while I was there, but there were a couple people in the warehouse with mangled hands!

Our climate allowed us to get potatoes to market before Idaho was harvesting so time was of the essence to get the best price. We worked from sunrise to sundown. We would be covered in dirt to the point you could almost peel it off! 

The owner was cheap and mean. The trucks never got on a highway because they would have failed DOT inspections at a glance. One old COE Ford had a broken main latch for the cab. It still had the “safety” latch. You had to be careful on the brakes or you might be staring face first at the road when the cab would flip forward. Happened to my brother once!  

Another truck had about 4 of the 10 lug nuts on a front wheel. One day the lugs snapped and the wheel fell off in the field. They told us to take an early lunch. When we returned, they had simply welded the wheel on the hub! I was never so glad to be done with a job!

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I worked a bunch of jobs that weren't great, but they all taught me to appreciate a day's pay and keeping a good job when you find it.

When my kids were in high school, I required they work in retail or food service for at least a few months.  Just for the lessons learned

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In college, I answered an ad which essentially turned out to be a fundraising scheme.  Knock on doors, get folks to "donate" to a good cause, get paid a portion of the total raised over the daily quota.  Basically take a bunch of college kids out into the suburbs to knock on doors.

Yeah. That lasted one afternoon, and no, I didn't hit the quota. I'm not sure I even got one sucker to give anything. And, my biggest disappointment, no hot but bored housewives needing a little extra attention :(

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7 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

Over 72 years I've had a number of "filler" jobs between other jobs, from busboy in a restaurant to caddie at a golf club.  While some weren't "great", none were horrible to the point that I had to quit.

Lesson:  People do what they have to do in order to survive.  

You have to try selling major appliances as a commission salesperson to understand that.  :blink:

First "job" was at 13. Caddied for tips at the country club nearby. Earned a little cash and learned that golfers tend to be dicks.

First real job was at 14 washing dishes for a restaurant in a Holiday Inn. Learned much from my coworkers. Thai cuss words and that not everyone is in this country legally. One night the front desk employee came back to the kitchen to announce that ICE was in the building. Lek and Nooie, the cooks, bolted out the back door. Sam, the manager, gave me a hat and a spatula and said, "look like you know what you're doing". ICE came in, one guy looked at me and said, "ain't you kind of young to be a chef?" Off the cuff, I said it was an apprentice thing through my high school vo-tech. They left after half an hour of searching. 

Everyone should work retail or service industry to learn what other people are like.

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4 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

In college, I answered an ad which essentially turned out to be a fundraising scheme.  Knock on doors, get folks to "donate" to a good cause, get paid a portion of the total raised over the daily quota.  Basically take a bunch of college kids out into the suburbs to knock on doors.

Yeah. That lasted one afternoon, and no, I didn't hit the quota. I'm not sure I even got one sucker to give anything. And, my biggest disappointment, no hot but bored housewives needing a little extra attention :(

I had one of those kids show up in my yard last summer.  He was just "volunteering" to help reduce electricity costs, he assured me he wasn't selling anything, he wasn't making any money..... He was pleasant, and a pretty good salesman, I felt like sitting a few minutes, so I let him give me his spiel.  And I played along, even let him pull up the forms on his tablet, up until he presented it to me to sign.  "No obligation", just for a "survey".  That's when I told him I knew all along this was a change in my electricity provider, it was a sale, he was making money, it was ll right there in the form he wanted me to sign.  Told him he was a good salesman except for the blatant lying and doing that door to door was likely to get him injured one day.  Or fired from a real sales job that he could be really good at.

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1 minute ago, Razors Edge said:

And the boss gave you a $100 bonus that night?

Nope, I was 15 when it happened. Just thought of it as stepping in and helping out. I didn't think about asking for anything. 

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...when I stop and think about it, every one of my miscellaneous shitty jobs taught me something valuable. And there were a lot of them over the years. :) 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”

 

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Mine was an insurance sales program for some secod rate insurance that had deceptive sales practices. 1) I lasted 6 weeks before I told them to TTJASI as I refused to follow their sales tactics, and 2) learned never to accept and apology which I practice to this date, and when I hear people "demanding and apology" I'm thinking...you fool. It was selling, or more appropriately, upgrading after review, life policies as the were existing customers. We made home visits with set appointment times, except we were required to be 30 minutes late as part of the sales script. Sine I typically as on time or early, that was particularly hard for me. Of course, they would be pissed when we arrived where we would then go into apologetic mode with tales of last client was extremely complex requirements that bogged us down placing us behind, trying to catch up. (In reality, we stopped for a sandwich, socialized, etc while stalling for time.) Even bring it up if needed to thinks about it....running late for next appointment, need decision now, etc. The dynamics were amazing. They would rationalize...well he did apologize, and were like putty in my hands. It was really an eyeopener as I looked at apologies in general and what an apology really means. First, they don't mean it as they fully intend doing the same behavior. Second, you are delegating control of your feelings and emotions to an individual who could care less. 

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Each job has had good points and bad points. Sometimes..payday and Friday were the best part...

The worst job I had...was no job..it was stressful...not knowing how I was gonna pay my bills or how to find housing when you don't have a job..No weekends or holidays when you are unemployed :(

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I worked for a family run business, I was treated ok-ish, but also really taken advantage of the whole time. I was really underpaid, was not allowed proper vacation time, could not take emergency time time off, everything revolved around low pay while they raked in the money. 

Lesson learned was never to work with family

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I don't think I ever had a bad job.  I worked on farms as a kid.  Feeding and mucking cows at milking time. bailing hay all hot summer - I knew what I was in for and the guys I worked for were good people.  I had some construction jobs during summer in HS.  Block/mud tender was a difficult one but again I had a great boss.

Maybe the most interesting one was the summer I was 15 turning 16 (just a kid that mom drove to work every day).  The block layer boss lined be up with a retired guy (retired home builder) that was building a summer house for him and his wife - they had retired to Florida.  We started out framing the floor and then the walls.  He was teaching me as much as he could.  When we got most of the framing done he decided he needed to play more golf so we would start each morning with him teaching me what I needed to know for the day and by 10am he was off to play golf - leaving me alone to build.  After a couple days he realized that his plan of leaving me alone wasn't going to work so..... he hired two guys from the local college football team to work for me - the 15 year old kid supervising 2 college guys.  Every morning I showed up at 8 and he taught me what I needed to know for the day and at 10 he left and the 2 football players showed up.  They turned out to be lousy workers so I had them fired after a couple of weeks.  The guy asked if I knew anyone that wanted to work so he hired by best friend and the plan continued.  At 8 he taught me what I needed to know and at 10 he left and my buddy John showed up.  So that summer I supervised the construction of the house - me and my 15 yo buddy.  We have stories - we both survived to be 16 but just barely.

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I think it was the last summer we lived in NYS - 1992?   I needed a summer job and I took the bait on a newspaper ad, and signed up to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners.  That lasted about two days.  I learned I don't like going into strange peoples' houses, and I am neither a salesman nor a schmoozer. 

I think "sales" and "introvert" do not mix.

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6 minutes ago, TrentonMakes said:

I think it was the last summer we lived in NYS - 1992?   I needed a summer job and I took the bait on a newspaper ad, and signed up to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners.  That lasted about two days.  I learned I don't like going into strange peoples' houses, and I am neither a salesman nor a schmoozer. 

I think "sales" and "introvert" do not mix.

I have a couple Kirby sweeper stories. I’ll tell one. I was working on a slate entryway for a businessman’s house. A Kirby sweeper guy shows up and wants to demonstrate his sweeper. This guy says if you demonstrate it you have to do the whole room, I don’t want one clean spot on the floor. The Kirby guy swept and scrubbed the whole living room. When he was done he was getting back to his sales pitch and the man stopped him and asked how much are these sweepers. The Kirby guy said $1,100 but they are an incredible machine and built to last. The businessman reached into his pocket and pulled out money. He said I’ll give you $300 cash money for the machine you just demonstrated. The guy thought about it and finally said ok. Then the man said and I’ll give you another $300 cash money for one for my mother. He got two Kirby sweepers for $600 and they are trying to sell them for $1,100 each. That’s a lot of markup.

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I only had 1 horrible job out all other jobs.  It was my first job @16 yrs., working at a coffee and donut shop.  I didn't even understand "double double" meant 2 creams in a coffee....because I never drank coffee myself nor anyone else in my family.  (I'm the oldest and my parents didn't drink coffee.)  After 1 wk. I was fired.  I just didn't fit in with the shop owner who probably was unsympathetic to a fumbling teen.  

Later I worked in retail as a cashier as a teen and discovered for myself that any job for me, that involved meeting and learning about client needs was and has been where I tend to shine..except for coffee variations.

Every job since then I've had it has been working with clients --clients put the people spin onto whatever solutions I develop for me, whatever problems I help solve.  I'm highly tolerant even if same type of question is asked often several times per month.....because the difference lie in person's style of asking, their self-expression and their reaction of what they do when you provide them the solution.  It is the clients who add the variety, spice and unpredictability to an ordinary day.  For me, it's not being pure technical geek and hidden away in a backroom.

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Working at a fireman's fair for a week in a small booth selling popcorn and cotton candy.  The worst part was standing the whole time.  Even as a teenager, my back does not like that!  I could barely walk after the week!

As far as vacuum cleaner sales, I also lasted maybe a day.  They advertised the job very shadily, and one guy got up and walked oot the second they mentioned vacuum cleaners.  :D  If the restofus had any sense we would have also.

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8 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

It was my first job @16 yrs., working at a coffee and donut shop.  I didn't even understand "double double" meant 2 creams in a coffee....because I never drank coffee

I'd have to assume most 16 year olds of our age would have no idea about any coffee jargon.  That would be a "learn on the job" sort of thing for sure.  Today's kids??? I bet they take it to a totally different level.

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23 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

I'd have to assume most 16 year olds of our age would have no idea about any coffee jargon.  That would be a "learn on the job" sort of thing for sure.  Today's kids??? I bet they take it to a totally different level.

Out here a "double double" is an In & Out burger.  Double meat & cheese. Most teenagers know what it means.

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14 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

Out here a "double double" is an In & Out burger.  Double meat & cheese. Most teenagers know what it means.

I never went out with other teen friends for  coffee/donut.  I wasn't given allowance by parents.  (we were very poor.) And my friends at that time were not into coffee/coffee shops. More like Dairy Queen at that time.  So my friends' parents would know about donut /coffee shop jargon.  My parents didn't spend money having coffees and donuts:  it wasn't part of their cultural upbringing. And all their friends were working class immigrants like themselves.  To them, a big deal was driving 100 km. to Toronto to have Chinese dim sum and tea.  My smaller city didn't have this in the 1960's 1970's in restaurants.

So yea, even in Canada, it is possible to live a protected life as a child/teen.  

It is often children who introduce immigrant parents alternate foods, jargon, etc.  Like a kid teaching a parent how to Skype. :) 

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7 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

I never went out with other teen friends for  coffee/donut.  I wasn't given allowance by parents.  (we were very poor.) And my friends at that time were not into coffee/coffee shops. More like Dairy Queen at that time.  So my friends' parents would know about donut /coffee shop jargon.  My parents didn't spend money having coffees and donuts:  it wasn't part of their cultural upbringing. And all their friends were working class immigrants like themselves.  To them, a big deal was driving 100 km. to Toronto to have Chinese dim sum and tea.  My smaller city didn't have this in the 1960's 1970's in restaurants.

So yea, even in Canada, it is possible to live a protected life as a child/teen.  

It is often children who introduce immigrant parents alternate foods, jargon, etc.  Like a kid teaching a parent how to Skype. :) 

I pretty much lived a similar life.  Immigrant working class parents who 1. Either didn't know popular US culture or 2. Couldn't afford much of it, especially after my dad passed away.  

Maybe my outlook in these things is different but I didn't let it hold me back or even really give it much thought.  It was how I was raised and I couldn't change it.  Many if my US cultural experience came after I left for the military.

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2 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I pretty much lived a similar life.  Immigrant working class parents who 1. Either didn't know popular US culture or 2. Couldn't afford much of it, especially after my dad passed away.  

Maybe my outlook in these things is different but I didn't let it hold me back or even really give it much thought.  It was how I was raised and I couldn't change it.  Many if my US cultural experience came after I left for the military.

But we all should agree that anyone above say 45 wouldn't be a big "coffee aficionado" as a 16 year old.  Coffee in the mid-80s - in the US - sucked.

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1 minute ago, Razors Edge said:

But we all should agree that anyone above say 45 wouldn't be a big "coffee aficionado" as a 16 year old.  Coffee in the mid-80s - in the US - sucked.

Agreed!  My first coffee was from a giant urn at the rifle range, black of course as there were no condiments but it was hot and it was cold at the ranges!

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31 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I pretty much lived a similar life.  Immigrant working class parents who 1. Either didn't know popular US culture or 2. Couldn't afford much of it, especially after my dad passed away.  

Maybe my outlook in these things is different but I didn't let it hold me back or even really give it much thought.  It was how I was raised and I couldn't change it.  Many if my US cultural experience came after I left for the military.

I didn't know what I didn't know, as a teen until I got fired from that coffee job.  

I wasn't interested in coffee until I hit university..when I was earning my own pocket money from part-time retail.

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29 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

But we all should agree that anyone above say 45 wouldn't be a big "coffee aficionado" as a 16 year old.  Coffee in the mid-80s - in the US - sucked.

Very true.  Crappy coffee was very noticeable to dearie's family when they immigrated from Germany.

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23 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

But we all should agree that anyone above say 45 wouldn't be a big "coffee aficionado" as a 16 year old.  Coffee in the mid-80s - in the US - sucked.

All depends if you had a shot of whisky in each cup, as I often did at home.  We found some pretty good shops during this period in Oregon.  A fellow scientist and I shared the good places and knew where to stop while traveling.

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21 minutes ago, sheep_herder said:

All depends if you had a shot of whisky in each cup, as I often did at home.  We found some pretty good shops during this period in Oregon.  A fellow scientist and I shared the good places and knew where to stop while traveling. 

Man, I wasn't drinking whisky at 16!

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The worst job I ever had was the first real job after college, working for a Chinese company that sold linens and bedding from China.

The employees were almost all Chinese and only spoke Cantonese or Mandarin.  All the management positions were from the owner's immediate family.  The few white folks were there out of pure necessity when they absolutely had to have native English speakers.   I was supposed to have been a sales analyst until another of the owner's relatives wanted a job, so on my first day they started me on customer service instead.  I was puzzled but figured that this kind of thing may happen all the time in workplaces, I was young and what did I know?

Customer service there sucked, it was putting out fires all day long.  Because they hired warehouse workers through Chinese language newspapers or word of mouth, very few of them spoke English at all, and maybe a third of them were totally illiterate.  Almost 30% of all orders had something wrong with them, wrong item or color or quantity or all three.  Some months it was 50%.  

They had independent sales reps, and they routinely lied to them, pretty much about everything, and they lied to the customers too.  I didn't know this at first, of course, only realizing it more and more as time went on.

If you needed help with something, the Chinese would say "no speaky Engrish" and walk away or wait for you to walk away.  If THEY needed help, they somehow would find a way to communicate with you enough so you could understand what they wanted.

They were cheap bastards, too.  I was hired at a really low wage, but was told that all hires went like this (I was very naive), and that raises were substantial after a probationary 3 months.  I got a 5% raise, and they said that is the highest they go.  I figured that for what I was doing, I was underpaid by at least 25% after that raise.

I was well liked there.  Customers and sales reps all said good things about me.  I fixed stuff, cared, and was pleasant and honest.  The Chinese also seemed to like me.  I played ping pong with them at lunch and got to be really good, learned to curse in Cantonese at them, and joked around with the CFO who the Chinese were super-scared of, this skinny little guy who would slowly walk around the office with his hands clasped behind his back staring at people.  I told him I was going to get him roller skates for Christmas to make him more efficient.  This shocked and confused many there, as his main job seemed to be to terrify the workforce.

Anyway, being cheap bastards, they fired the manager of my department and made me the supervisor after I had been there 4 months because they figured I would be considerably cheaper at the same job.  They gave me another 5% raise because of the promotion.  I was promoted over several people that had been there a few years, which was an interesting dynamic at first.

Morale in the whole company was consistently terrible across all departments, as you can imagine.  Going to work was horrible, the work week sucked.  I started leaving at exactly 5:00, like everybody else who could get away with it.

The last straw for me was finding out how they screwed over a sales rep and JC Penney in a massive way.  The rep got into JC Penney with a few small orders, all was fine, the rep got paid, and the orders to Penneys were actually shipped trouble free.  This wouldn't last.

The rep then got a huge order for a Sunday newspaper promotion (remember those?), and guess what happened?  They let him work on the order and shepherd it through until it was shipping, and then said "This account too big for you, now house account", told him that he made many mistakes (he didn't) and weren't going to pay him.  This order was huge, too, and he stopped selling to other accounts to make this happen, they just totally screwed him over.  I made up my mind to leave then as soon as I could.

It turns out that the ordered items had a lot of water damage as they shipped from China, so they just decided to send them whatever they had in different items, colors, categories, you name it.  Instead of telling them there was water damage.   It was fun dealing with multiple buyers who got random products instead of what they ordered for a huge sale.  I called the ex-rep who put the deal together so he could have a laugh at Penney's refusal to ever work with them again.  He called me later and told me the company came to him and asked if he could work with Penney's and smooth things over, of course he told them to fuck right off.

I decided to leave San Francisco and just gave my notice and the last two weeks I came to work with a smile every day.

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17 hours ago, petitepedal said:

The worst job I had...was no job..it was stressful...not knowing how I was gonna pay my bills or how to find housing when you don't have a job..No weekends or holidays when you are unemployed

This, times infinity.

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