For some reason, I sometimes find myself thinking about the jobs I’ve held in the past that just sucked. I don’t know what good I think it does me to linger on these things, since they’re long over and I doubt I’ll ever be anything but self-employed again, but sometimes ya just gotta get it out. Right?
I’ve worked at a few places that weren’t exactly great. Every workplace has it’s problems, and some are worse than others, but the absolute worst place I ever worked was Home Depot.
Honestly, it was atrocious and I wouldn’t wish such things upon anyone. There was the usual range of irritations, like when I was working in the Paint department, and my manager constantly booked me for shifts when I was clearly marked as unavailable (I was hired as part time, and they knew I was in school), then would implied that it was somehow my fault, then refused to change it. I remember asking an assistant store manager, for the 20th time or so, to override my schedule, and having her ask me “when is this problem going to be fixed” as though I’d somehow caused my manager to just ignore when I was booked off.
At one point, the company (or maybe just the store I worked at) became fixated on “safety”, and asked us employees to keep an eye out for safety issues. I spotted one right away – the people they’d hired to vacuum the ceiling (yes, they could pay people to do that, but they couldn’t afford to pay me more than $9.26 per hour, nor could they afford to give their employees a discount) had knocked one of the lamp shades out of place, so it was hanging off of the ceiling lamp. If you’ve never seen one of these, they’re massive, and made of glass. The precarious angle it hung at, right over the section I worked in, made me queasy. I pointed it out to a manager, who sternly told me to stop making trouble.
Speaking of, one of my favourite episodes included a young man in a wheel chair with a mental disability. One of the most unfortunate parts of working at Home Depot was that a lot of the customers seemed to think that it was a nightclub. Being asked out wasn’t uncommon at all, and I was quite accustomed to politely responding “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend”. One day, a young man in a wheel chair with a mental disability (I sincerely hope I’m not offending anyone with such a description) rolled up to me and said “will you go out with me”. I responded “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend” and exited. 15 minutes later, I was dragged into the general manager’s office by one of the assistant store managers, who told me that this particular young man had told her that I “grabbed him by the shirt, yelled in his face ‘are you f***ing r*****ed?’ for absolutely no reason”. Yep, I got written up for it, and was told if I acted that way again, I’d be fired.
But, being blamed for something you hadn’t done or wasn’t your fault wasn’t unusual. Once, when I worked as a cashier, a woman came in and claimed that she’d left around $1000 worth of items at my till, and that they were gone. I hadn’t seen her at my till, or ever before in my life, and I’m pretty sure that the receipt she was holding in her hand belonged to a contractor who’d been through an hour earlier, but she was adamant and I was in deep trouble for somehow losing or stealing all her items, even though I had not left my till and had no place to hide them.
But, it wasn’t all bad. At Christmas, the company gave use Christmas gifts – usually $25 Home Depot gift cards. I only had to share my locker with two other people. I got a bright new apron whenever I wanted. Oh, and by the end of my (too long) employment there, they had eliminated the requirement of employees wearing back braces. Yeah…
Hopefully I will never work for anyone else again, and I hope that if I do become someone’s boss, that I don’t treat my employees like the scum of the earth, the way HD treated me and millions of others like me.