It’s 7:20 am and I should be getting my kids ready to go to school. However, I’m letting them sleep in because I absolutely have zero desire to get into the office early, let alone on time. Last week was extremely stressful for me, and stress is like carbon monoxide for me: long periods of exposure yield devastating results.
I work for HP, a boutique recruiting firm with lax rules about everything except productivity. If I’m correct, we don’t do any sort of background checks on the people we hire. There certainly isn’t any sort of personality assessment. We had one girl that was let go who said she was going to come back and kill one of our managers. And guess what? The idiot’s husband works as a security guard for the office building! Dummy.
So this is the caliber of individuals I work with. In this mix of former retail/grocery employees, truck drivers, property managers and stay-at-home moms, there are two individuals who have taken on the mantle of shepherding the group. These two people are Chanell and Yvette.
Our Company Structure
We recently had a hiring surge, and our office went from 20 people to 60 in two weeks. The room is set up like a maze of cubicles, with no sound barriers and very little white noise. It gets noisy in there very quickly.
Each “recruiter” is obligated to work 40 hours a week. However, each recruiter is free to structure their week as they see fit. This means you can work Mon-Thur for 10 hours a day and have Friday off, which is a very agreeable option for anyone in the 28-45 year old age bracket. Jean Baptiste, who I mentioned yesterday, has mastered this formula, and has conjured up a way to get out of the office every Thursday by 3:30 pm. I am not mad at the brother by any means! Unfortunately, I was told that when 6 o’clock comes, everybody needs to be out of the office…so that’s why I do. I kick out people and lock up at six. But why should I have to kick anyone out? We’re all “adults”, right? When 6 pm comes, you should have the courtesy to leave.
It has become apparent to me that Jean Baptiste is the only exception to this rule, and I am happy to leave him to his devices. He and I were on the path to becoming friends, up until The Incident.
A lot of people use the office internet to stream video and music. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bandwidth and causes our system to periodically crash. On Wednesday last week, that’s precisely what happened. The entire system crashed, and half the office got up and began cavorting, cackling and carrying on. The computers were not working and neither were they. However, our sales guys were still on the horn AND we had a candidate in the office interviewing. One of the Project Managers came by and did not look pleased by any measure. So what do I do as a Team Lead? I send an email that simply said:
“Hey guys! Do you think we could have a conversation with our teams about moderating their tone? It gets really loud in here and I think we’re going to hear about it from management soon. Any suggestions?”
That was it.
Suddenly, Chanell and Yvette yanked their teams off the floor to have an impromptu meeting. I have no idea what was said, but they came out and were deathly silent. Weird, but whatever.
An hour later, Frick and Frack called the rest of us leads in for another meeting. They were “frusterated” and “annoied” by what was happening.
“Now everybody is scared to talk, and I don’t like that,” Chanell screeched. God lord. For someone so halfway attractive, she sure does have a voice from hell. No, like really. Her speaking voice is this high-pitched yelp, like a demon being tormented in hell. She has great breasts though.
That’s when Yvette chimed in. She’d spent the first half of the meeting with her head buried in her hands, nostrils flared, shaking her foot. She went on a tear.
If anyone can’t handle the noise level, then maybe this isn’t the environment for them! Asking people to not talk is about self. And you know what? I’m 44 years old and NO ONE is going to tell me I can’t talk. I’m going to sit in my corner, and I am GOING to talk!
Well, dumbass, you’re PAID to talk. I don’t think I mentioned anything in my email about anybody not talking…And how did she make her head roll like that with no neck? It was fascinating, like a miracle of physics.
Of course I didn’t say this, but I rolled my eyes pretty hard.
That’s when she got to talking about how she’s been in management before, and where, and why God thinks she’s the greatest thing since Jesus saved us all on the cross. But you know what? For all her “management experience” guess where she’s sitting? At HP with the rest of us, making way under $40K. And how were you a manager using made up words like “agreeance”?
Oh but it didn’t end there. Chanell had to get her piece in. She wanted ALL of us to know what she had managed at Fortune 500 companies, including – but not limited to – Mars, the moon and some distant fairy land. Again, no one cares. And to signal I didn’t care, I sighed. Hard.
The Banshee and the Troll didn’t like that one bit.
“Could we look at this from the candidate’s perspective and what they hear?” I asked.
The words were barely out of my mouth when Yvette began to yell – with no reservation – that she had to conduct phone screens with Wesley, our president, in the background playing golf, chatting about lacrosse and yelling “Woohoo!!!” throughout the office. Keep in mind, Wesley was sitting in the office adjacent to the meeting room and the walls are paper thin. He heard every word, and was not pleased.
Finally, the meeting ended and the unpleasantness was over – or so I thought. Yvette, it appeared, had other plans.
She immediately went through the office whispering about me, spreading gossip and nonsense. It’s all made-up, because the woman knows nothing about me. Then she came over to my area to answer a question for one of our junior recruiters.
“I hope that wasn’t too loud,” she said mockingly in my direction.
Well bitch, I hope you die.
The most crushing blow was when she took Jean Baptiste outside and planted poison in his ear about how I had no right to tell him when to leave, and how I think I run things around there, and that I have a problem with him staying late. I have told him before that he could stay until midnight and I wouldn’t care one whit. But that didn’t matter. His demeanor immediately changed towards me. The only reason it hurts is because I had hoped that he and I would become friends outside of work in time. I am very selective with whom I call “friend”.
Anyway, the waters in the office have been poisoned, and I am regularly treated to cold stares by all the gay men (and you know how chilly their eyes can get), stony silence from the women, and sympathetic smiles from co-workers who still/do like me asking “girl, are you alright?”
Am I alright? I’m going to be just fine. I’m not going to let some underachieving, self-absorbed, grossly overweight cretin destroy my life. Over a salary under $40K? How possible?!
Now, it’s important to note that there are thousands of people across America, and indeed the world who are subjected to similar incidences if not worse ones. Sometimes, they don’t make it out, and sometimes, they take people out with them. Suicide and mass murder as a result of some douchebag being an asshole is real. People don’t realize what a devastating impact their evil ways can have on a person. In my younger years, I would have let Yvette’s action drive me to personal harm; but I have grey hairs on my vagina now, much too old…and I’m way past letting her feeble, childish antics cause me any real angst. At this point, she’s merely an irritation.
Sometime this week, I hope we can all discuss Karyn Washington and what her death signifies. The implications are an indictment against our culture and what we tolerate and foster in our community.
Have you ever been bullied in your office? ARE you an office bully? What makes a person think they have the right and privilege to treat another this way? Discuss! ↓