When I arrived at my new position I learned that it we were not going to be providing administrative services for contractors although that might happen some day. We were starting a new contractors license school.
Scary Man was going through an extremely acrimonious divorce. Remember the part about paranoid that everyone is screwing him? I don’t know the story but I am guessing that he had to turn the business over to her as part of the proceedings. Of course while that was going on, he was hand-picking employees from her business and bringing them with him as he secretly started the new one.
At the time I found the situation amusing and didn’t really grasp how appalling it was. Plus, I was one of those people who learned about accumulating debt the hard way and I had a car payment and credit card bills to pay and not a lot of confidence about what I could do in the world so I needed the job. And again, I liked the actual work.
I had to hire and train staff for the satellite schools and create new materials for the classes. I worked long hours which Scary Man assured me would be rewarded once the business got up and running.
Mrs. Scary Man was no dummy and quickly figured out what he was up to and there was a big ugly period with lawyers and depositions and unpleasantness. I guess they sorted it out. I was not happy about being dragged through it.
It did not take long for the job to go from fun to hideous. The long hours were a drag and there was never any reward. If you wanted to leave 15 minutes early so you could go to the airport and catch a flight because someone died, Scary Man would remind you for the next three months that he gave you 15 free minutes. I once had a hideous flu where I was passed out on the couch with a fever for three days and he called me at home and asked why I wasn’t at work.
My position evolved into something where I was in charge of everything, except sales, but had zero authority to do anything. I was in charge of supplies. I was in charge of complaints and refunds and company policy was don’t issue a refund unless the word lawsuit comes up or your life is threatened. Having contractor students and their wives calling me a bitch: that never got easier.
I was in charge of personnel. The staff jobs paid terrible and had terrible hours and the turnover was mind-bending. I had to keep those seats filled.
Scary Man would bitch me out if he didn’t like the help wanted ad. He would bitch me out if he didn’t like the person I hired. He’d bitch me out if an employee made a mistake because he said I wasn’t training them. He asked me to make an office manual that employees could use for reference and then accused me of making it easy for someone to steal the business procedures.
The only person stealing the business procedures to start a stupid contractors license school was him.
In less than a year, I started to look for other work. Scary Man offered me a position of being the company manager which I think meant that for another $100 a month, I could be in charge of the salesmen, too. I declined and said that I felt I’d outgrown the job and wanted to move on. He said he understood.
Then one day I took an hour and 15 minute lunch because I was at a job interview and when I returned he fired me on the spot. Said I wasn’t doing my job. Took my keys. Had the check ready. Good-bye.
I once filled out a job application that asked if I’d ever been fired for a job and why. “Yes. The business owner was an unreasonable prick,” struck me as an unprofessional response. What should I have said?