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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2011
     (9699.1)
    So, because the horrible roomie thread is as beautiful/tragic as it is, I think we should open the floor to a related, but separate set of tales: work stories.

    What's the worst job you've ever worked, Whitechapel?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.2)
    Oh man... do I risk breaching the NDA clause in my Compromise Agreement to give you a really good story...?
    • CommentAuthorDrew_badly
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.3)
    @Occult, please do. Will changing the names lessen the horror?
  1.  (9699.4)
    Sweet baby Jesus. I've worked far too many jobs. Beware, I'm going to dump all over this thread when I have spare time.
  2.  (9699.5)
    This sort-of falls into both the job and roommate categories.

    I'd tried for several months after finishing university to get a job in media, to no avail. I got desperate and in a fit of madness I applied for a family/childrens' portraiture job with some faceless piece of shit corporation. Their studios were typically based in Mothercare stores and you had to hit customer targets. Basically it was a glorified sales job that involved very little photography. After two interviews they accepted me on the condition that I'd go to Northampton for two weeks of training. Basically how to use their terrible software and how to take pictures of children. Glorious.

    I got to Northampton and discovered that I was sharing a hotel room with one of the other people on the course. Initially we got along just fine as we both shared a passion for music. Unfortunately, that quickly developed into him singing for me. Incessantly, and terribly, whilst simultaneously thinking that he was amazing and that I was unbelievably impressed. It didn't help that he was singing utterly terrible pop music. He also revealed to me that he had been in a few (failed) boy bands, and he gave me tasters of that material as well. So there I am in this hotel room with this Liverpudlian boy band failure singing at me badly, and I'm trying to maintain a straight face and not feel completely fucking embarrassed for both of us whilst stoned out of my fucking mind. I just wanted to burst into tears of laughter and tell him that his singing made me feel like fucking my eardrums out with a razor. I managed to maintain a veneer of quiet approval, luckily.

    He was also forcibly happy. I'm not exactly a miserable bastard, but I just can't fake being happy. This guy did it badly. He was desperate to show everyone on the course this cheeky chappy musician/pick-up artist (within the first hour of knowing him he failed horribly at chatting up the girl behind the hotel bar, who since that night made every effort to avoid the ever-loving fuck out of him), but living with him in a hotel room showed that in reality he was horribly depressed and had a lot of deep-rooted issues. His relationship with his mother was heavily strained, as I discovered during a few rants about her and her lack of support towards his illustrious career in pop music. On some days he'd come in from the course and just go to bed, and the course typically ended at 3pm every day. One day he got a call from his mother and he decided that he'd conduct the whole conversation in front of me instead of being tactful and taking it outside. Needless to say it ended in misery. She'd basically kicked him out because of this ultimately naive dream of stardom, the thousands he'd invested in trying to make a name for himself and his resulting inability to pay any rent. He'd been seriously burned by a cowboy talent agency at one point. After he'd been kicked out of one boy band they charged him upwards of £1,000 for singing/dancing/performance lessons that probably never even happened. Instead of calling bullshit on the whole thing and taking them to court he simply forked out the cash.

    Meanwhile, the course was a crock. I was getting paid for attending at least, and I had to work on people/sales skills that did not exist. I basically blagged my way through the course. By the end of it I still had very little idea how to use the software, couldn't be bothered to memorise the pricing of each portraiture set and was even less eager about starting the job than ever. The course teacher was completely fucking useless, but it didn't help that I was getting stoned every single morning before the lessons started. The job itself was a complete dead end; a stop-gap job that I would use for the money until something finally came up media-wise.

    I finally started the job after a fortnight of living with this horribly fake douchebag and found that it was even worse than I expected. My job was, in a nutshell, to hassle the women (mostly pregnant) in Mothercare to take pictures of their budding families and have them pay me for the pleasure. I had to come across as overly eager and nice, then try to land a sale so they'd eventually go to our studio and have us take pictures of their cunty little children.

    To make matters worse I was working with a complete and utter bitch whom I found intolerable. She'd go out of her way to undermine everything I did and pretty much made sure that I was aware of how little she liked me. If I hit sales targets she'd say it wasn't enough, and god fucking help me if I wasn't hitting them. Their shitty little studio was understaffed even with me, so I think she probably shat a ton of bricks when I left the job after just under two days. I'm pretty sure she regretted being such a cunt after that. They'd already rota'd me in on my own (despite being new to the job) for several days, so I left the place cackling and thinking about just how fucked they were.

    I lived off the money I made on the course for the next few months until I finally got a job that I wanted. Every now and again I wonder what my life would've been like if I'd stuck at that shitty job and carried on taking bullshit from that utter cunt and it makes me shudder.
  3.  (9699.6)
    Admittedly, the worst job I did was only for an afternoon, but it was (and possibly still is) someone's full-time trade.

    Tearing paper in half. That was it. Reports were A4-sized, but printed on A3 paper. They were produced on those printers where the paper is joined together and the sides are perforated. I forget what they're called. This poor woman would dump a pile of print-outs on her desk, tear the margins off, separate all the paper, and proceed to tear them all in half. With a plastic ruler.

    There had been, before my time, a guillotine for this job. But for some reason now lost to time, there had been a health & safety issue. The guillotine had been removed, and there was never clearance to bring it back. So, for years this woman had been tearing the sheets using plastic, only able to rip a couple of sheets at a time. She openly admitted taking up meditation just to deal with that job.

    I filled in for her for about four hours. It was maybe the longest afternoon of my working life.
  4.  (9699.7)
    I could write about my experience with a Chinese/Taiwanese owned LCD tv assembly plant (yes, they're outsourcing to Poland cause it's in EU and then the import taxes come out more in their favour if it's parts only, plus it lowers the amount of sets damaged during the shipping), but each attempt ends a goddamn long rant on the stupidity of how that thing was managed (equipment in shitty state, entire crates of faulty parts shipped from China, line managers worried more about their premiums and bonuses and thus shipping faulty or shoddily assembled sets only to have the whole transport returned in say France, 12 hour shifts whenever production orders increased followed by sacking pretty much entire workforce hired through the temp work agency on a basis of weekly contracts whenever orders decreased, leaders blowing their gaskets whenever you did something wrong, leaders and managers telling you to push the pallets faster but also telling you to stop doing that whenever one of the Chinese workers happened to be nearby, shitty slipper/sandal hybrid work shoes that nearly ruined my feet, not enough extra buses set during the 12 hour shifts period, doing heavy construction on expanding the production hall with noise level above the norms and of course not equipping nearby workers with any kind of hearing protective gear, entire production lines being dismantled and even fired because one department was lagging behind, everyone losing their production bonus because wrong or faulty parts were delivered thus halting production or being forced to rework everything, using toxic floor impregnators to harden the freshly made floor in the second connected hall and thus causing 15 or so people to faint and having the entire place evacuated... doing the same goddamn thing two weeks later during the NIGHT shift and then blaming the women who fainted for "dieting to hard", firing couple hundreds senior workers before the christmas season just cause the severance pay was LOWER than having to pay them highest christmas bonuses, having to be in the production hall ten minutes BEFORE your shift started and then be given only a 20 minute break during which you have to somehow manage to get through the entire goddamn building to the locker room at the TOP floor, go one floor lower to the dining area and then rush back to the production hall and perhaps hope you can visit the toilet before the gong for the end of break, smokers having the minutes spent in the smoking area counted as "outside of work grounds": thus having those cut from your paycheck, not being allowed to sit down during the entire 8 hours of work other than during the break...) so yeah.

    I think that list above speaks for itself, heh.

    Edit: by the time I was shifted to my 5th production line, have hit most of departments on the assembly line itself and was under my 6th line manager I was absolutely fucking HAPPY when I heard "oh, the manager said your contract won't be extended most likely".
  5.  (9699.8)
    I have to do this in sections. Part 1. Twitchy McHeadwound

    I don't so much as have a "worst job ever" story, I just have "worst day at a terrible job" stories. I'll start off with the story of Twitchy McHeadwound, when I was a security guard in downtown Chicago, back in 2001. I moved there about a couple weeks after 9/11, and had done some private law enforcement work, and figured a security job would be an easy find. After several times getting turned down after some high-profile companies informed me that they were cutting their security budget. Now, I'm not one of those chicken littles who thinks after 9/11, we should be paranoid about everything, but I thought that the business model of security agencies would revolve around convincing all of the chicken littles out there that they were being paranoid, and had upped their security budgets accordingly. Not the case.

    So I get a shitty grunt job at some downtown old ass building, and after a month of graveyard shift monotony, I get picked to work this fancy ass apartment building called Presidential Towers.
    Presidential Towers
    4 towers, 50 stories a tower, 13 apartments on every floor, somewhere around 10,000 people can fit in there. There's a mall on the 1st floor, with like 5 restaurants, 3 bars, a McDonald's, a grocery store; it's ridiculously huge. I had just moved to Chicago from a small Texas town that had a smaller population than this building. People paid about $1,000 a month for a studio apartment. Upwards of two grand a month for a two bedroom. But it came with full use of a health club, a computer lab, and all sorts of shit. But the residents brought their own huge egos.

    After putting in my dues, I work my way up the ladder, and become Assistant Director of Security. Great title, shit pay.

    One day, after all of the people in charge, the Director of Security, Directors of Operations, Engineering, and all the other Admin people in charge left for a luncheon somewhere in the city and turned their cell phones off. I'm somewhere down the halls of the towers helping some cute young college girl move in, when I hear screaming on my two-way radio. Basically, all I can make out is for me to get to an emergency stairwell in Tower 3. I'm in Tower 4. I run.

    I had recently acquired three new hires this week, two of them today. The one I started training two days prior, I'll call C. 18 years old, adopted Asian kid from the suburbs, is headed into that emergency stairwell. I don't know what's in there. I just know it's not good. I yell at him not to go in; C goes in. He freezes in the doorway, and I can see him start to twitch. I pick him up (he's quite tiny) and move him out of my way. I peek in the doorway, and look down the stairway.

    The first thing I notice is all the blood. There is a lot of blood all over up and down the stairs. The second thing I see is the 9mm lying on the ground. The next thing I see is the body. 50-ish, white male, missing the top half of his head. He's still moving, but not in a way that gives me any confidence that he's going to make it. I see all of this in just a few seconds. I pull my head back out of the doorway. I tell C to go down the elevator to the Tower loading dock and wait for the ambulance, and I hand him my smokes. Have a few, I tell him, and calm down. I call on my two-way to the security desk, and tell them to call 911 for a gunshot victim, with a head-wound, showing possible life signs. I then get another guard to cover the floor above me, so people deciding to walk down the emergency stairs don't get an awful surprise.

    I want to freak out, believe me, I do, but part of me compartmentalizes, and acknowledges there will be time for that later.
  6.  (9699.9)
    Aaaand the game is instantly raised by somebody getting shot in the face.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.10)
    Well, shit, I was going to post about my shitty job working at a deli but gov_spy has to go and raise the bar out of reach.
  7.  (9699.11)
    I can edit it and post the whole thing when the thread dies down if you guys want...? I was saving the prison stories for later...
  8.  (9699.12)
    Nah. No use censoring your epic life of eventfulness to make the rest of us seem interesting in our shitty jobs where people didn't get shot in the face. I'll just sit back and marvel at your terrifying stories now as that was actually the only shit job I've had.

    Go on...
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.13)
    @Keyofsilence

    *ahem* LOL

    @gov_spy

    You've already started, keep going, I can't wait to hear how this turns out ("badly" is probably a foregone conclusion at this point).
  9.  (9699.14)
    The Ballad of Twitchy Continues...

    Alright, so, an ambulance pulls up in the loading bay of tower 3, and I get my shell-shocked trainee to let them up. Sadly, because the gunshot victim is still showing signs of life, the paramedics are forced to attempt CPR, even though we all know it's futile at this point. A river of blood, bone and brain matter is pouring down three flights of stairs. The man is jerking and twitching, and this dedicated EMT is hitting him with a defibrillator, and making this thing even messier.

    At that time, the always friendly, compassionate and reasonable Chicago Police arrive. What a help! Well, they manage to secure the firearm, and then they start harassing me about someone moving the body. I get in this cop's face and start screaming about how does he want me to tell the EMT not to move the body when they're (by law) trying to resuscitate the gunshot victim? The cop calms down and we try to figure where to go next. At this time, it's being treated as a homicide, but at least we're fairly sure that (potential) perpetrator is unarmed.

    Luckily, around this time, my customer service representative that helps man the security desk, manages to contact the Director of Security, my boss, R. He's a retired Chicago cop, and knows how to handle this shit. I'm 22, and have a year and half experience in being a prison guard, and about a year as a private security grunt, and a few months as the Assistant Director. I need the help. He intervenes between me and the cops, and I run off to handle other daily shit that's going down. Like the rest of my crew just freaking the fuck out without me, not the least of which is E., my little lesbian roommate some of you might know from the roommate thread. The one where the guy tried worshiping her feet. She's one of my trustiest security grunts. The 90 lb little white girl from farm land, who has better luck with the girls than I do. Today, she's saving my ass, but also freaking out because she heard someone got shot.

    Anyway, so as I'm running around, one of my jobs is to find Twitchy on the security cams. After about an hour watching tape, I find him. Just before he gets on, about 3 Paris Hilton clones ride up past his floor and get off. As it heads down, he gets on. Gets off on the lobby floor, and heads to the emergency stairwell by himself. We can pretty much rule this as a suicide.

    Next up, the boss calls me and tells me to escort Homicide detectives to the guy's apartment. Apparently they've ID'd him. He's some 50 something old dude who had lived in the building for like ten years, although nobody knew him, and had just lost millions in the stock market. He was being evicted. So, I get a key and take two detectives up, and a detective trainee up to this guy's apartment. Before we go in, one of the detectives tells me that since they have to train the new guy, would I want to learn how to search a crime scene, plus they could use an extra set of eyes and hands. Since I'm a total cop nerd (specifically interested in Homicide) I'm like sure! I put on gloves, and we go in Twitchy's apartment.

    It's not quite Kevin Spacey in Se7en, but it's in the neighborhood. There's a path from the front door into the apartment, the rest is stacks upon stacks of papers, newspapers, documents, conspiracy theory, religious paraphernalia, etc. We walk in, like oh, shit. One of the cops find a note, written to the woman evicting the guy, blaming her for his suicide. The cops take the note, but we all agree not to tell the lady. She was a nice lady, with a shitty job to do. Not her fault dude sucked at playing the market.

    Next, the rookie and I check a hallway closet. Jackpot: we found an arsenal. Dude had rifles, AK's, handguns, shotguns, plural. And ammo. Dude was stocked up with ammunition. Including armor piercing rounds. Cop-killers. There's this odd moment of silence, when me and the three cops all kind of look at each other, and we realize simultaneously, that we lucked out, that this guy killed himself, and hadn't snapped and decided to just gun everyone in the building down. He was prepared for a serious battle; it would have been a massacre. I radio my roomie, E, and she brings us two shopping carts and we grab a couple sheets. I wait for her to leave, and the three cops and I load all the guns and ammo into the two carts, cover them with bedsheets, and sneak them down the elevator into the police cars in the loading dock. We're all eerily silent as we load this stuff into the cop cars. I shake hands with the guys, and thank them, and they thank me in turn. Best experience I've ever had with CPD, compared to earlier with the patrol cop.

    I head back to the Director's office, and give him a full report. He swears me to silence on what we found in Twitchy's apartment. I agree. It's hours past my shift being over; I clock out and head downstairs to one of the bars in the building, and get a glass of whisky & coke. E comes down as her shift ends, and we kinda unload together, finally able to feel some emotion over this, freak out a little, get drunk a lot, and actually feel sorry for someone who felt the need to shoot himself. Because E is one of my best friends, I of course tell her everything I saw. She was curious, but it also helps me vent. This is the point where we christen him Twitchy McHeadwound, because it's perverse, it's silly, and it really just captures how I feel about this day.

    Later, I met Twitchy's sister, also a millionaire, who said she would have been willing to help her brother out, but that he was too damn prideful to ask her for money. I didn't feel as bad for him, after that. But she was gracious, and thanked us for how we handled the situation, and treated her with some dignity. It was still a shitty day though, I think the only day that rivaled this one was the day I got shanked. I'll save that for later, though.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011 edited
     (9699.15)
    No editing @Gov_spy, you have us entranced. }:>

    Tho I'll carry on the thread of stultifying, unsatisfying work that would bore any normal person.

    I worked a lot of temp and day labor things before my one big multi-year job. Most of that was forgettable except either for the tedium (8 hours of packing freshly cut pamphlets into boxes - I was just covering for someone but thinking that this was someone's full time job nearly led to a panic attack) or aggravation caused by others. There wasn't continuous abuse at one many-month gig talking up DirecTV to passers-by at a Best Buy, but it was an eye opening experience. I had noticed quiet sexism and technical elitism before, but it had never been thrown so directly in my face as when a series of men made a point of barraging me with questions on the technical specs of the DirecTV system, having to do with load and spectrum and satellite positioning and God knows what else. The training I had received revolved around the programming and costs, not how the hamsters turned the wheels up in space! This happened enough times that the guys who actually worked at Best Buy (I was a contractor salesperson) knew the answers to a lot of these questions and, even if I'm a terrible sales person, I'm a really good student. So I learned from them and quickly figured out how to answer the technical questions.

    But - and I swear if this hadn't happened to me I wouldn't believe it - it wasn't satisfying to the men (usually older, 50ish, always white) who wanted rapid fire answers to their rapid fire questions about frequency and data packs and whatnot. At least once someone literally said, "I'm going to ask these guys, they'll probably know better than a girl." I will forever heart the guy who responded to such questions with "Ask her, she's the DirecTV rep."

    So... no body count except for was in my head.

    ETA: oh, it might add context to the story to note I worked for DirecTV in 1999.
    • CommentAuthorValente
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.16)
    "I think the only day that rivaled this one was the day I got shanked. I'll save that for later, though."

    holy mothering fuk
    • CommentAuthorarcaner
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.17)
    Oh well here goes. Consider this a palate cleanser between government spy's insanities.

    The worst job I ever had was working for a company that installed security systems. I was brought on to, among other things, help straighten out the books. Ok, "Where's your excel files?" none. "Box of receipts?" none. "Check book?" yes, but the ledger area was blank. "Last years taxes?" haven't done them for 5 years. "What do you have?" Here's the ID and password to the online banking system. O_o Needless to say things were a mess. The guy had been cutting himself $2,000 "profit sharing" checks every week and used his personal savings account to make sure there was enough in the account every Thursday at exactly 2:27 to cover payroll.

    Boss, "You need to post our help wanted ad to Craig's List twice a day, every day." Me, "If we do that a) we'll look like a scam and we'll get no responses and b) we'll be booted from craigslist as spammers." Boss, "If that happens just use your e-mail instead of the company's." yeah no.

    Then there was the casual homophobia. He spent a good 2 hours railing against the Nebraska wrestler who made the news for doing "gay porn". He summed it up with, "Well no one's gonna want to wrestle him ever again."
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.18)
    "The man is jerking and twitching, and this dedicated EMT is hitting him with a defibrillator, and making this thing even messier. "

    ...am I the only one who imagined this having fairly explosive results out of the back of the guy's head? Sweet fuck...
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011 edited
     (9699.19)
    Let's see, my worst job.....

    - Maybe it was while working as a doorman in Glasgow in 1997 when i got 7 shades of shit kicked out of me on my 3rd evening....

    - Or perhaps it was a stone wall builder with my uncle back in Shetland. A Summer job? Sure. Just happened to be during hurricane force winds and rain that would tear the flesh off a puppy in 20 seconds. And the shifts would last for 11 hours. Yes!

    - Nah, the worst job i had can be described in 2 words. MEDIA SALES! It certainly had my best getting fired moment.

    I was doing a call centre job in Glasgow for BSkyB and was pretty good at it. So on a friends advice, i went down to London (because that where the money was apparently). I moved away from my girlfriend at the time (hey a long distance relationship will work right?) and got a job with Haymarket publishing, working for MANAGEMENT TODAY magazine. My job was to basically sell Ad space for the back pages of the magazine. If i was lucky i could end up doing proper ad sales. the only problem was that the company was a bunch of complete misers and they squeezed everyone like gerbils on a wheel. I was sent to a filthy corner with a single phone (dirty too), given 10 boxes of "Gold leads", most of which were rubbish as the businesses didn't exist of they moved years ago and I was required to make up to 100 calls a day and to get more than 3000 quid in ad sales a month. Not much you think, but the rates were so expensive that NOBODY want to buy the space. I also had TWO bosses, one a fat guy with bad breath from Yorkshire and a small woman from India who spent the day continuously going "MAKE MORE CALLS! WHY HAVEN'T YOU MADE ANY SALES TODAY. FUCKING USELESS!!" And the people i rang usually told you to fuck off as well.

    It was so stressful and soul crushing that for the first time i experienced panic attacks on this job. they somehow managed to completeIy destroy my spirit. even cried a little in the toilets. This caused me to take more booze and more dugs in the effort to cheer myself up. Only for me to fall into a blind panic on Sunday as i was hungover/strung out and i had work the next day.

    I eventually managed to get sacked after 2 months at this job, when during a black tie awards dinner (with Jonathan Ross as the MC), the magazine won 3 awards and the owner bought some free champagne. I proceeded to get severely trolleyed to the point when i started singing to myself in a huge bellowing voice while everyone was listening to Mr Ross. It got to the point when the small Indian woman grabbed me by the arm and sneered "Be quiet bob! you're drunk! And you're making a scene!". To which i turned round and at the top of my voice called her a F--king C--t, turned around to my two tables and called them a shower of bastards and that i wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. I then turned to leave, only to trip and fall into the next table and fall to the ground with my bare ass showing (you see i was wearing a kilt at the time - black tie and all that). Apparently i was last seen being led away by security while still clutching a bottle of champagne with me shouting that it was all my booze. I woke up the following morning lying on the bathroom floor still in my kilt, with an empty bottle.

    Ironically i as the first one into work! I was told what happened by a colleague whereupon the bosses came and took me to an office and i was sacked. Oh, and my girlfriend broke up with me 2 weeks later.

    Fun times.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011
     (9699.20)
    My one and only food service job was at Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, a long-defunct seafood fast food chain.

    This was the summer between my first and second years of college. 1981.

    I was a pathetic D&D nerd. My previous jobs were delivering newspapers and shelving books at a library. The whole working-with-folks-my-age thing was new to me. I was also really slow on the uptake on parts of the job. After a few days, in which I blew my chance to take orders and work the fry line, I was relegated to washing dishes, mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms.

    All told, although it was the worst job I had, it wasn't a totally horrible job. I hated it but I stuck through the summer. There were perks, like eating "hush puppies" and rice pilaf that were about to get tossed.

    But.

    There were two incidents of shit smearing in the men's room.

    One might have been an accident. As in, old guy dumps and inadvertently makes a horrible mess trying to clean it up. Whoever it was left his boxer shorts behind. I had to scrape up the crap from toilet seat, floor, and walls and then sanitize it with hot water and disinfectant.

    The second incident was deliberate, and I'm almost totally sure who it was.

    FLASH BACK ASIDE

    There was, in the class ahead of me in high school, and classic dumb-jock football player. Frank something-or-other. An amiable alpha male dumbass who reveled in the attention and privilege of being a star player.

    He was in at least one of my classes, and knew me as an easy mark for jock-on-nerd humiliation.

    I remember him once enthusiasing about the party the graduating football players would be going to. He'd gotten it into his head that it would be a cocktail party. The notion that the high school would serve alcohol was absurd, but he'd convinced himself it would happen.

    END FLASH BACK

    So, I'm in my stupid uniform in Arthur Treacher's dining room, sweeping up bits of dropped food. Frank is there, in a team jacket, with a couple of girls. He's the same happy swaggering goof as he'd been in high school.

    Alas, he spots he. Doesn't remember my name, but I can see he recognizes me. "You work here?" he asks.

    I'm in a fast food uniform, wearing a shirt and a hat with the name of the restaurant he's in on it. I have a broom and a scoop. "Yup!" I say.

    "You're working here?" he asks, his face suddenly distant.

    "Uh-huh." Sweep, sweep, sweep.

    "You work here." Yes, a third time. Maybe a statement, not a question.

    "Yeah. Well, later." I empty the trash receptables and bring the full bags out back.

    When I get back inside the assistant manager approaches, looking a bit sheepish.

    "Um, you need to do an emergency clean-up in the men's room."

    Well. Frank did a great job of smearing his shit. He aimed for maximum coverage. A circular smear around the whole circumference of the seat. Underneath the seat. The floor. The walls. Way up the walls.

    I cleaned it all up. It took a long time, lots of hot water, lots of paper towels and plastic bags.

    I was furious, and let my co-workers know it. My manager offered me a free meal the next day.

    Sheesh.

    That fall, I started writing RPG material. The next summer, after my parents insisted that I go on a few interviews for summer jobs, I went to the interviews, even got a few offers. Then I stuck my typewriter and a stack of graph paper on the dining room table and started churning out reviews, articles, and whole books full of role playing stuff. There was no way I was ever going back to the world of food service or retail.

    Thank you, Frank, for making me a writer.

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