Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it. If you're thinking 'I wouldn't say I MISSED IT, Bob' you said it.
The thing that I remember happening after the 'I think I hammered a cop' thing, was my first Office Job job interview. So yes, it's totally fitting that a scene from Office Space is here.
The company developed workforce software for large companies and grew very quickly in the early 90's. For many reasons, some of which included the president of the company caring more about his extra-marital affair with the head of marketing than the actual company, it went out of business.
Not before I managed to accrue thousands of dollars of medical bills that their self-funded insurance would never cover. I'm calling it a personal Win, however, for reasons I'll get into later.
Cut to my interview.
The Vice President of the company, and I really want to make up a dramatic, soap opera name for this story, but I simply MUST share the actual name of the company. They're long gone, or bought out or acquired or whatever happened early 90's but the name is just so classic 80's software company.
I came to work there in the the early 90's, but the logo name and font screamed 80's:
or was it Infotron-X
I think the X was capitalized at the end.
Meh, either way.
Can't you just see the blue 8-bit font when you read that name? InfotronX. I hear it spoken in a computal robot voice.
There are still things floating around the internet with that name, but it doesn't have the logo they had then. Kind of this.
|This was the font, but in IBM blue. Literally. Probably.|
"My father's friend's girlfriend Dee works here. She's Assistant to the President."
The President (I guess this was before "CEO" became the lingo) turned out to be the VP's brother. She was suddenly very interested in my dad's friend, and asked me a lot of questions.
What was his name?
(She asked his last name, I don't know if I knew it then. I didn't remember it at all when I started writing this, but my brother reminded me at Easter. I'll leave that out even though it would hysterical to see how many police reports, court articles and restraining order-type internet results would come up from searching it. It's a rather common name, so I would hate to incriminate any innocent people with that name.)
How long has this been her boyfriend?
I really don't know. He's my father's friend.
(How the hell would I know that?)
Thank all the gods old and new, I avoided Dwayne even more than I avoided my old man, because I didn't know anything about him. Except that he was a big ole drunk, bumbling ass of a man. I didn't mention that to her.
After answering many uncomfortable and obviously personal questions, I finally got to meet Dwayne's girlfriend. Not what I expected.
She was much younger than Dwayne, I was shocked by how pretty she was. And you know, sober. If you missed last week's post, Dwayne was a walking whiskey bag.
She was a very polite, professional woman of the 80's, (even though 90's) all smiles and tight dress and very high heels and all 'so nice to meet you' and 'I've heard so much about you.'
Then as soon as we were alone, she morphed completely. Her face melted from a calm, confident ear-to-ear all-perfectly-white-teeth smile into an urgent grimace of evil. Her eyes wanted to melt me down into a puddle of water. That could not talk. That could not for Christsake say anything else.
"WHY would you tell her that Dwayne is my boyfriend?!"
That's what my father told me, I explained innocently. And truthfully.
Ooohh noooo, she assured me. That father of mine, what the hell?! She noticed how confused I was, kind of paused and went with,
"Oh, your dad, he's such a goof."
Dwayne just couldn't be her boyfriend, she literally insisted through clenched teeth: She is MARRIED.
And everyone at the company knows it.
This isn't true, my father is just teasing her. He just loves to tease people, he's really just too much. You don't know the half of it, Missy. Well, it turned out she did.
This was my introduction to the world of Office Jobs.
One of the most uncomfortable situations you can possibly imagine in life, let alone for your first interview for a job with insurance benefits.
Somehow I got the job. Either the VP loved me, she always helped me while I was there, or more likely she just wanted to gleen more information about her brother's assistant from me. Or mayhaps my old man had something on Dee and was successfully able to convinced her to put in a good word for me or something.
Either way they hired me and I learned oh-so-very-much about the political back-stabbing, cheating, walk on top of people to get ahead, two-faced, lying liars who lie world of Office BUSINESS.
The VP definitely did try to get more interesting information out of me about Dee, this woman who was her brother's assistant. And bat shit crazy. Again, I'm not being dramatic here. She was having an affair. With my dad's disgusting, smelly drunk drug-addled friend, who thinks he hammered a cop. Just exactly how all modern love stories begin.
She would tell me who was having an affair, though it was always obvious. This was before cell phones and email, so you had to dramatically follow people around, talking and whispering, at work, because you couldn't communicate with your affair AT HOME. She would tell me who was smart, who was stupid, who got their kid a job, though again it was obvious because they had the same last name, would go to lunch together and the daughter called him "Dad" all the time. But she told me.
She told me who had to be dropped off at work, or take a cab when their wife was out of town, because he had his license revoked. She told me who lived in a giant mansion, who drove a Porsche, despite the fact that this man walked around in a Porsche jacket and hat all the time. She told me.
She told me who needed to quit smoking or "she would die" even though I sat at the reception desk and waived to this nice lady 10 times a day when she smoked in the center of the building. You could still smoke inside, but most people kindly went to a 'designated area' separated from offices, by glass doors. When the doors opened, you could smell the smoke.
But in front of people? She was all sweet sunshine and big-sisterly advice:
"You need to get yourself some nice, figure-flattering dresses and high heels for work." Barf. These were her workplace weapons: Secrets, low cut tops and high, high heels. Though, it was a man's world and she survived in it.
"You need to work on typing faster." She somehow got me an electronic typewriter with this awesome little screen, so you could SEE THE WORDS, about 2 sentences worth, and make corrections before the typewriter typed them! They let me keep it at the reception desk, saying I could help fill out forms and whatnot. Yes kids, I'm learned to type on a typewriter years old.
|Ah, sweet nostalgic 80's technology. This story takes place in the early 90's, but a lot of the technology and mindset was all 80's.|
"You need to learn WordPerfect." Actually I think this was the VP's idea. She said if I took a class the company would reimburse me for it. And they did.
|You kept a cheat sheet of F commands at all times! from stsci.edu|
WordPerfect was the MSWord of the 90's. Once the company figured out I could do other things, they gave me more tasks and eventually put a computer at the reception desk. This made one of the company's secretaries, Lisa, very angry. Lisa was the roommate of the marketing director who was having the affair with the President. Lisa hated me so very much it gave her Multiple Sclerosis. I believe she stressed herself out SO MUCH worrying about my every move, that she broke herself. She was on a 'leave of absence' for a long time.
|This would not hold 1 of today's Facebook pictures|
That company didn't promote me, but if you can wear dress clothes, type and do a few other tasks? You can be an assistant, an Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant and lots of other titles that pay more than the receptionist gig, and come with medical, dental and paid vacay.
Not a bad damn gig for a 17-yr old whose entire discussion about college with her parents went like this:
"Dad, my counselor told me to have a talk with you about college."
My Dad: "You won't go."
Cue my old man leaving the room to really drive home the point that this discussion was OVER. Forever.
So I got this receptionist job, learned some things, and my next job was a secretarial/assistant job. In that job I learned some things, took classes at night, got better jobs and just kept doing that. My whole life. Because I had no other option.
By the end of my time with this company, my parents announced their divorce. My father got stuck with my brother and my mother got stuck with me. Not sure if they rolled dice or what. My mother had actual career options, in another part of the state, but tried to hold on to a household up North so my brother and I had options. But those options included my working full time.
Not really, but this is where I should end this post before starting the next strange chapter of my life story.
I'm forever thankful that job came with insurance. That saved me from some major medical issues (I believed they called it 'pre-cancer' at the time) which would have gotten much worse if not caught in time. The surgeries were necessary, the bills eventually got paid somehow.
The company was run by a terrible family of fictional-level villains. I'm talking Lifetime Television movie of the week evil, I should write a book about them, and they left everyone in a lurch when eventually everyone was let go.
I have no idea how the story ends for the company, the owners, or my dad's friend for that matter. Since then I've tried not to look back. My brother says somehow Dwayne still lives. As does his 'girlfriend' or whatever, Dee. I know Dee is still alive and was still sketchy sanity-wise as of about a year ago, but let's nevermind how I know that. That's a loooong-ass story.
Or mayhaps it's several short stories, presented to you once a week in these posts. Technically I think I could write about some of it now. Seeing as my old man is dead. I don't think Dwayne can read. And I also know that Dee has informed her mother never to speak to my family again. True story. So almost 30 years later Dee is still helping me in her own way without really knowing it. I'm assuming that means that she won't speak to us again, right?
I'm hesitant to open that Pandora's box. Though I know that one day I must. I don't know if everyone in my family wants that box opened.
For now, okay?
Well, one more thing.
The VP did have the company write me a 'bonus' check for $1,500 to immediately get a new car when someone forced her to take a look at the car I drove.
TO BE CONTINUED