Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cavities too?

I never worry about going to the dentist. Since my dental recovery I've been pretty good about brushing and flossing and keeping myself from having big problems again. Some appointments are better than others, but on a 4-month cleaning schedule, how can I really go wrong?

Well, apparently. To my surprise, after my cleaning and polishing, my dental hygienist called Cindy in to check and Cindy found two small cavities, so "we're going to get to see a lot more of each other!" she said, happily.

Actually, I don't mind. I like the chance to visit with Cindy from time to time, even with a mouthful of instruments. We rarely see each other. I sometimes miss those early morning bike rides we used to take together...except on the days when it was 6 a.m., still dark, about about 30 degrees out. But we got a lot of chit chat on various sections of our ride and I do miss it. So if I have to get a couple of small cavities filled to catch up on our respective families, that's OK. (Of course, I never had to pay her to ride bikes with her!)

As I drove into the parking lot before my 8 a.m. appointment this morning, I was reminded, as I always am, of the very worst (and shortest!) job I ever held, because the office is in the same complex as the dental office.

Everyone was very excited that I was interested in the job. I had been recommended by a friend who also worked there. I met with Boss Lady and Assistant Lady, we all got along great and we made arrangements for when I would start.

I really liked Boss Lady and felt we had a lot in common. My chats with her were always pleasant. Assistant Lady was OK, but we were two different personalities. She was a cross-the-eyes and dot-the-ts kind of person and I'm more of a "get the job done as quickly as possible and fix the problems later" kind of person. But we never really butted heads.

Two days later they called me back in because they had concerns. Seems they found out that I kept an on-line journal and they were afraid they would appear in the journal. We discussed it at length and I promised that I would never discuss my job on line. And in a way, I'm still not doing it. I'm not mentioning the employer or the name of the people with whom I worked...but I sorta feel that my promise of silence ended a long time ago.

With the journal problem apparently settled, I prepared to begin the job "on a trial basis." I was eager to work with people again. I'd been in a one-person office for a year, and had been the boss before that, which does not lend itself to camaraderie when times are tough, so the idea of being a peon, with no responsibilities for executive decisions and co-workers who seemed congenial was appealing to me.

In truth, my job was not exactly mind-stretching. I did copying, filing, and database entry. All the stuff that I love doing, like writing and editing and designing was left to Assistant Lady. But still, I gritted my teeth and reminded myself that this was exactly what I was looking for right then--mindless work that would bring in a salary, but not put me in an executive position.

I had been at the job for about month when Assistant Lady suggested we have our lunch together (we had bought brought our lunch). We chatted about this and that and she said something to the effect that I'd been at the job for about a month and she was wondering how I was liking it. I told her that as far as I was concerned, things were going along fine and I was happy with the job. I asked her how she felt about my performance.

"No complaints from me either," she smiled, saying that she felt I was doing a good job.

That was Friday.

Monday I woke up with a very bad cold. I called the office and talked to Assistant Lady, who said she didn't want my germs in the office and suggested I take time off until I felt better. I checked in each day that week and was told that in the interest of everyone's health, it would be better if I just took the whole week off and get well.

I did.

Monday I came back to work. In the week I was gone, apparently some Big Project was started, but I never was given details of what was involved. I was pretty much left to my own devices to find a need and fill it. I quickly did what was given me to do. Assistant Lady let it be known that she was too busy to find work for me to do, so I began to do things that needed to be done "when you have time to do them." One of the jobs involved Boss Lady approval, which seemed to irritate her because she was so busy working on The Big Project and didn't want to be bothered by things which could be put off.

On Tuesday, I arrived at work before everyone else and after Boss Lady and Assistant Lady had arrived, I was called in to a meeting with the two of them. I picked up a pad of paper to take notes and walked into the office.

I wasn't expecting the purpose of the meeting.

It seems, I was told, that I just wasn't working out. When I asked Assistant Lady who, a week before, had told me she was pleased with my job performance, she told me "there are too many reasons to list and there's no point in going into it now." I was asked to leave immediately.

My head was spinning. I had been fired after only a month, and given no reason why I was being fired, just that my performance had been SO horrible that they couldn't even give me a second chance, or even go into the reasons why things were so horrible. Since I was still on a trial basis, they had no legal responsibility to give me any reason.

I had arrived at the office at 9, ready to work the rest of the week, and by 9:30, I was out the door, with all my stuff, and without a job.

In truth, it wasn't a huge disappointment, simply a huge blow to my ego. This was not the first time I'd been blindsided but I decided then and there it would be the last time. When Walt came home, I told him I had decided not to go back to work. Ever again.

People have, from time to time, offered suggestions for things that I might do for employment, but, truth to tell, interviewing for a job at my age, and at my weight, and with the experience of having been let go from a job I thought was going very well more than once leave me reluctant to put myself in that position again. Thank goodness I am now 65, have received my first Social Security check and don't have to deal with the work world ever, ever again.

But, as I backed out of the parking space this morning, I had cavities to think about, pushing the bad memories of my worst job out of my head, for a change.

1 comment:

Harriet V said...

I had one or two temp jobs like that; it's as if some people feel they don't have to treat you like a human being if it's temporary.

As much as I would rather be earning something, I would rather not work any more either. Seems that after fifty years I should be entitled.