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..: My Last Job
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Did I ever tell you about my last job? It was a place called Jirix, and it was awful. Except, it was my first job out of school, they paid a decent salary, and I didn't know any better. Our boss ran the place as if it was a dot com startup, and she has forever shaped my impression of female bosses as paranoid, stressed out, unhappy people reaching for some sort of success they only half-heartedly want, since long ago someone talked them into it. What they really want to do, they dare not say. I was chewed out my first day of work, I remember. She humiliated me in front of my peers on my first day, and I never forgot it. My coworkers called it a lack of people skills, but I knew better. She was just plain evil. She didn't know how to be around people, except when she completely controlled and owned them. And so I became a docile, compliant robot to survive. I realized it one night when she and I were on a business trip in Alabama. We were in McDonalds and she said "you know what the problem is with married people is? The two main things they argue over is sex and money. That's why you need to have sex with a person before you get married. To see if you're really compatible." My convictions were strongly to the contrary, but I said nothing. That's the night I realized what a robot I'd become. She did all the talking, I did all the agreeing. If not verbally, than with my silence. For whatever reason, she always took my silence to mean I was trying to think of something better, more ingenious than she. But usually, I was just thinking "is there someplace better than this job?"

Wanna know the worst part? Sometimes, these days, I find myself doing that same thing to people around me. Except now, I'm doing the talking, and only being happy when the conversation is one way. And I wonder what that other person must really be thinking. Sometimes, anyway. Other times, I'm the silent one, not saying what I really must.

I could write pages and pages on Jirix, and how damaging it was to work there. Nearly every person who left that place went on to do something so much better, and we all talk about our time at Jirix as if we had lived the movie Shawshank Redemption; we are now all free, and we talked in those terms. Freedom, liberation. We joked about starting a support group for ex-Jirix people, you know, the way there are support groups for people who make it out of the LA Church of Christ cult. Only people who have lived through it can really share or talk about that experience with others. And in there some gruesome kinship exists in sharing that pain, and our humiliation, and chains.

But this is what I will remember most about my captor: She lied to me. She told me that I could never have a job like the one I have now. She told me that her company was what life was about, and that things did not get better. She kept me there, not for my good, but for her own. She never cared about me. After 2 years of employment, she wouldn't even read my resignation letter, and wasn't there when I finally walked out the door.

I tell you all of this because those 2 years, as horrible as they were, have shaped the manager I have become. I would not be doing what I do now, if it were not for how harsh and brutal my experience there was. I've been told that there are some experiences that are priceless, but that the bearer of that experience would never willingly repeat. This is certainly one of those.

Tim, I put a couple jars of this anger into my collection.
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