Monday, May 21, 2007

Take this job and shove it.

A few days ago I was searching for an old TripTik for our Gatlinburg trip and came across an old letter of resignation from a job 10 years back. And it brought back memories of how fun it was to quit that particular job.

If was fun for several reasons, but mainly because it was the only graphic design job I ever got to quit... willingly.

For a lot of people older than me, the idea of changing jobs ever year or so seems alien and unfathomable. But for those of you 30-somethings and younger, changing you job every year is a habit. You learn quickly to keep your resume updated and sometimes you even get to know the folks at your local unemployment office on a first name basis.

Since 1989, I’ve gone thru 7 design jobs. Gone are the days where you entered a company on the ground level, worked your way up the corporate ladder by dedication, hard work and respect (and maybe a little ass-kissing) and, after decades of loyal service, were rewarded with a nice pension and a gold watch.

Nope. Sorry folks, but that Saturday Evening Post portrait of the work ethic is as dead as a roadkill possum.

Nowadays we all make constant changes and additions to our resume. We all keep in contact with a wide variety of friends and former co-workers to continuously network in order to find a better place of employment. And some of us are lucky enough to be in a field where businesses close up on a regular basis.

But like I said, I was able to leave this job willingly. This was the car graphics place owned and operated by a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ll give them credit in that they never used their religion, or the lack of mine for that matter, as an excuse to hire or not to hire. But working with Witnesses is quite strange. I only had one employee ever try to ‘convert’ me and I shut him up fast. We’d worked together in the same office for several months and the subject never came up. One day out of the blue we just started talking religion and, after a long discussion, the conversation ended with this:

CoWorker: “So, do you ever read much?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. I read all the time. I love books.”

“Well, if I gave you a book, would you read it?”

“Sure. If you return the favor and read a book I loan you.”

End of conversation. Never to be brought up again. And if you know me and my book collection, you know why he never followed up on his offer.

There were a few factors why I was glad to leave this place besides the Witness Factor. They paid me squat. I had been laid off from a newspaper job and this was my next place of employment. They started me out at less what I was making before (and THAT wasn’t impressive to begin with) and, even with a raise a year later, I will still making less.

There was also the blatant eavesdropping of the Head Accountant’s son (nepotism was bad here). He found great pleasure in hacking some secret files and reading all of our emails every night while he was supposed to be working.

And there was also the fact that two of our supervisors had hair that was not their own. It was really hard to keep a straight face when the president of the company scratched his head and his whole hairline moved. Or when the production manager was running late and came in with his rug improperly glued to where you could see the weave peeling from his smooth head.

At one time I wanted to get fired I disliked that place so much. Witness boy eventually left my office to work elsewhere and he was replaced by “Tony” who became my partner in crime. We were bad, very bad. When we shared an office with a large glass window, we covered the glass with pictures of fish so it looked like we were in an aquarium.

We eventually got kicked out of our office (so an expensive piece of printing equipment could reside there) and got moved to a cubicle. To make it more ‘homey,’ we installed blue film and ruby lith in the overhead fluorescent lights to give it a disco effect. We hung up Christmas lights and curtained off our cubicle doorway. Toys littered the floor. It looked like a damn day care.

We also had a growing ball of scrap vinyl from the car graphic cut-outs that we rolled all over the place. Tony eventually learned how to walk on it and would often be seen ‘rolling’ down the hall.

We also flipped Slinkies down the stairs. There’s nothing better that having the toupee-wearing president open his office door to see my ass in the air as I toss down a Slinky to a waiting Tony at the bottom of the stairs.

All this and I never got fired. Instead I job hunted until I found Job #5. Which allowed me to create this lovely piece you now see. I handed one to each of my supervisors (including the Toupee President). I even rolled each one up and included a ribbon and wax seal.

So now I’m on Job #7. Been here for over 5 years and I hope they continue to keep me. But I’m always on the lookout for something better. Habit now. Part of the Generation X Mental Training for the Job World. Hopefully I’ll never have to create another resignation scroll, but you have my permission to use this as a template.

1 comment:

keenEddie said...

When you work on your own, you really start to lose track of the jobs you work on. If you count each invoice as a job, let's say, then I'd be coming up on 1000 soon.

Of course, at the rate I'm going, reaching that number might take a little longer than I'd anticipated.

btw, my favorite line: two of our supervisors had hair that was not their own.