Hell is a Cubicle

It’s been a while since I last blogged, so here’s a little update on what’s been going on the last few months…

February: the day finally came – my 99 weeks of funemployment is over. Back to the workforce I go.

March: Odd-jobs to pay rent- Background acting (cool to see famous people be filmed, not-so-cool to make $8/hr, be on set at 6am, and work ridiculously long hours), consumer product testing (cool to make $100/hr, not-so-cool if you need a steady paycheck.)

So, with no other options available and April’s rent approaching, I reluctantly succumbed to rejoining the world of recruiting.

The invitation to hell:

I land an interview for an insurance call center, and I know the second I step foot in the door that I already hate it. My future boss greets me in the lobby, and my first thought is that he is stunningly gorgeous. After opening his mouth, my second thought is that I can’t believe God would waste such impeccably good looks on such a soulless creature.

As soon as we enter the interview room, I can already tell that he’s one of those suits who talks for the pure sake of hearing himself talk. He tells me at least 27 times that his title is CTO – Chief Talent Officer - which is funny because I’m pretty sure that in every other company on the face of the planet, CTO actually refers to Chief "Technology" Officer. Chief also tells me half a dozen times that he lives near me, but that he's actually “over the hill” (i.e. lives in the Hollywood Hills) and that he has a gym inside his house. I am not impressed. Chief is undoubtedly the type of guy who likes big important titles and big expensive merchandise to overcompensate for other “small” things.

Chief calls me and invites me back for a second interview with the CEO, and instructs me to wear a suit. I dust off the dreaded pieces of pinstriped fabric that I haven’t worn in 6 years. Putting it on feels similar to the way I’d imagine it feels to put on an orange jumpsuit right before being sentenced to life in prison. Like superglue on my skin.

The CEO spends the entire interview staring at me like I’m a meal. Chief makes me an offer of more money than I’ve ever made in my life, and even that isn’t enough to instill any enthusiasm. Instead I reply, “cool,” and tell him I can’t start for two weeks, hoping I’ll find something else in the meantime. But with my rent date nearing and the job search process becoming tedious, I decide to give it a shot and see how bad it really is.

Day 1: My life is Office Space. I am surrounded by cubicles, printers, and people who are either stupid, unhappy, or too stupid to realize they're unhappy. My cubicle evilly beckons from the corner. I want to pour gasoline on it, light a match and run for my life. Words like “corporate environment” and “company morale” make me want to stab myself in the eye. Chief has me come in at 9am and keeps me there until 7pm. When I inquire about the hours, he arrogantly replies, “Well, I don’t know how they work in Boston, but here in L.A., we work 60 hours a week.” Funny how he didn’t mention that in the interview.

Chief represents everything I hate about Corporate America. He doesn’t eat or sleep, his entire life revolves around living and breathing work. He has no spouse, no children, just a big important title and a bunch of expensive things that probably never get used. Newsflash Chief: When you die, I’m pretty sure no one cares how many hours you've worked or how much money you made in the process.

Day 2: I come down with a cold. I haven’t been sick in over 3 years. My body is literally rejecting the idea of returning to the corporate world.

Day 3: I’m actually excited to spend the day out of the office at a college job fair, until I realize that Chief is coming with me. As soon as I get there, he eyes my purse and tells me that purses are unprofessional and I really need to buy a briefcase. I almost laugh until I realize he’s serious.

Day 4: By this point, my body is so numb with misery that I almost start thinking the job might not be that bad. Then Ashley comes. Ashley is the girl who should have my job, because she’s endured the hell of this company for many years, and knows everything about the business there is to know. But Chief insists that she's not qualified for my job because she is not experienced enough (young), not professional enough (fat), and not a good person to represent the company (black). Ashley spends the entire afternoon piling on things for me to do and making it clear that she knows how to do it all. She hates me. My job should be hers. We both know it.

Day 5: I receive a call from a little angel named Laura, who invites me for an interview with an agency that hires for all the L.A. studios. I call in sick, go to the interview, and am greeted by Laura, the beautiful receptionist who saved my life. Laura brings me to meet Rob, the boss. He’s from Boston. He loves me. The office building is gorgeous. The bathrooms are spotless. The people are great. I get offered the job on the spot.

I send my resignation to Chief through the company email and don’t even bother to read his reply. My new boss agrees to let me work part-time hours until I’m done with school. The girls there all wear jeans to work and watch American Idol. I am happy.

I love my new job.

(photo creds: leavinglaw.wordpress.com)


Julia said...

Good for you! Good article!

Rachel Burke said...

Thanks Jules! I gotta check out your blog too, its been a while :)

JennBrenn said...

ahhh Rach I love you!!!!!

Rachel Burke said...

Love you tooo Jenny Brenns!