You have been warned.
My last week of work had the the unfortunate coincidence of also being the week that my supervisor decided that I would be a good candidate to have the newest member of our team tag along with me to observe my work. I was really good at what I did (oh, shut up - there is documented proof) so they did this to me quite a lot. In my cloud of emotion from quitting I totally forgot that the dude was coming with me until I got off the plane and heard his cheerful voice mail message on my cell phone saying that he was waiting for me at our hotel and very excited to meet me.
Norman Newguy had no idea that I'd quit my job hours before and I didn't see any reason to tell him. I decided that I would be completely professional and keep that information to myself and give him the best on-the-job learning experience possible. After all, it wasn't his fault I was disgruntled.
I met with Norm about 30 minutes after arriving at the hotel. I asked if he minded if I smoked, he said not at all, so I lit up (my one week of cheating after having quit in December) and proceeded to tell him what I expected from him throughout our work week together. The rules that follow are based upon things that I finally figured out must be said out loud and made clear to new employees after several previous less than stellar experiences:
- You are observing only and are not to pipe in or interrupt when I am speaking unless it is of extreme emergency such as the building, me or a member of the class is on fire. If you are on fire, please stop, drop and roll and keep the noise down.
- If I have left a topic from the training guide or outline un-discussed I have done it for a purpose and do not wish for you to publicly point out my omission. You may ask me about it later in private if you wish, at which time I will make you feel stupid for questioning my logic.
- We, meaning YOU are to follow the rules of the clinic at all times. If the staff are not allowed to have a beverage at the front desk then neither are you. If they are not allowed to chew gum, then neither are you, etc..
- We, meaning YOU, do not accept invitations from clinic owners or staff without discussing it with ME first. YOU do not go anywhere outside of this practice (bar, strip club, home) with the clinic owner or staff without my permission.
- When I tell you "No" what I really mean is "Are you out of your stupid mind?" and do not wish to be questioned about my decision.
- You will not approach any animal no matter how cute, cuddly or harmless looking without permission from either the clinic staff or the pet owner. If you disobey this rule and are bitten and/or scratched I will admonish you later in private and make you wish you were never born. Do not expect any sympathy no matter how serious the wound.
- You will not leave your belongings strewn about the clinic and will take away with you each night what you brought with you each day. Do not leave your breakfast, lunch, laptop, car keys, cell phone, soda, or any other tangible item in the clinic for someone else to eat, spill, lose, drop, break, or (in one instance involving an incontinent clinic cat) pee on.
- You are not to gross out or act like anything, ANYTHING, you may see is beneath you. It's a vet clinic, kid. There will be poop, blood, guts and many other oozing oddities. I suggest watching several episodes of Emergency Vets if you have a problem with this.
- When you are on the job you are asexual. Do not flirt. Do not make any kind of overture that may be construed as being of a sexual nature. Do not refer to any persons body or body parts, tattoos or clothing (this is a point I tried to make especially clear for male trainees as most people who work in vet clinics these days are chicks).
- Oh, and don't wear black clothes. They're just a magnet for pet hair.
I think that covers most of it. Do you understand? Good. Let's have some fun!
Ordinarily one of the beautiful things about my old job was this - I did it ALONE.
The next beautiful thing about my old job was this - I was in complete CONTROL at all times. Doing the job alone helped to guarantee that I was in control. My voice, my decisions, my time, my choice of restaurant, and so on.
What interesting things you must be learning about me by knowing these particular facts, eh?
The coffee machine was relatively new for the clinic too, so everyone was as in love and impressed with it as I. Unfortunately I never travel with my own mug after my favorite one broke in my suitcase a few years ago. I, along with most of the clinic staff was using the paper cups that were located in the compartment contraption. Norm was too, only I didn't realize he wasn't drinking coffee.
Now if this were not my last job I would have had to add a new rule.
DO NOT CHEW TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN OR NEAR THE CLINIC
You may see where this story is leading.
After two days of Norm by my side in the clinic I was feeling very positive about his future. He was polite, charming, professional, followed the rules and it seemed to me that he may not be a pain in the ass after all. In fact I found him to be quite helpful.
We had finished the classroom style portion of the training and were sitting in the owners office going over some manager type stuff. Whatever it was you can be assured it involved me talking, pointing, ignoring Norm and concentrating on the client while Norm listened and was generally being a very good boy. I announced a recess and casually reached over for my coffee cup and took an enormous, queen-size swig.
And then I died a little inside.
You may have gathered if you've been reading this or any of my other posts that I'm kind of a priss.
It's hard to be prissy when you realize you just drank a big swaller of someone elses spit. Not just spit either. But spit mixed with menthol flavored chewing tobacco.
Spit mixed with menthol flavored chewing tobacco that has been resting between the cheek and gum of Norman Newguy for christ only knows how long.
It was body temperature warm, it was menthol-ish, it was slimy and I wished I was dead. I somehow maintained my composure and calmly clicked my prissy kitten heels to the closest bathroom where I immediately began retching up the vile mixture, thereby reliving the experience all over again in reverse.
Upon my return I could barely manage to say to Norm, "I'm going to step outside for a moment would you please come with me?"
In the parking lot I led him to the rental car without a word and bade him to get inside. I in the driver's seat, he in the passenger seat, I simultaneously gagged and screamed at him while he bleated out unaccepted apologies. I loudly pointed out to him how very lucky we were (HE was) that it was ME who drank his vile swill and not the clinic owner, who was also drinking out of the same type of paper coffee cup.
The rest of it was something like: Remove the tobacco from your repugnant mouth and don't ever, ever, ever, EVER DO THAT AGAIN. Anywhere, at any jobsite, alone or unsupervised ever, ever, EVER.
Why am I sharing this delicious story? I'm not sure.
A better question may be, why have you continued to read it?
What's the lesson here? Maybe it's this, look before you drink. Or maybe it falls into the category I've featured before about being direct and specific. Ask your new employees if they chew tobacco and if they say yes tell them not to. Or if you work in the bowels of hell where (I still can't imagine) tobacco chewing is permitted, tell them to clearly label their makeshift spitoons with some kind of warning.
Don't assume like I did that people (I say people so as not to be sexist even though I have yet to meet a woman who chews tobacco) who seem perfectly charming and normal have enough sense not to leave cups of their own expressed bodily fluid laying about for dimwits like me to chug.
Apparently the rules must be laid out more specifically than anyone realized. If you have to tell someone that it's not okay to roll diced dried weeds in your mouth for hours on end and then spit the remains into a paper cup within reach of woeij;vnaiv gag, gag, gag. Sorry.
We might was well lay down these rules of work behavior that people may have been taking for granted as well:
- Don't shit on the floor or anywhere but in a toilet. When and if you do please flush the toilet and watch to make sure your entire contribution has been dispatched.
- Don't use the key to the supply cabinet to clean your ears.
- Don't microwave onion and stinkloaf sandwiches in the break room at 8:15 am. It's not okay at any time, but less okay at that early hour.
- Don't take off your shoes ever, for any reason or length of time. Your feet stink and nobody needs to know this about you.
- Don't pick your nose and wipe the results under your chair. We see you. You don't think we can and you are wrong. You are a genuine pig and nobody needs to know this about you.
I think that covers it, but just in case:
- Don't move or speak
- Don't even open your stupid mouth or make eye contact
- Don't make me tell you again