Monday, May 17, 2010

Cloverfield (A Rant About an Old Job Made New Again)

Im watching Cloverfield on DVD and thinking about the day I had.

Lets start with the new old job.

I used to work at a place called Results. I was originally hired into what they called the "screen room" with the understanding that I would eventually move to the art dept.
I did just that in about a year and that is where I learned my Ps skills.
From the time Results started a Screen Printing dept until I left there was a dark cloud over the dept. Results had been around for roughly 5 years and in that time it was the number one supplier in town of embroidery work.
The embroidery dept was managed by by a horrible soul sucking troll of a woman, lets call her "Jen" not her real name but close enough. Jen is a shriveled up chain smoking vulgar mouthed shrew and she hated the idea of their being another dept there that had potential to be more important than her dept.
She constantly berated our work and our employees. Constantly needled the guy in charge of our dept, my mentor Danny. Made his life pretty miserable trying to get him in trouble at every turn.
Eventually all the gossip and backbiting drove myself and several others away. At the time I left, I had worked there 2 years. In that time I had not missed a single day of work. Even more so, because I enjoyed my job to the point that I even came in and worked during the 2 weeks vacation we had. Both weeks both years I only took 3 of the 7 days instead off the full week. I had a key to the building and I worked like a slave.
After I left my mentor and good friend stopped talking to me. The owner changed the locks even though I turned in my key. It just made me feel really bad especially losing my frined and guide Danny.
So I left and I was gone for about 5 years when I was contacted by my ex-boss and former dept head Danny who had kinda started talking to me again after about a year from when I left.
He said they needed some help and wanted to know if I was interested. I was and that began my second stint at Results.
I worked at tat time in the Digital Room. I had little if no link to Screen Printing. However Jen had taken over control of that dept with no knowledge of how that stuff works. She felt really inadequate because of her lack of know how and it showed in how she treated the staff. There is no way of describing how terribly she treated those people. From constantly swearing at them and constantly changing the rules to just flat out ruining shirts demanding things that are not possible.
I luckily came back knowing that when Danny had returned that he was told that he would 100% out of Jen's control. Still didn't stop her from trying to interfere it just didn't get her anywhere.
I on the other hand was not so lucky. After my first year, the main screen print artist went on maternity leave and for some reason (I have my suspicions) I was chosen by Jen to replace her instead of the girl that worked there and filled and helped her on the screen print art.
At that time I was doing almost all digital art for banners, vehicle wraps, stuff like that.
So I was moved from my desk in the digital room to the screen art room.
Thats when things started getting sketchy. Jen would be waiting on me when I got there, usually about 15 min before time to clock in and she would start in. Telling me what she wanted and telling me how slow I was. If I couldn't get the hang of it Id be let go and the other artist would be moved in there. She made it perfectly clear, that I wouldn't be moved back to the job I was hired for but completely let go. This was in the first week of the job. I had no idea of the filing system, I hadn't done screen print production art in over 5 years, and the flow of work had changed to this crazy circus of checks and balances that never quite worked but had to be followed.
For instance once I designed a shirt and I misspelled a word. When I finished a job it was sent to Jen who had to proof read and approve the colors. Then it was sent back to me with her approval. Still she didn't catch the spelling error and neither did I and the design went out. The customer pitched a fit and I was blamed. Thus negating our checks and balance system. Kinda has no point when you still get held responsible for the proof reader missing something.
As the weeks went on it got worse. Every morning she was waiting in my office and near the end she was doing things just to see if I'd lose it.
I did really well for a while just trying to let it roll off but she was relentless. Im positive there were a few designs, at least 2 that she orchestrated to fail. I'd fill out my paperwork and give it to her and she would claim I never did it. There was one time, I caught her change the paperwork after the design was printed so the colors I used were wrong. I had made a copy of the paperwork and produced it while she was telling me how much my mistake cost the company. She was speechless and stormed out. I thought I had won that battle but she just got worse.
Finally we got into it about a month into my screen printing position. I was called in front of the owner and she flat out lied. I held my own for te most part but I knew what was coming. I told the owner that my work should speak for itself. I had been doing the job for roughly a month. We had one customer complaint and one wrong color. I pointed out how they happened. The fact that both were emailed to her for approval and that she signed off on both but somehow I was still getting the blame.
She talked for a bit and said I had an attitude problem. I expressed my opinion which was and still is I will give you all the respect you give me. If you treat me like dirt, and constantly swear at me I'll give you back the same respect you showed me. Minus the swears of course.
Nothing used to make her more upset then when I wouldn't let her get a physical reaction. I'd calmly answer her questions and occasionally counter with questions of my own that she couldn't answer and she would hold her hadn up to stop me and then walk out. Usually on those days I didn't see her after that but I always knew it would be pretty bad the next day, and it was (but worth it).
I knew I would be eventually let go but I couldn't give her the satisfaction of me quitting or breaking me.
Anyway, in the office that day the owner said that he was always going to side with her and if I couldn't give her the respect of her position then I could pack up. I told him that I wasn't going to quit and that i would go to the back to my new "office" and produce art on time and correct and that I would give her the same respect she showed me but I would not quit.
So I was told that it was obviously not going resolve itself and it would be better if I left. So I asked him if I was being let go and he said he guessed so.
I packed my stuff and left.
Since then I've worked in freelance and at Blockbuster here in town where I am one of the managers. I've also been trying to help Danny get his project shop off the ground.
While working at BBV yesterday the owner of Results came in and asked if i'd like to do some art for the company again. I said I would and he leaned in and said he promised I'd not deal with Jen at all. I would answer only to him.
Went in today to talk to him and we worked the details out, glad to be back and really glad that I am not under her thumb and never will be again.
Received my first job from them today. Unfortunately I had to put a couple more things to bed first and I work tomorrow but Wednesday is all about it.

So that is how my old job became new again.

Long pointless story but cathartic.

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