I, on the other hand, have suffered through two jobs that tie for “worst job ever.” Both involved my short stint in the world of advertising.
I graduated college with a degree in graphic design and illustration. When I went off to college, I expected to move back to the NY metro area upon graduation to pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator. The universe had other plans for me, though, and I found myself in Philadelphia, not exactly a publishing Mecca for children’s books. I wound up working as a graphic designer for first one, then another, small ad agency. To say I hated waking up in the morning to go to work is a vast understatement.
The first agency bragged about having such wonderful accounts as the clothing manufacturer Ladybug. They lied. Ladybug was an account they were pursuing. They didn’t get it. In hindsight, I believe they were never contenders. What they did have were lots of auto dealership accounts. There are few things more boring than doing layouts and billboard designs for auto dealerships, but that wasn’t the worst part of the job.
This was an office of five -- the boss, an account executive, an office manager, a copywriter, and me. The account exec quit within a week of my arrival. The copywriter was the quintessential mean girl bitch who married into money and was only working until she got pregnant. She was snide, caustic, and went out of her way to make derogatory comments about me, both to my face and behind my back. The office manager was her sidekick and bitch-in-training. On top of that, the owner of the agency turned out to be a manipulative S.O.B. who’d pull stunts like taking off for lunch on Fridays and not returning to the office until Monday morning, after having cut checks for the bitch and bitch-in-training before he left but not for me. After the first time this happened, I spent every Friday running after him, hoping to grab him before the elevator doors closed. Sometimes I won; other times he’d give me the slip.
I quit that job after two months and took a similar job at another agency in the same building. The accounts were slightly more interesting, but that didn’t make up for the people. Think Mad Men. I was one of two women in the office. The other woman was the office manager. The rest of the agency was comprised of the owner and three account executives. These were guys who routinely cheated on their wives. They’d fly off to Las Vegas every few months with their girlfriends, telling their wives they were going on a business trip.
At one point the boss’s 19 year old girlfriend (he was in his thirties at the time and had a wife and three kids) became pregnant. I don’t know if his wife ever found out. Frankly, I hope so. This was a guy still living in the 1950’s. I once overheard a phone conversation between him and his wife. She wanted to go back to work and had been offered a great job. He REFUSED to let her.
I spent about five months working at that job. I was fired two weeks before Christmas because one of the account executives had a friend whose wife had just graduated with an art degree. I thought about retaliating by calling all the wives and letting them know what was going on behind their backs, but in the end I took the high road, deciding Karma would catch up with these guys soon enough.
I have gotten even, though. That’s the great thing about writing mysteries. You can always kill off the nasty, toxic people you’ve come across in life. Just make sure you change the names and details of their lives enough to avoid lawsuits.
Lois Winston is hard at work killing off another deserving victim in the third book of her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series. The first book, Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun, was a January 2011 release and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Death by Killer Mop Doll will be a January 2012 release. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com