Crazy Jobs ~ Office Whore, I mean Assistant

There was a brief time of insanity in my life where I worked for a company that designed computer games. I was there just over a year and pretty much hated every single moment of it. I hated the work. I hated the constant griping customers. I hated the CFO. I hated the programmer that worked in the same room with me. I hated the working conditions. I hated being treated like a maid. Have I used the word hate enough?

Basically it started like this; three months prior to gaining employment at this company, I had been working a dream job at a local wine shop. Things were not going well there. The owner, while extremely knowledgeable about wine, knew NOTHING about running a business. The hours were dwindling to nothing and the fun was fading. I had to leave. But, enough about that, that’s another story all together. I quit the wine shop and delved into a mire of depression. No more dream job, no more income. Fortunately, my honey was able to keep us going financially until I could find gainful employment. I basically let several weeks float by whilst I kept my self busy with depressing evil thoughts and daydreams revolving around me getting a job. Occasionally I would peruse the local paper for Help Wanted. Vowing to never ever get back into working in medical field as an office slave (yet another story all together), I realized I was not meant for much else but that.

Deeper into depression and seven random, excruciating, interviews later, a small ad in the newspaper caught my eye. The add was brief, asking that serious inquiries email their resumes at the address below. After Googling the email address, I gleaned some good information as to what the company was about. Such as, the company was started by Inventor Geek #1 and Inventor Geek #2 in which they created several games for people to play on their personal computers. I tweaked my resume a skosh to highlight some of my better computer abilities. This was not a lie as I did have some, sorta, pretty decent skills thanks to hubby. I sent my resume and waited with just a tad bit of excitement and wishful thinking. Low and behold I got a response back asking me a series of questions. This was to be part of an interview of sorts. The questions ranged from “find the P.O Box listed for our company” to “locate the owner of the domain site of this company” and so on. I think there were about five or six questions, that I felt competent I had aced.

Next came the face to face interview. This consisted of a sit down with one of the creators (which I’ll call Inventor Geek#1) of the business and the CFO (which I will call Major A-hole), who at the time I had not know was the father of Inventor Geek #1. After your basic interview questions, I was quizzed with some logical puzzle questions. This I found fairly odd as the position was basically a phone receptionist/technical support person, dubbed “Office Assistant.” One of the questions asked was, “Why are round manhole covers better then square manhole covers?” At this point I got fairly nervous thinking to myself, “Now why the fuck would I need to know that to answer a damn phone?” I had just got done telling them I had worked well over 15 years in the medical field as a phone receptionist/scheduler/secretary for both front and back office. I’d had communications training, stress training, conflict training and the list goes one. I was recruited from one medical office to another BECAUSE of my phone skills. However, I was not skilled enough to answer this inane question. I failed said manhole quiz. If you don’t already know the answer to this question, it’ll be answered towards the end of this riveting tale.

Needless to say, I got the job. I was told my duties were to answer phones. Provide technical support for game use. Reply to emails from games users, ship games and do a little light housekeeping. “Uhhh,” I said, “what does that mean?” “Oh,” said Inventor #1, “that just means keeping your desk tidy, maybe dust the room, sweep and vacuum it on occasion.” Seeing that the office was the size of a small bedroom, I was fairly okay with that. I then had one day of training. Yep, that’s it. One lousy day to learn the games, the email system, the phones, the ways to punish people for not playing nice with others, manning the forums and so on. Seemed pretty cut and dry, however things were not as simple as they seemed.

The emails were atrocious. They received about 100 plus emails per day on a slow day. Most were really lame such as “HELP, I’ve lost my log on and password.” Or “How come my Windows game does not work with my new Macintosh?” Fortunately my predecessor had purchased a macro system and had set up a series of quick canned responses. This was most helpful. The phone calls were not this easy. They should have never had phone calls coming in. Ever.

Now most people when playing a computer game are happy go lucky. I mean for cripes sakes, games are fun! They are a source of enjoyment. For a mere $25.00 one purchases a game for LIFETIME. What this means is, you pay the company money and get a nice, fun game to play on your personal computer as a single player against the game’s computer. Fun, no? But, wait there’s more! As a bonus to the purchaser of this game, you also have the privilege to play online against people from all over the world for free! See here, you have bought the single play game as it is stated on the web site and in the directions, but the online play is a bonus, a freebee. You pay nothing for the online play. Oh joy!

There is a simple set of rules for online play and if you break those rules, we CAN take that part of the game away from you. Again, this is stated all over the web site, in the directions and lastly on the forums. Rules are: play nice. No cheating, cussing, stalking other players, spamming or typical rude behavior. You are required to read said rules before you can play online and you are required to check a box saying you understand and agree with said rules. Which of course translates to; scroll very quickly to the bottom of the blah, blah, blah, check the box and play on! What this means to the company is; if you should violate said rule, you may be blocked from playing your FREE online game for anywhere from one hour to lifetime depending on how bad you broke the rules. However, you still have access to play against the computer for as long and as often as you like. Because why? You purchased this game for this intended use. Remember, purchased the single play game against the games computer. That is never taken away from you. What this means to the purchaser is; “I paid money for this fucking game and you can’t take this away from me so I’m going to sue your fucking ass.” What this means to the company is; that you did not read the RULES! YOU FRIGGIN’ IDIOT!

Here is an example of a typical phone call:

Me: Good Morning, Such and Such games, may I help you?

Angry Player: Yeah, I just paid for a game and I got kicked off. What the fuck is going on? Some asshole just started screaming at me. AT ME! I did nothing wrong, that asshole should have been the one to get kicked off. Your referees suck ass. I DID NOTHING WRONG.

Side note: A referee is a volunteer from the gaming community that polices your online play

Me: Let me just check that for you sir. What is your username?

Angry Player: Numbnuts

Me: Okay then, let me take a look.

Now here is the where the fun begins. Inventor Geek #2 and his minions designed the games so that we could review any game at any given time. If someone is lying I can see what just transpired. I typed in the username of Numbnuts and what the? Oh my, what have we here?

Me: Sir, I am reviewing the game as we speak.

Angry Player: What? I didn’t know you could do that.

Me: Yes, and sir, I see here that you have violated our terms of service. You have called the player that you speak of a <insert “N” word here>, a liar and a bitch. I would be happy to send you a copy of the text along with the copy of the TOS. I agree with the time out that was issued to you by our referee, however you can still enjoy the single player game that time is up.

Angry Player: YOU FUCKING BITCH NAZI. YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A WHORE.

Me interrupting: Sir, if you continue to speak to me like that I am going to hang u……

Angry Player: ….I’M GOING TO SUE YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY. YOU CAN’T…

Me interrupting: Sir…

Angry Player: …DO THIS TO ME. I PAID FOR THIS FUCKING GAME, I OWN IT AN…

Me: Click

Five minutes later and in the middle of another crisis, (this time I am now attending to an email from a very upset game referee because another ref from another of the company’s many games is spreading rumors on the forum about them. The first referee is so upset she is going to quit after five years of donating her time both night and day for this company without hardly a thank you!) the phone rings again. Now we have caller ID, however due to the email I am attending too, I failed to check the incoming number.

Angry Player: DON’T YOU EVER HANG UP ON ME YOU FUCKING COW, I AM GOING TO…

Me: Click

Back to email to smooth things over. The Angry Player calls in five, six more times which all go to voicemail. This sort of thing happens all day long. In email and on phone. Some of these players are really sick. Lots of cyber sex in the games, stalking of other players, death threats and lots of racist remarks just to name a few. It’s endless. It’s tiring. I would rather baby sit 17 toddlers at once then put up with this crap from adults over a frickin’ game.

Let’s see what else? There was the day that Major A-hole called me into the office and asked me to clean cat puke off the front porch. After that came the day when my job duty  which previously consisted of cleaning my own room turned into cleaning the entire office both upstairs and down. This included the bathroom which looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years. I rarely used it. Only in case of dire emergencies and only when I could layer mounds of toilet paper around the rim of seat so that I could sit on it without contracting a deadly bacteria. Once there was, well, actual shit ON the toilet seat. I kid you not. I was expected to clean it up. I also did shopping and recycling. Lastly, I got talked into some bookkeeping duties and preparing payroll for which I had no experience. This meant I had to work directly with Major A-hole. There were several days of constant contact with him where I came home in tears after dealing with his controlling, self important, “men are smarter then women” behavior. He is a woman hater. He would regal me with stories of how he would yell at his secretaries “back in the olden days” like he was proud of it. I called my predecessor one day after a really bad episode and asked him if he was ever asked to clean house and cat puke, do the books or put up with Major A-holes insults. “Hell no,” he said. “And if they would have asked me to do any of that, I would have said ‘Hell no.’ Actually, they would have never even asked me to do such things.”

Let me take a moment to talk about my office mate. I call him “The Slug.” Unfortunately, my desk faced the back of his bulk and I could see his computer screen. He started working at the company about a month after me. He was fine for the first month and then he started really bugging the crap out of me. He ate junk food all day long. He rarely did actual work. The Slug played computer games, surfed the web, texted people, emailed friends, anything to get out of work. He also called in sick a lot. I mean, sometimes once a week. He was never on time for work. As much as I hated working there, I was always on time and only called in sick once. I finally complained to Inventor Geek #1 about The Slug but he just shrugged it off. I’m pretty certain the The Slug was the one that left the shit on the toilet seat. That was just his style.

I was a hard worker. All the game referees loved me. I supported them when the owners of the company did not. I commended them on the volunteer work they did for us in policing the games. And I made sure to send the occasional bouquet of flowers when someone got sick or faced a death in the family. I was fair and reasonable to the customers and gave lots of players chances that I probably should not have given. I had lots of compliments from people who purchased the product for my patience and promptness with their problems. I even had a fellow send me a CD of some songs he had recorded. I got a few nice cards in the mail. There was a very nice newly widowed customer that purchased a game and had trouble using it. We spoke often by phone and spoke about our families. I had another customer from California who worked at the CBS studios, invite me to view a TV show she was in charge of if I ever visited that area because I helped her with a difficult technical issue. I did a good job.

Did I ever get anything in return? No. I got criticized right in front of The Slug and the newest employee (which I call The New Cool Dude) from Inventor Geek #1 for raising my voice on the phone on two occasions. Why do you ask, did I raise my voice? Re-read the example of the phone call from above and imagine it three times worse. Over a freakin’ computer game I got called every name in the book and was threatened at length. This did not matter to Inventor Geek #1. Doubting myself and abilities to handle bad phone situations, I asked The New Cool Dude who sat near me what he thought. The New Cool Dude had heard the guy on the phone screaming obscenities at me. He was shocked. He told me that I have always been great on the phones. Way more calm and patient then he could ever be given the circumstances.

After about five months on the job, I asked Inventor Geek #1 if I could take an hour lunch break instead of a half hour. I had never asked for anything else up to this point, not even an extra day off. I explained I wanted to take an hour lunch with my hubby. His answer, “Well, I guess so. Just don’t make a habit of it.” An extra half hour lunch in a five month period is not a habit GEEK.

Finally I hit the end of my rope. Let me rephrase that. I finally figured out why round manhole covers are better than square ones. A square cover can fall thru the manhole where a round one cannot. One day after our annual Christmas party, I received our bonus check stubs from Major A-hole to enter into the books. I am a reasonable person. I know my skills and contribution to the company were minimal compared to what the programmers could offer the owners. I knew they made good money. What bothered me more then anything was the bonus given to The New Cool Dude. He had been employed with the company for about 88 days. He had not even finished his 90 day probation. On top of that, he had already given his 2 week notice. Being a particular savvy guy, he soon saw that his job duties did not mean what was actually verbalized to him. He did not even attend the Christmas party. He was already mentally checked out. I had worked hard, cleaned the shit and the puke, put up with abusive nonsense from crazy people over games of cards and backgammon. I had faced embarrassment for being reprimanded in front of co-workers. Suffered demeaning comments about how stupid women are in the work place from Major A-hole. I was thanked for this with a bonus of $136.00. The New Cool Dude was rewarded for working a grand total of 88 days with a check for $400.00. He didn’t even make his two week notice, he bailed after the first week. A couple months later I landed a job elsewhere. For unknown reasons, I actually cried in front of Inventor Geek #1 when I gave notice. I did not belong here. I was a square cover trying to fit in a round hole.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    i like computer games that are first person shooting and strategy games .

  2. 2

    :~” I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information “”*

  3. 3

    PDF said,

    Wow, I read this story and yeah sometimes people will be lazy at work. I hope you made good money from this not so pleasant experience.
    How about your new job? Is it better than this one you just described? I hope so.

  4. 4

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  5. 5

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  6. 6

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