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This is a question Sacked

I've never been sacked (yet)... One company I worked for made everyone redundant on Valentine's Day. The boss handed out little envelopes. We all thought he'd bought us cards and were really touched.

...but I've never been sacked. What have you done that led to your dismissal? Are you still bitter, or was it a fair cop?

(, Thu 23 Feb 2006, 13:23)
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Special delivery
I once worked in a silkscreen printers. Jack, the owner, came to the factory every day and sat in an office high above the factory floor at the top of a long flight of metal stairs. His beach-ball shaped body was framed by his stumpy little arms and legs and sweaty, round head. He was one of those permanently agitated people with a bright red face who look like they're about to explode. He was incredibly rude and arrogant, and clearly considered himself to be some kind of high-powered industrialist, rather than the owner of a grotty little printers in Walthamstow. He had a way of talking down to people that grated on me from the very first time I met him, and his low opinion of me was obvious from every comment he directed at me.

I'd only been there a week or so when I was called up to his office. I hated going up those stairs - those kinds of elevated factory offices are specifically designed to communicate the message, "I'm so much higher than you that you have to climb 200 stairs just to talk to me". I should really have been grateful though. It turned out that Jack had a Special Job for me to do. He needed a package dropped off at the Post Office. He held up the package, to help me understand. "Do ... you ... know ... where ... the ... Post ... Office ... is?" he asked, slowing down his speech and carefully pronouncing every word. Yes, I knew where the Post Office was. He told me anyway, in the same careful manner. He told me how to go to the window, how to weight the package, how to buy stamps. Between every instruction, he stressed again and again just how important this package was, how urgent its delivery was. "THIS ... MUST ... BE ... DELIVERED ... TODAY".

Jack saved the most important instruction for last. "You ... MUST ... give ... the ... package ... to ... the ... cashier". And don't try to put the package in the post box. And don't leave the package by the cashier's window. And DON'T PUT THE PACKAGE OUTSIDE. He repeated these very difficult instructions. He made me repeat them after him.

The factory foreman was up there the whole time and saw all of this. He was actually a nice guy, but not the most cheerful person in the world. He seldom smiled and he looked permanently worn out. He had a resigned look about him - I suppose he'd been listening to this kind of shit for years. Part of my difficult task was to report back to Jack when I'd returned from the Post Office, and the foreman was still up there in Jack's office at the top of those fucking stairs when I got back.

"Did ... you ... do ... as .... I ... told ... you?", Jack wanted to know. Yes, don't worry, I did it all exactly as told. I took the package to the cashier, I weighed it, I bought the stamps, I remembered to get a receipt, and then I put the package outside the Post Office, on top of the post box, just like I'd been told.

Jack turned crimson and literally began to shake. "YOU DID WHAT??!!". Don't worry, I said, I left it outside, on top of the post box, like you said. Jack had this white foam at the corners of his mouth at this stage. His beach-ball body was bobbing up and down and he was waving his stumpy arms, opening and closing his mouth. He was actually speechless with rage. "Naaah, s'all right," I said, "I'm only joking. I mean, I know how to send a package. I'm not a fucking idiot."

The most gratifying part of this was that the foreman, who had been standing next to me, emitted this little choking sound, and was then very obviously clenching his jaw, desperate not to laugh. He excused himself while Jack tore into me ("I DO THE FUCKING JOKES AROUND HERE!!") and when I returned downstairs there he was, and he gave me this beautiful smile, and he'd clearly spread the word, because so did everyone else in that miserable dump.

I lasted until the end of the day. It was so worth it.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2006, 15:05, closed)

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