I was just sixteen when I landed my first desk job. I was hired as a telemarketer for a publication that sold used cars and boats. The publication was in print and online, according to the script that I read to the potential sellers that we scavenged from local newspapers. I was awful at sales. I couldn’t convince anyone to sell their item in our publication when they were already advertising it in the paper.
The office manager was only a few years older than me. She was dating the company’s owner, a fleshy older man with not much going for him. She decided it was too much work to answer the phones and take messages and she’d rather spend her day in his office. He, of course, readily agreed and made up a new title for her pending she found a replacement for her position. I volunteered. After all, how hard could it be to answer the phones and take message?
I was at my second job ever, and I already had a manager title. Less than a year later, I quit that job because although it was good for my resume, it was bad for my soul. The owner’s son was addicted to crack cocaine and would storm into the business several times per week upending tables, slapping the former office manager, punching holes in the wall, and shaking his father to get more drug money. Eventually, his father would give in and give him money to leave. Further, the company’s website never updated with new listings to add the newly sold space and the publication never printed, not even once. I knew the owner was unscrupulous, but didn’t realize the effect it would have on the other aspects of the business. It was my first lesson in office politics.