Friday, August 13, 2010

Take that job and ..... you finish the sentence.

A lot of drama has been reported surrounding the flight attendant who could not take anymore of his job at JetBlue. He gave reasons for his actions. Others gave reasons for the passenger being upset. Today it was reported he wants his job back.
Talking to a new medical assistant at my doctor's today, he spoke of the incident. I agreed with him that it was remarkable the flight attendant had gotten so upset he stole a beer and slid away. I told him it was my experience working for the general public was very hard work. He said he once worked at a fast food place and a customer spit at him because he was making change while trying to take an order and show a new employee how to do the job. He said at that moment he decided he wasn't going to work for the general public anymore. He went to school and was trained to work in a doctor's office. He currently is working towards an RN part time. I pointed out that he was still working for the public. He agreed but said, "Here the patient is aware that he needs the doctor and the staff as much as we need the job."

I hope he gets his degree and has a successful career. RN's are in demand.

I quit the job I had worked at for ten years and started a business. At the time I made that decision I was having lunch with the department secretary. We would gripe about how a woman at the same level as me was fucking the boss and that's how she got her title. It was obvious she wasn't as smart as those she supervised but would always be there as long as they were involved. My friend was an excellent secretary. Although I worked a year as a secretary at the same place, I was not an excellent secretary. This was the '70's before computers, spell check and all manner of helpful things to make typing accurate.

She was willing to quit and work for me but expected to be moving within the year with her husband when he was promoted. We both talked each other into my starting a typing service. It would be best if you paused for a bit and visualized two women who reminded you of Polly Anna.

Sometimes you hate your job so much you are willing to run down a hill into an abyss. It worked out fine. Thirty years later I'm not typing for a living and the business is entirely different. One thing I know is I am happy in my work compared to how I would feel thirty years later in a job I hated.

Today most people would say anyone starting a business should be evaluated for a mental illness or disease. In 1979 people were saying the same thing. Those reading this who were not born or unaware may want to Bing or Google the year. There was a recession. The economy was bad. The next year when we got our one and only business loan to buy equipment, we had to pay 23% interest.

My boss, the office lothario said when I gave notice, "You're going to make a living typing?" Less than a decade later he came to me to write his resume when he was "let go" for inappropriate expense games. That was a good day. No I did not giggle but when he left Dennis and I had a good laugh.

I cannot begin to describe how hard it was to grow, manage and endure in a small business. It was easier because my husband Dennis was in it with me. I'm not going to list all the mistakes I made and how many times I was scared and afraid we would fail. There were many.
When you work for yourself you work harder than you ever work for another. If you're working hard for someone else, they're getting extra value for your labor. A small business owner also has the responsibility for the business employees. I never fired an employee. I had to do too much of that working for the other guy. I had employees quit but not very many. I always realized that no matter how good a person was they weren't going to stay with us forever, so the best I could do was make the payroll and teach them something that would help them later.

When the economy is so shaky that 10% of the country who wants to work cannot find a job, employees stay in jobs they hate. This is the true definition of a wage slave. We as customers need to remember this when buying things. Whether the flight attendant gets his job back or not, he will find work, probably as a manager of some kind. Some of the unsatisfied workers need to start businesses though because that is the key to an expanding economy and work force.


  1. Excellent post. Finally someone who understands that the government isn't responsible for creating jobs. thanks for stopping bye today.

  2. I've probably quit more jobs than most people have had, never had the guts to start my own business though. You certainly beat the odds having a successful business. I know the gov says unemployment is at 10% but I bet the real number is closer to 20%. They also say this may be a double dip recession, I think it's a depression.

  3. Good job Charlene.
    Jilda and I have had a business on the side for many years.
    We were the only employees and turned a hobby into a little income.
    Now that I no longer have a day job, I'm spending more and more time doing things I really enjoy.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. I had to google the story, because I hadn't heard it. One of the news stories referred to him as a "folk hero." A hero for behaving like a big baby? I don't think so. He should be ashamed of himself. I certainly wouldn't hire someone like that. Yes, dealing with the public is tough but good grief.

  5. I've had some great experiences working with the public and some awful ones...there are always going to be more horses asses than horses.

  6. Good post, Charlene, building up to an obviously firm grasp of P(olitics) P(hilosophy) and E(conomics) in your last sentence. We should swap 'running your own business' stories some time. (I nearly typed 'minding your own business' but that wouldn't be the same thing at all.)

    You may need to explain the glass of gin? vodka? on the chair to purblind and uninformed non-US citizens.

  7. Great post! I worked for the public for years and always said that everyone should. Your wisdom and advice is profound, hopefully you have motivated someone! My mother brainwashed me as far as independence goes, her theory, never ask for help, do it yourself. I have probably taken self reliance to the extreme, but maybe we are just a product of living through the 60's and 70's. Anyway, loved the post!

  8. KrippledWarrior: Thank you, yes.

    Texlahoma: I think it's easier to start a business if you cannot stand to work for a boss; or my boss at the time. Plus knowing I was never going to do him, I was never going any higher at the company.

    Life 101: If you can find work you enjoy you are blessed!

    Yellowdog Granny: I understand. I don't think I could have continued working if there were more mean customers than kind ones.

    Secret Agent Woman: I don't think he is a folk hero, but anyone who can do something the rest cannot, is often admired. I would guess he will be famous much as Joe the Plumber was.

    Christopher: I haven't a clue what's in the glass on the chair. It reminded me of the precariousness of things near the edge.

    Jilda: The dynamic of the public vs. the worker is such that the public believes because they are paying for the product or service civility is not required beyond paying the cost. As a worker I owe the product or service promised and a civil manner. I think both the airline employee and the passenger forgot this.

  9. I have a friend who worked for a doctor during the day and typed medical manuscripts at night. She was making more money typing than filing, so she quit her day job and had to turn down work on the typing side. She was making some good bucks, too.

  10. The guy quit in such a way that he does not deserve his old job back. Starting a business is a great thing at the proper time. It is only now even becoming a time when I could consider such a thing.

  11. I really enjoyed this post. Working in customer service is really hard, you also become very hard in yourself. I have reached the point where I feel no empathy with anyone. I have heard every complaint under the sun and nothing scares me.I think the JetBlue guy just stepped over the edge. The other side of the coin is that people are fun and sometimes the customer complaints give everyone a good laugh afterwards.
    I admire you greatly for starting your own business, I would love to teach others to dance but keep putting off taking the plunge out of customer abuse.

  12. Excellent post ! I've never had the desire to start my own business. Kudos to anyone that does !

    I admit that I have been cheering on that Jet Blue flight attendent. I've worked in customer service for 10 years and it truly blows. I empathize with him. He definitely does not deserve jail time.

    However, he also needs to pay the consequenses of jumping out of the back exit with a beer. He should not get his job back.

  13. I loved the post and couldn't agree with you more. I do work for someone, but I am working my ass off on so much other shit that will eventually (hopefully) allow me to work for myself. In the meantime...I'm lucky. I dig the guy I do work for. Cheers Charlene!!

  14. The flight attendant wants his job back? Very much doubt he'll get it, although think how well behaved everyone would be on his flight.

    Opening a small business is a good idea, but you have to do research as to what would work. Typing wouldn't these days.

    Most jobs, especially the corporate ones, are repetitious and made worse by office politics. Never mind finding a job you love, be happy if you don't hate the one you have.

  15. Coffeypot: We did a little medical transcription at one time. That ended when an employee with medical expertise moved on. Impossible doctor accents and Latin words!

    Bathwater: If you wait for the right time, you find there never is a right time.

    Kerrie: Thank you. I agree customer service is awful. We had good clients and it was a joy to type for them. We had crazy people and there wasn't a way to please them. We developed "too busy" when they returned.

    Senorita: Yeah the only way for customer service to work is if the customer respects the service and the service respects the customer.

    Matt Man: I agree, you are lucky!

    Wolynski: The small corporation I worked for was enough of the corporate life I ever want.

  16. I remember those huge interest rates.

    I find myself actually better off financially now than I was 10, 15, even 20 years ago. The funny thing is, I make LESS money now than I did then. But, I am largely debt free now (one tiny credit card, for shits and giggles), that helps a lot.

  17. 'Take this job and shove it...

    Unfortunately, when we tell someone that, it is VERY difficult to get the job back. I am not sure what he endured from the passenger, but the flight attendant chose the way response.

    The scrap metal business that my family owns is booming.. which amazes me. Orders for durable goods, for the most part, are NOT up. Consumers are not spending...

    I used to be worried about losing my position at Alluvial Flood Plain State University... I've processed it, and I am ok now... (I think).


  18. A great, well-put together post, Charlene. And I shake your hand for having the "insanity" to get out of a job you despised, and to take the leap into starting up on your own. I did somthing similar in the '80's. In many ways, ignorance truly can be bliss, I had no idea of the sleepless nights, endless hours and heavy responsibiliy which lay ahead! That said, it was the best thing I ever did, and I LOVED getting up in the morning to start the day. I also loved the rewards of being young, single and sucessful. My funded on a shoe-string business eventually payrolled 500 staff. Not bad for a kid who left school at age 15! (Grin)

  19. Mac: You have discovered the secret to financial security is, how ever much money you make, spend less.

    Red Shoes: I guess people turning in their scrap metal and such is stockpiling for the eventual continued manufacture of new toasters and cars, somewhere in the future.

    Shrinky: I believe the lack of insanity or naïveté is why the second business a person starts often fails.

  20. Good for you, Charlene. I love the moment when that lothario former boss showed up looking for help with his resume. Did he list "sexist pig" as one of his qualifications?

  21. I've co owned the business I started for the last 19 years and the challenges continue to excite / baffle and amaze me.

    I can totally relate to most of what you say, except I'd reluctantly had to fire more people than I can recall.

    An interesting post Charlene, thanks

  22. PattiKen: At the time I thought it was rare for a man to initiate sex with an employee and for an employee to enthusiastically participate for career gain. I've learned this has happened a lot and continues to.

    Rythmic Diaspora: When I worked for the other place and had to let someone go, it was at the direction of my boss for his own reasons. So when I became a boss I decided I would never do that unless there was a very good reason. Counseling with them seemed to work.

  23. I was trying to figure out how you find my blog and then I saw Shoes comment and it came together for me. I read several of yours and liked them all. I hope you get the comment on this one. If you don't moderate, I will also comment on your newest so you don't miss this one. Oh boy. It's a long comment already! Having worked a lot of different jobs, I finally discovered that I was happiest when I was "mostly" working for myself. For ten years I worked a commission sales job and I loved it. When you work in the field commission sales, it is almost like working for yourself. There is no clock in, clock out. If you don't work, you don't make, so the motivation is pretty high to work. With that in mind, mgmt is pretty good about not trying to keep you under their thumb. After you've been doing it long enough they understand that one of the perks of the job is not having someone looking over your shoulder all of the time. In other words, it is kinda sorta like having your own business without having to buy everything up front. Had my health not deteriorated so badly (aka the migraines and all of my other issues), I would still be doing it. I really loved that job! In this economy it is great to have a job, but it is amazing to have a job you love. Right now, I would just be happy to not have a migraine every day. Hey... baby steps. I do believe that I will get there! Anyway, thanks for your comment on MY blog. I think you are right!!!


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