toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

February 21, 2008

slave-driver employer tricked me!

Blanche is 28, married with no kids and has a strong work ethic. She was thrilled to pieces to get a permanent job offer after nearly six months of job hunting, but her slave-driver employer made her do the work of two people and then betrayed her.

"I couldn't believe my good luck when I was offered a job by one of the most prestigious companies in town," says Blanche. "I was expecting a second interview, but when I received a call two days after being interviewed asking whether I still wanted the job and whether I could start immediately I didn't stop to consider the reason for their haste."

"At the time I was waiting on the results of several interviews," explains Blanche, "but this job was the prize of a lifetime and when it was offered to me I just jumped with joy and accepted on the spot."

"It really was the perfect job," says Blanche. "It had everything going for it - money, location, prestige and staff benefits - and honestly I would have worked there for half the pay if they had asked me to but they didn't. They wanted me and were willing to pay top dollars for me!"

"It was a permanent job," explains Blanche. "There was a proper contract, and I had reams of paperwork to fill out relating to insurance and staff benefits. I felt like I was signing up for the long haul, and they went out of their way to welcome me and make feel at home."

"They encouraged me to sign up to participate in several events that were to be held down the line," explains Blanche, "and I even started paying into the Xmas Club the day I started!"

"The first week was terribly stressful because there was an endless heap of work on my desk every day - most of it I had no idea what to do with."

"I was eager to learn everything and show them what a hard worker I was," says Blanche, "and my efforts to please were rewarded with heaps of praise. They were thrilled to bits with me and said so every day."

"Because there was so much work to do I had to start earlier and finish later than the others," adds Blanche, "and sometimes I worked through my lunch break, too. I even took work home to make sure I wasn't making any mistakes."

"The managers and staff were fantastic, and gave me every opportunity to shine and do well," says Blanche, "and by the end of the first week even the department head stopped by to praise me."

"I was looking forward to the second week being a lot more relaxed," says Blanche, "but apparently two staff members went on leave that week and my heavy workload literally doubled."

"I didn't mind," explains Blanche, "because by then I knew how to do the work and was still very eager to please."

"I stayed back later and later to get the extra work done," says Blanche, "and everyone continued being very nice to me. I was feeling very pleased with my progress."

"Two week's later the two staff members returned from leave and I looked forward, finally, to getting back to a normal workload," explains Blanche, "but then two more girls went on leave and rather than their workload being farmed out to everyone I copped the lot. I started to get suspicious."

"In my fourth week at this perfect job I was literally snowed under with extra work, most of which involved stressful deadlines," says Blanche, "and I was working so hard that I never had time to take a break or go to the bathroom."

"I was stiff, aching and tired but still very thrilled to be working for the company and I was looking forward to attending the first of their monthly social events," explains Blanche. "It never occurred to me to complain or consider that they were taking advantage of me. I reasoned that when the second lot of two girls returned to work everything will settle down."

"At the end of my fourth week I remember mentioning in passing to my manager that my back was a bit sore," says Blanche, "and she very kindly encouraged me to take regular breaks - which I did."

"Other than that, I never said anything about being overworked and nobody had any reason to complain about my work because I met all deadlines and never left until I had finished whatever I was doing."

"In the fifth week," continues Blanche, "I was happy to see the return of the second lot of two girls who took leave. This meant that my workload would return to normal - at last!"

"I had hardly sat down before I was called into my manager's office."

"Imagine my shock to be told that she was recommending my discharge on the basis that I couldn't keep up with the workload and was liable to injury."

"Hello? Hadn't she dumped the work of two girls on me and seen how I took care to protect my back from strain?"

"Suddenly, their whole rotten slave-driving scheme dawned on me. I was not given a proper job at all. I had been duped. I had been betrayed. In effect, they had hired me as a temp worker to do the work of four people they knew beforehand were going on leave. They knew that regular temps don't work very hard. The only way they could get someone to work hard was to dupe them into thinking the job was permanent."

"The permanent contract, the social events, the Xmas club and the friendliness of everyone was a sham from the start."

"Now that all their regular staff had completed their leave, they had no more use for me and had to trump up some reason to get rid of me."

"By accepting this 'perfect' job, I had lost the opportunity of accepting a real job from some other company."

"Not only that, but I now have a blot on my impeccable employment record."

"I have never been fired or terminated in my life," explains Blanche, "and I have no idea how I am going to explain to new employers why I was terminated by the town's most prestigious company."

"I looked into my manager's eyes and saw shame writ large," says Blanche. "She was obviously doing what she had been told to do - but this did not make it any easier for me."

"She said I would be given a week's discharge pay and indicated that I should leave immediately."

"They fired me with as much haste as they had hired me," says Blanche, "which just goes to show that seizing the day, grabbing opportunities, making hay while the sun shines, etc, is not always the smart thing to do."

"I was dazzled by the job," sighs Blanche, "and while I was definitely betrayed, I take responsibility for not having the nous to figure out what was going on."

"My husband was furious and urged me to take legal action but I felt it was better to learn from the experience and put it behind me."

"I certainly won't be doing any more than a fair share of work in my next job!"

This story first appeared as perfect job betrayal

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