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Ladies and gents, this is the final Bee-otch of the Day of 2013. Today's subject is a douchebag I've wanted to give the honor to for the past decade or so, but haven't had the liberty to do so.
Well, I have saved one of the worst for last.
And ladies and gents, this is a Bee-otch of the Day over 10 years in the making.
You know, it's never nice to bite the hand that feeds you. If you're a dog and you bite your owner, chances are that you're going to end up back at the pound. But if that hand belongs to your boss, well, he can fire you and you're out on the streets.
For over a decade, I had probably one of the worst bosses in Grand Rapids. He was somebody I would never wish on somebody. However, it's been almost a year since I last saw him, and life's been better all because of it.
When I was growing up in northern Michigan, I wanted to be a DJ. But, I learned from other jocks that the pay sucks and the owners up north were anal about keeping jocks for an extended period of time. So, I got into computers, and wanted to be a graphic artist.
I went to two different trade schools and graduated in 2001. However, the economy took a shit and nobody wanted a novice like me. I ended up going back to my old job washing dishes but my hours were cut because they hired a much older man for the job who needed the money more than me. Since I was living with my mom and stepfather at the time, they wanted me to find a job that supplied more hours so I didn't turn into a slacker who stayed up all night and slept all day. So, I ended up working at a gas station a few miles away for less pay, but more hours.
Life was good there for a while, but my Arab bosses sold out to a downstate family that knew nothing about running a gas station. They cut my hours and gave them to a junkie who lived across the street from the store. To make the plot thicken more, my asshole stepdad and my mom made me sign a crapload of apartment leases because they didn't give a damn about me living with them. I was about to become another loser who was forced to have two jobs in a small town where people about you talked behind your back.
Thankfully, just a week after I turned 21, one of the companies that I applied for told me that there was an opening. It was in Grand Rapids. The job interview wasn't even that long; while filling out my app, I got to the references section and the soon-to-be-boss told me, "I need you now. You're going on probation and your first day is Monday". I had to get my aunt to let me into her place NOW. I succeeded on short notice.
Sadly, I had to work with a Bosnian man with a very short temper who yelled and screamed at me daily. I felt that I had no choice but to take his abuse since it took me a year to get this job. I got an apartment and was hoping that the future would be brighter. I kept telling myself that the economy was going to improve and that there would be more openings soon.
After a year and a half, I got my first raise: 50 cents. I was looking forward to working at this company, but thanks to the bad economy - especially here in Grand Rapids - that wasn't meant to be. I was told by others that they haven't had a raise in years and that the boss was the type who liked one person over the other and so on.
You see, this company was founded in the late 80's when two men who worked for a well-known Christian business learned that they were shutting down their division of the company. So they, alongside one of the guy's sons started this company. The father and son were nice, decent people while the other guy, my boss was the peon. He was more of a silent partner until the early 90's when he decided that he wanted more control. He would walk around the plant asking people why they weren't running their machines faster. The people aimed for quality, not quantity. So, since he was the VP, they adhered to his decision. However, the old man would come out and ask why they were running faster, and he would remind them that he was the boss and not him.
Under the older man's management, the company was well-oiled. People got raises and turnover was low. However, he retired around the same time I came in, and the new boss took over.
Well, I waited and waited for my next raise. It never happened. Instead, the boss created a program where if the whole shop produced X-amount of units on time, we all got a $25 Meijer card. Yep, we got groceries, but no real raise. One of my co-workers even brought it up during a company meeting and asked when we were going to get raises, and the boss hommina'd, "come to my office and we'll talk." The next day, the boss came to him and screamed that he was paying everybody 50 cents extra per hour when they earn the card. Yet, the guy down the street paid his employees more.
Even worse, in 2006, our company went to a health savings account for our healthcare. He expected us to contribute to our new high-deductible plan with our paltry wages. I was young, but wasn't invincible. That year, while I was at O'Hare Airport in Chicago changing gates en route to my mom's in Arizona, I collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Since I bumped my head, I had a CT scan. The whole shindig was over $3,000. If it weren't for my grandmother, I would be further in the poor house.
Sadly, things only got worse at work. Years of no raises started to pinch me more financially. My boss would go on vacation and come back screaming at people asking why they didn't produce enough, even though they're the most-productive people in the plant. Hell, he went after me many times, asking why I didn't do things HIS way. I was afraid to tell the truth to him. The truth was, he wasn't paying me enough to do this shit. I was the in the top five in the plant seniority-wise and I was one of the lowest-paid workers. I saw too many good people get canned or leave because of his micromanaging. He would splurge over a million bucks on a new machine, but when it came to his workers, they were all replaceable to him, no matter how hard they worked.
In 2010, I got into a car accident and I was at fault. I was forced to buy a new car shortly after the Cash For Clunkers program ended, leaving me with few choices for a decent vehicle. The car I got had a multitude of issues and I took it to a less-than-reputable dealership to fix them all. They charged me an arm and a leg for everything. Because of this, I was not only paying a car loan, but the enormous debt this car put me through. I hoped for lots of overtime and Meijer cards to keep me afloat.
But then, the shoe fell. We were earning Meijer cards left and right for our hard work, but that came to an end. Our boss decided that instead of rewarding us, he would reward himself. So, since business was at its slowest in years, he decided to ask us all how we could be more productive. We all knew the answer: give us all raises and leave us the fuck alone. Because work was so slow, I was being forced to pay my bills with credit cards, and that made things worse. Because I was not making it on 40 hours, I was forced to dump my cable and start donating plasma at BioLife. Even that came to a stop because my stress level grew immensely and my pulse was too high every time I visited.
In early 2012, our boss's bullying worked... For him. In that Spring, he went on not one, not two, but FOUR vacations. One of them was to Hawaii where he came back to California on an aircraft carrier. He couldn't give us a raise and he couldn't give us better healthcare. I did went on two job interviews, but they were busts because of my lack of work experience.
I worked on second shift all my life, but that was going to change. All the people in my department on first shift either got fired or quit. So, they decided to lump us all on one shift in hopes that they could run our machine faster. I even remembered my first day on first shift. All my years staying up all night made it hard to adjust. I was drinking so much caffeine that I started getting panic attacks for no real reason. When I was on second, I only saw my boss maybe two hours a day tops. Now, it was eight and he felt that he had a right to bitch at me only because I, like everybody in the whole plant, wasn't doing a good job in his eyes.
My department sucked. I was training new people it seemed almost every week to do my job. Even worse, one of the new people told me that she was getting paid 50 cents more per hour than I was. Did I tell you that when I moved from second to first shift, I lost my shift premium? I was now getting paid LESS than when I first started. No wonder why my panic attacks only got worse and worse.
I wanted to tell my boss to give me back my shift premium. Guess what happened instead? An old lady who worked in my department who was in the same boat I was went to the boss and complained. A few days later, she was shown the door. I really wanted to write to my boss on how much of a prick he was and do it anonymously. But, thankfully, a miracle happened.
It was one year ago this week that our boss had us come to one of our machines, and he made the announcement that he was retiring. The other guy who founded the company took over his remaining shares. He did have one more sick trick up his sleeve: he didn't give us a Christmas bonus. Asshole.
My boss officially retired New Years Eve, 2012. However, the damage was done. I was still having panic attacks and it got to the point where I had to see a doctor. She told me to cut out caffeine, and it worked. I have only had one can of Monster since.
Since my new boss took over, things have gotten dramatically better. We're making a profit again, we don't have a dumbass breathing down our neck every day, turnover has lowered and guess what: I GOT A RAISE! I'm still a slight hair over poverty wage, but it's better than what a lot of people make. Oh, and to add insult to injury, I heard that my ex-boss was down in Florida several months ago and impaled his foot on a nail while hauling a boat in the ocean. Womp. Womp.
John Lennon once sang that Instant Karma's gonna get you. Sadly, these days, karma isn't that instant much of the time. When somebody hurts you - especially on a financial standpoint - deep down inside, you want that person to be in your shoes and you want them to know what it's like to be broke all the time and making ends meet. My ex-boss had his life handed to him. He started working in my industry when he was fresh out of high school and from what I've heard, he wasn't that great of a worker. He married, had kids but his wife left him. His own kids didn't even live with him after the divorce. Being a "Christian", he banned alcohol from our company parties, but insiders all told me that he had one of the biggest liquor cabinets in all of Kent County and the booze would flow big-time on Saturday nights. I even drove by his property and I couldn't see his house from the road. He got to live in the lap of luxury while I was stuck in the ghetto.
My point is, if you're a Christian businessperson, please read Matthew 19:23. If you treat your employees like shit by giving them slave wages, God will cut you down. I hope my ex-boss's impaled foot taught him a lesson. I might never see a single dime from his pocket ever again, but you know what, seeing God's wrath on him is worth every penny.
And the sad thing is, even Scrooge had a heart at the end.
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