Foreword: Let me start this post by saying I don’t think this is the right way to tackle a problem. But none the less it was still a point in my life where I learned I had to take back control and not be walked over. Like many of we have been involved in situations where we have just reacted after being pushed. This article is one of those instances.
Our belief systems are what makes a lot of factors in life our truths. They are the fundamental backbone of our conscious and subconscious decisions. I treat this person this way because I believe it’s right. I treat this person this way because I want this result. We do this on a subconscious level every day and act certain ways mainly to engage with the society around us but sometimes it’s because we want or need things from others. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.
I’m going to start this article with a story from my past. It’s not the worst story that has ever been heard by humanity, there was no genocide, no murders or sexual abuse or for that matter no physical harm was caused in any way however the main enthesis of this piece is to demonstrate how when a belief system is challenged and pushed, it can be broken, but it can fight back…but not always in the correct ways.
Side note: I have changed the names of all people involved in this story and these are my personal opinions and reflections on a time in my life I choose to forget, but also a time in my life where I learned something and hopefully you can too.
It’s 2015 September time, harsh winter is already beginning to tap its toes on the end of the summer months and the days are getting darker, fuck me there getting darker. I’m at a point in my life where I’m jobless, broke, my weight and overall health is a general mess and the job folder on my email accounts is telling me I’ve applied for 274 jobs in the last 2 weeks and still the only offer I’ve had been some zero hours’ bullshit! That’s not going to get me out of the financial ruin I’m currently in. Some previous lifestyle choices I had made had brought me to this point.
Out of nowhere, my email folder lights up with that fluorescent red marker we all want to see when we’re on a job-hunting expedition. It’s a response to an application! Hurray!!! A company called (Name change) Stimulate Care had responded to me. A marketing position which promised dozens of different job role offers and endless opportunities. I was so excited and relieved that I quickly drew all my attention to this opportunity. My job interview was a week later and I was going to run the usual “getting the job” drills that all recruitment websites hammer into you! This was my time to be a success!
I’m suited and booted, my hairs looking slick, I’ve dusted off the mothballs on my suit jacket and I’m ready to rock and roll! (Double finger point in the mirror, insert sunglasses emoji here.) I arrive to Stimulate Care 15 minutes early as Jerry’s top ten interview tips told me to be punctual…Fuck you Jerry. Upon arrival in a weird gated of courtyard something felt off, it was a grey dull day and this somehow resonated with the journey I was about the embark upon. I Enter Stimulate Care’s offices to a dark corridor that looks slightly grubby and could have done with several coats of paint. A lady named Alice comes out to greet me, she friendly enough but her demeanor seems somewhat false on first appearances but the way she speaks and carries her self is semi-confident and her dialogue is just as articulate.
She gives her hellos and ushers me through to a seated area where other applicants sit. It a falsely built cubed room that’s quite tight, the carpets are stained the chairs look like they were bought from a yard sale, torn and worn around the edges. One thing that perplexed me was the door leading into the offices. It had a black sheet covering the window obscuring anything from human sight. I ask “what’s with the black sheet?” out of morbid curiosity.
“Our operation is Top secret you see; we have a special way of doing things. Those applicants who aren’t successful, we don’t want them giving away any secrets…” She nervously uttered.
Weird as shit but for the most part I kind of got it and Jerry told me to make general conversation before the interview to be more friendly and open…Fuck you Jerry.
After 10 minutes of inane conversation with my job competition, Alice comes back to take us to “The interview process” All four of walk up this endlessly long staircase that has no lighting so I’m tripping over other step and my hand slips off the rail due to a flop sweat I’ve just given birth to! We enter yet another dimly lit room, stained carpets and dusty table tops (You know the ones with cup rings on them.) The process I was about to undertake was a 6-part test which involved all aspects of the job…Allegedly. They actually all seemed like pretty cool things and that’s why I applied for the job in the first place. Things from video, photography, and writing, I was sold! Another weird thing that sticks with me is part of the process was filming a video of me selling myself to the company, so somewhere out there on a shitty HTC is a video of me begging someone for a job.Everything was said and done and I shuck Alice’s hand and went on my way.
The Final step
I had to wait a week sitting with my thumb up my arse in the hope I hear back from them… I did. It was the usual phone call of “you did well” and “we really liked you”, I thought Alice was about to break up with me the way she was going on, but she said I had to come back and finish a final step, meeting the Managing director of the company, a one on one interview. I swiftly said yes and then the flop sweat returned as I quickly went back to the recruitment website for more tips and tricks for securing the job…Fuck you Jerry.
Another week passes and I’m sat in a large boardroom that could use a scrub and yet again more cup ring marks, for fuck sake has anyone heard of a coaster in this place!!! I’m sitting there with my shoulders held high, chin raised and clutching my hips like some kind of budget superhero…Thanks Jerry, it doe’s make you feel more confident. In enters Mark. A short man who haunches his back like a scared cat, he holds himself confidently but his body language seems off, it’s forced and a dark shadow follows him around. He’s bald and tries to hide it was a comb-over. He has a weedy sniveling voice that’s is full of bravado. My final steps begin.
The interview has the usual pleasantries but I feel disjointed because this guy seems like he’s trying to intimidate me. He’s asking me the usual interview questions about strengths and weaknesses but I can see he’s trying to stare into my soul which causes me to break eye contact several times and rethink everything I’m saying. I’m in a bad place at this time, not just here in general, I’m depressed about my current circumstances and trying to mask that by fake confidence…This guy knows it as well. He starts to probe me about my personal life, a subject at the time I’m quite guarded about but he worms his way into my head regardless and get’s me to spill the beans on what’s going on with me. I nearly break out in tears when he’s asking me about things and probing further, he keeps asking and asking, reaffirming his questions with “How did that make you feel?” The bastards got me by the balls here and I’m giving him every ounce of me, I’m undone. The interview comes to an end, he gives me a wet lettuce handshake and says they will be in touch…Fuck you Jerry, you never told me an interview was going to be that bad.
Congratulation kid! You’ve got the job!
I’m in! After all that ball ache and flop sweat I’ve got the job! My adventure begins as a Marketing Coordinator! As adventurous as that could ever be. I’m happy at this point because the past 6 months have been horrendous in all aspects but I’ve finally got a chance to rebuild…You can’t rebuild with wet mud. I eagerly start my first day like a school kid with a packed lunch, but at the same time I’m just like that Gary Joule’s song Mad World “Went to school and I was very nervous, no one knew me, no one knew meeeeee.” And I arrive. I’m greeted by Alice who gives me the business in the little box room where we first met, the one with the window blacked out and soon reveals what lay ahead.
The room had urine colored paint flung on it, the ceiling tiles were grubby and poorly hung, all the desks were pointing towards the wall, the employee’s facing them piss stained structures and the kitchen…My god the kitchen. In front of me lay a shitty aluminum sink stacked high as mount Everest with dirty dishes and cups. Old moldy food that had been left there for weeks and cups with old tea bags in growing mold and mildew. The floors were covered in stains and what looked like even more piss! Why is there so many piss related artifacts in this building? Then there was the office dog…Mogwhy. A little Pomeranian that would run around the office and do as it pleased, that included pissing and shitting where ever the hell she wanted. A brief explanation was given to me about the dog, how the MD Mark and the manager used to be together and broke up, the dog was shared and the manager still worked there. I like dogs but this one was a piece of shit and clearly ruled the office, to me it just looked like a piece of fried chicken with ADHD. That was top-secret?!?
(A real picture from the office my colleague sent me one day when I was off.)
I was then introduced to the Manager, Let’s call her Charlotte. She was a peroxide blonde girl with fake eyelashes and rosy cheeks and slightly too much makeup. She more or less giggled after every sentence and she was the kind of attractive you’d find in a wannabe model, a good looking girl but any real beauty lay behind a mask she had created whilst working in that place…and for that guy. Charlotte was young, way younger than Mark, which seemed strangely odd as apparently, they had just come out of a long-term relationship. Then I began to notice the rest of the staff, they were all pretty hot! This office was filled with young attractive women; I could point out something equally attractive about each one of them and I thought “Hey this place might be the structural equivalent of human waste, but damn! At least there are some babes here! Who knows I might even get laid?” So my journey began with Stimulate Care, the least stimulating adventurer I have ever been on.
The Office is Dark and full of Many terrors.
I worked in this building for 6 months and it soon became apparent to me that this wasn’t the job I had signed up for, the bad vibes I got from that first day I arrived should have been a warning sign. Let me start saying some of the staff I worked with were amazing, beautiful caring people, funny and considerate and as I said before pretty darn hot as well (Insert finger point and sunglasses emoji here.)! My job role mainly comprised of recruitment. Finding care staff and recruiting them to our elderly service users. The primary task being to grow business through Care staff hours and employment. A noble cause some would say, but when your marketing jobs with lies and deceit, effectively you have the potential to screw up other peoples lives.
There was a lot of things wrong with this place which you’re going to discover when I show you something soon however, there are two memories I have which stick vividly in my mind and cause utter disgust when I look back. Upon working there, I noticed a floor tile that stood out, it was discolored and prominent amongst the shit and pissed stained floor. I asked one of my colleagues what it was all about…
“That’s the accountability square. Basically, before you arrived if anyone messed up or got anything wrong, they would have to stand on a platform and take criticism from us all. This one guy who used to work here had to stand on it once. Mark, Charlotte, and Alice literally ripped the shit out of him, then they forced the rest of us to do the same.”
Holy fucking shit! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It turns out the guy they did it to was once an important player in the business and the MD saw him as a friend… A fucking friend? I can be harsh with my friends sometimes but if they fuck up I don’t get a knife out and gut them in front of the world. This was insanity. Many other things had happened there before I’d reached this point with the company but hearing this turned my stomach and was the beginning of the end.
Part of the Job was recruiting Romanian women from there home country to give them a job as a Career here in England. We would go to Romania and host a presentation for potential new staff, give them a job, fly them to England, stick them in a flat and put them to work. You would think that would be a good thing, taking people from a poor country and letting them prosper, giving them a chance for change and hope. We were selling them a lie. The company didn’t give a shit about the staff, the big players just wanted the money and used the Careers as carrots on the end of a stick. They would dangle them in front of government funds to obtain more money for the business. I understand the fundamentals of business, but when it comes to exploitation for profit it’s something I fundamentally believe is wrong.
So I go to Romania for my first (and final) trip to give a presentation to a group of Women I have recruited through social media marketing (My boss specifically telling me to get young women.). I get drunk the night before in this fancy hotel room because the English to Romanian exchange rate basically gives you triple the cash. Deep down inside me, I realize I have to go stand before a group of innocent people, who I have told they are going to have a wonderful life and lie. I struggled to sleep that night. All is said and done, and I bullshit my way through the presentation hanging from the mini wines I stole out the mini fridge the night previous and I make my way back to England.
The Beginning of the end.
It’s Monday morning and I’m back in the office, my head is slightly shaking from a quick turn around and I’m adjusting back to the piss stained walls. This overwhelming feeling of regret hits me, I’m still feeling the guilt of lying to all those people at the weekend and Charlotte is demanding I recruit those care workers as soon as possible because we need to make the company more money, money, money! At this point, I have seen a lot of suffering while I have been here, not just from my co-workers but service users who aren’t getting the right care because of how badly the operation is going. Charlotte leaves the room and I turn to my co-workers.
“Listen, guys. I’ve had enough of this now. I’m leaving. Fuck this place and fuck those guys upstairs, I’m handing in my notice today and I’m going to say it all. I’m not letting them be this way anymore and if you’ve got anything to say, say it through me!”
It was something along those lines, maybe not a gallant as I remember but that was the gist. Now I wish I could say I said what I needed to say to their faces. I was weak back then and still struggling to find my voice. I sat down in front of my desk facing the piss stained walls and began to write the following.
Side note: The reason I glossed over the problems with the company is that the following email explains it all. It’s long and lengthy, just like this post but for me, it demonstrates a turning point in my life. I am regretful to a certain point about the way I was, but when you hold things in for too long you let anger take over, it can be bad. This is the full email I sent, unfiltered, unedited.
The email to end all emails
I pressed send on the email. Turned to my work friends and hugged them both, told them to take care of themselves and not take any more shit. I walked to my car and looked into the distance with a smile on my face, turned the radio and out blared Feeder, Brand New Car and I laughed as I drove off to my next adventure.
Originally I started this post with a statement about standing up for yourself and your belief systems being challenged. That email was 6 months of me breaking my own moral codes. Like all of us I have done and said things I am not proud of but their stories for another time. If you inherently believe something is wrong, you need to do something about it. You can’t let others walk all over you and emotionally abuse you. I’m not telling you to write a 2000 word email to your boss giving him the business, however at the same time be assertive and take action, do what is right for you.
We have an alarming ability to get lost in the rat race of life and stand on by whilst we are manipulated by others. Manipulation can make you lose sight of self, whether it’s being pushed around by a boss, a loved one, a friend and sometimes peer pressure from others. Be assertive when challenged and pushed. Don’t let things get pent up like I did and explode because you will regret it. Even though I was telling myself I was taking back control I lost it in that moment. I used to tell myself every day that if I ever saw that guy again id rip his jaw off and shove it down his neck! (and I’m not a violent person in the slightest). Now if I saw him I’d just smile and nod, probably laugh!
I hope you enjoyed this tale. Despite there being some down subjects mentioned it’s true intention is to provide some laughter and learn from other’s mistakes as well as give some insight into taking back some form of control…Even if you don’t go about it the right way. Peace and Love!