I've had a lot of jobs. Some good, some bad. I've also put up with a lot of shit from the public at these jobs. No surprise I suppose, but what is surprising is the way these issues were dealt with, or more accurately the lack of dealing with them. Let's take a little review shall we? **Note: If you stick with me on this you'll see the point after I cover 2009....it's worth it I promise!
* 1995 - 2003ish
I'm working at a small "shopper" newspaper. You talk about putting up with shit - that's pretty much all we did. It's truly amazing how angry people can get over a FREE paper. For instance:
- I got the paper and I don't want it
- I didn't get the paper and I DO want it
- I've been saving up ALLLLL the papers I get that I DON'T want so I can throw them at YOU!
For the most part I never felt in any danger until we got a new manager and I was threatened by a customer verbally over the phone and my manager at the time DID NOTHING. I guess he didn't realize that 99% of the time these people actually do act on on their actions. My co-worker HAD had papers thrown at her from a customer. Here I was working in a building, downtown, alone, at night. Thanks.
I'm working in the northern part of the state as an intern. My co-worker, it turns out, had a stalker who was a paying patron of the music festival we put on. He would show up at the office, he would mail things, he would show up at wait at the shows. It got to the point where everyone started fearing for not only my co-worker but myself included since this guy apparently like this girls young and attractive.
There was a point where we were snuck out through the back of the theatre, in the dark, under cover, shoved into a board member's car, told to lay on the ground. We were driven to an alternate location at which point our cars were driven to us by orchestra members. Fun.
Yet - I was still told I had to show up at the office, before anyone else, ALONE, in a secluded area. AWESOME. This was AFTER our escape by cover of dark.
I'm back working in the northern part of the state at a different theatre. I get my first death threat by mail because I was trying to collect money owed on an Ad. Whose side did my manager take? Not mine. Again...AWESOME.
*2005 - 2007
I was working in collections. Threats were inevitable. We were in a secured building. Not too big of a deal.
I'm working at a bank. This is more dangerous on a daily basis then you'd think. Aside from the constant potential of being robbed every second of every day that you are open, you're still dealing with the public so hello money wrench. I was cornered in my office/cube numerous time by crazy customers. People who had serious mental issues, smelled, and were yelling at me while sitting about 4 or 5 inches away. Where was my backup? Oh that's right - GOLFING. AWESOME.
This leads us to tonight. I was about one counter away from being attacked. See - right now my part time job is working at a gym. A health club. Did you get that? Let me just say it again one more time...a HEALTH. CLUB. A place where one would go if they want to get in shape, lose weight, that sort of thing. Are you with me? However...we also, beyond all reasonable explanations....sell BEER. Yes that's right - alcohol. I'm not gonna lie, I was a member of a different club at one time that also served alcohol but the MAJOR difference is that YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW, unless you were looking for it. This was an area practically separate from the club...different area....down some stairs....away from the front counter...I think you get my drift.
Where do OUR members drink. RIGHT. AT. THE. FRONT. COUNTER It's embarrassing. Especially when you watch potential members walk out because who wants to walk into a HEALTH CLUB that has a bar atmosphere? Exactly.
So tonight. We are crazy busy with memberships. Also we never have enough people to actually cover this sort of situation. Additionally, it's basketball night which means all the crazy b-ballers will be stopping up to drink after their game. This also means that while we are running our butts off trying to sell new members on the club - we're also dealing with a bunch of loud mouth dunks demanding more beer.
Right off the bat bunch of them make a stink because we don't have the EXACT beer they want to drink. I kind of just snap inside and whip around and firmly remind them this is NOT A BAR. They know what we serve but if we don't have it - it's not really our obligation. WE ARE NOT A BAR. At this point I get called a Bitch by one of the members who - and this is really great - is a woman, is NOT a basketball player and DID NOT WORK OUT. She just swung by to DRINK AT THE GYM!
Fine - so at this point I decide I'm not with the whole situation and just stay my distance. Only all these people are calling their friends to come over and then we realize it's one guy's birthday. They are celebrating his birthday by DRINKING AT THE GYM. What??
It progressively gets rowdier and rowdier. Myself and my co-worker are getting progressively more and more annoyed. Pretty much the entire time I'm being harassed by this woman who called me a bitch at practically EVERY opportunity. Which is awesome and I don't say anything because - at this point - even though I may have been slightly out of line with my "Hello this is not a bar" comment...she was the one who was swearing and harassing ME. So at this point I know I have the upper hand and I fully intend on keeping it.
Around 9pm one of the quieter guys makes a comment about "really cleaning out the cage tonight" Meaning they practically drank all the beer in the cooler. My response: "Yeah..good job." Apparently now it was also game on.
He gets all offended and can't believe I'm not just Ecstatically excited about this awesome feat in drinking history...apparently. I explain that this sort of behavior looks really bad for the club and they had, in fact, driven away potential new member, essentially costing us hundreds of dollars. I decide to leave it at that and just keep doing my job.
This would be when the one member who has pretty much always made it his job to press my buttons starts in. I just look at him and calmly ask him to just stop talking and leave it alone. He didn't like this.
He's a bulkier guy, and when he gets mad....he's pretty much in an uncontrollable RAGE. So he stands up to his full height and flexes his arms and proceeds to RAGE at me about respecting him and not telling him to stop talking etc. I ask him again to just leave it alone and just stop. No dice.
This is when I start looking for the number for the police. Of course I can't find it. Face with the threat of the police showing up the other "drinkin' buddies" flee. Luckily my co-worker stepped between me and the rager. The remaining "drinkin' buddies" attempt to calm dude down, but to no avail and I STILL CAN'T FIND THE DAMN NON-EMERGENCY NUMBER.
Finally I remember it's in my cell phone and I run to the back to get my purse. Meanwhile my co-worker is on the phone frantically trying to reach our manager who left HOURS earlier.
During this time - I also get threatened by the "drinkin' buddies" on their way out since, usually, our manager is on their side. So they assume a simple complaint about ME will fix it for THEM. Well that's fine since I have the paying members on my side.
I also have witnesses. Many, many witnesses.
The ONLY person who came to my rescue...aside from my co-worker....was an older member. Everyone else, either left...or hid apparently. AWESOME.
Plus we have no manager ON SITE. REALLY AWESOME.
Once we finally reach our manager via phone, he informs us he can't really deal with it right now, basically encouraged me to NOT call the police even though the remaining members thought it would be a better idea.
All in all it was a big mess.
Meanwhile the maintenance crew start filtering in and they can tell something is horribly wrong. One of the gentlemen..ends up being assigned to walk me to my car when we leave that night. Which I'm soooo grateful for. In fact he was getting pretty pumped for a confrontation. It made me laugh a little which was nice.
I'm really sickened by this whole thing. For a number of reasons. The drinking being almost first and foremost. Especially since I just dealt with this with the ex.
I feel like I should be volunteering to do DARE talks. You want to know why you shouldn't abuse drugs and alcohol? Here let me tell you some stories.
Or maybe I should become some sort of advocate for workers who feel harassed or ARE harassed in the workplace and have nobody to count on to help them out or be there for them. It's ridiculous. And to basically be encouraged to NOT call the police for MY OWN safety?? You must be kidding.
More to come I'm sure once this whole thing gets sorted out.