#4. The Lie Bot
Also Known As:
The job where you have to lie right to people's faces, to make them buy things.
Some of you immediately said, "What, like lawyers and politicians?" But those are careers. Big, big difference. Those people choose that, and went to school for it.
No, I'm talking about jobs. The type of position you take just to pay the bills until you can start your rap career.
For Example ...
Almost any sales job, for one. Think about the poor bastard at Best Buy getting paid hourly to pretend Monster brand cables aren't a scam. Like working on cars? You'll be shocked to find how many repair shops pressure you into padding the bill with bullshit repairs and worse. Maybe you took a general customer service job at a phone bank, but then they contracted out to some shady software company that has you cold calling people to get them to buy some malware-loaded bullshit that will "speed up their computer."
And while the "sleazy used car salesman" is a stereotype, it's not like they have a sign up front that says, "Now hiring shitheads." Car sales is one of the precious few jobs on planet Earth where you can come in with no experience but still make decent money. Yet, part of doing the job is learning to perform that staged bullshit where you pretend to consult with a manager to get the customer a lower price.
"He said, 'Go fuck yourself.'"
You'll find that lots of jobs that sound great in the classifieds secretly have "being a shithead" in the job description -- that's how they find people willing to do it. MLM sales, door to door sales, telemarketing jobs, all can have you selling shady, shamefully overpriced or downright fraudulent bullshit.
And what makes those jobs even more awesome is that you in no way restrict the lies to gullible rich people who could maybe afford to lose the money you're stealing. The rich people have lawyers -- you stay away from them. No, the job of the Lie Bot is usually to hustle single moms out of next months' diaper money.
Though I could probably get a couple hundred bucks for that kid.
#3. The Rat in a Cage
Also Known As:
The manager or supervisor who has no authority to actually manage the employees under him or her, yet is responsible for their performance.
There is this huge, obvious, yet shockingly common flaw in modern businesses. You'll have the employees who actually make the stuff or perform the service. Then right above them is a supervisor (you), who is ultimately responsible for the performance of those employees (or at least, you'll catch hell when they slack off). But you do not have the power to fire them. Or reprimand them or reward them or punish them or give them the smack with the back of your hand that would send them tumbling to the floor that you dream of giving them each and every night.
"Gabe" from The Office is one.
For Example ...
Maybe you're at a family business, but you, the supervisor, are not a member of the family. But the kid working under you, the one who is scanning his balls into the copier, is a member of the family and is thus untouchable. Or, maybe you don't have firing authority because of some complicated union situation.
Or, maybe the workers are working in your department but not for your department. Say you're a supervisor in Sales, and the guy the IT department sent over to work on your computers is a dipshit. So he's cursing while you're on the phone with clients, he's drawing boners on your family photos, he's dicking off and meanwhile, you can't use your computer to do your job. And you can't say anything because while you're a supervisor, you're not his supervisor.
Sure, you can complain to his supervisor, but you can't make him take action -- that guy is at the exact same level as you. Maybe he's friends with the dipshit, or maybe all the IT guys look out for their own, and all the next day you'll hear them chuckling about it when you pass their office.
In other cases, it's just a matter of the person who could actually fire or suspend incompetent workers not working in the same building, or even in the same city, as the dipshits. You send your complaints up the ladder and they disappear into the clouds somewhere. Then, one day you realize the shitty worker you're complaining about has worked there longer than you and that 20 years from now, they'll still be there.
In the end, all you can do is verbally compliment the performers and beg the incompetents to do better. That, and continue to twist your stomach in knots every time they screw up, watching them ruin your career, utterly powerless to stop it.
Your life ... totally under his control.
But in case it sounds like I was being too hard on the IT guy back there, let's hear it for ...
#2. The Assistant Cromulationist
Also Known As:
The highly technical job that is impossible to explain to those both inside and out of the workplace.
If you used to watch Friends, you remember the running joke about how nobody knew what exactly Chandler did for a living. He was always exasperated by this ("I told you, it's statistical analysis and data reconfiguration!").
Like the Laughingstock, the person with this type of job physically cringes at the thought of having to answer the "So what do you do?" question, and eventually invents a fake job title or a ridiculously dumbed down version ("I work on computers") for conversation purposes. And if awkward conversation was the only problem, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. The real problem is when none of their co-workers understand their job either.
"I ... well ... I put stuff in water."
For Example ...
We have a disproportionately computer literate audience, and I know a lot of you aspire to work in the field. Well, some of you are going to wind up as the one-man computer tech support team in an office full of old timers who still regard computers as a suspicious, yet necessary form of black magic. Maybe you'll be the guy who maintains the online orders, in a department where everybody else hits the road and sells the old-fashioned way.
This is any job where the other employees' task is labor intensive or requires "real world" work, and you're just sitting there "playing on your computer." That's the key; because they don't understand what you do, and because you aren't capable of explaining it so that they'd understand, they tend to assume you're just jerking off all day.
Even if they're right.
So, they start treating you like dead weight. When profits are tight and it comes time to cut staff, everyone will point the finger at you. If lovable old Frank in Sales gets the ax instead, everyone will resent you even more ("They fire a hard-working veteran like ol' Frank, but they keep Dave just because he can use the fancy computer machine?!? He don't even wear a tie to work!")
And that's assuming that the people doing the firing also aren't confused about your value to the company. If your job is, for instance, to prevent a problem that the average person isn't even aware of, then good luck explaining that to the guy who has to make layoff decisions based on how much profit you're bringing in. Think of the frustrated employees in Office Space trying to justify what they do to "the Two Bobs" (the two downsizing consultants, who both happened to be named Bob).
And most companies employ a couple of them.
Then again, being a Bob isn't exactly a sweet gig ...
#1. The Bob
Also Known As:
The one whose job it is to make everyone else's jobs harder, or to recommend they be fired.
On some level, we all realize there is often a big fucking gulf between what workers enjoy, and what actually makes a company profitable. Some of what the company needs the workers to do is going to piss the workers off, and somebody has to make them do it. And that's fine, as long as that guy is the boss. But that's often not how it works. Often the person cracking the whip is a Bob.
"How do you spell 'Fuck off, Chad'?"
This is an employee who is either on the same level of the rest of the staff, or they're temporarily elevated to some kind of task force (to raise quality or whatever), or they're outside consultants brought in to shape up the operation, like in the Office Space example.
But one way or the other, if you're a Bob, you're a traitor. The employees don't work for you, your name isn't on the door, you don't write the checks, you don't have the ability to pay them a sweet bonus. Yet, you have the power to make their lives miserable.
"I'll be working with you for the next couple of weeks. Where can I put my giant face?"
For Example ...
I'm going to use a term here. Some of you won't recognize it. The rest of you will reflexively feel your genitals crawl up into your body:
ISO 9000 is a certification that businesses can get that declares they have their shit together. Which sounds great, but from the employee point of view, ISO 9000 means a task that used to take two mouse clicks now takes two mouse clicks and three pages of exhaustive forms explaining what they just did. It's endless, hellish record-keeping. Getting certified means ISO 9000 consultants come into the office and hover over every employee, constantly reminding them to log their time and fill out their forms.
Exactly 100 percent of the things the consultant is telling the employees to do involve making their job much, much harder. When they leave, ISO compliance will be handed off to someone within the company. And everyone will want to murder them. They're now a Bob.
"No, he's just hovering around, staring at me like a fucking idiot."
But the key is you could get promoted to a Bob job tomorrow. Maybe you'll get asked to work in Quality Assurance, recording and reporting your fellow workers' errors. Maybe you'll be put on a team to create a report about the department's "efficiency."
Or, maybe you'll have to go review the work some other company is doing for yours on a contract basis, and you'll be the Bob over there. Like the toy company representatives who hang around movie sets and make sure that from the script stage on, the characters will make good action figures. You know that artists and storytellers love to hear that shit. "Sure, the character is endearing and resonates with the audience and has a compelling story arc, but you need to give it hands so we can sell accessories for it to hold."
What are they going to do, complain to their boss? Their boss is the one who paid you to come tell them that. And you're just doing your job.
That's what I guess you have to keep in mind, because a whole lot of the people on this list could be spun off into an article about "People at Work You Want to Murder but Can't Because It's Illegal." Just remember, they're not villains. They're just people trapped in shitty jobs.
Thanks to everyone in this thread for sharing their work horror stories, and toChristina H., Pauli Poisuo, Daedalus, Luna Fortuna, SirMrSir, Something Clever and, uh, "Flamer Shaftglutton" for their examples.