“Doesn’t play well with others” and why it should be allowed on my resume’

This will no longer be necessary.
This will no longer be necessary.

For those of you that have been following along the last few weeks, I’m happy to announce that as of tomorrow I will no longer be an unemployment statistic.  Thanks to the tremendous help of the VA, I’ll start working at the hospital for a while and the VA will help me get training, schooling, certifications or whatever else I may need to help me find a permanent position in a field I am interested in.  In other words, it’s time to stop bouncing between shitty, hourly wage jobs that never take me anywhere like I’ve done up to this point.  Well, except for one job and that is the one that actually made me qualified as the “V” in the VA.

With that in mind, I’ve had career choices on my mind a lot the last few days.  What do I want to do considering I’m basically starting from the beginning at the fine young age of 45?  If I take into consideration that I’d need to work somewhere for 20 years at a minimum to retire from there, it would have to be something I could tolerate for 20 years or even more, which pretty much rules out everything I’ve done up to this point with the possible exception of writing which has never paid me enough to buy a table much less put food on it.

So I’m going to tell you a little about the kind of things I’ve done as a job and why they were poor career choices.  I’ll also tell you about some jobs I’ve considered and why it was probably a good idea I didn’t pursue them.  Then I’ll give you my requirements and let YOU make some suggestions for me.  Yeah, that’ll be fun!

Let me start by saying that I graduated high school at 17 and went straight to college.  I spent 2 years in Boone, North Carolina at Appalachian State University.  I went in as a Broadcasting Communications major and a Psychology minor.  I came out extremely hungover.

At which point I went to Wake Technical College in Raleigh, NC to study Emergency Medical Science and came out as a certified Emergency Medical Technician.  Sounds like it would be a reasonable career choice, but given the shit you had to clean up (sometimes literally) for yet another hourly wage that wasn’t all that significant, I didn’t last long doing it.  If I’m going to deliver your baby, you don’t get to scream at me unless I had the privilege of putting the baby in there in the first place.  Otherwise, keep your fuckin’ mouth shut and PUSH!  Also, if you’re a mean drunk and you’re going to be riding in the back of MY ambulance to the hospital, there is a pretty good chance you may arrive at the ER with a “hematoma of unknown origin” on your head that is shaped (coincidentally, of course) exactly like my large, 5 D-cell MagLite.

“Don’t know where that came from, Doc.  He was stumbling around pretty bad when I got there.”

As a side note, I was shot at more times as an EMT than I was as a US Marine and I didn’t get combat pay.

Speaking of which, it wasn’t long after that I joined the Marines.

I was still devilishly handsome even without the extra devilish 30 pounds that I've since acquired.
I was still devilishly handsome even without the extra devilish 30 pounds that I’ve since acquired.

It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget nor will I ever regret it.  That said, I’d also never do it again.  For one thing, there was a lot of running and if there is anything I hate more than running it would be “a lot of running”.  I also don’t take orders very well, and there seems to be a whole lot of order giving in the Marines.  I get the hierarchy thing and that this guy might be my boss and might know what he is doing and all that, but I have a nasty habit of wanting to know WHY I’m following a particular instruction.  This habit didn’t sit well with my “bosses” in the Marines as they take offense to being questioned.  At least that was my impression when they answered me with such wisdom as “Because I fucking SAID so, Marine”!

How in the hell I got outta there with an Honorable Discharge, I’ll never know.

Being a helicopter mechanic for the Presidential Helicopter Squadron in Quantico, VA looked pretty damn good on a resume’ and after I became a civilian again and grew my hair into a pony tail, it didn’t take me long to become an Auto Mechanic.  It was here that all my faith in humanity was lost, because this begins the downward spiral into what I believe is the worst possible career choice of all. . . .

anything involving customer service.

The sad thing was, I was GOOD at it.  As long as the customers didn’t make me want to choke them, and those were few and far between.  My customers (at any customer service job I’ve ever had) fell into one of two categories.  They either LOVED me, or they despised the very ground I walked on.  Those that fell into the second category, 99% of the time, generally earned that because of another nasty habit I have.  I give what I get.  So if you come at me with a shitty attitude, you’re getting a SHITTIER attitude back, and that I’m real good at.  Approach me with a reasonable state of mind and we’re going to get along just fine and we will communicate as pleasant adults.

Come at me like a spoiled 8 year old that drives a BMW and your day is definitely NOT going to get better.

Sadly, many of the jobs I’ve had over the years fell into this category.

  • Waiter/Bartender at a country club – If you are a wealthy country club member, treat the staff well.  They have your food and drinks long before you do.
  • Mechanic – Yes, I can fix your car.  I can also “fix” your car.  I can also make it a useless pile of metal.  You decide.
  • Automotive Service Manager – You know they really can make your repair bill higher or lower depending on their mood.  I recommend treating them well.  Bring them lunch because they probably missed theirs.
  • Store Manager for Tire and Service Center – The central position that only the most unmanageable of douchebags go to whine.
  • Store Manager for an Appliance Parts and Used Appliance Store – Yep, that’s “used” appliances and appliance parts for people too cheap to get new appliances.  In other words, every shifty, asshole landlord you’ve ever had and the people that love them.  Never, ever again.
  • Call Center Representative – And here I thought this one would be awesome because I could do it sitting down, until I found out all you dicks that I had to deal with face to face also have a gigantic pair of balls when you get on the phone.  Keep in mind, I took INCOMING calls only, I wasn’t one of those people that call you at dinner time.  You had to call me.

That last one was also kind of fun.  You should hear this shit we say about you after we hang up.  I’ve also been just about everyone you can imagine to people.  I have the good fortune of having no discernible accent from really anywhere, being born and having most of my closest relatives in New York, then my formative teenage years in North Carolina around a lot of “y’alls” and “reckons” and shit.  When I’m on the phone, I can play anyone I want pretty much.  I can go from “Frank from Long Island” to “Billy from Georgia” from one phone call to the next.  I’m still working on “Habibi from New Delhi” but I can’t get through that one without laughing.  To keep my co-workers laughing, I also did an eerily accurate imitation of “Maaaaaagret the 70 year old Jewish lady from Boston that has smoked for 80 years”.  She called me “Aaric”.  It was kind of sweet between the coughing and the spitting and the one time I thought she had actually died while on the phone.  You’d be surprised at the number of people that call in just because they’re lonely.  I once spent an hour and a half on the phone with one lady and only about 10 minutes of it was about the service I was there to represent.  The rest of the conversation was quite pleasant and I didn’t make a dime off that phone call but it was an hour and a half I didn’t have to talk to one of those dicks with gigantic phone balls.


We also designed our own menu that you should get when you call in:

  • “Press 1 if you would like to verbally abuse one of our representatives.” – This would lead you to a never-ending ‘on hold’ loop continuously thanking you for your patience.
  • “Press 2 if you would like to BE verbally abused by one of our representative.” – Inspired by a co-worker that finally snapped one day, thereby making it his last day.
  • “Press 3 if you need to speak to a Supervisor.” – This option immediately hangs up on you.
  • “Press 4 if you’re angry with us.” – This one we would actually route directly to the supervisor.
  • Press 5 if you’ve forgotten who it was you called.” – Go ahead, laugh.  It happened.  More than once.

For the record, those calls really are recorded “for quality purposes” but should more accurately say “for entertainment purposes” because if you’ve ever lost your shit while on the phone with a call center representative there is a pretty good chance that recording was being played back at our next break with 15 people listening, all laughing their asses off and saying things like “Oh DUDE, how did you NOT tell that lady to go fuck herself”!?

You should also know that most call center reps don’t actually work for the company you think you’re calling, so threatening to leave their service means nothing to them, and if the rep you are talking to sounds like he hates you, that’s because he does.

Lastly, I came to rest for a while at a job I thought was going to be perfect for me.

Yep, that was my ride.  A 15,000 lb Smart Car with double forks.
Yep, that was my ride. A 15,000 lb Smart Car with double forks.

Fork lift operator.  I was sitting down all day.  I did not deal with the general public.  I was mostly left alone by everyone except when I dropped something, but I was pretty good so that was rare.  We had a “busy season” which lasted about 5 months, during which we worked sometimes 72 hours a week which meant killer overtime.  During the off-season we worked 40 hours a week, four 10 hour days a week, so every weekend was a 3 day weekend.  It wasn’t a bad deal as long as you could handle the dirt and frequently the smell.

I won’t say exactly who I worked for but the guy who founded the company was probably named “Scott” and he apparently figured out how to make shit “Gro” like it was some kind of a “Miracle”.

*wink wink, nudge nudge*

I was there for a year and a half, regularly praised for my excellent work, right up until this past June.  At which point the permanent position for which I had been busting my ass to get for a year and a half was given to some kid who had only been there for four months . . . and he sucked at it . . . because he was the son of a permanent employee who had been there for a few years . . . and he also sucked.

Bitch slapped by shitty internal politics.

If you think you deal with bullshit all day long, that there is the several TONS of bullshit I dealt with every day.  Literally.
If you think you deal with bullshit all day long, that there is the several TONS of bullshit I dealt with every day. Literally.

Fuck ’em.  My back was killing me.  You think standing all day hurts your back, try riding around in a vehicle the size of a Smart Car that weighs as much as 10 Smart Cars but with no suspension whatsoever.  You feel every bump in your teeth and spinal cord.  You learn real quick that chewing on your tongue and picking your nose are not habits you want to have while driving that thing around.  If you pick your nose you may very well come out with brain matter.

I’m done with the shitty, customer service, low-paying, bullshit jobs.  The VA will help me see to that.  At least they will until the government cuts the funding so we can buy illegal immigrants flat screen TV’s like they so richly deserve.  (My political statement for the week.  Chill out, they don’t come around often.  Watch, that will be the ONE sentence in this whole post that makes the whole thing go viral.  It’s win-win.)

I have three options I’m trying to pursue at this point:

  1. Get some OJT training and get certified as an IT specialist and do some computer shit.
  2. Go back to school and finish my Psychology degree and go into Addiction Counseling.
  3. Hope that sentence above makes me famous and I can stay at home and do this in my underwear while thousands of dollars a month are directly deposited into my bank account.

Fairly safe bet I’m looking at #1 or #2.

So now it’s your turn.  You have a fairly firm grasp on what I’m looking for in a job, but in case you don’t, let me summarize:

  • People suck.  I don’t want to be around them.  Angry people are mean.
  • I love all of you, even though you are people.  You are not people that are RIGHT HERE.
  • I laugh at people behind their back.
  • Any job that celebrates “No Pants Friday” is a winner.

    If you can't hang . . . you can't hang!
    If you can’t hang . . . you can’t hang! Dude is killin’ me with those brown socks. How many of you just went “What?! There’s brown socks?!”
  • I don’t like outdoors and think it should be banned.
  • I don’t believe in neckties and blatantly refuse to wear one.
  • All jobs are more fun in your underwear.
  • 3 day weekends rule.
  • A lot of sitting should be required.  Good suspension is a MUST!

I have a firm belief about the relationship between work and non-work hours and it’s very simple:  I work so I can live, not live so I can work.  I know I’m pretty sarcastic and snarky, but I’m damned serious about that.

So what job do you think I would be good for?  What made you decide to be what you are or what events led to it?  Let me hear from you!


Text Message of the Day:  I SO love chatting with Denise, and we’re gonna do this . . .

I apologize for the discoloration.  Apparently iPhone still hasn't mastered the optimization of images when emailing several at once.
I apologize for the discoloration. Apparently iPhone still hasn’t mastered the optimization of images when emailing several at once.

27 thoughts on ““Doesn’t play well with others” and why it should be allowed on my resume’

  1. Sounds to me like someone’s overlooking an obvious career choice as a voiceover artist. Think about it, you can already do a load of accents and the work all takes place in a small studio so they’d probably be fine with the whole you “working in your underwear” thing… They’re all cool, creative types after all. That said, Option 1 – IT Specialist is probably a more secure career choice. The IT folks in my company all make twice what I make. The IT Project Managers all get paid fucking ridiculous amounts of money (seriously, it makes me cry just thinking about it). You might have to wear a tie though…

    1. The IT thing is the most likely way I’ll go. I can do a lot of that kind of thing already but my problem is that I’m completely self-taught and hold no official certification at all which is what has held me back up to this point, but going into the training knowing what I already know might make it a little easier.

      The voiceover thing sounds fun and a great idea but I may find it a little more difficult to get into seeing that most people that do it are already famous.

      And if I have to wear a tie, you don’t have to worry about me making you cry.

  2. Please tell me you aren’t actually serious about finishing the psychology degree and becoming an Addiction Counselor.

    I was stupid enough to get a master’s degree in Social Work in order to become a psychotherapist. That kind of work is like customer service on steroids and usually pays about 30 cents above minimum wage. (Unless you get a cushy private practice type gig, which you won’t because they hardly exist anymore). My first job out of grad school was at a community mental health center. The pay was so abysmal that I had to take on additional work just to pay my rent. One thing I did was carry the pager after hours because we had to be available 24/7 to the “community.” I remember being at a restaurant with some friends one night when the beeper went off. I dutifully called the client (who, unfortunately, was one of my own so I couldn’t push her off on another therapist) on the payphone. She said “Alright, Margot, give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill myself right now.” And I really had to bite my tongue to keep from saying “Because my food just arrived at the table and I’d rather eat it while it’s hot than deal with you right now.” Good thing I wasn’t sitting in your smart car! Coincidently, I, too, got shot at once at another job, doing field work in East Oakland while trying to 5150 someone. (This was while working for the County Crisis Response Team for the chronically mentally ill).

    I think it’s gotta be IT for you, Eric, even though the Raving Pleb’s idea for you is absolutely genius.

    1. The reason I’ve put so much thought into the Addiction Counselor thing is my own experience with addiction counselors. The best ones I’ve ever worked with were recovering addicts themselves and who knows an addict better than another addict? Just like the best cops are former criminals, the same holds true with addicts.

      Also, there are quite a few positions within the VA itself that I could easily fit into doing that, which would safely tuck me away in a hospital setting. So doing something I know and understand and enjoy + government job = not a bad deal.

      1. Well, since you’re going all serious on me…

        I totally hear you about former addicts making the best Addiction Counselors. Trust me, I really sucked at working with parents in therapy before I became a parent myself. (I was trained to push the importance of “boundaries” and “consistency” but “Bullshit! You have no idea what you are talking about!” happened with more than one client).

        But, here’s the thing: I also wanted to go into psychotherapy because I’d had some life-changing experiences with an excellent therapist myself. Once I actually got into the field, though, I learned that about 90% of psychotherapy clients have zero motivation to help themselves and expect you to “fix” them. I’m sure you already know that therapy doesn’t work that way. The 10% of clients who are motivated to work on themselves are extremely gratifying to work with, though.

        But maybe you have more patience than I do for working with resistant clients. Or maybe they come to your office with a lot more motivation than the kinds of clients I treated. I hope that is the case (for them as well as you), because moving into one of those positions at the VA does sound like a good deal for you.

  3. Speaking as someone in IT (and a project manager, at that) I can assure you that unless you’re in legal, or work for a finance company, you do not have to wear a tie. I know guys who don’t even own proper pants–they wear shorts all the time. And having worked for a finance company, I would recommend that you NOT consider it, because those people have NO FUCKING SENSE OF HUMOR. I mean, I get it–they don’t want people acting goofy and irresponsible when they’re dealing with money, but these people have exactly ZERO humor of any kind. Any other industry is fine, but legal types and financial types tend to be really dull.

  4. Well, there is no room in my life for people with no sense of humor, unless it is something I can use to make fun of them, in which case there is plenty of room for them. I’d probably be less likely to do that for someone in legal because then they would know how to sue me for some weird shit I’ve never heard of. Like they could probably figure out what company I worked for even though I didn’t actually say it up there. Those fuckers are humorless and smart like that.

  5. I vote addiction counselor as long as you can guarantee that you will never yell at someone “to get your shit together”. That would be my fear for myself if I were to ever do that job.

    1. As tough as that is to say, sometimes that is exactly what an addict needs to hear, and if it needs to be yelled, so be it. It probably would have worked on me a lot sooner than it did had someone I respected actually done that. In my experience, the whole “blowing sunshine up my ass” technique rarely, if ever, works.

      Life is a bitch. Sometimes you have to stab her in the face, roll her up in a carpet and dump her in the East River with some cinder blocks. It’s not always pretty.

      But I understand that, and if I were to pick the one I want to do most of the three . . . well, if I was honest I’d say the underwear/direct deposit thing, but the addiction counselor is a close second.

      Thanks for stopping in, Ronnie! I’ve already read your “Neighborhood” post and looking forward to reading more. Always ready to support another “Yankee transplant that became a North Carolinian”.

      Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!

  6. Having left the field of psychology myself, let me tell you that people truly do suck and as any type of psychologist/ therapist/ counselor you have to deal with people and their suckitude altogether too much.

    I vote IT.

    1. So the vote from the psychology community is definitely IT. Some seriously good information to have, although the success rate of recovering addicts alone should be enough to deter me.

      I’ve always been fascinated with psychology, probably because my family is a text book in and of itself and I feel that becoming a counselor would be a way for me to give back to a community that gave me so much.

      Sounds very humanitarian, doesn’t it? Until I come face to face with suckitude, then lose my shit.

  7. I was an office manager for an IT firm for 5 years here in Austin, Texas. I now am an office manager for a video game company. After being here at the game company for 2 years, I can say, quite vehemently, I do not want to go back to working in any industry BUT gaming. Find something you love and are passionate about, and then find a way to make money doing it.

    1. You know you’re like a goddamn hero to me right now. I wrote for the gaming industry for a while and remained broke and I’m a shameful “old man gamer geek” so the fact that you actually work for a game company brings me chills. I went back and forth with Rockstar for a while to try and get on the crew that writes the Brady guides and never managed to make it . . . that and I didn’t really want to move to New York.

      I’m jealous, I tells ya!!

      1. Well, it was a dream come true. I’m a gamer chick who is an office manager by trade and was lucky enough to find an office management gig IN a video game company. It was like all the damn stars aligned and nirvana was born.


    1. Well, given what everyone has said, I’m secretly crossing my fingers for the stay at home in my underwear thing if I’m totally honest but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

      I mean, not one single asshole was offended by my brief, angry political statement!!

      What’s a dude gotta do to offend millions of people for cryin’ out loud!

  8. Pray for me, man. Tomorrow I go in to interview for a CSR gig.

    44 year old professional woman and I am looking for hourly jobs because that is the only thing I can find. Even with over a decade in the software industry, I cannot find a company willing to overlook the six year gap in my employment history.
    Oh, you went to school! Is that so? Well, congratulations on that degree. We’ll call you.”
    Jesus wept.


    Grawnf. At any rate, conga-rats on the VA gig and placement. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that #3 comes true for you. 🙂

    1. I feel you and share the bitterness. Sorry about the CSR gig, though. I will be avoiding that at all costs from this point forward. People really, really do suck despite the fact that they make great blog fodder.

      Good luck to you!

  9. Did you ever think of starting your own business? You seem like the kind of dude who would enjoy being his own boss.
    Other than that, the addictions counselor thing sounds interesting… although you would have to work with people and you probably can’t usually hit them with flashlights. How about a mental health technician? That would be fun too.

    1. I would totally love to have my own business, unfortunately that requires having some money ahead of time which, I don’t. What a dream that would be though! I’d buy a little storefront and have a “Closed” sign permanently painted on the glass, right above “If you want to shop here, go home and get on the computer and go to http://www.ericsfuckinstore.com because I’m not dealing with you people face to face.”

      See . . . aaaaaaand we’re back to staying at home in my underwear while the money rolls in.

      I’d only open the door at 6:00 am on Black Friday, and everyone would rush in through a hallway that would lead them . . .

      . . .into the alley behind the store, where I would then slam the door and lock it and go back to bed.

      Free enterprise awesomeness!!

  10. You know that the sentence that I appreciated the most was this one: “For one thing, there was a lot of running and if there is anything I hate more than running it would be “a lot of running.””

    Because I also hate a lot of running. Or even a little running. I’m not even that fond of walking, if I’m honest.

    1. Thank you, Love! Glad you’re still lurking about. I miss you so hard!!

      That didn’t come out right, did it?

      I NEEEEEDZ my “Fuck You Friday” partner!!!

      That didn’t come out right either.

  11. I totally agree with banning the outdoors, running is vile and detestable, people suck ass, and mean people are evil. I have a bachelor’s in English with a minor in Creative Writing…and I work at a shitty retail store that pays jack shit and forces me to be around people all the damn time. I truly wish I could offer you any helpful suggestions regarding possible career choice, but, considering my current employment, you totally shouldn’t listen to me anyway. I hate people with an all-consuming passion and my job forces me to pretend to be all unhateful and such…definitely stick with your whole avoid people job stipulation thing.

    1. Oh, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be focusing on the people avoidance techniques I’ve been practicing lately (he says as he types this reply on his phone sitting outside his newest job at the hospital full of sick, cranky people).

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