The funny disease.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tales of the Underpaid Maid

I once worked in an office where there were just enough employees to have plausible deniability for the shrugging off responsibility for almost any given mess. Being the “Secretary,” it automagically fell to me to shovel up copious amounts of “oops” copies, printouts that no one bothered to collect, Fed Ex envelopes and broken plastic book spines. “What a mess.”

I turned to face my boss. “Yep. I feel like a maid.”

“You’re one overpaid maid.”

I had never gotten anything even resembling a raise at that particular job. That weekend, out of masochistic curiosity, I looked in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and could not find maids as such, but I found janitorial staff. And it turned out that the mean salary for janitorial staff was a quarter more than what I was being paid, and those figures were from four years prior to the day I was called an overpaid maid. Probably, the mean salary had gone up for janitorial staff since then.

I remember days of working so hard and sans anything resembling a break that by the evening I was nauseous with exhaustion. I remember days of having work enough for me and two interns, and looking up to see one of my colleagues and a V.P. run by shooting rubber bands at each other. I remember the day that His Unholiness, of the Grand Engineer of Satan’s Computer Database didn’t have time to make a couple of quick changes his code to make my job easier, but did have time to go out with the boys for a game of football.

There was the day I got to work an hour early for personal reasons. I had nearly put in a full day when my boss’s boss comes to me and tells me that he needs 500 copied packets and he needs them by the end of the day. These weren’t surprise, last minute packets. But something known about in advance, that I could have been working on periodically and had them almost done by that moment, if he had told me when he had come in that morning. Of course, it was not as if I had to copy them out by hand, but still these things take waiting and staples. I put in a full twelve hours that day.

But the absolute worst task I was ever given at that office was cold-calling sales leads. I had a tenuous grasp of the software we were offering. That was partly because no one sat down to explain it to me. It was mostly because the software didn’t technically exist yet. I had absolutely no sales training. I’m sort of kind of an introvert. And they wanted me to call people who had little or no idea we existed on the face of the planet and tell them we had software they might like and if they had any questions they could talk to someone else who actually knew about that. If they’d have given me a choice between cold-calling and eating live Africanized bees, I would have chosen the bees.


Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

You were the go to girl!!

5/04/2006 7:06 PM

Blogger fairscape said...


Thanks for visiting. I came by, had a look see, will try to visit again soon.

The poor bees, glad your blog was in the past tense.

Have you tried Olay complete defense daily UV moisturizer extra protection spf 30 for sensitive skin. I use it regularly and have not been bothered by it. It is light weight and not greasy either. Be careful when you go to try/buy some. Olay has a large line of products in almost identical packaging and some of their other products (like regenerist) can realy make your eyes water.

5/05/2006 5:35 AM

Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

Phos--I think it was more like I was their bitch.

Fairscape--Thanks for the sunscreen tip. I didn’t think Olay had anything over SPF 15.

5/05/2006 10:36 AM

Anonymous Sarah said...

Bastard American companies and their low pay. I had a job interview this past week and the guy asked me what I was paid at my last job. I was the assistant editor of a newspaper, doing at least part of every single job on the paper, and I was paid maybe $25k per year. This job, they're planning to pay a writer, just a writer, not a billion other tasks too $35k per year. And the guy says he'll see about getting that up to $40k because of my experience if they want to hire me. I was floored.

5/05/2006 11:22 AM

Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

Admins, nurses, and stay-at-home moms have the hardest jobs, and they're the most underappreciated.

Glad this was a while ago and not now.

5/06/2006 2:35 PM

Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

Sarah--Low pay and a stingy amount of holidays. The U.S. should be ashamed of itself.

T--There's no way I'm in the same league as stay-at-home moms or nurses. Nurses especially have one of the most absolutely difficult and thankless jobs. They are very abused by impatient patients.

I'm just a whiner.

5/09/2006 5:23 PM

Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

You are not a whiner. Stop that!

*very gently tap tapping your paw*

5/26/2006 11:33 PM


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