As soon as I wake up and open my eyes, I’m at work. It’s more efficient for me to be a live-in employee so I am available at a moment’s notice. A blissful wake up with a peaceful preparation of a shower and a calming cup of coffee is not an opportunity I am granted. My commute consists of me walking from my bedroom door to the coffee pot, allowing me a brief minute or two to collect my thoughts before the chaos starts.
I’m on call 24/7, breaks are limited and holidays are mandatory. Although not a complete day off, there is one day a year my bosses assign me light work. My coworker will even pitch in more than usual to help me with some of my duties. I forgot what a complete day off feels like, let alone what I would do with all that free time.
My work environment can best be described as extremely diverse and stressful. My days leave me jumping from one task to another with numerous improvised moments in between. I am required to be a jack of all trades fulfilling responsibilities that include personal chef, chauffeur, janitor, cheerleader, referee, housekeeper, counselor…the list goes on and on.
In addition to an adverse work environment and schedule, my employers can be pretty irrational. If I had to describe my bosses, the words that come to mind are demanding, immature, impatient, impulsive, and sometimes hostile. At any given instant, I’m expected to comply with every request and you better believe it has to be done as quickly as possible.
Strategy meetings can be pretty intense. Discussions involve some serious issues such as which office equipment would best function as a weapon or how to hide evidence of their most recent crime. I’ve also been asked to mediate some crucial negotiations. The other day, I successfully traded a plastic hippo for a bulldozer. I say successful because everyone walked away alive without injury or tears.
My bosses also enjoy to fight and wrestle. Often beginning with laughs and chuckles, it quickly turns into cries and whales. I’m constantly on guard waiting for my required presence to break them up.
Some days, more often than not, I find them asleep at their work stations. This may sound counterproductive, but they NEED this mid-day slumber. Without it, the rest of the day would be shot and nothing would get done.
My coworker works primarily in a different building in an alternate location. Although working under the same supervisors, his work environment is a bit less hostile and intense. My colleague may have helped me to get this job and technically we share responsibilities, but sometimes I feel as though I do more than my fare share. Because he works elsewhere, we reconvene at night to go over our day’s progress, cross referencing to-do lists and making sure our objectives and goals are aligned.
His interaction with the managerial staff is limited to a few hours a day, but man do they love him. And I mean LOVE him. He gets the best side of my bosses as their excitement spikes when he is around. As for me, I’m always there so the pleasantries are few and far in between.
I don’t get paid in monetary terms. Payment is made in the form of kisses and hugs. The payment schedule is pretty irregular and rests on whether or not management is in the mood, regardless of my superlative performance. Some employees might call this sexual harassment, but to be honest, it’s an upside of my job so I’ll refrain from alerting the authorities for the time being as it can be the best part of my day.
Most bosses beckon their employees’ attention by respectfully declaring their names at an acceptable volume level or even calling them on their phones to politely request their presence. Oh no, not my bosses. Screaming, yelling and sometimes crying is how they get my attention. The pitch range is very important in decoding their need. I have acquired a keen ear to distinguish their meaning, whether it’s out of hunger, boredom, tired or just simply out of entertainment to see how just how loud and annoying they can manipulate their voices to become before running out of breath.
Our company isn’t fortunate enough to hire custodial or housekeeping staff, so I also assume those tasks. This would fall under ‘other duties as assigned’ when looking over my job description. This can be a rough juggling act and often conflicts with the wants and needs of my supervisors. They have no sympathy to the various tasks and duties I perform while tending to their requests and can be severely impatient. When they want something done, it means done yesterday. I’ve learned to use bribery as a tool to distract their attention. Sometimes this can be accomplished with snacks, TV or even letting them ‘help’ me knowing it will take an impossible amount of time to finish.
Time is never on my side. Every moment in wait can result in a severe meltdown and sometimes an abusive situation. Today, one of my bosses threw a plate at me because his lunch wasn’t prepared to his liking. My other boss defecated on himself and then proceeded to smear it on the walls. Of course, I’ll get right on cleaning that up without hesitation or complaint.
Besides making sure their every need is met for basic survival, I also serve as their entertainment. A court jester so to speak. They say ‘dance’ and I do. The other day we had an impromptu dance party in the conference room. It could be worse.
When starting this position, I was aware to the never-ending responsibilities and tasks associated with the job – but you really don’t know until you experience it first-hand. Days are long – some better than others. It’s constant and forever.
It may not be work in the traditional sense with an office environment and typical duties assigned, but I think many would agree it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s a job within a job within a job. Although it can be crazy, chaotic and full of surprises, it’s the best position I’ve ever had and wouldn’t trade it for the world.