Sunday, July 16, 2006

Entering a New Era (What? Again?)

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." ~ William Shakespeare

"Do you smoke?"

This was the first thing my new boss said to me the very first time I laid eyes upon him.

New boss? Yes, new boss. I suppose an explanation is in order here.

June 30, I was home in the morning eagerly awaiting the arrival of my 22 year old "natural" son, who was driving up here all the way from his home in Wichita, Kansas to spend a week with me and my youngest son, 17 year old John. He was then going to take John back to Wichita with him, to spend the remainder of the summer.

My kids, Anthony and John, before they left

He had called about an hour earlier to let me know he was close and would need to be directed the rest of the way. And then, an hour or so later, he called me from the gas station around the corner from me. Then he arrived and we exchanged pleasantries about his trip and his plans, and the scenery, and whatnot, but it was Friday morning and I still had to work.

For some reason, I wasn't getting a signal on my cell phone inside the house, so I had to go outside and stand across the street to call into my dispatcher and be logged on for the day. So I called.

Then the unthinkable happened.

I called in and one of the dispatchers, Alex, answered. I said, "This is four oh one two. Log me in".

"We don't have any work for you today". Alex said, as if this was not an unusual occurrence.

"Excuse me?" I said, not sure I heard him right.

"He repeated, "We don't have any work for you today."

"What do you mean you don't have any work for me today?"

"We just don't have any work for you today".

"I don't understand, I have a regular route. I always have work!" Growing nervous, "The same work everyday, How could I not have any work today?"

"Well", He said, matter-of-factly, "We don't have any work for you today."

Ok, the conversation went on like this for a while longer, with me getting increasingly anxious and Alex getting increasingly annoying with the same answer for my question, which I continued to ask over and over, but with different inflections and slightly different wording each time. Eventually, he told me he would have the boss call me with an explanation.

About an hour later, the boss called. He said, (and I quote) "We don't have any work for you today."

Eventually I managed to drag the information out of him that I had been summarily released from my contract. Not fired per se, but they had no work for me to do, possibly forever. This on the basis of some questionable reports about my conduct, which, to this day, still remains a mystery as to what I could have said or done to warrant losing my job.

And believe me, I surely have no clue. One thing I am sure about: I did not get the opportunity to defend myself, nor face my accuser, or even know what my particular offense was.

So I made some calls, and contacted some contacts, and the following Monday was filling out a questionnaire about my background for a background check, and interviewing for another position in Baltimore. I was told I had the job pending receipt of a good background check, but was not told any details about the position. Like, How much is the pay, and what would I be doing?

So, I spent the remainder of the week enjoying my impromptu (and unpaid) vacation, and spent much of the time with my sons. They left Thursday the 6th of July, and I called another company and inquired about the possibility of a position with them.

I visited them on Monday last week, and they hired me on the spot, without even reviewing my application. They asked me if I could start tomorrow morning (Tuesday) but I wanted to hear from the first place before I agreed to got to work for them.

I had made two job contacts and was offered both jobs, and now I had a dilemma. Which one should I take?

Easy choice, as it happened.

the first place called me back on Tuesday and told me I could start the very next day, whereupon they told me what my pay would be and what I would be doing.

I chose the second company. The one that was 35 miles closer to where I live.

So when I reported to my first day of work on Wednesday morning, the first words out of the mouth of my new boss, who I had just then laid eyes on for the first time was, "Do you smoke?"

He wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to make the guy who was going to train me miserable, since he doesn't smoke and doesn't want to ride with a smoker.

I don't smoke, and I rode with him.

Halfway through my first day, our truck broke down (bad alternator) and we had to call a tow truck to haul us from Martinsburg, West Virginia, to Frederick Maryland.

And therein lies another tale:

The tow truck driver was a sullen, strong silent type, and as soon as he arrived, he backed his truck up, and had the back end of our truck off the ground before I and my trainer even knew he had attached the mechanism. We scrambled out of our truck and into his just before he got back in his truck and started to move.

I was scrunched up against the driver, and as I am wont to do in such awkward situations, I made a joke. I said, "Hope you used your deodorant!"

To which the driver scowled and spoke the first and only words he was to utter the entire 45 miles back to Frederick:

"Shut the f*** up!"

So, we rode in silence a very uncomfortable 45 miles to Frederick, Maryland. When we arrived, the driver spoke again:

"Well, I don't know where they want it but I know where I'm going to put it!" He laughed and, just like turning on a switch, he suddenly became jovial, cheerful, and talked and laughed as if he hadn't earlier been behaving exactly the opposite.

I don't know. Bi-polar maybe?


tugboatcapn said...

Mark, do you suppose that your dismissal from the old job could possibly be Blog related?

There is a reason that I do not put my photo on my Blog and comments. I am not at all ashamed of my Blog, or my views and opinions, (or even my looks,) but the type of Blog that you and I both write can offend people who do not hold the same views.

If those people happen to be higher in the pecking order than we are, it can wind up costing you.

As to the Tow Truck Driver, he probably had just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend, or wanted to go home early, or something like that.

Most Tow Truck Drivers don't make a whole lot of money unless they own the Tow Truck, and they either work very long hours, or are on call 24 hours a day, so every time they are called out, it interrupts something else that they had to get done today.

Makes them grumpy and miserable when they first get to you, but they usually cheer up when they are close to being through with your call, just like that guy did.

Good Luck with your new job!

If you are working for DHL, you should get along well. They are a good company, from what I have been able to find out about them.

They will expect you to hustle, but if you do, you will be well compensated...

Mike's America said...

sounds like you have all sorts of "fun" up there Mark. So you never got an answer from your first job?

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Very enjoyable story :-)!! The only time I got fired I felt the same way about not being able to defend myself and not having a chance to explain before being fired. It can be very frustrating!!

I'm glad that getting a new job was so easy for you. And I'm pretty sure you are right about that driver being bi-polar--psycho!!

Lone Ranger said...

Waaait a minute! Wasn't this an episode of King of Queens?

Dan Trabue said...

Hey, LR, you DO have a sense of humor!

Congratulations on the new job. Drive carefully.

Daffy76 said...

Funny you mentioned Martinsburg, Mark. My dad is on a mission trip to that very little dot on the map this week.

Congratulations on the new job!

TECH said...

Good luck on the new job! I know you will do well.

Jim said...

Too bad you weren't a member of a union.

ALLURE said...

See God will close a door but open THAT window. Congrats on the new job.

Timothy said...

Yes, I think I would have been with you on keeping silent in the cab with the sullen type.

Be careful driving that truck... it's good to know that you can get work quickly.

Marie's Two Cents said...

Congrats on the new job Mark.
However the truck driver sounded a bit rude.
Must have been a Liberal.

Poison Pero said...

Nice crowd you hang out with, Mark....LOL!

"Waaait a minute! Wasn't this an episode of King of Queens?" - LR

I was thinking the same thing. Just saw that re-run the other day.

Good luck Mark......If all else fails, buy and Uzi and apply for the Postal Service.

tugboatcapn said...

Tow Truck Drivers usually make very little money, unless they own the Tow Truck themselves.

They are usually either employed as Mechanics or something else, and are on call 24 hours a day,so any time they are called out, it interupts something else that they had to get done today, which makes them grumpy and impatient when they first arrive.

As they get closer to getting done with their Tow Truck call, they usually relax and become more personable, just like your's did, Mark.

Don't hold it against him. He was doing the best he could, same as you were.

Congrats on the new Job, Mark!

If you are working for DHL, you should be all right...

From what I have been able to find out about them, they are a good company.

They will expect you to hustle, but if you do, you will be well compensated, and well respected.

Is it possible that your dismissal from the other job could have been Blog Related?

There is a reason that I do not post photos of myself in relation to my site.

I am not ashamed of my opinions or posts, but I do realize that everyone above me in the pecking order where I work may not agree with me, and that could possibly cause me problems...

Just a thought...

Etchen said...

He definitely sounds bipolar--I'm not sure I would want to be cooped up with him for 45 miles.

Etchen said...

Oh! I meant to add, Congratulations on the new job!

Mary said...

Great story, Mark! :)

Hope all goes well with the new job.

FrenziedFeline said...

Congrats on getting a new job so quickly. May it be an unforeseen blessing in your life. :)

Gayle said...

That was quite a story Mark, but I'll bet it caused you a lot of anxiety. Especially that driver! Sheesh! I don't buy that he was tense because he was overworked. There's never any excuse for that sort of rudeness. Maybe you ticked him off because he actually does have a body odor problem. Perhaps his wife or girlfriend is always after him to take more showers! You never know.