Not only was she a crazy, psycho bitch, but I actually hired her! I do cringe in typing that and maintaining my vow to be honest as a writer. But, yes, I’ve hired a few of them and I really should have seen it coming.
This particular one I am thinking about was the last one in a chain of them. We shall call her…Debbie because I don’t feel like getting sued.
I realize that it’s hard to get a good overall idea about someone during a job interview and I know that people are struggling. I was struggling a bit as the owner of a small business and I really needed a competent and stable individual to take over my sales department and get things moving back in the right direction.
I also violated the advice we give all our clients. “Don’t hire in desperation. Better to leave the job unoccupied than to hire a moron.”
But, there I was and she had come with some great recommendations from people I know. I interviewed her and so did my boss and we decided to give it a try. There is a long runway in our business, but she seemed eager and willing and most important, she was hungry.
You want your salespeople to be hungry, all the time. It seems to be the only way they can get a close. When they are fat and happy, they get careless, but when they are about to be evicted, suddenly they are closing everything in sight. Feast or famine seems to be the way it runs.
It was on the second day that I knew we had made a mistake, but I said nothing. I knew that even though this wasn’t someone I liked or that I wanted to have coffee with, if they can bring in income, the rest I can deal with.
Her first mistake was assuming that because I am packing a uterus, this gave her a “right” to get personal with me. This is a big mistake with me because regardless of my gender, I am a business owner and everything is about the bottom line. I am not there to make friends or socialize or chit-chat about my life or anyone else’s. I am paid to deliver a service to our clients and it’s my job to not only do that but to make sure everyone does. I don’t hire people so that I can hear about their weekend or what their children are doing. I tolerate it because on some level I care but mostly because I have to.
On her second day, she was standing by the fax and started to talk to me as I was rushing out of my office. I was on an important call and I had the client on hold and needed to ask my boss a question. It was quite obvious I was in a hurry, but suddenly I heard her screech (she really did screech and shout most of the time) “SUSAN, I JUST LOVE WHAT YOU ARE WEARING! WHERE DID YOU GET IT?” I hesitated for a moment and vaguely recall saying something about Goodwill as I turned the corner.
Later that day, she walked into my office and plopped (yes, plopped) down in a chair and had this weird look on her face. I was in the middle of sending an email and did everything I could to ignore her, but finally she said “DO YOU HAVE A MINUTE TO TALK?” and I said I did. She then began to tell me about her weekend, her children, what she had for lunch, her parents, her friends and a few other things that I managed to forget. I tried, really hard, to be interested and to look interested and I think I fooled her. She seemed to like my responses and eventually left my office grinning as I mentally snapped and snarled at her as she left.
Some of the things that happened over the next few months were:
1) Telling me, everyday, how amazing she was.
2) Giving me advice on how to deal with clients even though I had been successfully doing it for over 20 years.
3) Constant complimenting me on everything I wore even if it was a stupid outfit. To me, she acted like I walked on water.
4) Not knowing how to dress for her full figure and always wearing shirts with horizontal stripes that added another 20 pounds to her waist.
5) Yelling at my assistant when I wasn’t there.
6) Crashing her car into a tree in the parking lot one morning and didn’t think it was funny when I told her that at least her make-up didn’t smudge.
7) Telling me that my business would fail without her.
The fact that we had somehow managed for 15 years before her arrival was not a valid point. My response was “Debbie, the day my survival depends on you is the day I kill myself.” She laughed about that and told me what a wonderful sense of humor I have.
8) Wanting to talk about everything, and I mean everything. If we had a meeting and everyone was agreed, she would still come into my office and talk ad nauseam about some minor point, over and over until I wanted to pull my hair out.
Finally one day, I had enough. I sat her down and told her “Look, when something is taken care of, there’s no reason to keep going on and on about it. If I have more I want to say, I’ll say it, but you don’t need to stress about things constantly.”
She gave me a quizzical look and I realized she didn’t know what I was talking about because she was psychotic. She had no or very little connection to what was around her. She was operating off of some idea of HOW she thought things were which had no basis in reality.
She was a psychotic bitch.
It was all so clear to me suddenly. No matter what I said or did, she would twist it. No matter how much we all tried to help her, she was going to turn every conversation into something it wasn’t and never let it go. She tried to change every successful action we had established in our business.
She was THE reason some of us women have a bad reputation because in all honesty, after being around her for a short period of time, I wanted to smack her and I’ve never been violent in my life.
I knew the bitch needed to be taken out and I was going to do it for mankind. I felt I was on an honorable mission and I wasn’t going to fail.
She was also a salesperson that couldn’t close a door and I was tired of picking up her slack. I can put up with a lot from people but the one thing I will not tolerate is incompetence. Not on my watch and not on my dollar.
I had a long talk with my boss and we decided that he would talk with her. My boss is an amazing man and one of my best friends. I would trust him with my life and he is one of the few people whose opinion I value. I also understand that I was exasperated and being a bit reactive towards her, so we talked it out. We decided that he would talk with her and see what he could do since we had invested a lot of time in her.
I was satisfied with that. The next morning, she comes into my office after talking with him and is crying. I ask her what happened and she tells me that she decided to leave and start her own business! I sort of nodded and then suddenly she’s giving me a bear hug and telling me how much she likes me and will miss me. I was kind of pissed that she hadn’t gotten fired. I know, a bit petty, but that’s the truth.
She packed up her things with promises of staying in touch and having coffee. I smiled at the right time and nodded and when the door was closed and she was on the other side of it, I RAN into my bosses office for all the gory details.
She had been fired and had stood in front of me and lied. Flat out lied. I was tempted to run down to the parking lot and let her know that I knew she had been fired, but decided that would be just a bit too childish.
But I really wanted to do that. I really did.