My father is one of the most self-important, obstinate people I have ever met. He has a firm opinion about everything and everyone – usually wavering on the side of political conspiracy at worst, and judgmental pity and damnation at best. Growing up as a stubborn, intelligent girl in a household lorded by a traditionally religious and self-believing omniscient patriarch was not a simple task.
I do not say these things to disrespect my elders, or out of misguided bitterness – my father’s opinions and beliefs are loudly pronounced and while he is cautious to appear kind and approachable in public, the verbal discouragement that he paraded behind closed doors was another matter completely, and known in full only to myself and my brother. To his credit, he did his best within his self-imposed limitations to keep our little family afloat. Finances were never, never easy but if nothing else that instilled in me an obsessive need to account for every penny I spent as an adult. My father, considering himself much smarter and more suave than any employer could ever be, refused to be anything but his own boss. My father ran his own business out of the home for as long as I can remember. When I was very little, it was a computer repair business. As I hit middle school, we were left money by my grandfather’s passing and for a couple years, my father played the stock market. Finally, he settled on a web design business, which he still runs today. I have lots of opinions regarding this business venture and his management of such, which are not relevant to today’s topic, so I’ll save them for later. I write all this to paint a basic picture of my first boss.
There is nothing worse than working for your own parent. This is especially true if said parent is an unforgiving perfectionist. I started working with my father on an as-available basis and payment was strictly marked. I could have $6/hour for graphic design work (somehow, I had managed to acquire a proficiency in PaintShopPro and could design website headers better than my father) and my time was to be carefully tracked using one of his chess clocks. Did I have to stop and go pee? Hit the button, stop the clock. Sneeze? Answer the phone? Get distracted? Hit the button and stop the clock. Depending on the complexity of the design, it usually took about two hours of work time to get it to an acceptable point. Then I had to do my homework.
I did work like this on and of for my father for a few years. One summer in high school, I was offered a job babysitting my friend’s younger siblings, as she was going to be gone for the summer. I snapped up that job opportunity like free candy, and never again did I do work for my father.
My poor brother, on the other hand, found a love of videography and his story is much more frustrating than mine….
“What industry ushered you into the workforce?” – Plinky Prompt, Nov. 25, 2008