My JOBituary: May That Stinkin' Job Rest in Peace

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Ever had a job that made you wish you were dead? We know, we have, too. So when we suggested that writing a JOBituary would cleanse the soul, and prepare job seekers to ready for the challenges of a new, much-better employment opportunity, people jumped at the chance. Read on, and then write your own job death notice. Just make sure that it is a fitting obit to that stinkin' job you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.


RIP healthcare proposal writer

Francis, K.A. Proposal Writer. Terminated from Satan's Health Care, located in the Third Ring of Hell, Hades, Earth 00666.

For three years, K.A. Francis was a proposal writer for a large (very large) national health-care insurance provider. Forty percent of her days were spent copying and pasting mediocre database responses into a questionnaire that customers never read. The other 60 percent was spent defending the responses she chose. The Quality department only wanted to see a handful of responses for each question. The Proposal Content Team only wanted to provide a handful of responses, usually the opposite of what Quality wanted. She spent the better part of her days feeling like a kid caught between two arguing parents. As her third anniversary of this job from hell approached, she wished her "parents" would divorce, or ship her away to summer camp.

Instead, she was put up for adoption.

After three years of 70-hour work weeks, declining relationships and sub-par compensation, her immediate supervisor and the department head called her into a room and announced her services were no longer needed. As they waxed philosophical and feigned sadness while explaining how difficult the decision had been, she fought to contain her emotions. She sat on her hands. She tried to think of things that would change her facial expression; she even bit her tongue.

She was preceded in termination by co-workers who were smarter than she and got out earlier. She leaves behind a lack of social or family life, the need to call her senior supervisors "idiots" to their faces, a small handful of competent co-workers, one team leader she could tolerate and a 45-minute commute she hopes to never make again.

If she could leave one parting statement to those few co-workers and associates whom she actually liked and respected, it would be this: "The rumors are true. I did giggle with glee and dance my way out of the building. The night after I was laid off was the best night's sleep I had had in years. Don't cry for me guys, I've never felt better. The powers-that-be did me a favor. I am in a better place."

Viewing arrangements can be made by contacting her at her residence, where visitation will include cold beer, hot pizza and a comfortable seat on her deck. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to her e-Bay store, her business PayPal account or her bar tab.

By K.A. Francis


Death to a makeup-counter vampire lover

For the past four years I have been a lipstick slinger, a makeup junkie if you will. One of the women you love to hate at the cosmetics makeup counter in a major department store. My days were spent gossiping, taking coffee breaks, giving advice and doing makeovers. Along came the very handsome, yet mysterious, new guy in the shoe department. His work at Macy's began during the 'Twilight' hysteria -- and sadly for me, he looked as though he could double for Edward. After a few dates, a few laughs and even more drinks, my belly began to swell. Dead is my mall career along with my fascination with vampires. Upon my very untimely demise and quick exit I would like to leave a few things to the girls who have made the last four years – well, unforgettable.

To Ava: Who is forever looking for spare change in cracks and corners for a cup of coffee, I leave you my half-stamped coffee card. Go forth and caffeinate.

To the Gestapo (otherwise known as my boss, Chris): I give you the new girl taking my position; please do not try and destroy her soul the first day. Pace yourself.

To the Origins counter: I leave to all of you girls the incriminating photos, stories and our memories. It's up to you now to carry on the torch.

To Adrienne: I leave to you my client list; may you suck up as much to them as I did. Enjoy that commission.

And lastly, to Jessica: It was ME who was eating all of your snacks! Your notes to the "perpetrator" only fueled the fire. I hope you get run over by the mall security car.

By Jenny Tinsley


Farewell to a department-store cop

Were you aware that a majority of retailers, especially those with various departments, have undercover security officers doing their duty in their stores? I was one of them. I've worked for a national discount chain, a regional sporting goods store and, most recently, for Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the biggest names in luxury. OK, it was actually their outlet-mall shop, Off Fifth. With overpriced merchandise and underpaid employees, I have "taken out" my fair share of thieving employees as well as shoplifters a-plenty. But when the economy tanked, the crooks started to come out in droves. I did my best to capture them all, achieving the highest arrest rate recorded at my location in more than five years. Alas, my paperwork suffered, and yours truly, the only security member in the building, neglected a couple of audits and got the boot. So my job is gone, and I have moved on from the pseudo-career that put me through college. Thus this obituary is a fitting way to say farewell.

Dearly associated workers:

We gather here today to mourn the undercover security job once held by Jonathan, but never to be held again. As in all relationships, there were the good times – the tales of battle against the forces of evil and laziness, the lack of a uniform, the relief of never having to talk to customers. But there were the bad, too – blame for shoplifting that occurred during lunch, the constant co-worker commentary of, "You just walk around. Don't you DO anything?" and the inability (against the no-fraternization rules) to hit on Sunya, the amazingly gorgeous cashier. Seriously, smoking.

With the cynicism developed at such a job, I am no longer prey to swindlers (as I was in my younger days), nor have I bid on an e-Bay auction that is selling stolen merchandise. With the investigative skills I learned, I have been able to assuage friends' concerns that their new significant other has not served jail time.

While these skills have stood me in good stead, I will not miss the cries of racism, the displays of weaponry or the bodily fluids used as a last-ditch insult by a thief as the police take away that perp.

As we pass through our lives, we will continue to deal with loss, but as the cliche goes, one ending is another beginning, and here I am, typing away. Still lacking a uniform, but also ignoring society's demand that one must wear pants while working. Goodbye, job: I will think of you fondly.

By Jonathan Yost


Bequeathed by an ex-employee

Colleen Sumberg, a long-time resident of the greater Hartford, Conn., area, entered into eternal (but hopefully for not that long) unemployment on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 after a stint of temporary employment at ToYourHealth insurance company. She leaves behind any current and future employees that may inhabit her workspace: an empty cubie; a relatively brand new desktop; a stapler; some paperclips (big and small); an empty inbox; an ergonomically-incorrect chair; a plastic tray from the cafeteria (which she never brought back down); an old box of raisins; several thumbtacks; and multiple dust-bunnies. In addition to her desk equipment, supplies and desk tumbleweeds, she leaves behind several short-term acquaintances and co-workers, many of whom were fond of her. To her co-workers she bequeaths her cubie and all its worldly possessions since she clearly wouldn't have left them behind if she wanted them and could have gotten them past the security guard. She also wishes all of her ex-co-workers great job longevity.

In lieu of flowers or donations, please send job offers via her mildly irritated husband who wishes she were gainfully employed!

By Colleen Sumberg


Steeltown job DOA

Tim Messinger's career died March 11, 2009. Ironically it was a Wednesday. Having survived numerous "Black Fridays" during his 36 continuous years in the steel industry, he did not see this one coming. Perhaps it was complacency that claimed him. In his 58th year on Earth, he had always landed on his feet -- usually just one step ahead of plant closings and cutbacks. Perhaps he was just lucky all along. He was beginning to see the retirement light at the end of his long sojourn through corporate life. Alas, now he searches for a more redemptive glimmer.

Tim never thought of himself as being that good. Yet his past seemed to belie that fact. He attended high school in his small hometown of Slatington, Pa., where he was a big fish in a little pond. He was the valedictorian of his smallish class of 131. He attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where he graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgy & Material Sciences. He received an early comeuppance there, yet liked to say that he learned to take his "Cs" like a man. While others graduated "summa cum laude," he chuckled when he claimed he exited "Glad to Be Outta."

Armed with his metallurgy degree, Tim was destined for the steel industry. Had he been able to read the writing on the wall, he might have considered an alternative. Yet Tim just went with the flow and continually landed upon whatever shore life washed him. He began his career in Pittsburgh, Pa., with Jones & Laughlin Steel. The industry was starting to show some chinks in the armor, but they were not apparent to a young guy just trying to fit in. He was 300 miles away from home and all alone.

Tim remained loyal to his company as mid-level mill metallurgist, over many years and as many acquisitions, mergers and name changes. LTV Steel, J&L Specialty Steel and finally ATI/Allegheny Ludlum all signed his paychecks. In 2003 Tim made a decision to leave metallurgy and transfer to the fledgling Supply Chain group. The job took him to the corporate offices in downtown Pittsburgh. He had arrived at the "big show"! He wore a coat and tie and hobnobbed with company royalty, all the while carrying his lunch in his briefcase.

As downsizing escalated, Allegheny Ludlum eventually took over and liberated Tim from his 18th-floor office. A scenic, daily 35-mile commute followed from one end of Allegheny County to another. Tim was now working in Natrona Heights, supervising the "Dream Team" of Rosie, Beth, Larry and Mike. He was now managing the automotive group during its 2009 death spiral. The end was near.

Late that fateful Wednesday, Tim was led to his manager's office, where he found his boss, along with an HR representative. His services were no longer needed. The already overworked survivors left in his wake would acquire his duties. In some perverse way Tim was flooded by a sense of relief. God was done throwing pebbles, then rocks at him to change his course in life. One of the many boulders perched high atop his perilous Route 28 commute had finally been dislodged to squash his plans and force him along a different path.

It is rumored that Tim now exists in a form of employment purgatory. Unemployment checks plus extensions have sustained him for nearly a year. He has performed many odd jobs including painting, landscaping, laboring and assembling at a prominent national big box store. A CDL Class B license to drive a school bus looms large in his plans. His ghost has even appeared on the popular television show 'Deal Or No Deal.' To date, it has been the closest Tim has come to heaven. It has also been reported that Tim has tried his hand at blogging. However there is much doubt of any success down that path. In the meantime, Tim has applied to over 125 jobs in his fields of expertise. The chase has been cruel with hopeful job sightings routinely vanishing into the mists of his work afterlife.

Tim's last will and testament makes for some interesting reading. He prominently misses the pursuit, successful capture and taming of an opportunity – even if that goal was completed quietly before unseeing eyes. He misses bringing laughter to a workplace grown far too serious for its own good. He yearns for the expression of thanks that laughter brought to the overworked and underloved left behind. He does not miss the daily journeys replete with its many potholes and idiots jockeying for position with him on the ribbons of roadway.

Tim has also bequeathed few things.

To his former worker, Larry, he leaves his experience so that he might carry on more comfortably. To Beth he leaves his social skills. Then again, hers were probably better than his, anyway. Rosie gets the "Dream Team" poster. Just remember that Tim will always be Michael Keaton, not her. Tim's manager, Dave, inherits his sense of humor – even though he may not know how to use it. And lastly, to the company president, Terry, is left Tim's compassion. Hopefully Allegheny Ludlum will never misplace it again.

By Tim Messinger

An Ode to a Lost Job

Oh job of mine

I thought so divine

You held me in your thrall

And I gave you my all


Little did I know

How quickly you could go!


The board never paid the bills

The power shut off

The dishwasher repossessed

And still we worked on


At last came a summons

They'd not paid our program partner

When questioned on ethics

They choose to let me go


I leave behind the natural world

Sky shining above as each leaf unfurls


The staff are shocked

And feel if they too have been mocked


I will move on

Through many coming dawns

But my time with you

Will always feel new


Take care of yourself

As you are buffeted

By those who do not carry your soul


A job is just a job

A passion lasts forever

By Nancy H. Pierce

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