Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Granite City Girl's Career | The Worst Job I Ever Had

Well guys here we are, I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time but unfortunately I have had to subdue myself and wait for a couple of years following this anger inducing incident purely because I felt my head would explode from the sheer rage this particular post would inspire in me. As you can probably tell from the title of this post today I'm going to be sharing my experience of the worst job I ever had and just before I begin I just want to say it was nothing to do with the nature of the work or the industry and in no way do I want to put you off of this line of work as I have actually gone into it myself, but I am a big believer in that your environment can influence a great many things and that has never been so clear than when I worked in this particular role.

The job was advertised through my university email newsletter which students received every week, I was 19 at the time and had just finished my first ever work placement at a film festival in Glasgow and with that behind me I was ready to take on my next work challenge and do something a bit more relevant to my degree than my regular Saturday job. The role was for a part time marketing assistant (2 days per week) at a garden centre in Aberdeenshire and sounded right up my street, from writing up press releases to helping maintain their website, social media channels and assist in organising events to attract visitors I was there and I was ready.

The initial interview was held by the centre manager and the current marketing manager which is when it was in fact revealed that as opposed to assisting someone as the job title suggested I would be doing maternity cover for the actual marketing manager and would therefore be on my own from the off with a one day handover. But being the young, enthusiastic, budding career woman I so am I decided it was just another stepping stone and the experience would be well worth it. I started the job two weeks later. The location of the job meant that I would need to walk to my local train station and get a train for 20 minutes then walk a couple of miles through an industrial estate but I was willing, ready and excited just to get a paid marketing opportunity at my age, I convinced myself that it would all be worth it in the end.

I quickly found my footing and within my first week was able to secure some press for the garden centre in their local newspaper, a member of staff was taking part in a charity skydive and not only did I succeed in getting her story picked up by the local press, but she was photographed in the garden centre with her uniform on, exposing the branding to the wider community. I held social media competitions, maintained the website and began looking in to advertising for the coming summer months, overall everything was running smoothly. Now I just want to say that despite the actual work running smoothly the social aspect of the job left much to be desired, nobody spoke to one another and it basically consisted of 8 hours worth of solitude mixed in with super awkward lunch breaks where attempted interactions were met with steely silences, and I was about to find out why.

I was introduced to the owner of the garden centre fairly early on in the time I worked there, he was an older man who was very much a country, farmer type man who didn't take to me from the off, we had different interests, different sense of humor (though I now know he didn't have one) and to be honest he found my job as a nuscience and didn't see why he needed marketing at all. Which disheartened me when I found that any and all adjustments, events or money I spent had to go through him after going through the centre manager, which is where the problems really began.

It happened that when I started the garden centre was looking to host some new events and invite new businesses into the garden centre and I was asked if I could come up with some event proposals, so with that in mind I got right to work. After I had a list of event suggestions and about 5 detailed event proposals I handed them to the manager and the owner (who discarded the proposals immediately without reading them) but as they said they were busy at the time I decided I'd continue my work and come up with even more and go back to them the following week. Again the following week the owner knocked me back, not reading my proposals and I then asked about marketing budget, he didn't really explain but he said well we'll see what the events are we don't have a marketing budget as such.

The following week I had a 3 page document full of events the centre could do that would bring in customers, social media likes, press activity and most importantly revenue and about 10 detailed event proposals and I went in with my go getter head on and I insited on scheduling in a meeting with the owner and the manager so I could move forward with my work. We sat down in the office with the event proposals, just so you know this was a tiny office right in the middle of the garden centre and I was excited to finally get the opportunity to present my ideas (because guys not to toot my own horn but those ideas were amazeballs) and that's when the shit hit the fan (excuse my language but for this man I have said FAR worse in the past)

The owner slammed my proposal down on his desk and proceeded to yell at me over why his garden centre was not as big as another rival Aberdeenshire garden centre (who are known pretty much all over the UK) and that it was my fault and I wasn't doing my job and essentially belittling my skills, my degree and my character. Of course attempting to get a word in appeared futile and by this time he had not only attracted the attention of the other members of staff in the office, but the attention of customers passing by the office. He said and I quote, 'Isn't social media your degree isn't that your job, aren't you supposed to be getting my Facebook page likes?' spoken like a true technophobe, this drove me crazy and yes I did snap back, and yes I did get emotional to which he did make a sexist comment. I explained that I had gained them press coverage, engaged with his customers (a damn sight more than he did) yes I had improved likes to their Facebook page, a very tiny tiny part of my job, which if he had spoken to me he'd could have asked me to prioritise that. But, and this was the stinger that really wound him up, I explained that in order to be able to post on social media and attract business as a whole you actually need to do something, for example have promotions that will interest customers, host events, competitions etc which had been pitched to him but ignored on several counts.

But, and as I'm sure you guys already know. There is really no talking to some people and this man ladies and gentlemen appears to be more interested in making a show of his staff and belittling their skills than actually aiding his business by creating a positive environment, I guess that's his prerogative.

Anyway, getting back to that day, I understandably left early, I was quite upset by this encounter actually and I'm not proud to admit that but you know I was 19 and it was my first experience of marketing and being thrown in at the deep end and it left me rather disheartened. I had about 3 / 4 days to think things over, I discussed with my family what I should do and the general consensus was for the garden centre owner to stick his job where the sun don't shine, but I decided to seek help in the marketing manager on maternity leave before making my decision and I was gobsmacked by her response.

She basically came back and said she was expecting an email like this from me some time before and said she understood and that this particular man was a bit of a misogynist and difficult to work with due to his prejudices towards his female staff, mixed in with his general dislike and disdain for anything new, innovative or relatively technological I was destined to fail from the beginning. And that was it for me, I wrote my resignation letter and handed it in the following week without working out a notice period. There was no way I could work for such a man and no way that this experience would aid in furthering my career whatsoever. Upon handing in my notice the manager of the centre made a desperate attempt to vouch for the owner offering up all sorts of excuses about a difficult home life and stress to which I replied, you know leave it at home, as a business owner you can't take every little encounter out on your staff, then I made my exit and moved on to bigger and better things than pansies and garden gnomes.

Apologies this post has been a little long guys, but I have been carrying this around with me for the last 3 years and I just decided to spill it all out of my brain for your education and entertainment here today. My general advice to anyone working in a toxic environment like the above would be to just get out as soon as possible, I was lucky in that I was working two jobs at the time and my other boss was so understanding and I was able to pick up as many hours as I liked there to support myself through university. I hope you guys have enjoyed this little insight into my career path hiccup today, I would love to hear if you have ever faced anything similar in your life or career, be sure to leave your comments and experiences in the box below, come share your thoughts with me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with my latest posts be sure to follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, you can stick your pansies.

H.Elizabeth x


  1. What a nasty man! Glad you got out of there and moved onto bigger and better things. We can pretty much guarantee his business will be suffering now!

    Lyd x electricSUEDE

    1. It certainly was an experience, honestly was not paid enough to deal with that sort of nonsense particularly for a position in a garden centre, just hope the staff there moved on too.

      Hannah | Granite City Girl x

  2. Good read. Sadly there's still many like these people out there and in senior positions. But you tried your best so no fault at your end.

  3. Yes unfortunately these people know how to use and abuse their power, it's just so sad for the workers either have the choice of working for someone like that and being unemployed.

    Hannah | Granite City Girl

  4. You definitely did the right thing by leaving when you realised things weren't going to change. I was in a relatively similar situation and instead of leaving I stayed for 3 years and it took a massive toll on me personally. I became so low I didn't even want to go outside. You got out before this got you down, and you did it with a backbone, well done! xx

    1. That is a real shame, I can imagine what staying in such an oppressive role would do to someones self esteem, I was only there for a few weeks and I took a real knock. I'm glad you got out though even if it is after 3 years.

      Hannah | Granite City Girl x

  5. Ive just read this! Do you mind if I dont find it shocking?
    I am so used to old men (let alone countryside men or farmers) thinking that a girl, even worse a young girl, can do the job. And social media? You got him (un)hooked from the first moment :P
    Despite the ending though well done for all the things you managed to do at such short period of time! I would be very proud if I was you :)


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