Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Serious Business

I started training for another part of Adrian Leeds business with one of her managers. It began like this.
Skype, on my computer rang. It was the manager that I will be working for. I clicked on the Answer icon to hear his voice over my computer. “Florence, do you have time?” I knew he meant for training. I said, “Yes”. Training began immediately after the word came out of my mouth.

“I emailed you a test, did you get it?” Casually, I thought he meant a test email as in test-1-2-3, test. I opened it. There were 30 mathematical questions with numbers, percent signs, euro and dollar symbols, and written scenarios everywhere. I barely had time to look at it before he asked again, “Did you get it?” I said, “Yes.” “Okay, good. Now close it, so we can begin our discussion.” I asked, “Uh, so is this a test as in an exam?”, “Yes.” He answered.

He had also sent me the company processes and procedures, “Read it.” He said and paused for a few seconds. “Now ask me any questions.” was his next statement. I skimmed over it online while he waited and said, “No questions.” “Are you sure?” he seemed sincere in wanting to know, so I asked, “…by Seasons does this mean, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall?” “No!” he snapped as if it were a stupid question, “High Season, Low Season.”, he said, then began to discuss rental season periods, math formula’s, extrapolation of numbers, weighted averages, blended rates, percentages, exceptions, euro and dollar exchange rates, weekly rates, monthly rates, daily rates, the names of each rental apartment, air conditioning, followed by “and then we subtract 10 percent”……my head begin to spin. “Why subtract 10 percent?” I asked. “Because we’re in a recession!” In my mind I heard “You idiot!”. I wanted to cry. After taking a breath, he said, “This is a very important job, Don’t Fuck it up!”

“Okay, lets do an example. Hello…Hello, Florence are you there?” “Yes.” I replied. He read through an example like he was auctioning off French antique furniture. I tried to write and calculate the numbers at the same time. I had to write it down, I was not absorbing it. I had to write it down. Then he asked, “Okay, what did you get?” “Uh, $90,313 dollars?” “EUROS!” He yelled… followed by "No! Wrong!” I knew it was the wrong answer, because no apartment we have in Paris could possibly rent for 90,000 anything for 2 weeks, but that was the number in my calculator and my brain was too confused to make up a more reasonable number.

“Let’s try this again.” He said slowly, “Put the calculator in your hand and push the numbers as I tell you...” as he started auctioning off the numbers again. Still I got 90,763. “Your calculator is a piece of shit! Put the numbers in Excel on the computer and do it again.” I did it again and said, “3,500 Euros?” He said, “That’s right!” I had a headache and my room was starting to spin.

“Now, do the test and email it to me when you’re finished.” He said, then his voice changed to a little softer tone as he added, “Now I realize the purpose of the test is to make mistakes and learn, but it would be in your best interest to NOT make any mistakes!”

We completed my first day of training. So now I must go and complete the test. If I don’t blog tomorrow. Please understand that I have just begun to work with the manager from hell. I’m looking forward to an exciting adventure.


  1. See? And you were worrying about silly men. Ah, the universe is great with anticipation at your unfolding adventure. Enjoy it.

  2. Work is work whether you're in Paris, Texas or Paris, France. But the weekends are better where you are......