HELP WANTED

HELP WANTED

Here comes another post where I bitch about my job. (Sorry.)

Yesterday, I performed my first notarization. It was a requirement of my job that I become a notary, which meant that I had to attend an excruciating all-day seminar, pass a test, fill out a bunch of forms, get fingerprinted and perform a series of minor hassles before I’d be given my official seal from the State of California.

Even though everyone else in the firm is a notary, it was imperative that I become one, because nobody wants to perform notarizations for my boss. All the assistants here hate him and refuse to put up with him and his unreasonable demands. Notarizing a document is not to be taken lightly, as I learned in my seminar. If you screw it up, you can get sued for everything you own. Since just about everything you notarize is headed for the office of a lawyer and since lawyers make their living by suing people, this is not a risk to be overlooked.

My first notarization turned out to be entirely typical of my boss. He told me to get my notary junk, then called his loan agent (of course, this was a personal document and not at all business related) and told them to send a rush messenger, as the package would be ready “in five minutes”. He then tossed me a form signed by him and his wife and ran off to a meeting.

I looked at the form he had given me, and it was totally blank. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that you can’t notarize something that hasn’t been filled out (nor should you sign it in the first place), but my boss expects special treatment, completely oblivious or insensitive to the fact that the one who’s going to suffer for this, should anything go wrong, is me.

I checked with some of the more seasoned notaries in my office, all of whom insisted I not notarize the form (and one of whom even called the National Notary Association to back her up). Luckily, I had the phone number of his loan agent, and we were able to call up and get the information, fill the form out ourselves and send it off in time for the messenger. My boss got out of his meeting, and everything had been taken care of, just like he wanted.

The one thing that made all of it tolerable was knowing that he’d be leaving today for a seminar in San Diego that would keep him out of town and out of my hair for the rest of the week.

This was a trip he’d planned months ago. (Guess who made all the arrangements.) Since it was being held in a swanky hotel, he decided to make a mini-vacation out of it, bring his wife and kid along, and have the firm pick up the tab. It took some smooth-talking, but after lots of work, he got them to agree to it.

Then this morning he spontaneously decided that he didn’t want to go. He told his wife and kid to unpack and told me to cancel all the reservations, lie and say he was sick and demand that, due to his “illness”, he not be charged a penalty for cancelling without notice.

This has not been easy to accomplish. I’ve left several messages at the hotel, but nobody will call me back, probably because I sound like a raving lunatic conveying his demands to them, while muttering under my breath, “I’m sorry, I’m terribly sorry.” I’ve also called the company that booked the reservation and they’ve been no help either. As it becomes more and more obvious to my boss that he’s not going to be able to get out of this on his (ahem) charm, he’s getting more and more upset and demanding that I make angrier and angrier calls to the hotel on his behalf.

It’s been fun.

I hate lying about being sick (as I did last Friday when I took off to help Drew recover from getting his wisdom teeth out), but what I hate even more is lying on someone else’s behalf. At my previous job, when I worked for an entertainment attorney, one of the clients was a well-known film director. This washed-up hack, if I may be so generous, was also a major pain in the ass (let’s just say his name rhymes with “Kobe”). He’d shot some cheap cable or straight-to-video-type film that he was now trying to distance himself from. He was desperately trying to get out of performing some post-production work he was contractually obligated to perform, and my boss informed him that he’d have to suck it up and abide by the contract. So this director had me, the assistant — and not even his assistant, mind you — call the company and say he wasn’t available to come in because there’d been a death in his family.

Not 100% sure that he was lying, I made the call, and the woman I spoke to poured forth a stream of heartfelt sympathy. “Oh, I’m so sorry! Tell him our thoughts and prayers are with him!”, etc. Fearing I’d been used, I felt sick.

I later found out that several weeks earlier, the director’s dog had died. I’m glad Fluffy’s death provided him a convenient alibi so he didn’t have to feel like he was lying, but involving me in his deception was apparently a moral nonissue for him. I would’ve vowed never to see one of his films again… if only anyone were still hiring him to direct anything. And yeah, I believe those rumors that [his biggest film] was secretly directed by [a huge A-list superstar director] and not him at all. Loser.

Well, I’m sure glad I got out of that job.

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