What Could Go Wrong?
Co-workers can make or break a job. Having good co-workers often results in less work-related stress and a better all-around working environment for everyone involved. Unfortunately, when co-workers are bad, they can be awful.
Our friend, “Paul,” learned this lesson the hard way. Paul had spent several of his teenage years lifeguarding at the community pools and local beaches in his area. Over time, he achieved every certification in the book and, by all accounts, was an excellent lifeguard. One year, a beach a couple of hours away was having difficulties staffing their lifeguards for the summer and they actively recruited Paul to come work there. It just so happened his parents owned a cottage ten minutes from the beach, where he would be predominantly be working.
Since it was his first time working at the beach, the district manager said they weren’t able to hire him as a beach captain despite his qualifications. However, they were still willing to pay him the hourly rate of a beach captain, as well as extra for his certifications. As far as they were concerned, he was an alternate as a beach captain; however, they wanted to ensure they weren’t upsetting the locals who had worked there the previous years. As far as Paul was concerned, it was more pay with fewer responsibilities and an excuse for a Summer getaway. What could go wrong?
Little did he know, one beach captain, “Megan,” was going to make his life miserable for the next ten weeks.
Megan immediately rubbed Paul the wrong way. She did nothing but refer to him as “rookie” for the short time she was present for the first day of training camp before leaving early because she had a prom to attend. She declined to attend the next two days of training because she was still “recovering from the after-prom parties.”
Paul thought, “How on earth is she skipping out on training while the rest of us are getting up to go run before breakfast?”
Well, it turned out she came from a well-known family in her small town and her mom, who was a former beach captain, ran the local pool in town. Her sister was a former beach captain, then district manager, and had recently moved onto nursing school. Megan was next in line to do this and used up every bit of privilege her family name afforded her. She was even going to be awarded a full-ride scholarship from the town lifeguard service to the school of her choice.
On the first day of Summer, the beach was only open for a half-day. There weren’t many patrons, so the majority of the shift was spent organizing first aid kits and equipment as well as setting up the lifeguard hut. The district manager stopped by toward the end of the shift to ensure everything was in order and he was satisfied with their work.
At the end of the shift, Megan’s mother showed up and told her to start packing because they were heading to the Dominican Republic for a swimming instructor symposium for three weeks. Paid in full by the local pool.
Megan shouted, ‘See you in three weeks, rookie,’ then darted to her car.
Paul and the district manager were left dumbfounded as it was the first time they had heard about her three-week vacation. They had to stay late that night to come up with a new schedule and despite it being his first season at the beach, Paul was promoted to the role of beach captain.
Despite having to work harder, Paul was actually thrilled about Megan being gone for three weeks. She had done little to nothing their entire first shift and instead opted to just boss everyone around while she was sitting out tanning.
Three weeks later, Megan was furious when she returned to see Paul was in the same position as her. Megan spent the entirety of their first shift together trying to assert her dominance over Paul.
Out of nowhere, she shouted, “Hey rookie! Do you even know how to do CPR? I was watching you at training camp and you were doing it wrong! I need you to show me how to do it right now!”
Despite Paul being a literal CPR instructor, Megan took every opportunity to criticize his technique in front of all of the other guards. As you can imagine, watching one beach captain try to haze another was a little odd for the onlookers.
Later that week, Paul caught Megan eating out of his lunchbox in the guard hut.
He called her out and said, “Hey Megan, is that my lunch in your mouth right now?”
She responded, “Umm, was that your lunchbox?”
Paul snapped back, “Well, it wasn’t your lunchbox, was it?”
Megan turned red and retorted, “Umm, I’m a beach captain! You can’t talk to me like that!”
Megan continued to make Paul’s life miserable for the rest of the Summer by doing things such as stealing his Sriracha sauce thinking it was ketchup then writing him up for “attempting to poison her with hot sauce,” taking off her top in front of him in full view of kids at the beach, calling her dealer to non-discreetly deliver joints to her while on shift, and undermining every single aspect of training he gave the junior lifeguards.
Just when Paul thought Megan couldn’t make his Summer any worse, he was jolted awake by a pounding on his bedroom door inside his cottage at five o’clock in the morning.
Breaking And Entering
Absolutely shocked and unsure of whether or not he was about to be murdered, Paul sat up in bed.
It was Megan. Inside of his cottage. Pounding on his bedroom door. At five o’clock in the morning.
She shouted, “Paul! Ugh! Answer your phone! I’ve been calling you all night! Why don’t you have any clothes on?! That’s gross! You have to work at the beach further away today! I have an appointment I’ve had scheduled for months today and can’t change it! You need to go there or I won’t be back in time!”
Paul thought to himself, “What on earth is going on? Why is she inside my house?”
On the outside, Paul completely lost his temper and shouted, “Why are you in my house?! Get out of here! Have you lost your mind?!”
After shooing Megan out of his house, Paul thought, “That’s it. I’m done. This isn’t worth it,” and called his district manager.
The district manager answered the phone and said, “What’s going on Paul? It’s not even six o’clock in the morning.”
Paul responded, “Megan just broke into my cottage to tell me I had to work at the beach further away. I can’t handle any more of her. I’m done. I quit,” then he proceeded to tell him everything Megan had pulled over the Summer.
The district manager responded, “Paul, you’ve been a great employee all Summer and you haven’t given me a single reason not to trust you. You have to understand how serious these allegations are. Unfortunately, the best I can do without any evidence is make sure you both aren’t on the same shift for the rest of the Summer. Would you stick out the last two weeks if I can ensure that?”
Paul agreed, hung up, and got ready for the workday.
Later in the day, while Paul was working on the further away beach, he got a call from the district manager.
The district manager said, “Paul, I owe you an apology. I thought you were making this stuff up. Megan just called to report you for being unclothed and yelling at her. As she was explaining this, she admitted to walking into your home. What do you want to do about this?”
Paul asked, “Which beach captain or alternate has Megan worked with the most this Summer?”
The district manager responded, “Oh, it looks like you by a fair bit.”
Paul asked, “Is she allowed to do my end-of-season evaluation?”
The district manager responded, “After what has happened between you two this Summer, absolutely not. I’m going to be doing your end-of-year evaluation.”
Paul exclaimed, “Oh, thank goodness. Who gets to do her end-of-year evaluation?”
The district manager said, “It would be you, Paul. I can’t officially recommend this to you but if this end-of-year evaluation is going in the direction I think it is, I would recommend you provide as much evidence as possible.”
Paul responded, “I really appreciate the advice, sir.”
Unfortunately for Paul, he had to fill in for someone on Megan’s shift on the last day of the season.
Megan spent the entirety of their final shift together saying things like, “I’m going to make your review so bad,” and “You’re going to wish you never came here, rookie.”
Paul could do nothing but smile in return. He knew he was going to effectively end Megan’s lifeguarding career with the end-of-year evaluation and she had absolutely no idea it was coming.
Not long after submitting the end-of-year evaluation, Paul received a phone call from the senior manager, who was unaware of the situation between him and Megan until reading the evaluation.
“This Is Really Bad”
The senior manager opened the conversation by saying, “Paul, I’ve heard great things about your performance as a beach captain this Summer. With that being said, I’m reading Megan’s end-of-year evaluation and there are some serious allegations here. Her family will likely rebuke this and make it a problem for my office. Not giving her the scholarship sounds harsh. Do you have any documentation to back up any of this? Do you really think she deserves this?”
Paul said, “Well, sir, it’s ultimately up to you. I just emailed you a note and contact information for the entire team, feel free to contact them at any time. I’ve also sent you trail camera footage of her breaking into my home at five o’clock in the morning. I’ve also included the contact information for all of the patrons who have made complaints about her.”
The senior manager responded, “Oh well, ummm, this is awful. Well, thanks for being thorough with this,” then they hung up.
After Paul’s conversation with the senior manager, word quickly spread around about Megan’s abuse of power and the extent she had taken it. Thankfully, Megan did not receive the scholarship and it went to another lifeguard who was a much harder worker and genuinely deserved it. Of course, Megan’s mom threw a complete fit over it and spent a great deal of time complaining about the beach hiring lifeguards from out of town.
After that Summer, Paul began his actual career but despite his experience with Megan, he decided he loved the town and wanted to settle down there. He offered his services as a substitute as an excuse to get outside and enjoy the beach on weekends over the next Summer.
One of the guards Paul had befriended the previous Summer called him and asked if he would be willing to fill in one weekend. Paul obliged and jokingly responded he would do it as long as Megan was working his shift. He laughed and said no, but confirmed she was still on staff, only as a regular lifeguard.
When Paul arrived to work that weekend, he discovered Megan wasn’t working; however, her cousin was.
As he had done with the other new guards on shift, Paul walked over and introduced himself. Except for this time, he was thinking, “This isn’t going to end well.”
“You’re Basically A Legend Around Here!”
Megan’s cousin exclaimed, “Wait, are you THE Paul?!”
Paul thought, “Here we go again,” and responded, “Umm, yes?”
To his surprise, a big smile appeared on her face and she said, “Oh man! You are awesome! Megan and her mom completely hate you! They’re so mean, my entire family hates them! She’s so entitled it makes us all look bad! You’re basically a legend around here!”
Paul was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.
Over the next couple of days, he befriended Megan’s cousin, “Katie.”
Katie informed him Megan was really counting on the scholarship and she never saved any money for school because her mom had pulled so many strings in order for her to get it. Thankfully, that meant her plan of going into nursing didn’t pan out. Things got so bad that Megan’s mom had to take a different management position at a pool outside of town but she was ultimately laid off and had to go back to working at her old pool under the person who was promoted into her job. There was no more string-pulling or enabling Megan’s entitlement from her “new” old position.
The last Paul had heard, Megan went to a community college and enrolled in the Continuing Care Attendant program until she saved enough money to transfer to nursing. She was shortly kicked out of the program as her instructors weren’t a fan of her “holier than thou” attitude entering the healthcare field and representing their program.
Paul saw her the next Summer working in an ice cream stand next to one of the popular beaches. She not-so-surprisingly didn’t have the nerve to call him “rookie” anymore.