Guest Blogging Goddess Brook Bolen shares her story “The Best Time I Accidentally Edited a Sex Toy Into a Home Health Care Franchise Manual.” Here is her 100% true, 100% mortifying story. Needless to say, we’ve yet to meet someone who can top her “most embarrassing moment on the job” story.
I was working the shittiest job ever when an acquaintance offered me the opportunity to edit a training manual for the home health care franchise she worked for. Because I was scraping by, I jump jumped like Kriss Kross at the opportunity.
She brought the mammoth manual to me and explained that she wanted it cleaned up and cohesive. Easy. She told me to record the hours I worked and she’d pay me $15 an hour.
I started working quickly, intending to dazzle her with my efficiency. Everything was great until I hit the Table of Contents. The acquaintance hadn’t been lying when she said the previous editor had “really fucked it up.” I tried everything to fix it, but each correction created a series of subsequent errors that spilled over onto the following pages. I pondered the first editor’s motivations and now suspect she was treated as unfairly as I was and got her revenge there, within the document. But at the time, I couldn’t do much more than marvel at what I presumed was her nefarious technological genius.
I let the acquaintance know that with the exception of the Table of Contents, I had corrected the entire manual. When she retrieved it, she was very understanding and appreciative of my work, claiming it had never looked more polished or professional. As she left, she reminded me to submit my invoice.
Upon receipt, she replied, saying that while I had done a great job on it, my invoice exceeded their budget. Needless to say, I was shocked and felt it required a delicate response. I was torn between my personal response which was, succinctly, “Fuck you, pay me,” and my professional one, a deftly worded, eloquent way of saying “Fuck you, pay me.” After careful deliberation, I told her instead of being paid in full at once, I would accept multiple payments. She reluctantly agreed, saying I should expect payment soon. I was proud of successfully playing hardball and looked forward to getting paid.
A few weeks later, however, I received an email with the subject “links in manual.” It read:
“Brook, I am not sure what to make of this, but when I read through the manual I found a link inserted in two separate places. Needless to say, if this had gone unnoticed it would have been a complete embarrassment in training and totally unacceptable.”
With a sinking stomach, I opened the link and found, to my horror, that it was the gorgeous, iridescent purple double-headed dildo I’d been admiring. I’d somehow managed to insert two links to a double-headed dildo from an online adult store into a document for people who were already waffling on paying me the money I was owed. At that moment, I knew that without ever purchasing or acquiring that shimmering, bulbous dildo, I was going to get fucked by it.
In a panic, I apologized profusely, saying I had no idea how that happened and that it was, of course, unacceptable. No response. Several days later, I received an email detailing errors I’d left uncorrected–none of which had been previously mentioned. I pointed this out but received no response.
Two more months passed and all my communications went ignored. Finally, I contacted the acquaintance’s boss. After explaining the entire situation, I said I simply wanted compensation for the work I’d done. I didn’t mention the elephant in the, er, dildo in the document.
Another month passed before I received a check for less than half of what I was owed. There was a pithy, condescending note attached saying the check represented the resolution of the matter. Because I needed the money–and knew this was the best I was gonna get–I cashed it.
And that is the story of my first freelance job. Freelancers: get everything in writing beforehand. And whatever you do, keep links to gleaming purple silicone double-headed dildos OUT of whatever you’re working on. They might be good to sit on, but they leave you without a proverbial (third) leg to stand on.
Born and raised in the Dirty South, Brook Bolen is a redheaded femme minx and a pit bull baby mama extraordinaire. When she’s not growing tomatoes as red as her hair, she is writing and hoping to help revoluntionize public discussion and perception of pit bulls with her collaborative blog, Pit Bull Patriarchy. She can be reached here.