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Overcoming that first bad work experience

Posted 08-18-2019, 10:36 PM
>>You will understand later, but for now, just know that I record ALL my phone calls. I am aware it's not legal, but you will come to find out why it might be useful.<<

So, when I started working in the movie industry I felt like I was unstoppable, I was going for gold and no one was going to stand in my way. I couldn't be more wrong. I started my first official job at a movie production company. Today I will tell you about my experience and what I did to grow past it and turn it into something positive.

So, to put everything in perspective, I will start with the story of what happened.
It was my 8th week at my new job, I was a cameraman and editor for a company that made commercials mainly in the animal sector. We used to make videos for stuff like: New dog food, cat toys, animal reviews (yes they are an actual thing), etc. Along the way, I really started to like working with my colleagues and I had a great time shooting and editing the videos in a timely fashion. But we are here to hear what bad experiences I had at work, so let's get into that.

There was a colleague of mine that I will be calling "James" for now. James was a video director at the company and always went with us on video shoots and commercial shoots. He was only 2 years older than me, but he finished his school way earlier than me so he was already working at the company for 3 years. James was the type of guy that always felt like he was above everyone else, and he felt like he could say anything he wants, without repercussions. With that in mind, I think that you guys can imagine how this went whilst we were working on videos. James wanted us to do the impossible when it came to video and editing, we always had to work the fastest we could and anything we made wasn't good enough, but when the big boss came by and liked the video that James had denied earlier, everything would be alright.

At the office, we all worked on high spec Mac computers (i7, 1TB SSD, 32GB, etc) that were connected to a central server, allowing us to work on projects together and not worry about any files missing if someone else was taking over for their part of the project. Most of the footage we shot was in 4k. << this info is important.

One day, whilst editing a video, my Mac just shut off by itself without any warning, making me lose the whole project (For some reason it corrupted the auto-save files). It was like the power just shut off. Like any normal person would do, I checked the power plug and asked around if anyone else had a problem but nothing was wrong they said. I turned the Mac on again, and all was fine until about 3 hours later when it happened again! argh!. I went to my boss to explain the issue and he said that I should try one more time before we replace it for another Mac. Doing as he told me, I tried again and once again the Mac shut off shortly after. I finally got my replacement Mac, but my god, I was shocked when I saw what he gave me. He gave me the old administrative computer (i3, 8gb, 500GB HDD) because he didn't have any backup high spec ones...

With the editing of the 4k footage in the back of my head, I immediately thought about how James would react about me working in a 'too slow' pace with this Mac. And as I suspected it was an absolute hellish job trying to edit the footage. With my colleague constantly laughing at me raging because it took 5 minutes to load 1 clip, I was mad as hell.

With a big video coming up that required a 1-day edit (You shoot and edit the video in 1 day), James asked me if I was interested in going with him to the event (Motor races), to film there. Someone else would do the editing he said since I was already filming the event. I said 'hell yeah!' since I love racing. I got up at 5 AM that morning because it was a two-hour drive and I still had to get the camera gear at the office. James would go there on his own since he had some friends in that area that he would crash at that evening he said. Finally arriving at the venue at around 8 AM, I was shocked to get a call from James that he wasn't able to make it since his car 'broke down'. To which I replied 'Why are you calling me NOW?! and not 2 hours ago?! I could have picked you up!'. James said that he was too worried about his car to actually worry about calling me, making me all the angrier.

I went off to the races, had a great time and I finished my day at around 6 PM, I just had to drive to the office and all would be done! James told me that one of my colleagues would be at the office once I arrived at 8 PM since he would do the editing. Me being all happy about being done, I arrive at the office, I get the camera gear, walk to the front entrance, grab the door handle and come to find out the door is still locked. Me being very confused since I was already 15 minutes late, but in the back of my mind I thought 'O he might have locked the door again since it's evening, he must be upstairs'. So I unlock and lock the door again and walk upstairs. All the light were off, so as I feared, no one was actually in the office.

At this point, I was very very confused and I called my colleague to ask him where he was, to which he replied: 'Bro, James told me that I wasn't needed anymore since you would do the edit'. I hung up the phone and started raging and screaming in the office since there was no way in hell I was going to do that edit and stay until 2 AM. I called James and asked what the hell was going on, to which he replied: 'Well, I thought it wouldn't be that big of an issue, I mean, you already did the video, so you might as well do the edit. Why waste another colleague's evening if you can do it as well?' Me being very angry I replied: 'You are not in your right mind, I am going home and you can figure out tomorrow who is doing the edit.' To which he replied: 'I will have your job for this, just watch me'. At this point, I was fuming, but shortly after I hung up, I realized something. James had already gotten a warning earlier that year from the big boss for pretending to be a much higher authority than he actually is. So when I realized that I recorded the whole conversation, I knew I would be solid the next day.

The next day comes around and I come into the office with a big smile and no worries on my shoulders. James was already in the office and apparently already went to the big boss to tell him what happened. The big boss was very very angry, to which I replied: 'Why are you angry at ME?'. To which the big boss replied: 'You promised James that you would do the video and edit and you just went home without doing to edit! can you imagine what this will do to us as a company?! we might lose one of our biggest clients!' I replied: 'Wait, hold on, I never promised James that I would do the edit, James told me that he had another colleague that would do the edit. I called him yesterday evening and he said that he didn't want to waste another colleague's evening because "I could simply do it". To which James replied: 'I never said that! Stop lying! you told me you would do the edit as well!'

Now came the sweet revenge part, and the part where this blog post is really about.
I said 'I have it all recorded'. To which James' face turned red like an F'ing tomato and the big boss' face turned all 5 colors of the rainbow since he loved that stuff. I took out my phone and started the recording from the phone call last night. James started screaming that it was illegal to do that and that he would press charges against me, but I really couldn't care. The big boss asked me to leave the room and go back to work for now. I got out of the room and went back into the editing room where my colleagues were sitting as well. As anyone would do, they all asked me what happened and I simply told them the story. About 30 minutes later, James comes out of the boss' office and grabs his gear and leaves the office. The big boss asked for everyone to come to the lounge. He started explaining what happened and he said that James was fired on the spot because he had lied to him and he had already been warned before. He said we would see him again once or twice since he had to round up what he was working on, but that was it.

Once everyone was back to work, the big boss asked for me to come and talk to him. The boss told me that James confessed to what he did, and he apologized. Me being all happy from the inside, I said: 'That is good to hear'. To which the boss said: 'We are not done yet, because you made some big mistakes as well'. I was absolutely shocked because at that point I really did not know what I did wrong. He said 'You recorded a conversation with a colleague of yours, which is illegal. And besides all of that, you didn't show the initiative to actually do the edit, even if it wasn't your job to do. We are in big shit now with our client.' I was speechless and replied: 'Well, boss, I really feel like that is not my wrongdoing, I worked from 5 AM until 8 PM yesterday and you really can't expect me to work until 2 AM and then what? not show up to work the next morning...? or show up at 8 AM again?' To which he replied: 'Yes [name], I do expect that from you, and if you can't do that, I think it is time for you to leave as well'.

At this point, I was basically fired. It was my first real job and I was only 8 weeks in.
I felt like actually shooting myself because of what happened, but I knew that wouldn't help anything. I went home and started crying. << Yes that is what people do. I saw my whole future flash by me and I thought I would never have a job again.

About 2 weeks after I was fired, I got a call from one of the editors (Calling him A) from my old work, he asked me if I was interested in a job offer and asked me to meet up. Apparently, he was thinking about leaving the company and starting his own business. I said I would love to take him up on the job opportunity. The company was made, and it started to grow very rapidly. The business was more orientated towards after movies for festivals and weddings. Which is still a booming business. The company was about 6 months old when we got a bunch of people applying for the open video director position. A, talked to a lot of people but really wasn't sure who to hire yet. One day when I was having a coffee, he screamed that I had to come to his office. I was frightened as hell, but it really didn't sound too much like an angry scream. As you can probably suspect, our lovely friend James applied for the position.

We laughed very hard, and actually decided to ask him to come in for a talk. A, would start the conversation and I would come in later. And that is exactly what we did. James was shocked to see me walk in and asked me what I was doing here. To which I said: 'Well James, I kept my head up, and actually didn't stick it up someone else's ass, like you did. I am not an asshole like you are. That being said, you can go, thanks'.

I worked at the company for another few weeks and then left because I wanted to pursue another journey (back to school).

So, you just read everything that happened but might still be wondering how I grew past it.

1. I kept my head up and didn't give in because of someone throwing me down. And to be very honest, my parents really helped me with this. They were a big help in this situation. They told me to keep my head up and never stop loving myself. Please don't be afraid to ask help from someone in these kinds of situations, especially people that might have experienced something like this before.

2. This is something I did wrong: ALWAYS stay true to yourself. NEVER lower yourself to the same level as the person doing you wrong. Looking back at the situation, I wish we never invited James over for a talk. I feel like an asshole doing so since I never really gained anything from it besides a laugh. James especially didn't gain anything from it.

Knowing all of this, I was able to adjust myself to not make these mistakes again.

I know our parents always say 'You will learn from your mistakes and you will grow because of them'. It always felt like that wasn't true, but for once, I believe them.

“A teachable spirit and a humbleness to admit your ignorance or your mistake will save you a lot of pain. However, if you're a person who knows it all, then you've got a lot of heavy-hearted experiences coming your way.”
― Ron Carpenter Jr., The Necessity of an Enemy: How the Battle You Face Is Your Best Opportunity
08-26-2019, 02:07 PM
This was the first blog post on HF I've ever read and it was amazing!
08-24-2019, 01:49 PM
Damn, what a good read. Thank you for this.
08-24-2019, 05:23 AM
Good blog post! :)
08-23-2019, 12:57 AM
Amazing read.