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Home: The Toast

The job where I tried to take one of my coworker’s pretzels and she slapped my hand.

The job where the light in the bathroom went out one day and still hadn’t been replaced when I quit six months later.

The job where each department had to write and perform a Halloween skit for company management.

The job where a coworker reverse-engineered a scent sensitivity so that whenever she had a headache, she’d walk around sniffing people’s hair and clothes until she smelled something she could blame.

The job where that same coworker developed an undiagnosable light sensitivity and began wearing sunglasses in the office.

The job where I had to ask my boss to tell the chairman of the board to stop playing with my hair when he visited.

The job where instead of firing employees she didn’t like, my manager would move their cubicle every three months until they quit. (We gave people red swingline staplers at their going-away parties.)

The job where I knew it was time to go when she moved my cubicle to a spot directly under the air conditioning vent.

The job where my director would look at my lunch and say, “Wow, are you going to eat all of that?”

The job where I showed up for my second summer and my manager hadn’t mentioned beforehand that she was eight months pregnant, didn’t mention it all week, then finally said, “So did you notice that I’m about to have a baby or what?”

The job where I was trained for less than an hour on how the phones worked before the receptionist went on vacation for the rest of the summer.

The job where I spent the next three months saying, “Well, if it was important, they’ll call back” whenever I tried to transfer a call.

The job where our office was next to the event room and kitchen, and I saved a year’s-worth of lunch money by eating leftover hors d’oeuvres and, occasionally, leftover rack of lamb.

The job where my manager and an employee who were dating broke up and I was tasked with relaying messages between them like a poorly paid child of divorce.

The job where a middle-aged white woman explained what “the down-low” was to me to illustrate how much she knew about black men.

The job(s) where my boss called me “Lynette” the entire time I worked there.

The job where the office had mice.

The job where the office had flying ants.

The job where a rat died in the walls.

The job where I knew it was a rat because there were more rats.

The job where a coworker accidentally grabbed my boob during a team-building event.

The job where the real team-building occurred over tequila shots long after the event had ended.

The job where I have literally just this moment realized the waiter at the restaurant next door was flirting with me every time he came to visit. Eighteen years too late.

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Lyette Mercier actually loved all of these jobs, except for the one with the rats.

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