Tonight, or rather early this morning (I have officially lost track of when one day ends and the next begins) I was advising a friend on tactics for job interviews, as he is looking for summer employment. The inspiration for this conversation came from him returning home from a night out with friends completely baked, as he is wont to do on weekends. I am not anti-pot by any stretch of the imagination; I have blazed away countless Saturday nights watching Futurama and stuffing my maw with Pringles. But drug testing is pretty compulsory these days, even for lower-tier jobs, and the numerous synthetic urine and other tricks of the trade are not fail-safe by any means. I reminded him as such. I don't think he cared, or was even listening to me, but it did remind me of one of my many fucked-up job interview stories.
A couple years ago I was hired as a sales support liaison for a veneer factory. I was later promoted to human resources assistant, most likely due to this incident. I was pretty much hired on the spot and started work the following day. Right away I was concerned about the mental stability of the human resources manager. She was friendly enough but I could smell batshit insanity about her. When my supervisor walked me down to meet her to fill out tax forms her office door was shut, something my supervisor told me she had been chastised for in the past. I thought nothing of it and simply got started filling out the forms. Once that was finished, the HR manager handed me a plastic cup sealed in a baggie.
"Alright, go upstairs and fill this and then you can get to work."
It is quite obvious from the little litmus paper-like test strips adhered to the side of the cup that she doesn't want me to fill it with coffee. My WTF meter is off the charts. She notes my bewildered expression and explains that it's a quick drug screen, emphasizing ominously that I have to pass it before I can start work.
Okay, there is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to get started. It is not unheard of to hire someone prior to their successful passing of a drug screen, but it always seemed weird to me. I've had people tell me they worked for an employer for the better part of a week before being asked to take a drug screen. A week might not sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but when you are essentially hemorrhaging money to train people, every single day counts. And people can and do fail drug screens, which renders them hors de combat and both potential employee and employer royally S.O.L.
Anyway, I'm mostly shaken up because I do not have to use the facilities. Urinating on command should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. But you get me stuck in traffic with no cigarettes in blazing summer heat and you'd better believe I'm busting. But I digress. I shyly tell the manager that I don't have to go and it might be a minute. So she tosses me a dollar and tells me the employee lounge has bottled water. I am stunned and a little horrified at what in my unprofessional opinion is pretty unprofessional behaviour. Long story short I guzzled down some water and was able to fulfill my duties. The test takes a couple minutes to register. Upon receiving the satisfactory result-that is, that I'm not a druggie-this numpty hands me the cup o' pee and tells me to go dump it in the restroom sink. As I hold the disturbingly warm cup I can't help but feel that there is something expressly against company policy afoot here. Nonetheless I do as she says. Later I tell my supervisor this story. Her reaction? "She made you dump your own piss? I'm sorry but that's nasty. She's such a stupid bitch."
Less than a week after this incident the HR manager quit suddenly, having left a cryptic resignation letter on her desk seemingly in the middle of the night. My supervisor and I filled in to cover her duties. The rest of my brief employment with this company left me somewhat bitter and even more baffled as to the human condition, but it's a funny story to tell, apparently because it involves pee. Eh.