When I accepted the position of Office Manager at a local waste oil company, I honestly didn’t know anything about running it but it didn’t take long to discover just how dirty the business really was. My office was nothing more than a notepad, desk and 3-drawer filing cabinet filled with crumpled pieces of loose paperwork that the workers had scribbled on and shoved aside. The owner had inherited the business from his father and grew it from the back of a truck with an oil drum to a multimillion dollar facility filled with some family members and a group of his closest friends. He was a spoiled manchild that had grown up with rolls of cash in his pockets and was accustomed to getting whatever he wanted. He showed off his collection of big boy toys before introducing me to his mistress along with his wife and kids. Outside of the family, I was introduced to the rogues gallery of various business associates; many of whom had been corrupted and placed personal gain above any sense of morality. If there was ever a snake in the grass, this was a definitive pit of vipers.
It became obvious that the owner wanted me to run the company so he didn’t have to anymore. One of our first orders of business was to have me added to the company account. I was going to negotiate the prices for our services, the value of the used oil that we sold to refineries and handle the company paychecks. After our trip to the bank, I was given carte blanche to purchase a new computer and whatever else I wanted to personalize the office to meet my needs. After bringing my workspace into this century, I was given a crash course in OSHA regulations, which rules had to be strictly adhered to, which could be bent and which could be broken. But following the rules wasn’t nearly as difficult as trying to lead a den of thieves. The men I worked with were redneck pirates born and bred, just as likely to stab a man in the back as shake his hand. Most of them came from troubled backgrounds that involved any number of crimes that ranged from drunk and disorderly conduct to robberies, charges of violence and drugs. At least two of the employees were addicted to Crack Cocaine but they were kept on the payroll due to their relationship with the owner. I was writing paychecks every Friday ranging anywhere from $2000 to $3000 on average and those men would be completely broke by Monday morning. One of them had a moped that the owner had bought for him and the other walked to work. Knowing that that those two were smoking an excess of $4000 each weekend completely confounded me. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would ever put themselves in that position, to give up everything for a taste of that pasty white rock. But then I remembered my old friends from my own hard partying days. None of us had picked up a bottle, popped a pill or fired up a smoke with the intention of addiction but it happened anyway. I’m sure we all thought we could handle it just as my co-workers had and just like with everyone else, the addictions proved otherwise. I wondered if granted access to that much money when I was surrounded by the beautiful people at their beautiful parties if I would have fared any better.