Who Says Stoners Are Slackers?

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2021

I work as a personal care provider for individuals with mental disabilities. Unfortunately, I have a severe anxiety disorder which can make the constant noise of the job difficult, as all food for four people has to be blended in an industrial blender in a tiny, echoey kitchen, and one of the individuals moans constantly. One day, I need a quick break, and as I walk out the door:

Me: *Jokingly* “I need some weed.” 

Oddly enough, I feel funny as I say it. I have my hand on the door as I turn around to say I was joking, only to shrug and go back out to my car; surely, my coworker will take it as a joke. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve just sealed my fate as the last day on the job. 

While I do live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it’s illegal to smoke pot on the job, especially THIS type of job. Really, all I do is walk to my car — parked two feet from the front windows — grab an energy drink from my front seat, and walk right back inside to get some ice. Total time out of sight: maybe thirty seconds if I dawdled.

My coworker decides that I couldn’t have been joking. I have my hair dyed bright red and I admittedly do smoke when I’m safely at home, so clearly, I am a heathen. (Really, I think she is pissed that I am being unwillingly groomed for the soon-to-be-empty manager’s job.)

So, two days later, on my day off, I get called on my cell.

Boss: “Effective immediately, you are under investigation for consuming drugs illicitly on the property. You will not be receiving any type of compensation or allowed to work again until the charges are cleared. The investigation may take two to four weeks to conclude.”

Mind you, this call comes two days before Christmas, and I am the sole employee scheduled to work twelve-hour day shifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Not only am I losing my double-time pay for covering the holidays, but they are losing the one person who doesn’t already have plans on those shifts. 

After receiving that phone call, I sit there for a minute and decide that that job isn’t worth the additional stress — I’ve been doing the manager’s work for her for a third of the pay for six months at this point — and I am done. So, I type a short letter of resignation, drive to work on my day off, and slam it down on my boss’s desk. I tell all of the managers present:

Me: “If you are going to throw me through the wringer based on a single comment and not a shred of evidence, I’m not coming back.”

After that day, I took a week off for the holidays and then started applying to job after job in my tiny town. Nothing came my way, so eventually, I turned to an employment website. When that came up blank, I decided to try building a writing portfolio on a couple of freelancing sites, as I’d always wanted to be a published novelist.

One year later, I’m now published in “Forbes” as a financial analyst for several major investing and consulting firms. I work from home, choose my own hours, and get paid top-dollar — despite my lack of a college degree — for doing what I’ve always loved.

All because I made a dumb, offhand comment to my coworker on her first day on the job.

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