30 Days of Truth: Someone who made your life hell

I was about to take the deep route on this one.  I was going to reflect on some of the more difficult times in my life and reveal that the person who actually made my life a real living hell during all those various times was in fact…myself.  It’s true of course, but then I remembered someone better and maybe more interesting to talk about.  Two people actually, who qualify as making a portion of my life miserable: Charlene and Cornelia. 

Charlene and Cornelia were two legal secretaries who worked at my first law firm.  Highly qualified and well seasoned they supported only the firm partners and the most valuable associates.  They were good at what they did and I considered them authorities on all things pertaining to court filings, WordPerfect (awww, remember Word Perfect? Damn I miss reveal codes!), indexing pleadings, proofs of service…basically anything that related to my work as support staff.  Charlene and Cornelia were always really supportive of my work and enjoyed sharing their wisdom with me.  Which made their treatment of their treatment of me in the firm lunch room all that more confusing.  Because once lunch started, Charlene and Cornelia would turn into total mean girls. 


The firm lunchroom was typical for a 30 person office.  There was a refrigerator and microwave and a table big enough to sit 6 people.  Located in downtown San Francisco, there were plenty of great food options so it was rarely used except by those of us on limited budgets or thrifty at heart.  ie: me, Charlene and Cornelia. 

I was in my mid-20s at the time, naively in love and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining a pound.  They were a good 10-15 years older, divorced and, um, how can I say this?  Well, let’s just say I get now why they may have acted like they hated me.  At the time though, I was completely devastated.  They criticized what I ate, they made fun of the books I read, they cackled and exchanged glances at every little thing I said.  And while specific examples have long left my mind, proof that really what was going on was probably not that big of a deal in the big picture, at the time I felt ganged up on and victimized. 

Now that I look back I realize I probably said some pretty dumb things.  I know I had some pretty dumb ideas back then.  That was when I assumed I would be married before I was 30, and the mother of two perfect children before I was 35.  That was when I thought life was easy and my biggest decision each day was which pair of shoes looked best with my outfit.  So yeah, I probably deserved the cackling and knowing glances from two ladies who had tasted a lot more life than me. 

Which brings me back to my original idea.  Maybe the person who actually made my time in that lunchroom so miserable was in fact….myself. 

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7 Responses to 30 Days of Truth: Someone who made your life hell

  1. Neal says:

    All part of growing up.

  2. Maureen says:

    Envy is the root of all evil. Once you “know better” you completely forget about the time when you believed and hoped and loved without abandon. There is a very unique kind of embittered snobbery in people who have “been there and done that.” Not sure what breaks the cycle, but bullying never seems to go away. Could you have said something to the mean girls? sure. could you have escaped at lunch? maybe. is it your fault they were so mean? absolutely not.

    I think everyone can relate to this post. I know I can.


    • Lady Jessop says:

      I did learn a lot from those ladies, besides just how to draft a proof of service. I also learned that smug hostility does not look good on anyone. Professionally I have adopted their mentoring style but socially no way! As a result the “kids” in my office actually INVITE ME to lunch! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Monica says:

    Think they are both still there doing the same thing today?

    • Lady Jessop says:

      I know they are no longer at the same firm since it went out of business when we were all there but I do have a vision of both those ladies still sitting in some different downtown lunch room terrorizing another 20 something who is probably tweeting and texting about it. LOL!

  4. I love this post, Karen. It took me back to my 20s and early 30s, when some of my co-workers seemed so snarky, at least to me – but I must have seemed so fabulously lacking in life experience, at least to them 😮 You make me kinda wish I could track them down and treat them to lunch, if only to show them the school of hard knocks growed me up but good.

    Eh, mebbe not so much ;/

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