Once upon a time I was a 23 year old with a fancy new job in a fancy new city. I had just left my job of six years (where I was paid $11 an hour with a title of DBA and ran the IT department for the largest manufacturer of fire fighter protective clothing in the USA) to take on the challenge of re-implementing CRM for a cool company that sold shares of private jets (for roughly 2x the pay, and I’d get a private office and an intern, oh and I wouldn’t be working for my mother). You ever play that Kevin Bacon game? Well, if you played it with me and Warren Buffet, the degrees of separation would only be 3 (not that he had any clue who I was). I thought I was very hot shit. Of course, I also felt a lot of pressure to make a great impression.
We moved from our little’ish town to the second largest city in the state on the Saturday before my start date. On Sunday I unpacked some boxes, set up my computer, got my clothes ready for the big day, printed directions and started my period.
Normally on CD’s 2 and 3 I would just stay home. See back then I didn’t have a flow, it was more of a gush. I essentially passed giant clots followed by massive gushes of blood for 2 days, then had a “normal” heavy flow for 3-5 days, then spotted for a week or two, then didn’t see that bitch Flo again for 2 or 4 or 8 or 5 months. So, facing my first day on a new job on CD2? My fancy new job? Where I couldn’t wear jeans or yoga pants? Fuck me. Also, the whole first week was an orientation class. So, it would be highly noticeable if I had to get up every 45 minutes to use the restroom.
At the first break I was able to manage things before they got messy. But, I had soaked all of the way through a jumbo (i.e. super plus) tampon and was close to spilling over my giant granny pad. I replaced said products and went back to class hoping for another break sooner rather than later. There wasn’t another break until lunch. At which point I didn’t need to go to the bathroom to know I HAD soaked the tampon, spilled over the pad, made short work of my (thankfully, black) pants and ruined my chair. I don’t just mean a little spot. I mean ruined the chair. The spot was the size of a dollar bill and deep. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do, so I covered it with my notebook and went to lunch.
By which I mean, ran to the bathroom, changed the change-ables then drove to a drug store to try to find even higher absorbency “stuff.” Turns out, they don’t. But, I made it back and into my chair before anyone else came back, so no one had to see the horror. But, the instructor had terrible news for us, we would be going (one by one) to take our drug tests in the afternoon. I didn’t know how I was going to get up and out without anyone seeing the mess that was my chair. Also, I was more than a little concerned that the high levels of blood would somehow render the test useless for me, anyway. Somehow I did manage to get out without my chair becoming an issue, though. And the nurse assured me that the test would be fine. When she saw just how much blood was in the cup she did apologize, though.
Luckily the rest of the afternoon passed without further incident. The next day my chair had been replaced and no one ever spoke of it. In the course of my fist week I ruined two chairs. The one on my first day and one on my third day (which happened in the middle of a meeting with my new team and the person who had recommended me for the job and his boss). When I think back on that job now, that’s the over-riding memory, ruining chairs and the associated shame/guilt/embarrassment.