I Am Jason Bateman’s Grandma

“My grandmother came to this country with $20 in her pocket. She worked hard her whole life and never took shit from anyone. When she died, she had turned that twenty dollars into $2,000.  That sucks. You know why she didn’t succeed? Because she didn’t take shit from anyone. The key to success, and they won’t teach you this in business school, is taking shit.”

So opens the film HORRIBLE BOSSES, with the preceding voice over by Nick (Jason Bateman).

Here’s the thing; I am done taking shit.

I spent nearly five years taking shit in California. Working unpaid internship after unpaid internship, getting coffee, reading shitty script after shitty script, driving to Akiva Goldsman’s house to fill his BMW up with gas, buying a book and delivering it to said writer/producer’s house which turned an errand he could have run on the way home into a 3 hour chore for me. All for free.

Ask them about their wieners!

No, worse than free, I actually paid Chapman University to have the privilege to work for free.

In the NBC Page program, when I was assigned to the NBC Universal Digital Studio (now a department of the past thanks to a combination of Comcast and a shitty business plan) I took more shit than ever. If anything went wrong, it was always the Page’s fault.

Fuck. That.

Maybe it’s my age (twenty-four-year-olds tend to be stubborn, rebellious, and sure they are right in a world we really know nothing about), likely it’s also a result of my latest anxiety medication, Clonazepam, or perhaps it’s my roommates’ push to make me less passive aggressive (which is making me more aggressive aggressive – if that’s a thing), but I am done taking shit just for the chance I may get ahead.

I’ve talked back to my General Manager at AMC, and I intend to again. Not everytime, mind you, I’m not going to talk back when he’s right. And he’s right more often than I am, that’s why HE’s the general manager. But when I do feel slighted, or that he is wrong, I let him know.

It has already likely prevented me from achieving a promotion to manager.

The other week, it was a particularly busy Friday due to the openings of MAGIC MIKE and TED, I was in the back counting money; my assigned job for the night.

My GM came downstairs, and upon entering IO (inner office), where we do the money counting, he scolded me for counting money instead of helping on the floor during what we call “primes.”

As the GM, Phil’s main concern is our guests, and the experience they have at our theater. And as he scolded me, I realized my role. If the GM is 100% focused on the guests, then someone has to make sure operations go down. The building can’t run if we are all serving guests and no one is pulling the money throughout the night.

So I told Phil, “I realize you need to be guest focused, but I’m also telling you that someone needs to do this as well. It would be great if we could all be on the floor, but that’s not how this business works and we can’t run the building that way.”

Phil didn’t seem too unhappy with the response, but did say “You can count the money at 5am. I want you out there now.”

I went, how could I disobey a direct order from my boss (there is a difference between not taking shit and being an idiot)?

I left Phil with these parting words “You don’t pay me enough to keep me here until 5am.”

Wearing a latex mask for 5 days can shorten anyone’s temper.

That gave Phil something to think about, and he did, as I later heard he had told other managers about the encounter. And that Monday, instead of calling me in to work the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN midnight premiere as I’m sure he would have done otherwise, he called in a different supervisor (which means I got to see Spidey IMAX 3D! This “no shit” thing already has its benefits). Phil is smart enough to know when I get worked too hard, I do have the occasional outburst (I had an actual, “fuck” laiden outburst in front of guest’s the last day of AVENGERS opening weekend after working 10 days straight), but this wasn’t the same.

I wasn’t angry and therefore volatile. I was logical. This money needs to be counted now because I’m not paid enough to stay at the theater all night. If I were a manager, that’s a different story. They are paid a lot more and therefore are expected to put in the occasional all nighter, as my manager Chris often does.

But not even making $10 an hour, no holiday pay, no breaks, no sick pay, these are not acceptable terms to make me work all night.

I’m still a go-getter at work, I volunteer for every responsibility I am offered from interviewing potential employees, to training them, to creating the performance schedule (which I will be doing today at 3pm), to doing the hard count (a monthly count of every bag, cup, and bottle of booze in the building ). But I have to draw the line somewhere.

This weekend a manager position opened up at AMC Arapahoe Crossing 16. Phil told me to apply, also letting me know he would NOT endorse me for the promotion. He said I’m not “ready.”

“Not ready” for a job he was willing to endorse me for months prior at the Castlerock theater (a position he told me about that turned out to never have existed). Am I less experienced than a month ago? Do I work less hard than I did in May?

No, I’m just not his fucking “yes man” anymore.

One closed mind runs a business into the ground. One who at least pauses to listen to the thoughts and ideas of his leadership team runs a more versatile ship, a ship guided by different unique points of view coming from different backrounds. Something AMC calls “diversity.”

But I digress.

Am I costing myself a promotion when I tell Phil I think he’s wrong? It would appear so.

Do I care?

Not anymore.

Goodbye, my lovelies. I barely knew ye.

I’m already making drastic budget cuts (today I kill my comic book collection) so that I can sustain a quality of life on a supervisor’s salary, as the new Nick is not neccesarily the ideal canidate for manager.

My goal from the beginning has been to become an AMC manager, and maybe even eventually a GM myself. But if that has to come at the cost of what I find unjust, then it’s not something I want anyway. I’ll just be a supervisor for a few years until I figure out the next step in my life. Use what little money I make to finance creative projects like eventual web series, podcasts and more blogs.

Is this some youthful ideal that I’ll regret later in life when I’m thirty and not making as much money as I could be? Quite possibly.

But 24-year-old-Nick don’t give a shit.

If Hollywood taught me anything, it’s not to be afraid to burn bridges. Because if you don’t burn some bridges, you’ll be someone’s bitch forever. And the new Nick is no one’s bitch.

It’s exciting really, realizing these past few days who I really am and what is truly important to me.

I am Nick Doll. I’m a big kid who lives to make others laugh and is done taking shit.

Who are you?