October 3, 2006

Why My Job is Worse than Yours

The life of an apartment manager is one thing in Hollywood that has not been glamorized - and for good reason. There's not much to work with. I've been managing the 24 apartments in my complex for a little over three months now and I'm already getting all crusty and jaded about the whole thing.

My tenants generally fall into three categories:

1) The quiet, self-sufficient types who have never spoken to me, and probably never will;

2) Polite tenants who call every few months to report maintenance issues; and

3) Tenants who consider me their personal assistant and knock and call at all hours for me to solve all their life problems.

The first category is by far the largest, but this doesn't matter because the few tenants in category #3 take up any free time I would otherwise have. Here is a smattering of a few things I've heard from my dear tenants in three short months on the job:

Can you dust my blinds for me?
Your pen smears, did you know that? (from an irate apartment applicant at my door, jabbing his inky finger at me)
Why do we have to pay quarters for the washer and dryer?
Can you go read my electricity meter?
My pilot light is out. (the "teach a man to fish" principle doesn't seem to work in this case. People are terrified of their pilot lights)
Rent is due on the first of the month?
You're a stay-at-home mom? Great! So you are always available at home?
The mailbox is dusty. Someone should clean it once a week.
I didn't realize that I needed to sign a lease (from a new roommate I discovered who had been living here for over 2 months).
Why is my electric bill so high?
There's a really big pregnant spider by the front door.
My apartment has been totally flooded for three days. Do you think you could come by and take a look later this afternoon?

I wonder every day how long I'll last before C4-ing the whole building. Oh, to be jobless and free again! But there's a sick little part of me that really likes having my fingers in the pot and knowing everyone's business. Women are sick creatures.

So was I right or can you convince me that your job is more tragic than mine?


Lisa M. said...

Okay. My goodness. I think I would be number 2, except I'd want to hang out.

They make me laugh. I have rented property before, but some of those are real doozers.

Anonymous said...

I don't really like my job either, but I have to admit that even though it's often very boring, it is decent, and I work with good people, but my oh my...I think you and your stinky job take the cake today! So, how exactly have you handled those tenants' "problems"?

Kristine said...

Hey, if you're available ALL the time, and dusting blinda, I have some things that need to be done in my home....I mean apartment.

I do think you win the prize for worst job.

It's kind of funny to read about though....

We are sick creatures aren't we?

compulsive writer said...

I love my job, so I can't play.

But that is quite a list.

A word of advice I learned from my sister-in-law who also managed apartments. If you ever have to intervene in any wife-beating situations, do it anonymously.

It gets kind of scary when they know where you live.

amanda said...

when we were about to sign a lease on the house we are living in, the landlord said, "by the way, I don't like pesky renters. i am more than happy to solve the big problems, but please don't sign the lease if you are going to be calling me all of the time about little stuff." i am assuming that your boss might frown on that, but hey, you could always try it and see if it got you fired. either way, it might solve your problem.

Sarah said...

Oh, I forgot my favorite one -

A tenant was using the communal washers/dryers and lost $2.75 worth of quarters to a broken unit and asked me to please refund her not only the $2.75, but anything I could muster for her "pain and suffering" in having to deal with a broken unit. No, she was not kidding. I very sweetly told her there was no way I could calculate that for her and would she mind if I just gave her the $2.75?

By the way, Angela, my favorite med student, none of this applies to you - you are my favorite tenant and I would dust your blinds any day!

Silly Marie said...

This all reminds me of the apt. manager in Lady in the Water.

My job this past week felt worse than this because I actually had to run a carpet cleaning business by myself for 10 days (without really knowing what to do), but normally it isn't quite so annoying.

Silly Marie said...

Oh, and isn't it quite amazing how entitled, helpless, clueless, and rude people can be at times? It's mind boggling.

A Payne said...

Mr. Ferly has nothing on you!

Anonymous said...

THREE DAYS? Where they just too busy to tell you that there was a little plumbing emergency on the premise? Whoa.

Samantha said...

Wow, people are morons.

I would compare job notes but all the kids I teach speak lots of Japanese so I really don't know what they're saying.

Suzie Petunia said...

Sometimes not having a job at all feels tragic... And sometimes being a full-time mom feels tragic. People tells me it gets better. Ummm, when? I envy the excitement in your life!

c jane said...

Recently unemployed me says "thumbs up!"

Mary B said...

Sarah, I hate to admit it but I am one of those high maintenance tenants. OUr super is very friendly and so it's a combination of just wanting an excuse to stop by and say hello along with the fact that I always have something that needs a fixin'

Here's a recent one: a new system was installed in our building where everytime you unlock the front door you hear a beep for the time that the door is open. But the beep was really loud and I dreaded coming home and having to open the door and disturb everyone on the sidewalk and those sitting and eating at the sidewalk cafe across the street. It was ear piercing. So I submitted a work order saying they needed to tone it down. And they did. Now I can enter in peace.

But then there's the fact that we have a lovely roof right up a flight of stairs across from my front door. So I like to go up there, but it's supposed to be a fire escape. The battery on the alarm was so low that you really couldn't hear the alarm when you go through the door. So the last time I went up there someone must have replaced the battery because it went off and everyone in the building could hear the alarm. It was a sunday morning so although I was on my way out the door to church, everyone else in the building had to endure the alarm. Someone apparently broke down and took a hammer to the thing and smashed it in so the alarm would turn off. Our super wasn't home all day but by the time she came home she found the bashed in alarm and we had a long discussion about it. I got in trouble. Now we're still friends but I don't get the same warm fuzzy reception I used to.

WAs that a long comment or what? Love you sarah, be glad I don't live in your building!


team C said...

No worries, Sarah. I love this one - Why do we have to pay quarters for the washer and dryer? Because that's my husband!! :) By the way, I don't think we fall into any of the three categories because we're FRIENDS! And the flooding question was golden!