I, an American expat, briefly worked as a reservationist at a very posh London restaurant - to pay the bills while I finished up a post-grad degree. A reservationist, by the way, answers telephones, takes reservations, and puts the reservations into a computerized system. I'd been doing it, using exactly the same system, for various restaurants around the US for years. It... is not a difficult job, and I'd always enjoyed it. (Nice people and good food!) This place, though... My office manager drank too much, often, and would tell me much too much about her disintegrating marriage while drunk. And the following few days she'd treat me with excruciating chilliness, to keep me in my place. She also regularly made fun of my accent. And, two months after I started, she spent a day making strange, pointed, passive-aggressive remarks about how people often mispronounce her name. Six hours into my shift she took me upstairs into the manager's conference room to explain that was mispronouncing her name, had been doing so for two months, and why wasn't I smart enough to understand that's what she'd been communicating all day? My co-reservationist, meanwhile, who'd been working there for four years, would regularly sigh heavily, get up from her terminal, walk over to mine, pull up a chair, and explain to me in painstaking detail how incredibly incompetent I was. After a particularly brutal week of this, I took her aside and tried to talk to her about how her behavior upset me, using the most diplomatic "I feel.." phrases I could muster. She told me I just can't take criticism. The owner of the restaurant got drunk at the Christmas party and spent an hour explaining to me that post-grad degrees are a waste of time and money, and betoken a student's selfishness and spoiled upbringing. I stuck it out for three months. Because I am a masochist.