*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
It was about time he got caught.
I dated a man who had a penchant for napping on the job.
He would regale me with stories about all the ways he found to sleep while on the clock throughout his working career.
For example, when he worked as a security guard, he would lie on the floor with his body pressed against the wall and door. If his boss from him stopped by his post from him, unlocked the door, and tried to open it, my boyfriend would wake up and pretend to be retrieving some item he dropped on the floor. He’d sleep with an object in his hand for such an occasion.
At another security job, he learned that he could sneak offsite for lunch without anyone noticing, so he expanded his time off the job to include going home for lunch, swimming in his parents’ swimming pool, and taking long leisurely naps before driving back to work in his uniform just in time to punch out on the time clock.
When he worked at an outlet store that sold, among other things, discontinued mattresses, my boyfriend built himself a mattress fort in the corner behind the oriental rugs display and hid there for the vast majority of the workday.
My boyfriend and I met at yet another of his jobs where he made napping a priority.
We both worked at a sporting goods warehouse with tall metal shelves like those you’d see at a food warehouse. There were rolling ladders throughout the store, and employees used these ladders all day long to access merchandise on the highest shelves.
Even before he became my boyfriend, I took notice of him. I thought he was cute. So I’d look for him throughout the day, hoping to share a quick conversation with him before getting back to work.
That’s when I noticed something strange. I’d see him in the morning when we would both clock in for the start of our shifts. I’d keep an eye open for him all day long, hoping to catch a glimpse of him, but I never would. At the end of the day, he’d be right there clocking out as if he’d been at work all along.
Where did he go?
I knew he worked in the department adjacent to mine. So I should have seen him throughout the day, stocking merchandise or helping customers, but I never did.
It should come as no surprise that he was sleeping all day instead of working. He’d made himself a nook out of gym mats on the highest shelf in the back corner of the store. The gym mats provided not only a serviceable mattress but also four walls that blocked him from view at any angle.
Rather than use a ladder to access his perch, he climbed the struts of the shelving unit, leaving no ladder nearby to hint at his presence.
Guess how long he got away with it? He slept on the job for a full year before management finally caught him and fired him. In the time we dated, he napped at every job he had. He also got fired from every job he had, but this was the only time he got fired for sleeping on the job.
All the other times, he got away with it.