30 Days of Truth: Bullies



 30 Days of Truth, Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit

I had just finished my degree when I found out I was was pregnant with my daughter. I had been looking for work in my field, but with a new baby on the way, I desperately took any job I could find. This turned out to be a job at a sub chain.

The job in itself would have been fine. There were the busy periods during the day, but when we weren’t lined up out the door, I did not mind organizing condiments, mopping floors and washing dishes.

The problem was my co-workers.

I had no problem with any of them, personally. But they, it became quickly apparent, had a problem with me.

It started when they asked if I planned on going to college when The Husband (who was then a student) was done…and I told them I’d already gone. . .while they planned on working at our current place of employment until they were 80. Yes, they actually said that.

The more time I spent there, the frostier it became. They told stories of their series of boyfriends and ex-husbands who all smoked crack (yes, crack!) and treated them like shit. They discussed amongst themselves the fights they were having at home, while I quietly mopped up the counter and tried not to give them the side-eye.

Aside from my inability to understand a pattern of dating and marrying crack-smokers, was the fact that I actually understood employment law, and was not okay with working in conditions that went against said laws.

When I asked about breaks, I was told we didn’t get any. When they complained about never getting raises and I inquired about the regular reviews and increased compensation we are legally entitled to, they laughed in my face. When I asked who we spoke to about days off or sick leave (I was pregnant, remember), they said that we do not get time off, and since there were so few staff, it was basically impossible for any one of us to call in sick. One girl recounted with pride the time she was literally lying on the floor, shaking, with the cold sweats, in between serving customers–but she was there. I was appalled.

Eventually I would walk in and say hello, and no one would reply. It was like I was invisible. They nit-picked at everything I did (for instance, putting out wet-floor signs when the floor was wet–apparently that was overkill and we should just tell the customers that the ground they are walking on is a hazard), or actually rinsing off the dishes after washing them.

It became a hostile environment to work in. I was at the point where I had anxiety attacks the entire way to work, and on the way home seriously contemplated death. This may seem like an overreaction, but my hormones were out of control, and I couldn’t take my anti-depressants while pregnant. I was miserable.

One night the store was busy. There was a long line, and the debit machine was down. Unfortunately, I had to get home to watch my son so my husband could go to class, so I called a cab, and I left. The next morning there was a long note waiting for me in the back room, detailing my transgressions and explaning that was was “NEVER to call a cab” unless a fellow employee told me I could. (I mean, WTF…it’s not like the store even had managers, I was not going to be answering to someone with the exact same job, making the exact same amount of money, just because they’d been there longer).

This was the final straw.  I declared that I had rights, and they include not having to stay past my scheduled shift, regardless of how busy the store is or isn’t.

They were not impressed. Shouting ensued. There was swearing involved, and tears on my part. And this miserable, swollen, pregnant lady walked right out the door and never went back.

Job abandonment, you say?

I don’t give a fuck.


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