Work Place Harassment…pt 1

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The summer of 2008 I worked as a receptionist for a small company in the fashion district.  I was happy to get a full time job and I thought working  for a company that was predominately female staffed… was going to be great….Lord was I wrong!!!!

My first day at work, was horrible. I was a nervous wreck, I was clumsy and mincing all my words. Now for anyone that knows me, knows…when it comes to meeting new people I am an odd one and that’s putting it nicely.

Anyway, the women were basically a bunch of cats and one in particular was just… nasty!!!

For example,  I had been working for about 45 min and I just getting the hang of their switchboard system, when Ms. Nasty comes running over to my desk…pointing her finger at me and demanding that I do things her way and on top of that as she beings to raise her voice and makes it very clear to me… that she thinks I’m an idiot (now, how professional…was that????).

So that… was day one.

You can imagine, I went home feeling like crap and by day 3 I was ready to quit. But I decided to stick it out in hope that things would get better.

Boy was I wrong…

Week 2, one of the clients invited all the girls from the office, out for dinner (including the boss, who is male). The restaurant decor was OK and the food… well it was not my cup of tea,  but hey who am I to complain… I was just the new girl trying hard to fit in with a bunch of …. (you know what). So you will never guess what happened to me in the restaurant. I was about to sit down next to the boss (now bare in mind everyone else was already seated). When one of my co-workers beings to have a fit. She starts shouting at the top of her voice waving her hands and tells me to sit in the end chair  and makes the comment ” We don’t need you sitting there” . So then boss then turns to me and says “I’m saving those chairs for the clients” (that was all anyone need to say… I wish people would be polite). So I move to the very last chair on the table. Once I was seated, that same woman was still waving her hands, shouting and making rude comments toward me (this went on for a least…another 5 min).

Once again, I was made a fool of….and now I was in a public restaurant. I felt like leaving, but I still tried hard to remain as professional  as possible and not say a word, eventhough I was dying to get the heck out of their.

What was wrong with those women?????

But since I’m a glutton for punishment.

About a month or so later, I was invited to a birthday party. I accepted the invitation and went… with a big birthday cake. Someone please slap me!!!

Well you can imagine how that story went…

A few weeks later, I had had enough and decided to speak to the head of Human Resources whom I thought had an unbiased/ subjective approach to dealing with office drama.

Wrong again…

After spending over an hour with her trying to explain what had been going on with me and the other co-workers. I got basically got this speech ” The receptionist position is like a revolving door, you can either move up or…”

That was my help!!!!!

So you may be asking yourself why did I not do or say anything sooner, why did I wait so long…before taking action?

Well what could have been done? most of the things, these woman did or said to me was done right in front of the boss. Who just stood by and let it happen (apparently these women have treated all their other receptionist in that very same manner). And when I went to the Human Resources dept, I got no help.

So for a total of 4 months I put up with being treated poorly, cursed at in and out of the work place and by the the fifth month I had handed in my notice… I had had enough. I realized that until I decided to stand up for myself  (which I did). Nothing in my life was ever going to change, nothing was ever going to get better.

So I guess the moral of this story is, everything in life is a learning experience, you have to stand up for yourself even if it means quitting your job. And if there is one thing I learnt from that experience, its to hold my head up high even when being harassed and put down at work.

and now I am much happier….

Stay tuned…for next months issue of work place harassment.

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6 thoughts on “Work Place Harassment…pt 1

  1. I feel your pain on that one big time! I quit (ahem! a HUGE corporation) the end of January after being there for almost 3 years. I won’t go into details about it (I am hopefully getting legal counsel on the issue) but to make a long story short, string of incidences happened that really was wrong. Relating to the way they treat disabled employees. HR didn’t help me either, I was dumbfounded when they didn’t back me on it when I went to them for help. Considering they were directly violating American Disability Act laws. In fact, HR ended up making the issue WORSE. This went on for months, and I finally had a breakdown at work and went in the following day and quit. I didn’t give any notice, just flat out resigned. However, the other people at my job… managers and such that were NOT part of the problem were shocked and saddened I was leaving. My manager actually I believe still put me down as re-hire. I was a damn good employee for them, and enjoyed my job until the company let me down. So you did the right thing… sometimes being at a job is like being in an “elite” club, either you are “in” or you are “out”. There is also a lot of people that take power to their head and will treat others beneath them and make their lives a living hell. The manager that started it with me was a young woman, she actually would tell people “just so you know, I am a B****” so she actually enjoyed it.

  2. Wow that is a lot for someone to go through! Workplace harassment happens everywhere- prior to taking off to go to Chicago for Grad school I worked with kids and all my coworkers were girls in their post college years-there were a couple there that were trying to get me “fired” and writing letters back and forth to each other and I accidently found one where they were talking crap about me-I have no idea why they were so mean to me I did nothing to them. Woman can be jealous and catty where they should be supportive of each other,which is why women have these self esteem issues at times. It’s bad enough we go through jerks that are guys!

    Sounds like you made a good decision-this post reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada! At my job we got this new manager and for awhile she was just so on my back,giving me non-stop tasks that were not even mine,and when I stuck up for myself a little bit it’s when she stopped taking advantage of me,I spoke up when I had to and that is sometimes a little risque,but if done in a tactful way can show those women that you are not to be messed with. For some reason people respect you more when you talk back to these jerks,shows that you are not scared of them.

  3. Good for you for standing up for yourself, Zoe. Sounds like it was an intolerable situation – and, you know, if you’d stayed there it probably would have continued. It would have worn down your self-confidence and self-esteem and made you doubt yourself. Nothing is worth that. Sometimes it’s braver and wiser to quit!

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