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.
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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