Once upon a time, I was a 20 year old.
*sigh* Boy, that was a long time ago.
Somehow I’d stumbled upon a job working in the auto parts industry. (It really is a funny story, but kind of a lengthy one that I’ll tell some other day) In no time, I’d tripped my way up to supervisory status and was fielding offers from other employers in the same industry for management positions. I’d become a hot commodity. Well not so hot but a young girl in that industry who does well, especially, in an industry full of men…was hard to come by. By the age of 21, I’d backed into a management slot that paid me more than I’d ever made in my short life and promised a bright future.
In that line of work anyway.
Sometime during all of this, I came to work for “A”. Well, I didn’t work for him but he was my immediate supervisor. He actually came to work for the company after I did but he had a good 25 years on me and obviously brought more experience. I looked forward to having a “mentor”, someone who would “nuture” me to the next level in my accidental career. We had a really great phone rapport before he actually accepted the position. He would call and ask me things about the company and I’m sure, tried to “feel out” who this young woman was he would be working directly with. At the risk of sounding a bit sexist, I found that “working what I had” brought great business and kept sound relationships with co-workers and clients. I am a flirt by nature and in this line of work, it certainly didn’t hurt. I was doing it for the business. It’s a sad and misogynistic fact. At least it was back then. Especially for a 21 year old girl. “A” and I seemed to hit it off and I really looked forward to meeting him and working with him.
It was a “honeymoon” at first. We were extremely nice and polite to each other. We worked together in a very small office and tried not to get in each other’s way. Once in a while, I would notice his lack of phone etiquette when talking on the phone to clients and other co-workers, and he sometimes seemed to be a bit “harsh” to our employees. The inner alarms went off but not too loudly. I mean, it sounded selfish but he wasn’t an asshole to me. I was bringing home a respectable paycheck and it wasn’t affecting me directly, so what did I care?
Of course the “honeymoon” was very short lived.
It began with small things. Like, the way I did something that wasn’t to his liking, or if I made a mistake. He would get more upset than he really should over something that really was trivial. I stood up to him at times and it seemed to calm him down.
However, it would only get worse once the storm starting brewing in his brain again.
I would have to sit and listen to him for hours, bitching and moaning about how everyone in the company was stupid with the exception of himself, and he expected me to chime in agreement and most of the time I indulged him just to keep him happy. But God forbid I actually speak my mind.
God forbid I actually have an opinion that didn’t match his. He actually told me one time to: “Never EVER take that tone with me young lady, do you understand me?”
I drew the line there and busted his chops and told him he was NOT my father and I would not tolerate being talked down to that way, simply because I had a different opinion.
There was never a happy medium with “A”. He was either sickeningly nice to me or absolutely horrible. I began to walk on egg shells and pray for him to call in sick or at least be in a good mood. I also became the person who made his hair appointments, picked up his lunch, and ran a lot of his personal errands. Things that had nothing to do with my job. At the time I was young and eager to please. I also wanted to be able to pay the rent. I was completely job scared and made the mistake of letting him know that.
The “A” I met over the phone, flirted harmlessly with, and joked around with was long gone.
The final straw was when at a time when he was feeling nice, he invited me to run an errand with him and while sitting in the car at Kinko’s, he told me that his wife had left him and began to tell me way more than I needed to know about his current dating life. He stared straight into my eyes and kept looking at me, and leaned toward me, as if he wanted to kiss me. I would imagine if I had not looked away and suggested we get back to work, he would have tried to make a move on me. It creeped me the fuck out and less than a month later, I tendered my resignation. Luckily, the last month there, he had to travel out of town quite a bit which made it a lot easier than actually having to say goodbye to him.
Howard always said “A”’s aggression probably had to do with the fact that he was attracted to me and I wasn’t reciprocal but I never picked up on it until that day in the truck.
Perhaps if “A” had voiced this to me, I could have verbalized that my feelings were not in fact mutual, in spite of the initial harmless flirtation and maybe things would have been better jobwise, but not likely.
It was the year from hell for me and nearly wrecked my marriage because I was so stressed out all the time. I don’t miss working for him and never will.
I learned a lot from that experience though. I made a vow never to be a “doormat” simply because I’m afraid of losing my job. Whoever, my boss in the future would know how I felt about things. Also, flirting for the sake of anything other than having fun, was wrong. In fact, I left that line of work all together and never looked back. But most importantly, I knew that communication in the workplace would never be an issue for me again.
And for the most part it hasn’t been. I do try to please my boss as much as I can without coming off as some sort of sychophant. I believe in giving 110% because that’s just the way I am. But if I don’t agree with something or if I feel as if I’m being treated unfairly, I express that. As a manager I also expect it from my employees but I do have an open door policy with them as well. They can never say they left my employ due to lack of communication, that’s for sure. They are open to speak their mind to me as long as they do it respectfully and sincerely. I give them the same courtesy and I try never to hold a grudge over them for revealing their feelings to me.
And I sure as hell don’t take out my bad moods on them and I DEFINITELY don’t make them run my personal errands.
Though….don’t think I haven’t thought about bribing them into it.
I’m definitely not above that.