There’s a lot of things I hate about work. I have two jobs, and that’s almost twice the amount of annoying things that happen. Co-workers who call off all the time, who ask you to take their shift anywhere from the day before to 3 hours before it starts. Crazy shifts, where you’re there until 2am or later. Working all day long (which happens a lot when you have two jobs), annoying managers who aren’t clear in their instructions, get on you for things that don’t matter, or who are just plain mean. Co-workers that you just don’t like, customers that are extra demanding or very rude, etc. The list goes on and on (and on, and on, and on).
But, there’s something that bother’s me more than anything. Let me start this by saying that there is a huge difference between my two jobs; at once, I work with almost exclusively all girls, and at the other one, I do not. Working with all girls really only has one super annoying detail-drama. But working with a large mix of guys and girls, brings out a much more serious issue: Sexism.
I never thought I would experience this first hand, at least not at a job and especially not from my co-workers. There’s the standard stuff: managers who are nicer to girls than guys, guys flirting with every single girl there, regardless of their relationship status, guests who stare at who a little too long or think it’s okay to touch your elbow as they tell you to have a good night. But then there’s the other stuff. At my place of employment, anyone who has hair that goes past their shoulders is required to wear it up in a ponytail/braid/bun, etc. Which is completely fine and understandable, I usually wear my hair up at work anyways. I didn’t notice how big of an issue this was until last week, when I went to work with my hair in piggy-tail braids for the first time in the 6 months I’ve worked there. I hadn’t even been there for 2 minutes before (you guessed it) someone pulled on one of them. A 40 something year old man, mind you.
That night I had a 3 hour car drive with my boyfriend, and had a long talk about how it made me realize that this happens all the time. My hair is constantly pulled, yanked, swatted at, and otherwise messed up by my male coworkers, of all ages. I am only friends with one of my male coworkers, and funny enough, he never does any of those things to me. Talking to some of my female coworkers, I found out that this happens constantly, to all of us.
That alone is super annoying and a gigantic violation of personal space and respect. Then, a few nights ago, a coworker (one that participates frequently in the hair pulling, btw) yelled at me, multiple times, for doing nothing other than my job and even going out of my way to help. I hadn’t done anything wrong, I did exactly what I was taught to do, and he assumed something and immediately flipped out. I grew up getting yelled at pretty frequently, but have since not been yelled at in like 2 years, and I’ve never been yelled at by someone who barely knew me. Unfortunately, I became very upset and had to hold back tears as I ran off. I told my managers and as far as I knew, they handled it.
Well, the next day I came into work and he came in roughly 20 minutes after I did. He pulled me aside and apologized, saying he felt terrible when they told him I had almost cried. Okay well for starters, he’s worked there much longer than I have and should know not to shout at someone for doing their job correctly. Second of all, you’re sorry you almost made me cry. Not for yelling at me, but for almost making me cry. Okay, whatever. Well what really bugged me is that when I said he better not yell at me again, he laughed and said “you know I will, but you’re my favorite person here.” Again. That’s inappropriate. Obviously you’re not sorry if you laughed it off and tell me it’s bound to happen again. Also, I don’t care. We aren’t close, we aren’t friends, we never see each other outside of work. And yet you think it’s okay to say that to me? No way.
I’m trying to just be an adult and brush it off and deal with it, because I’m not going to quit my job because of one crappy, arrogant coworker. But it says a lot about the way guys think they can treat girls and the way management deals with serious issues.