Dear Aunt B,
About a month ago, I got a job at the local movie theater and I was thrilled because it was the first place to have ever called me back after applying everywhere from gas stations to fast food restaurants to stores. It was also fortunate for my family because my mom had just gotten laid off for the summer because she works at a government facility for education children whose families don't have enough money to send their kids to preschools or daycares. We also needed the money because I had just had surgery and it was costing us.
I worked really hard at the theater. I did everything they asked me, I never took breaks, and they never had to show me how to do something more than once. I even did all the jobs that no one else wanted to do like clean the theaters, clean the bathrooms, and take out the trash. I even stayed after hours on occasions to mop because the rest of my coworkers didn't want to and any more money that I could earn, the better.
I was bullied at work because of my willingness to do the stuff no one else wanted to do. They forced me into doing all the work so they could sit in the break room and play around. One of my supervisors was especially hard on me making me do jobs I was almost physically incapable of doing because he's gay and thought I wasn't aware. After I came out and told him that I knew that he was gay, he eased up slightly, but was still rather mean to me whenever one of his boyfriends came around to visit him while he was working. The other girls, since a majority of the employees were girls, still made me do things like stocking, supply runs, sweeping, washing windows, scrubbing the urinals in the mens rooms, and such that they were also supposed to do but didn't want to because they weren't enjoyable and mostly involved some form of heaving lifting.
They scheduled me to work from 2:00pm to midnight and 6:30pm to midnight. Once they even had me work in the morning from opening, which was 11:30am to 5:30pm. I worked long hours and didn't even complain when my feet literally turned purple because I never sat down at work. I never even ate or drank anything at work even though it was offered to me for free because I was an employee.
One night when I checked my schedule, it said that I worked 8:15 to 12:00. It didn't say am or pm like it usually did, but because we opened at 11:30am, I assumed that it meant pm. I thought it was a little strange, but I wasn't going to ask questions about the schedule since my manager and supervisors seemed to get upset with me when I double checked my schedule when there was something that seemed strange to me.
So the day that I was supposed to work 8:15 to 12:00, the theater where I worked called me and the girl who called asked me if I thought that the schedule meant am or pm. I replied pm and she said that it had meant am. I was horrified and apologized profusely and offered to come in immediately since it was only 10:30am and I could at least help out for a bit. The girl on the other side said that it was alright, that I didn't need to come in and that my absence hadn't mattered in the least. But then she asked me if I could come in and work 6:30pm to 12:00am since it was an opening night. Of course I agreed and apologized again before she hung up.
That night I went into work and as soon as I walked in, my manager fired me. She said that because I hadn't shown up that morning, even though it was the first thing that I had done wrong while working there, I was being fired. She also said that she had complaints from the other girls about me and that it just wasn't working out. She also said that they had, had about 200 kids that morning for the opening of a new children's movie and that my absence had "really screwed them over". I was so shocked that I just handed her my name tag and walked out. I sat in my car in shock for a few minutes before I drove home, trying to think of a way to tell my mom that I got fired without crying.
When I went back in the next day to turn in my uniform, I tried to talk to my former boss and explain some things and inquire about others just so that in the very least I could know if I would have a good reference from them or not. Instead of talking to me, my former boss took my uniform and slammed her office door in my face.
I didn't even have my job for a month. My family still needs the money and my mom has been telling me to go find a new job even though my elder brother sits on the couch playing video games all day.
I mean, I want to go out and get a new job and help out my mom because I know this is really stressing her, but I don't know what I did wrong. I mean, I'd seen other employees not show up for shifts without calling in at all and they were still working there, and they were still in their 90 day probationary period just like I was, and I had offered to come in but the girl on the phone had told me not to.
I also know that I need to get a new job, and I want to, but I'm afraid, torn up, and lost. I mean, no where else even called me back before, why will they hire me now after I've been fired?
I just don't know. I know that I need some sort of advice, but I'm not sure of what. Can you help me at all?
Confused and Torn Up
Dear Confused and Torn Up,
Nice girls do finish last, huh? After today, this letter, you will no longer be a "Nice Girl." No, you will be an Assertive Bitch and everyday, you will put on your Bitch Belt, suited up in confidence and assertive thinking.
I believe every word you've written me, just to let you know that much. I've seen it all to often, where people spend more time trying to get out of work, than they do just doing their job. It sickens me and I can spot it, see through it, a mile away. I have been in Management positions, since my early 20's and have dealt with this type from the start. I will call them on their crap and take great joy in letting them know that their work ethic stinks and I see through it and their "look busy, get nothing done," persona.
The other kind of meathead, gets in good with the boss, fits right in with the clique, falls into shit and comes out smelling like rose potpourri. You and I are not this type of person. Never fear though because we can look in the mirror and answer to ourselves honestly. I actually get pissed off at these kinds of people and wonder just how they do it? But never be envious for or of them. I do believe that eventually, my best friend,
Ms. Karma Bitchslap™will visit them. The way I feel about it, is in life, you can get away with things for just so long and she comes a callin'! Even if it's not in this life, there will be retribution for those people that get away with murder, get away with just being a slacker and climb to the top on the backs of others. I'm banking on this belief and I hope you will too.
I no longer want you to stew on what happened. You have no control over it. What you do have, now, are choices to take that animosity, built and bred from that situation and you use it in a positive notch on your belt. You live and learn from it. Never trade your ethics, your work ethic but never allow anyone to step on you or to use you. If you see inappropriate behavior on the job, you see it, shake it off and tell yourself, that you never want to be like that. You will see it in every job, you come across. But do not be discouraged. There are still people out there that value a good work ethic. You will find a job more suitable but you must first learn from the last one.
What did you do wrong, in that last position?
1. Never Play the Martyr or Victim.
It's a rarity, to be a true martyr, in this day and age. Real martyr's don't get angry or stuff their animosity. It is not suitable for you to play this role or that of a victim. If you are unfairly zeroed in on, to do something that no one else will do, then you must tell them, that they need to have one of those people sitting in the break room, do it. If you are not busy doing something, without being cocky, ask what else you can do but you'd prefer not to do the task, you're being asked to do.
If you see that other people are standing around doing nothing, while you are the only one working, just stop. There's a fine line between arrogance and absurdity. Never be arrogant but never be a push-over. If they are not doing anything, stop what you are doing and eventually, someone will realize that things are not getting done. This is what good management is. Obviously, at the theater, they were not very good at their job, nor were they fair. If you must work in a place, such as that, you must maintain a very assertive attitude. Note, I said assertive not aggressive. You keep a mind set that you will not do anything that no one else is willing to do. You will go above and beyond, give 110% but you will not do it all.
2. Never Assume Anything.
If you have a question, do not allow a self-esteem issue to stand in your way. See, you are the only one who paid for the fact that you were afraid to ask about your schedule. It is your responsibilty and telling an employer that you were too afraid to ask what time, you have to be at work, will never fly. You must have a personal accountability for your own ass, behaviors and so on. Live and Learn.
3. You Always Have Choices
You can choose to believe that everyone is better than you. But they are not. You can choose to be assertive, do a good job and never take shit from anyone, You can also choose not to give shit, either. You must learn to pick and choose your fight. While that theater was a bunch of gunk, it is not the last job you will get. You can choose to hold yourself to higher standards and simply have and give the persona of a no nonsense assertive Bitch. In life, you will always have the Vultures and the Preyed Upon. I want you to be a different breed; An Assertive Bitch.
4. How Can I Be An Assertive Bitch?
You say what you mean, mean what you say and try not to say it mean. You realize that you are no better than anyone else but no worse and will hold yourself to a higher standard. You are always honest and realistic with yourself. You are fair and Just but will not be afraid to say it like it is, when you see that the underdog is being hurt or abused. You were an Underdog and you know how it feels. You will treat others as you'd want to be treated and you will stand up for yourself, in an assertive manner. You will realize that they can say what they want about you but no matter what, you've already been honest with yourself, so they can't hurt you. You will look in the mirror every single day and you will assess yourself, you will be true to yourself and fix what you can. If you can't fix it or make it better, you will concede to the fact that you tried. If you are right, you will hold your head up and walk like a woman of standards. If you are wrong, you will readily admit it, try to make amends, do your best to apologize, for your behavior and walk away like a woman of standards. You will not give two shits in hell what somebody thinks about you, as long as you are answering to God and yourself, honestly. You will hold your head up, in any situation because you are a righteous woman.Most of all, you will not speak in idle chatter. You will think before you open your mouth. People will begin to see that you have valuable words and in turn, they will begin to respect you and your opinion.
Begin to realize that you are prey, only if you allow it. What is the worst thing that can happen, if you say that you do not like something that is happening? I mean, think about the simple fact that you were afraid to ask about your schedule. What could happen? If you asked management whether it was A.M. or P.M., one of two or three things will go through their empty heads;
1. She's a retard, why is she asking this?
2. Oh, it was dumb of us to not put a simple couple of letters, behind the time cause we know that our employees are not mind readers.
3. What a pain in the ass this girl is, can't she figure things out on her own, damn?
Now, look at all three of those possible statements or possible thoughts. If they thought #1 who's really the retard here? It's not you and that should empower you. Then, we have #2 which would and should or could be the real answer, to your question. And finally, we have #3 which is probably the one you were thinking, they'd be thinking, right? Am I right or what?
Look at #3 and tell me is that a logical thought? If they were thinking this, as I believe you thought they might, who really is the pain in the ass here? It would be them for not having the business savvy to do their job and place an AM or PM on their Scheduling Roster. Now, take that power too and put it in your Bitch belt. You must be able to deduce that even if they acted irritated because you asked them about the time, that it's quite possible that they are some real dumbasses for not doing their job.
Begin to deduce things and put them into perspective. Stop worrying about what anybody else thinks of you. Even the greatest man or woman has flaws. To prove my point, I want you to look at anyone in the entire world, that you might hold in high regard. Now, look for flaws. You'll find them in their appearance, character, behavior, intellect and I could go on and on. People that look for flaws will always find them but this is also a valuable tool, if used in an approach for good. If you feel intimidated by a person or situation, you need only to "humanize" them by looking for their flaws.
No one is better than you, my friend, no one! If you read this and re-read it, you will begin to empower yourself. Right now, you have self-esteem issues. At the same time, you have standards, good ones. You just need to tweak them, put things into perspective, hold your head up and never let 'em see you sweat.
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