Two years ago my life was completely different. I was married, no kids, living in Northern California around no one I knew. My husband was my life(and still is), and the things that stressed me was work. Why, you ask? Sit back, and I'll tell you.
I was new in town. Relocated across the country to a little mountain town, where we knew no one. We were alone. Right away, I was hired as a Temp to work for a Fee Management Company. I thought it was a perfect fit. I was wrong. This company was the WORST!
I have never had issues with being judged by my co-workers. I have never been the pariah of the work place. But I was. Two years have gone by and I still throw back and wonder at this conundrum that was once my life.
In short, I didn't fit in. Now you must be wondering "Whaaaat?? YOU not fit in??" I prize myself a chameleon of sorts. I can get along with EVERYBODY. But this clique that existed, left no room for new comers. And unfortunately that new comer was me. I had never experience anything like this in my 32 years, nor have I since.
The place I worked at was run by worldly women who only liked to do three things: 1) Wear stilettos 2) Get tattoo's and 3) Go to male strip clubs. With categories as extensive as these three things were, I was doomed from the start. Now keep in mind I was great at my job. Customer's LOVED me. They'd bring me gifts, food, cards and gift cards. But for some reason this wasn't seen by my supervisors because I didn't fit into their three tiered bubble. By week one, I was the social pariah of my work world... what with my ballet flats, non-existent tattoo's with no desire to get one, and my "just say no policy" to hanging with my co-workers at male strip clubs. Naturally I was shunned, judged, and for the first time in my life, I didn't have a chance.
By week two, I was called into a meeting at the Temp agency office where I was told that I simply wasn't stepping up. There was a list of specific complaints geared towards my inability to do my job and how I'm dressing "too casual." Now remember, customers loved me, and I mean LOVED me. But somehow I knew that these complaints really had no merit in regards to my work ethic. It entirely had to do with the clothes I wore. Never mind the fact that this same year I had gained the equivalent of the Freshman 15 in my first year of marriage, and none of my pretty clothes fit anymore. Never mind the fact that I had just spent over $600 in gas just to get to the west coast. Never mind the fact that I was dirt broke and was in denial that the weight I gained would magically disappear. They were playing dirty, and it wasn't fair to me. So I went out on a force shopping spree. I catered to their critique and made sure my hair and makeup were perfect every morning. I looked like a runway model everyday. But it wasn't enough.
When I got the new clothes, I almost expected an exclamation of "FINALLY loser! What took you so long?" But I didn't, nor did I get any comment of any sort in regards to my new attire. But what I did get, was positive critiques from my supervisors. It seems that my new clothes suddenly helped me do my job better. That by looking perfect, suddenly my work ethic improved. (If you can't catch the sarcasm dripping from my words, then forgive me). Nothing had changed accept for my clothes. But suddenly I was told that I was being more "social" more "open" to these strange tattooed, strip club attending co-workers.
Naturally I was confused, because as the new person, I was the one being shut out, not the other way around. But suddenly this great change had come over me. I was more of a cool kid now than a pariah. I was accepted, sort of... I say accepted in the loosest way possible, because I was far from being accepted.
I have never had a job where I had to try so hard to look like I did on my wedding day (which was fabulous, btw). The fact that I was basically forced to buy glamourous clothes, spending money I didn't have, to impress a bunch of snobs for a temp position job that paid crap...was ridiculous.
I came, I saw, I did no conquer. Long story short... the job didn't last. I was a temp after all. Every morning it was my responsibility to check the voicemails. Call it the new girl hazing or what not. Some Mondays I would have 47 voicemails to respond to, on top of answering six phone lines, and when customer's came to the front desk, I was expected to drop everything and go help them. Keep in mind, there were six other Leasing Agents in this office. We managed over 1,000 properties. You do the math. Sometimes my head was buried so deep in the six things I was juggling, that I didn't notice a customer come through the front door... That only happened three times, but it didn't matter what the other Leasing Agents were doing, the blame fell to me. It was ALWAYS my fault.
A few months into the job I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It was a real shock when my 90 days was up and that I wasn't hired on full-time because this this horrible company decided they just didn't need me anymore.
Sometimes I look back on this experience and just don't understand any of it. Maybe you can explain it to me.