I have to start by saying that I actually like my job. But for the last three weeks, I have been absolutely miserable. I have been angry and confused and have cried so many times. Then there is the fact that I have started having all these horrible nightmares, not to mention this horrendous rash that started on my arms and chest, all of which can be attributed to stress. And why have I been so stressed? Because while I love my job, there are certain elements that have made me beyond fucking miserable. But let me backtrack.
Three months ago, we hired a new employee. Male, older than I but without the same job experience. (He came from a restaurant, we work in a bakery). I’ve been doing basically the same job from three different companies off and on since 2009. Not to mention the fact that I have been baking practically my entire life PLUS the fact that I actually attended Culinary Arts school. But I digress. So he was hired on and I actually like the guy. But then I started realizing that all of a sudden, his hours were going up. While mine were going down. Then just as I’d be about to say something, my hours would go up again. This went on for two months. But in the last month, his hours had gone up drastically while mine fell considerably. We’re talking a 15 hour difference. I’ve been there for two years.
I finally said something to one of my managers last month as I was moving. I said I’d take the lower hours that week since I needed the extra day to move, but that I wanted my hours. I was told “Oops, sorry about that. Won’t happen again.” But it did. And again. And again. Then came rent time and I had to SELL my own possessions just to get the last $50 for my rent. That was completely and unequivocally unacceptable. So, I took matters into my own hands.
I won’t bore you with all the details. But my company belongs to a union. I contacted them and told them what was happening. I can’t lie. I was terrified. I absolutely hate confrontation but I will absolutely stand up for something that I believe in. (And if you think I won’t then you honestly don’t know me, is what I usually tell people) It was bad enough that he is making more money than I (something he has brought up at least once a week since he originally told me). It was bad enough that he had gotten my hours. But then I realized that ALL of us women were losing their hours. And that just wasn’t right.
Which brings us to now. It wasn’t pretty. I’m not exactly popular amongst management at this time. They can’t retaliate against me (which is great) but they also don’t have to like me. Which stinks. I truly dislike being disliked. I know I shouldn’t care what people think of me – and in many cases, I don’t – but it’s different when it’s your bosses. I want my bosses to like me. I want them to see the great things I do at work, and be proud of how much I love working there. So it’s hard right now. I know if I give it a couple of weeks, everything will be back to normal. But I want that to be the case now.
But despite their unhappiness… it was worth it. The rash is gone. My hours have gone up and so have several of my co-workers. And the most important thing of all? I took actions and helped myself. They may not respect me. They may dislike me. But I can respect myself and nothing – and no one – can take that away from me.