It seems wherever I go, I’m hearing about graduations. Grocery stores and bakeries urging people to buy their graduation cakes there, cards on display, gift ideas and party décor. It’s the season when lives begin, or come to a screeching halt.
At least that’s how it went for me. I had no desire to “take the summer off” before moving on with my life. During all four and a half years of my college career I worked my tail off, and I didn’t mind that. But it was finally time to get paid, to be completely independent from my parents.
So for close to five months, I searched the papers, online job listings, and networked. There were interviews near and far (mostly far) and one or two insulting job offers. While I waited for my big break, I took on some freelance work so I wouldn’t feel completely useless.
Then on October 31st, 2001 (yes – I still have the email), I received the life changing news. I had known the interview had went well, but reading this first sentence of the email message still came as a surprise. A pleasant one.
It read, “I put in a request to hire you today for [$10k than I asked for] per year to start.”
OMG. To say I was over the moon would be quite an understatement. It meant so much to me. All of my hard work – both in earning my degree and in searching for a job – had finally paid off. Literally.
But just a few weeks into my new career, I realized what I had gotten myself into. My boss was interested in more than my marketing and design skills. For a few years, I put up with the harassment and mood swings in a far-from-professional workplace. To be honest, I felt stuck. I had purchased a condo and was living on my own. I had bills to pay.
While he never made advances toward me, he certainly crossed the line in many other ways. Let’s just say he over-shared. He also pressured me into joining him for cocktails after a work-day. There’s so much more, but it actually makes me sick thinking about it.
When I became engaged to my husband, his attitude toward me became decidedly aggressive. He set out to make life difficult for me, and he succeeded. I then tried to argue my harassment case with corporate, and they ignored it. Actually, human resources called him about it and then he talked to me about it.
He was wrong. I had been young and stupid. Grads, don’t be stupid like me. Don’t put up with any crap.
My story has a happy ending. It goes something like this: