I went for coffee with my friends on Friday evening. It’s been a while since we met because life happens. Since then I have been sad for a few days. My friend had a baby, so naturally she went for maternity leave. When she went back to work her position had been filled by someone else.
She is still around somewhere in that company but with nothing specific to do. She is an errand girl we could say. This is because she asked if she could work at an office close to her home for the first six months since she knew she always works late. She also double commutes to work – no don’t tell her to move it’s her prerogative to keep living at her current location. She is a new mother and her company accepts such things. She has seen it happen so she thought why not ask. Her colleague had requested to be moved to a branch close to his home. His request was granted and hers was declined and she graciously went back to her office. Oh yeah, for no reason at all just on the prerogative of he lives far from his current station.
Soon after she went back, she learned there was restructuring while she was away and her position was taken by someone else. I had mentioned that right? So she asked about her job description after restructuring. Guess what her boss said? You are thinking she said, “here you are take this and go to space X and start work.” Or maybe, “welcome back and here is where you can express your milk and store it in the fridge to carry home.” Wrong. Her boss wasn’t so much as concerned that she was back, still on payroll and now an errand girl. She has worked at this company for over six years. Here is what her boss told her. “When you were getting married you knew you were an employee. When you went ahead to get pregnant and have a baby you knew you were an employee. You were an employee before you were a wife and a mother. So you will handle yourself as an employee first.” Yes you read that right.
When she told us this I was livid but that’s all I could do. I have known this girl for over five years and she is the most diligent employee I know. Apart from you, yeah I know you are thinking “I am also diligent”. Yes you are a good employee now focus on someone else for one small moment you meano!
So tell me what does a woman have to do to keep a job in some companies? Sing hallelujah every morning to her boss? Bow at his/her feet while performing some karate moves to entertain her boss? Do not tell me about labor laws, you would not like to be stuck in court because of a human with terrible views or would you? Humanity should be reflected in how we relate with the people around us. We cannot spend all our working lives trying to fight off living. I am still stuck at how my friend should not have got married and got a child. I have had amazing bosses and terrible ones so I know how it feels to report to someone who doesn’t care. Most recently I reported to the best people in all my working life – story for another day. So I know good bosses exist. You might be amazing at your work as David was at playing the harp but if you have a shitty boss it’s all for nothing.
When you do not have a godfather any opportunity you get never goes to waste but there are those who do not recognize it and want to shit on you. They assume you are working hard because you are trying to impress someone more senior than they are, which in reality you are not. You are giving your best because you realize this might be the only chance you have and you want to prove to yourself that you can actually do a good job. You are worth the opportunity granted and you do not want to let this one person who believed in you down either. It’s difficult to just sit still and wait for work you go looking because you have been idle before and it’s a scary place to be.
My friend is the stellar employee but her boss will never say a good thing why? I assume she feels threatened. When the Lord has blessed you and given you a chance do not for a slight moment forget where you came from. Do not forget someone gave you that chance. Pass it along and do not make others miserable. You have nothing to lose. If you love what you do you will thrive and it threatens people who start attacking and sabotaging your genius. Very few people will push a door open for you. The truly humble people will never forget, they will be eternally grateful.
When we empower women we empower a society. I know I sound biased because I am a woman but I have worn this shoe and I am able to empathize with my friend. Women should support each other. If we do not support each other as women then all our efforts become futile. Have you worked under a woman who is a ball of sunshine and felt the drive to shine and make her work easier? Yes there are amazing women bosses and there and we appreciate them but there are some women who sound like they suckled from the devils tits. I bet these women know that they are terrible bosses and if they do not then if you walk into a room and people all shut up or no one wants to ask for advice that is not work related you might be one of them. Blowing off someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter. It’s a cliché but that should be a mantra we all live by.
P.S: To my friend, I know you call me the eternal optimist but keep your spirit up. The only thing that no one can take away from you is hope and faith. Keep it.