Healing from my workplace || Part IV- Masta Knows Best
I’m giving you TWO parts today! If you need to catch up, click here.
Okay so we left off with July pulling me aside to discuss my position under Sarah. I was busy journaling about my meeting with them, a task I began doing once my mental health started deteriorating. I noticed in my previous journal entries that there was something that came to me: when Sarah didn’t like you, she’d nitpick at everything trying to turn people against you.
I remember when I was around a year into my position, she came to my desk to discuss about another coworker (we’ll call her Anne). She didn’t show up to work that day (she decided to work from home) because it was impossible for her to get out of her snowy/icy neighborhood. To prevent being stuck in traffic for more than she needed to be, she decided to work remotely. Which is totally fine since the job had that capability.
Sarah was not having it. She came to my desk whispering about the fact that Anne could’ve made it because her and I made it to work. I looked at her and said,
“I live 2 miles away from work. Anne lives 20 miles away from work in an unplowed area-
And she proceeded to walk away. This was the last time she decided to talk crap about Anne to me. The many times she tried before, I always defended Anne. Not because we were extremely close at that time, but because I knew her reason for trying to gossip was unfounded. Anne did nothing to her to deserve it, and I didn’t like it when people picked on others for no reason.
Anne and I grew especially close later on, she became my safe space in the office. I’d go in there, close the door and spill it. All of it. Everything that bothered me. She knew about the crushing weight of whiteness, and clearly said she understands that she’ll never fully understand how that feels. She made sure to check privilege so that I didn’t have to do it,
“white people should be checking white people. It’s not your job to do it,” she’d say to me.
I felt relief from that.
Okay, back to July. She called me while I was journaling to discuss how we can move me to a different position. I wanted to learn about Photoshop, and other graphic design things, I also wanted to learn more about Property Management. When I had brought this up to Sarah, she shut me down. She said that anything graphic design was all taken care of by her. If that was the case, why did she always ask my advice after she’d finish designing a project for the company?
So, July decided that she’d start training me for Accounting. The one thing I did not want to do because numbers always intimidated me, but I was desperate to get from under Sarah. By this time, a new employee began working there. Actually, two new employees. Jenna and Anna. Anna started before Jenna. Her and I clicked right away. She noticed, just as well, that Sarah didn’t quite fit the description that she portrayed on our company website. She said, and I quote,
“Sarah, everyone else pretty much matches their description on the website. But yours is all professional and dainty, and you’re nothing like that.”
I laughed so hard because Sarah had no words other than to say “oh, really?” Almost like she didn’t realize that her shit stank too (I seriously think she didn’t know).
As my training for accounting went on, it had been decided that I start leading the meetings I had with July and Sarah. This was based on the meeting I had with July separately about feeling like I had no say in what we did for my position. It was also because I was tired of Sarah badmouthing me in July’s office when she thought no one could hear through the paper-thin walls. I always pretended like I couldn’t hear, but I always knew she was two-faced.
July kept reaching out to our boss (the president, Mark) trying to convince him that I’d made a great fit for accounting and that he should give me a chance. The problem was that Sarah was his assistant, and in their weekly meetings you could hear Sarah give her grievances to Mark about any co-worker she had an issue with that day or week. Don’t think she’ll ever let you get a word in edgewise, when she spoke you had to listen. I noticed that when she would get loud, it was an attempt to show her authority, since she felt that hers wasn’t being taken seriously. She once told me that I have to respect hers and other people’s titles. Yeah, she said that verbatim.
As I’d go about my days, by this time I had gained my confidence back. Emily, Anna, July, Anne, Kara, had already shared their thoughts about my treatment from Sarah.
Apparently, they had noticed it, and they didn’t like it. But, no one ever spoke up about it. One day, Emily took me to lunch and said that she noticed I’d been off my game. I guess in her attempt to make me feel better, she turned it on herself.
“You know, we all go through things, but when you are off your game for Data Entry it messes up my ability to do the Accounting. So if anything, just keep your head down and get your work done. That’s what I do.”
But that is NOT what I do (or did). That is a slave mentality. It’s basically saying that it’s okay to be treated unfairly. That it’s okay because “masta knows best.” That it’s okay because we have bills and can’t afford to lose this job. NO MORE. No more would I allow that kind of thinking. So, from then on, I fought. I fought hard for my dignity, and I wasn’t leaving it up to Sarah or anyone else that had something to say about it.
To be continued…