The #1 Thing to Know Before Getting a Job

    As the school year continues, many of us are realizing that we need to pay for tuition, student fees, housing, and our coffee addictions. Getting a job is probably something on everyone’s mind, so I want to talk about the #1 thing you should know before getting a job this semester. This lesson was something I learned while working as a waitress in high school at a local pizza place.

    Being a female in the workplace is hard enough. Not only do we have to work harder than our male counterparts to prove our worth to employers, often times we end up in dominantly male work environments. One of the first things I noticed when I got a job as a waitress at a local pizza place my senior year in high school was that I was often the only girl working during my shifts. The cooks, delivery drivers, and other waiters were all older males, and sometimes the only other woman working was the manager. I specifically remember meeting another waiter at one of my first times on the job. He was noticeably older than me, most likely in his early to mid 20’s, and he immediately teased me by asking, “So you got a little boyfriend?” On top of the constant jokes and teasing, I was a new waitress who was still getting a hang of the job. I felt like as a young girl, my mistakes were scrutinized and pointed out regularly. The cooks would often tease me and I always had to put on a brave face before going to work. I was a young girl in an environment of older men, so I needed to toughen up, keep my head down, and do my job.

    There was only one other girl my age that worked at the restaurant. She was 19, and she washed dishes at the restaurant twice a week. She was extremely quiet and rarely said anything, but I was always nice to her and tried to be a friendly face. One night after a late shift, I noticed her sitting behind the restaurant. It was late and cold out, so I offered to give her a ride home. She gladly accepted, and to my surprise, she began pouring her heart out to me as I drove her home. She told me that she had just recently moved here, her family only had one car, she dropped out of high school, and that transportation was often a struggle for her, but she needed her job. I sympathized with her and offered to give her a ride home any time she needed.

    A few weeks later, I overheard a conversation between the male owner of the restaurant and my manager. They were discussing how the young employee often had to wait a while for her ride home from work. The manager mentioned that she often lets her sit inside the restaurant for her ride and that she waits with her. The owner became angry at this, saying that it was not his problem that she did not have a ride home and that it was not the responsibility of the restaurant to keep the lights on for her.

 

He said to the manager, “Kick her ass out, hopefully she doesn’t get molested.

 

I stood in absolute disbelief and shock, and I suddenly forgot what I was doing. I couldn’t get words out of my mouth. The owner made judgements about this girl without first getting to know her or her situation, and then made light out of a real and present problem that women face today, especially in the workplace. I understood quickly that the owner not only cared little about his employees, but he cared even less about his young female ones. That meant me.

    The day I overheard the conversation was already my last day working there, but if it wasn’t, I would have quit immediately. I never told the girl what I heard, but looking back, I wish I would have. Often times in the workplace, the only people looking out for women are other women. I felt the need to talk about this story because I believe the #1 thing women should know before getting a job anywhere is their worth. You shouldn’t have to fear going to work because you might be teased by male counterparts, and you should always feel as though your employers care about and respect you. No matter what happens in life, at school, or at work, hold on to your worth and showcase your self-respect. While your workplace may only be a small portion of your life, you should always feel comfortable and safe there. Remember you deserve your job as much as any male that works alongside you, and you deserve respect from every employer. Stay strong sister.

 

Katrina