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Going, Going, Gone

, , , , , | Working | September 3, 2021

In mid-2020, I saw a job listing for a small local business that made award ribbons and trophies. It was a will-train, full-time position, with “no smokers” being a requirement. (Nobody wants award ribbons that smell like cigarettes.) I applied and got an interview which ended in a job offer. The pay was significantly better than my part-time minimum-wage retail job, as was the regular nine-to-five weekday work schedule. I was thrilled.

The first two weeks went very well. I learned quickly and got along with my boss and the coworker who was training me. The third week, I was asked to only work part-time since business was impacted by the health crisis. I agreed to the cut and figured I’d be fine until things improved, so long as I had at least one full day of work per week. I wanted to make a career out of this job, so a (relatively) short-term sacrifice seemed worth it for long-term employment. 

Four months after being hired for a full-time job, I found myself working one to two days a week and often being sent home early. I did what was needed to help the business during this difficult time without complaint. Then, one Friday, my boss told me, “We need to talk,” as she handed me my paycheck. These words filled me with dread.

My boss launched into a speech about how bad business was.

Boss: “There’s not much work to be done right now. Things always slow down in the winter; in fact, we close during the winter.”

I was never previously informed of that. Then, she moves on to talking about me.

Boss: “While your work is of excellent quality, you’re far too slow.”

This was the first I’d heard any negative feedback regarding my job performance.

The boss then looked me in the eye.

Boss: “You don’t actually want to work here.”

This was a statement, not a question. I was so shocked and upset that I couldn’t think of a response and just silently stood there.

Boss: “We’re going to look for someone else to fill your role, but we’ll call you in to help with large orders.”

I agreed to this, still in shock at being essentially fired without warning. Just as I thought I couldn’t possibly feel any worse, the boss dropped one last comment.

Boss: “I had a lot of men apply for this job, but you were the only woman I don’t hire men.”

All this time, I thought I’d gotten the job because of my relevant qualifications and abilities. But it turns out none of that mattered; I was hired because the boss is sexist.

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