Teen worker gets disciplined for showing up to work on time

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I graduated high school with no intention of attending college. Although I would eventually go to college shortly after I turned thirty, I entered the workforce full-time when I was eighteen. I traded in my part-time job as a grocery store cashier for a full-time job as a bank teller. My new job was within walking distance of my home. That was the only good thing about it.

My immediate supervisor was like a box of chocolates. We never knew what we were going to get. One morning, I arrived at work on time only for my supervisor to shout at me at the top of her lungs.

She berated me in front of the other employees for several minutes while I tried not to cry. It wasn't until she finished that I looked at the clock on the wall. It read 8:01 a.m. I was scheduled for 8 a.m.

"It's 8:01," I said, pointing at the clock. That was a mistake.

My supervisor resumed yelling. This time, she said I should have arrived early and been ready to start working by 8 a.m.

I wished I had looked at the clock before her first diatribe instead of after it because I had every reason to believe I'd been several minutes early. Or at least I would have been several minutes early if she hadn't stopped me at the door to holler.

"I'm sorry," I said, trying to placate her. "It won't happen again."

"It had better not," she said before storming off.

I spent the rest of my day avoiding her. She would pop out of her office from time to time to give me a dirty look, but she didn't say anything else to me. I was thankful for that.

I went home that night and thought about quitting my job. It wasn't worth the stress. But I needed the money, so I went back to work the next day, hoping my supervisor would have forgotten about our encounter.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

"I want to talk to you," she said as soon as I walked in the door.

I braced myself for another berating, but she surprised me by asking me to lunch. I thought maybe she had calmed down and wanted to apologize; I was wrong.

Over lunch, she told me I needed to shape up or ship out. She said I was too much of a liability and that I needed to start meeting her expectations.

I wasn't sure what to say, so I just nodded my head and promised to do better.

When we got back to work, she handed me a list of things she expected me to do better. At the top of the list was "arrive on time."

I'm not sure what she expected me to do about that since I had already been at work for several minutes when she started yelling at me, but I didn't say anything. I just took the list and went back to my workstation, defeated.

How do you deal with an unreasonable boss? Comments are welcome.

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