*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I was working two jobs at the expense of my health and well-being when the manager of my first job humiliated me in front of my coworkers at a work meeting. Why did he decide to humiliate me? It was because of my second job.
Throughout my life, I've endured several difficult periods when I worked two jobs to make ends meet. The first time I took a second job, I was a newly married teen bride with bills to pay and a husband who rarely helped pay for things like groceries and the rent.
After working all day as a bank teller, I drove to my second job as a store clerk clear across town. My schedules did not overlap, and there was just enough time for me to make the fifteen-minute drive before my second shift began.
One afternoon when the bank closed, the manager announced we were having a meeting. That struck me as unfair. He gave us no advance notice, and no one was happy about the last-minute announcement, including me.
None of my coworkers had another job waiting for them. Only one of my coworkers had children, but her sister picked them up from school every day anyhow. So they wouldn't be waiting for her.
I was the only one who had somewhere to be.
The manager droned on for what seemed like forever. Every time he stopped to take a breath, one of my coworkers would say something like, "Are we done?", or "Let's move on," or "Next!" We'd all laugh and move on to the next topic.
So when the manager paused for a moment, and I interjected with, "Next," I didn't expect him to react the way he did.
"If you're worried about getting to your second job, maybe you ought to make it your only job," he snapped.
"If you're worried about getting to your second job, maybe you ought to make it your only job," he snapped. "The rest of us are trying to listen to what's being said. Show some respect."
I was so embarrassed. I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. "I'm sorry," I muttered. "I didn't mean to interrupt."
"Obviously you did," he retorted. "And if you're not going to take this meeting seriously, maybe you should just leave."
So I did. I got up and walked out, trying to hold back the tears until I made it to my car.
"That wasn't fair," I heard one of my coworkers say as I walked away. "Everyone was saying stuff. Not just her. And she has to work another job. Leave her alone."
It was the first time anyone had ever stuck up for me at that job, and it made me feel a little better.
I still felt humiliated, and I had to drive across town while sobbing and spend the night ringing up customers and stocking shelves with red, swollen eyes.
Why did the manager of my first job humiliate me in front of my coworkers? The most likely explanation is that he was angry because I had to leave work on time to go to my second job.
Despite this humiliating experience, I continued to work two jobs to make ends meet for as long as I could. Although it was difficult, I found comfort and solidarity because at least one person stood up for me when I was being treated unfairly.
What would you have done? Comments are welcome.
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