Gritting His Teeth

by M. Lizabeth Currain

I don’t hate my job. I don’t necessarily like it either–I’m not sure what the in-between of “hate” and “like” is. I guess in the in-between is that I still work there and it’s been almost 9 months. This isn’t to say that I haven’t been looking for other jobs. Oh, I’ve been looking for other jobs. I’ve even been on interviews. But I always get the “We’ve decided to go with someone else.” I think that’s the job-hunting equivalent to “he’s just not that into you”. So for now, I am still working in a thrift store as a sales associate; but as we all know, I tell future employers I’m an assistant manager. I’ve been doing it for so long, I actually believe it. The only thing that makes me feel slightly better about this job is that I can just tell people I work for a non-profit. Because I do. Just not in the capacity they are assuming that I do. It makes a good conversation starter, it usually goes something like this:

“Where do you work?”

“Oh, I work for a non-profit.”

“Cool, what do you do there?”

“Uh, I’m a sales associate at a thrift store.”

“Oh.”

Like, I said, it’s a good conversation starter.

Anyways, I have this terrible boss. I’m going to call him Jonbenet or JB for short. I’m only doing this to try and give you reader(s) some sort of perspective on how trashy this guy is. He once came up to me at work and said, “JB would be 18 today.” The look of horror and disgust on my face when I realized that he was referring to Jonbenet Ramsey must have been enough of a signal for him to realize I didn’t care or want to hear anymore–which is why I didn’t get to hear the Jonbenet menstrual cycle comment firsthand, and heard it through a co-worker who was just as disturbed as I was.

To say that JB and I have a strained relationship at work, is an understatement. He hates me and the feeling is rather mutual. However, when I am at work, I do my job; rather well might I add–I probably have the keenest grasp on customer service and merchandising that store has ever seen and will ever see. And to be honest, that store and the organization in general is not touting the “cream of the crop” for the majority of it’s staff by any means. When I was at orientation for this job, I was there with people who were going to be case managers–people who were going to be in charge of other people’s lives; their wellbeing–and these people could not grasp the concept of how paid time off is accrued. They didn’t know what “accrue” meant. I hate to say it, but the people they are managing the cases of, stand little to no chance of getting the help they really need. I also work with a woman, who, probably by any sort of medical definition would be considered “off her rocker”. She literally spends most of her day wilin out at work. She talks to herself, but it’s not like normal talking to one’s self–it’s some scary shit. She’ll be putting some books away and then she’ll start getting all cray cray, saying things, to no one in particular, “Well, if you’re gonna buy it, go ahead an buy it!” or “You don’t pay my bills, I pay my own bills motherfucker!” She also told me that the Jackson’s (yes, those Jackson’s), stole footage of her talking to her father from the moon. She told me she was a moon baby. I’m not even really sure what that means. All I know, is that when she starts telling me a story, I listen politely. Because bitch ain’t going to come after me when she snaps. Besides her being cray cray, she also does very little actual work–she takes hour and a half lunches, reads books on the sales floor, etc. But all of this goes untouched by management, because well, I guess they value their lives.

To get back on track–I feel like the above, was one, long, ill-placed footnote. I’ll try to work on that in the future. So my boss hates me. I think it’s because he knows that I see him as the uneducated, lying, trash that he is. Literally; and I have people who can back me up on this; he is a compulsive liar. And he has an entirely different set of standards for me than he does for the other employees; which he told me! during my 6 month review! which he held in a public place! during which he yelled at me! because he didn’t understand a point I was trying to make! And he would always say shitty things to me, or complain that I wasn’t doing enough when I would be trying to ring-up the 10 annoying customers who are in line, while also trying to show some old biddy some ugly jewelery.

So finally, after 6 months of putting up with JB’s unnecessary attitude, (I saw 6 months, because there was about 2 months that he did seem to like me somewhat), and 6 months of my friend and former co-worker telling me to go to HR, I did. And boy did I go to HR. I wrote a grievance letter and everything. I had lists of all the ways I had been wronged. And the VP of HR said, “Why did you wait so long to come see me?” Um, mainly because I need my job and don’t need to be losing it, if someone decides that I’m suddenly unfit to work as a sales associate (yes, I say sales associate as if I am spitting venom).

I went to HR when both JB and the Director of stores were on a vacation, so the VP of HR had to wait until the D. of Stores was back from vacation to talk to her about everything, and then she would have to talk to him. But luckily for me, the organization has a zero tolerance policy for retaliation. So if he were to get all trashy with me, I could get him fired. Which brings me to today and the title of this here little blog of mine. I was apparently supposed to go to the warehouse today and sort through discarded donations for vintage items. However, I was under the impression that I wasn’t going to be going once a week anymore, because JB wanted to do it all himself. Which is fine with me, because going from Brooklyn to LIC in the morning is a pain. So I got to work and my coworker said, “[JB] said you were supposed to be at the warehouse.” And I’m thinking, “great, now I am going have to put up with his b to the s,” because this happened once before and he got all mouthy with me. But when he saw me, and I told him how I had thought I wasn’t supposed to be going to the warehouse anymore, you could tell he was visibly pained in the fact that he had to be nice to me. He was practically gritting his teeth to tell me that it was okay, but to keep going to the warehouse on Monday. Someone must have had a little talk with him. HA! I love the fact that I can see it in his face that he hates having to be nice to me. I love it. Serves JB right. I’m a lot better at pretending to like him, than he is at pretending to like me. I have had years of practice at having to pretend to like people. It’s called high school. Maybe JB would have learned it there if he hadn’t of dropped out to “run away” to NYC to live like the movie Party Monster.

Meaghan: 1, JB: ZERO.