Eden Riley asks, ‘Who are the hell are you?’ My son asked for some words to describe a friend of his. I don’t really know this friend that well so it was a bit hard. While we were thinking of words I wondered how people might describe me?
I used to do temp office work. I remember having an interview with an employment agency and as part of it they told me that I needed to wear tights every day to work. I nodded in agreement and vowed to myself that I would never wear tights on a hot day. I don’t like wearing them in winter but I dislike cold legs more. Actually, I dislike hot, sweaty legs and bum more than cold legs. So I never wore tights on hot days and it didn’t affect my employment. I did, and still do, keep my legs in a tidy manner. They are usually hair free in summer so I couldn’t see the point of covering them with synthetic material on a hot day. I’m someone who can keep my mouth shut sometimes when I think a request is plain silly – like wearing tights on a 40 degree day.
I went for a job interview early in my working life and at my second interview for an admin role at a law firm, the interviewer was a partner in this firm. He told me that (and I’m paraphrasing) that they wouldn’t employ me because I might have to take time off in the not too distant future to have a baby. I was gobsmacked at this blatant sexism and I probably sat there with my mouth open. Not only was I really annoyed at his assumption, I was annoyed that they’d invited me back for a second interview to tell me this. I felt like calling him 14 years later when I finally did have a baby and telling him that he would have had a damn good worker for up to that amount of years but due to his short-sightedness, he didn’t. Actually would I have liked working there with that type of attitude? Probably not.
I used to work in a small firm, again, in an admin role. All my colleagues were professional men and it was my job to make coffees and teas for them. I’ve always hated doing this because I think you’ve got two arms and legs, do it yourself. However, it was part of my job so I sucked it up and made them, and washed the cups and so on as part of that. I was the office dishwasher! My job was sometimes very busy with looming deadlines so taking time out to make coffee for the blokes was an unwelcome interruption. On more than one occasion one of the fellas would bleat out the word – cofffeeeee…. I would yell back – only when busy of course – I’m busssyyyyyyy, do it yourselfffff…, and he would. One of the other guys often called me bolshy and I never quite knew what that meant then but I’m guessing it was this type of behaviour, and probably other stuff that made him call me bolshy.
A few years later I worked in another office in a support role and I was flat out doing their ‘word processing’ as it used to be called then. I did a heck of a lot of work and they expected a lot of me. We would break up over Christmas/New Year and finish at midday on our last day to go out to lunch. I was winding up my last lot of work when someone came into my office and asked me to type him a letter. Without thinking, I called him a very very rude name (one which I won’t write here because I’m shocked that I even said it). His jaw dropped too. I typed the letter and the matter was not referred to again. However, I reckon he thought more carefully about dumping work on me at the last minute from then on.
I’m a person who decided on a whim about a year ago to exhibit some of the photos I’d taken for a day every year. I’d never done this before and really didn’t know what I was doing. My bolshy attitude helped me along the way and I had the opening the other night.
I’ll write more about this another time.
I’m a person who had a ‘surprise’ pregnancy which meant becoming a single mum and having no help whatsoever from my son’s father. As I’ve written over the years on this blog it hasn’t been easy at all. Being a parent isn’t easy but being a sole parent isn’t ever easy. But, wearing all the hats that people have taken off to me over the years, I’m doing it and we’re okay. Sometimes I stand somewhere away from my son and open my mouth and silently scream when he’s really pushing my buttons but we have some laughs too. He loves being tickled and we have some moments when he’s lying on the floor laughing so much from me tickling him. Being bolshy has helped me on this parenthood ride, that, and the fact that I get to go to sleep every night and wake up to a new day. That really helps.
I’m a person who’s linking to aforementioned Eden Riley’s Fresh Horses brigade and I’m not always bolshy.
Such an interesting post. Some of those workplaces sound fairly medieval!
I have been working for more years than I care to admit and these examples are from the early years. I like to think that things have changed since then.
Deb @ Bright and Precious says
I admire the journey you’ve been on. Different hats to different people, yes. And you’re doing the most important job of all raising your son.
Thanks. It is a very important job. I try not to think too much about that – it scares me.
Bolshy. I really like that word and haven’t heard it for ages.
I can relate so much to this .. especially making the coffee for groups of men who would annoy the CRAP out of me.
You’ve done a lot, been through a lot. Love your tickling with your son … fist pump to the silent scream, man.
Thanks so much, for taking part in this.
Bolshy is a great word isn’t it, and I think it does describe me fairly well sometimes. Cheers Eden.
Oh I giggled when I read about your saying a rude word to the “take you for granted” guy. Sometimes they aren’t even aware!
Nice getting to know you.
Oh, I certainly made him aware that day. I think too many people take other people for granted and they don’t know if they’re not told. I perhaps could have done it in a more subtle way.
Bolshy is such a good word! I like to think that all women can be a little bit bolshy when they need to be – the workforce brings that out in us. It’s such a man-vironment.
Being a sole parent is something I can’t even fathom. I think about it often and I am amazed at the resilience and courage of sole parents everywhere. x