Personally, you think it’s unsavory to write about people who’ve wronged you in a professional capacity. You love to believe in the cosmic power of karma. Let’s be honest –writing about these people gives them a sense of power. But, I do think it’s impactful to share an experience about a universal issue many women face in the workforce. One of your first jobs was at talent agency. As an attractive female, months out of college, walking into a talent agency (in my experience) was like walking into the lion’s den. For the most part, the flirtations were playful and harmless. But, there was one experience that went way too far. At the time, you found it comical. But, in retrospect, you realized this experience expedited a departure from a company at times you really enjoyed, created friction in your romantic relationship and forced you to negate your own moral compass to stay “in the industry.”
So here’s the story:
You were working for two agents at a talent agency, taking on an extremely high volume desk. There wasn’t an increase in compensation, although you were doing double the work. So you’ll ask your bosses for a raise. But, they’ll need to run it by your department head (who is a notorious piece of shit). At an agency, you listen in to all your bosses calls. You learn the ins and outs of the industry by hearing your bosses spit their best game. You LOVED listening in on their calls. Way better than that Instagram shit. Especially, when one of your bosses is literally one the funniest people you have ever met. C$ (your cool boss) would rap in the phonesheet, share embarrassing but endearing life stories –inviting you into his comical world but would also disseminate life advice in a relatable way that wasn’t intimidating or distance from your own life experiences. It goes without saying that you spent most of your days cry laughing (he was that funny).
So, one afternoon, your other boss (the NOT funny one) will be on a call with your department head and finally bring up the issue of getting you a raise. I’m not sure why he didn’t tell you drop off, so you stayed on.
So your department head, will pause before he spits out:
Department Head: “Sure. I’ll give her a raise…if she lets me titty fuck her first.”
Your Douche Boss: Silence (With your seating arrangement, you will be facing your boss when you hear this horrifying response. You’ll both just sit in silence and stare at each other with your mouth’s wide open.)
Department Head: “Hello? Is she on the line? OMG, she is on the line? Please don’t sue me. Please don’t sue me!”
You: You just started laughing
Then, you had to watch this department head walk down the office halls (towards you) and you felt sick. He literally went straight into your bosses’ office, crawled into a fetal position, stuck his head in a cardboard box and rocked back and forth as he shouted, “Please don’t sue me,” on repeat.
You’ll complain to your other boss – He’ll burst out laughing. He’ll encourage you to see the silver lining. You have the department head by the balls. But, you didn’t. Your douche boss will tell you not a say word–your department head could ruin you career. So, after crying to your boyfriend at the time, you went home.
You never got a raise. You never told HR. You felt powerless. Your department head would avoid you like the plague and you would try to avoid him as well. Your chance of promotion or internal growth was completely shot. You left the company shortly after.
So do you think it’s a funny story? You’d be lying if you said no (I mean I watched a grown man rock back and forth in a fetal position on the floor—it’s a crowd pleaser). But, when you reflect on the ramifications of the incident, it’s looses its glimmer. You remember the stomach churning you felt everyday fearful of running into him. You remember the fear of anyone finding out. Would he really destroy your career? Sexual harassment is real and it’s fucking uncomfortable. I don’t care how funny it may seem or how it happens and I am fucking funny person.
No one should ever threaten your career because they acted inappropriately. Period. End of story.