I went to work today because I love my company. Even if some of its employees clearly do not adhere to its values, I do, and I know those values will push through in the end. During WWII, our female workforce was referred to as “Brown Betties” instead of Rosies. I am proud to be a Brown Betty.
I went to work today because I love the people that work for me. Yes, sometimes they drive me crazy and make me want to tear my hair out, but overall, I appreciate all the effort they put into everything. We were clobbered today with heavy volume, and we crushed our goals despite being short staffed. Even though our downstairs counterparts took from our staffing to increase their output, they didn’t even reach the rates they are expected to maintain with the amount of employees they usually have, let alone accommodate the raised rates expected of greater staffing.
I went to work today because I finally have a boss who isn’t an old, racist, sexist jerk who tells me he has to put me in my place and thinks screaming at people actually gets things done. For years, I dealt with the tyranny of his predecessor, and I do not take relief from this for granted.
I went to work today because I knew they couldn’t do it without me, and ALL of the other women in my shift showed up also. We didn’t have to, and yes, the place would have been messed up without us. There are less than a dozen female employees in our shift and I have almost half of them in my area alone, and you know what? Our numbers spoke for themselves.
I went to work today and had to jump into the fray, because people were late or didn’t show up to the shift, like usual. The people I’m referring to are men. Men couldn’t come in today. Women did.
I went to work today because I need the hours, and the money. To some extent, I hated myself for being there. I stood, clad in red, chiding myself in the corner during our pre-sort meeting. I wondered if I was a scrub, and if I’d be all alone. I held my thoughts back as one of my colleagues, who likes to drink and use racial slurs around his fellow white folk, asked if he could go home early. He was five feet away from me, but his audacity put light-years of distance between us.
I went to work today to hear a colleague, when I asked him, “Aren’t you glad I came in?” say in response: “We would have been fine without you.” Another said, “Fuck your rights,” an eloquent statement encompassing his entire life philosophy. The reason I had to stay stuck in my area during the holidays was because this person was already allowed to do the job I had attempted to apply to, despite him being with the company for a third of the time I have been there.
I went to work today and all I wanted was a tiny bit of thanks. I didn’t want someone to kiss my feet. I didn’t want them to act as if they were beholden to me, or as if I was some magnanimous Goddess for doing my job – I’m not. I just wanted a slight acknowledgement that I could have protested, but maybe I made the right choice by coming in. I just wanted a simple, “Thanks for coming in.” I didn’t get it.
I went to work today. Perhaps I should have just stayed home.
This was written for the Day Without a Woman on March 8, 2017. The picture was taken from the Women’s March twitter page and obviously not mine; I don’t know who the artist is and I don’t take credit for their work!