Things at the new job are… going.
I love the job in general. I love what I’m doing. I’m fully on board to helping people get their eyes checked and into new glasses. I see it as a vital service. So that’s cool.
I really like 95% of my new coworkers. But…
See, my boss, the office manager, gives off the vibe of being the type of girl who bullied me in 6th grade. I got that vibe pretty much within the first few days. But I filed it away and ignored it because this isn’t middle school, surely she’s grown and matured. Right?
Well, one bright and sunny Thursday afternoon she pulled me into her office and ripped me a new one. For 15 minutes she just piled on complaint after complaint. Told me everything in my moral character, and a few job-related things, that were fundamentally in need of serious change.
And I don’t mean BPD stuff. Or even autism stuff.
My favorite example is my hair. I interviewed for the job in need of my hair being buzzed again. Not fully on purpose, but I only buzz it every 3-4 months anyway and was only just barely overdue. But I figured since I was job hunting, it could wait a bit. I mean, I got the bank job years ago with a freshly buzzed head, but you never know.
Anyway, I got the job and immediately read the employee handbook when it came to appearance and nothing at all was mentioned about hair. This is a handbook that forbid us from eating garlic with our lunch, that’s now meticulous it was, but not a word on hair.
To be safe, I went into work my first day, with hair an inch or two long, and asked her directly what the policy was. I explained I keep my hair super short, that what she was currently seeing was on the long end of the spectrum, and that if there was no official policy, I would be buzzing my head in the next few days. I did my best to get across how short it would be, but let’s face it, it was only an inch or so long at the time, so clearly we were talking short. She said she’d speak to the regional and get back to me. By the end of that first day, I had the official thumbs-up to buzz my hair.
So I did.
Now some 8 weeks later I’m learning that they had no idea how short I intended. What’s worse, a couple of patients have asked me if I have cancer. I have simply answered that my hair was a personal choice and steered conversation right back to their eye appointment at hand, all in a matter of 30 seconds. HOWEVER, those two patients asking me that means my hair is officially a workplace distraction and she feels she now has ground to dictate how I keep my hair. Mind you, if I passed as a man, this would not be an issue. We actually have a male optician with a similar cut.
While I took most of what she had to say to me to heart and will work on changing the things in the name of keeping my job, and some of them were 100% valid. I want to be upfront about that. Some of them were 100% valid things that I need to work on. I am not taking her word as the final word about my hair.
See, my hair ties into my disability. I can not have hair that is long enough to touch my face, neck, or ears. I have sensory issues.
So I have very politely went over her head to HR to ask what the official policy is on hair length if there even is one. I gave her the full story and I did mention that me buzzing my hair ties into a disability, which makes me a protected class. I did not name the disability. I said I elected not to as it did not otherwise affect my ability to perform my job. If pushed, I’ll fess up to sensory issues. I’ll blame the fibromyalgia (nerves misfiring), not the autism. I will not ever disclose I’m autistic.
We’ll see where this goes.
That particular Thursday was a really rough day and while I held my shit together to finish out the day, I did cry myself to sleep that night. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she’d mentioned even a couple of the bits of my job I’m doing well in. Because I know I’m overall really good at my job.
I know this because she was not at work the next day and my coworkers who knew something was up and got bits and pieces out of me have all rallied around me and told me I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m likable, and that boss lady is like that with everyone.
So anyway, I’m going to hang in there. I’ll keep my head low. Do my absolute best. Change the few behaviors that I recognize need to be changed. (Such as they are patients, not customers. I get that right 80% of the time, but I need to fix that other 20%.)
I think this job is going to work out. I really do. I can survive a boss who doesn’t like me, and doesn’t hide that fact, when in general I like everything else about the job.
Oh, and I do have some awesome job perks to report. I’ll talk about those in the next post. This post deserves some happy news, but it’s already getting long.