My exposé emphasizes how workplace sexual predators are not always superiors of their victims and how entire, totally blameless, hardworking staffs can get caught in the crossfire and find their jobs/careers jeopardized.
On this day in 1978, I punched a major, international retail clothier’s time clock for the very first time… began slaving away in what I have oft referred to as Retail Hell. Such a moniker is well earned considering how my remaining employed oft necessitated my tiptoeing through the psychological minefield found within many of my superiors’ contorted minds.
Case in point, the very first regime I had encountered presented a weird variety of sexual harassment for all underlings to see… an upside-down hierarchy, which any in print and online investigative reporter would have had a field day exposing. I could write volumes about how a sexual predator nearly ruined our store’s profitability / success… but will CliffsNotes it instead.
Right from the get-go, a male underling began dominating / harassing our married female boss… let’s assign some fake names… oh… say… Monty and Dolly. It’s still unclear whether or not she had been a willing partner. That control freak had been so effing cocksure he hadn’t even bothered hiding this adulterous fling.
How bad was this? Well, I once had to prioritize my customer’s shopping list just to steer us away from literally stumbling over Monty and Dolly rolling around and wrestling on the carpet. Fortunately they hadn’t yet earned an R-Rating.
With no time to find a bucket of cold water, I intentionally increased the volume of my voice to subtly remind this “couple” that we were now open for business. Had they not picked up on my subtle “Hey, get a room!” cue, there’s no telling how far they would’ve gone. Clean up in Aisle 2?
Day in, day out… in plain view of all employees… they’d spend entire, eight hour long shifts seated across from one another at her “managerial” desk… Dolly all starry eyed… neither of them getting any real work done… all the while collecting their paychecks… all the while dumping heavier workloads upon their underlings to compensate for their figuratively and literally effing up everything.
Dolly wound up promoting her F-buddy into management… not based on his skills… that is… unless his adeptness at playing grabass and his cocksmanship were considered assets. I cannot begin to describe how disgruntled our staff had become… how low our collective morale had sunk.
To get a better grasp on the depth of Dolly’s calloused attitude and twisted mind, I now present a brief subplot to this story. Following the post Christmas seasonal cut in sales associates’ hours, one morning a co-worker (let’s call her Karly) came back out onto the selling floor in tears. In a hushed, horrified tone of voice she confided in me.
It turns out that due to Karly’s drastically smaller paycheck, she had recently moved in with Dolly… and now our boss was trying to shake down her roomie for half of their apartment’s rent.
After Karly had complained, “But you’ve just cut my hours. The only way I can pay you is if I either rob a bank or sell my body,” Dolly snapped back, “Fine with me… you choose!”
So, why did I stay? Well, it was my corporate loyalty. True, at that point, my job was akin to standing on the deck of a sinking ship, but since Dolly’s neglect and
delegation… no strike that… abdication of power had in essence, made me the surrogate “Captain”, I felt it was my place to either go down with my ship or, if lucky, find a way to save it.
Eventually, Monty and Dolly’s superiors caught a whiff of their stench. They “moved in” and Monty moved on… little doubt… ISO another female to sexually dominate, harass and assault. Dolly got reassigned to another store in our district and eventually moved out-of-state. But, not before her husband (let’s call him Todd) had divorced her. It was unclear whether Todd had discovered his wife was cheating on him all on his own or if that bastard Monty had deviously found a way to clue him in… i.e. just to sadistically devastate her husband.
My new boss (let’s call her Mindy) had a tough job to do… had to find creative “solutions” to force out anyone who she suspected of still being “in bed with” the old regime. Her trust no old employees / guilt by association approach to corporate housecleaning, included me. Of course, her theory had been flawed because I had totally despised all the sloth and un-professionalism, which Monty and Dolly had stood for.
Hard to believe, but, a sexual predator, indirectly, had forced me to prove my loyalty to Mindy. To do so, I did what I’ve always done… showcased what I’ve always brought to every workplace I’ve ever entered… my superior efficiency and strong work ethic.
And, folks, that description is not self-aggrandizement. Mindy, herself (during my annual employee review) not only used those words to assess my work performance but to also justify my pay-raise.
I wound up staying on well beyond Mindy’s all too brief era as our store manager… to the tune of 20 1/2 years. Regrettably, after her departure, more negatively themed events made for more sad stories to tell and maybe, someday, I’ll blog about them, too.
America’s avarice and male hormone driven Republicans, many of them sexual predator suck-ups… some of them predators themselves… must drain the sexually toxic, workplace swamps. True, they won’t likely shive a git about the lost human dignity but were we to effectively present this problem as a corporate profit draining / lost worker productivity issue, might they zip up and listen?