I have undergone the yearly job review ceremony, also known as a foregone conclusion. The vast majority of the review is the store’s total results, so everyone basically starts out with a failure. It’s not even worth getting upset about it. I might as well stick my tongue out at my boss’s back, as I often do, for all the good it will do me.
I won’t bore you with what exactly was said at my review. On paper it was decent, “meh.” A minor backstab was involved but it’s okay. Most of the feedback my boss gave me was “off the record” abuse—implications and judgements I didn’t quite appreciate, and which I know not a soul in the store (except the solitary stoolie) would agree with.
I sat at a table across from her desk, properly distanced. I had her just where I wanted her—she was cornered and I had nothing to fear because I just had covid and she is deathly afraid of it, giving me the upper hand. I sat to the side leaning on my forearm, legs crossed, hands folded, my mouth twisting into a smirk behind the blue medical mask she hates because it’s not the company regulation one. I wanted to look as comfy as possible in order to stick it to her. She likes to see fear and I wasn’t in the mood to indulge her. I was in the mood to laugh.
I’ve been on a Smiths kick recently, and a song played in my head for a soundtrack.
“I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I’m miserable now.”
Our discussion was a dance of accuse, laugh, defend, and parry. No, she never expects the parry.
“In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don’t care if I… live or die?”
You know, I did get the highest raise available. Forty cents. I say to her that everyone gets the same raise.
“I can tell you unequivocally that some people did not get forty cents!”
“Aren’t you happy you get more money?”
I point out to her that it’s a little absurd that I make barely above minimum wage when my job carries a lot more responsibilities than other positions and I’ve been there nearly ten years.
She looks down at her papers and phone and moves them back and forth like a shell game and says, “Well, you have the chance to earn a bonus! That’s a way to make more money!”
Yeah, do you mean the one where you have to sell $750,000 in a year to qualify for? That bonus?
I probably don’t sell more than $1,500 in a year.
“In my life, why do I smile at people who I’d much rather… kick in the eye?”
The minimum wage rises again in a couple of months, and after struggling with the calculations for a while, I figured out that I will make 1.5% above the minimum. Right now it’s 6.6% above.
Every day, little by little, I level up in the RPG of life because the amount of shit I am able to take with a smile on my face increases. I used to be unable to tolerate anything I (rightly or wrongly) perceived to be unfair and I’d make quite a fuss about it, but I don’t get hysterical anymore. Not that I never break down–I am by no means superhuman–but it takes more now to send me over the edge. I just laugh. “Not today!” someone just yelled at me for laughing. “Not today!”
Every night before I go to sleep, I write down things I am grateful for that day, however tiny. But really, at some point doesn’t it become ridiculous to be grateful for an insult? It’s such a pittance that it’s hard to say, “I am grateful I make forty more cents now.” Should I thank you because you kicked me in the ass, and when I complain, you say “A good kick is very slimming for the rear end”?
What can I do but laugh and hope that it will strengthen me for the future?
When I got up to leave her office, she was still doing her shell game, shaking her Karen bob. “We can talk about money later…” she said.
But she won’t bring it up, and I’m still a coward, so I will await the minimum wage hike for next year.
I’d like to take her stupid orchid and dance on her desk…