There are many moments I go over in my head... over and over and over... I replay and pause and slow down, I analyze and try to remember every single word that was spoken. Evey mouth movement and memorize how lips formed certain words, hand gestured that molded the moment... everything.
Oddly enough, as of late, I have been replaying a moment in my lifetime that seems quite... well... not one I'm proud of.
The year was 2009? I'm guesstimating... I'm horrible at time recollection.
Well, I'm having a sit down with my then-boss. I was working for a broadcasting company (aka: an oldies station. I produced the morning show and hated the material but loved the work environment... sans my PD). The day previous I had forgotten to switch a switch or pull a lever; the bullshit they paid me for, basically. The station had been dead-air for 12hrs or so (even before anyone noticed... HELLOOOOO, no one was listening anyway.) and I was to be dealt with.
We stare at each other. We both know what's coming. I expected to be fired and was looking for the relief. No one was available to do my shift, I hoped he would get stuck with it. I hated him in a fiery passion. When I talked about him I talked like a feminist because he was such a chauvinistic pig. He openly protested against women being in the office and made a point to stick me as a receptionist after my original 5am-11am shift (sometimes making me work 13hr shifts) because they refused to hire a new one... the previous one was also African-American and he openly had distaste for that double-whammy in the office. So let's just say I wouldn't be sad about being fired. I just hated that he'd take so much pleasure in it.
"You know why I called you in here" he says. I nod. "You're aware of the major neglect that you had." I nod, trying to look sad. I was in-fact disappointed at my neglect. In all truth-- I had fucked up. "You could be fired over this." He continues, with a smug look on his face. "But instead, we're just going to suspend you for two weeks, with no pay." I nod again, looking him in the eye, hoping he'd stop talking soon so I could go home and get a much needed nap. "Have you got anything to say for yourself?"
I took a deep breath, "I fucked up. I know I did. I'm grateful for the second chance and I will take my two weeks." I totally needed a vacation, I was excited to get two weeks without waking up at 4am and lumbering into work with one eye open. I yearned for the day I could sleep in until noon and lounge around and do nothing. I lived with my parents at the time and could survive two weeks without a paycheck, no big deal.
He stared at me, whatever I had said had really pissed him off. How dare I take my punishment with poise and respect for both parties involved? He wanted me to suffer.... so he prodded me, "Do you even want this job?"
No, I didn't. "Yes I do." I said, "Music is a passion of mine, I've worked in this building going on three years now. I'm glad you guys hired me after I moved back into town and found the building under new management. I will do whatever it takes to make it in this business."
Again, strain, anger and his smug look was now gone, so again... with the prodding, "It's so hard to read you. You have such a relaxed view on life sometimes it's hard to tell if you even give a shit about this company. You just do what you're told and go home. We need someone here that's going to go an extra mile, someone that is going to be innovative to the company. Someone who is going to push the limits and do whatever it takes to help this company along. Can you do that?"
Okay... first off, I was waking my non-morning-loving-ass up at 4 fucking a-m for his women-hating republican ass, many times not leaving until sometimes 7 or 8pm because I had started loading commercials and helping imaging with voices for commercials and sweepers and whatever the fuck else. I was going on remotes without getting paid ON TOP OF me sucking up his outwardly condescending attitude towards any vagina in the office. What else did he want me to do?
I bit my lip and raised my voice only slightly, "Am I fired? Because if not I'd really rather just leave right now and come back when my two weeks is up. I load commercials, I do what you want me to do and every time I try my best to get an on-air shift you tell me I won't be able to move the mouse around fast enough. I don't know what else you want me to do! If you will tell me what the 'extra mile' is, I will do it. Until then, I can't read minds. I'm also very sorry for fucking up. I'm aware I did something wrong so I'm taking the punishment. You want me to yell? You want me to get angry? I'm sorry, but that just doesn't seem right. I did something wrong so I'm taking the punishment, simple as that. I do what I'm told and go home because that's all I know. It's impossible to learn something if no one is willing to be a teacher... and when I do find a teacher you tell me no. It seems to me that you're the only one holding me back, not myself. Now... am I fired?"
"No, you're not fired." He said looking up to me, because I had stood up to say what I wanted to say.
"See you in two weeks."
I slammed the door and left. Five days later I get a call and a lecture. My PD wanted me back but on a trial period. I knew no one was able to work my shift and take up my slack. I knew he wouldn't last a full seven days without me. I ended up getting fired later that year because I misread my schedule (that they so often changed without mentioning to me) and missed a shift completely. I was sad, but only because I was going to be missing a pay check. He got fired a year or two later for "running the company into the ground."
I'm not exactly sure why I keep reliving that moment in my life, but a smile comes across my face every time I recall it.
I was being punished, rightfully so, yet I still didn't give him the gratification of me crying or tearing myself down... don't let people get the best of you. It's a waste of everyone's time... and I'm sure the person trying to tear you down needs the reality check.