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  • Michele Thomas

Labor Day

Labor Day acknowledges the working class, those who suffered through 12 hours a day for seven days a week. I have a genuine appreciation for the labor movement. On this labor day, I want to express what it means to me personally. I will reflect on two very different experiences. I have changed the company names.

The first is 123 Company that dominated its industry. This was achieved by buying out mom & pop shops in the surrounding area. The day I knew it was not right for me was about six months after I started. The CEO came in with a big smirk across his face. He informed me that my coworker was in the hospital. He walked around the office, telling everyone her business. I lost my respect for him that day.

When my coworker returned, she was moved out of her office. Two hours later, the CEO handed her a separation agreement (which I suspected was illegal) she signed! She responded that she would rather get out than deal with them. I did not understand, but after seeing what a corrupt place it was, I eventually wanted to be rid of them too.

When a Junior Project Management position was posted, I asked about applying since I was getting my MBA in Project Management. I was told I would not make it as a Project Manager because I am a woman. I am currently being mentored in my new company to become a Project Manager- by a woman.

While working there, I was called names, yelled at, and made to feel insufficient. My worst memory was sitting with the CEO, uncontrollably crying and shaking. The point of no return was looking up and seeing the tissues, practically touching his elbow. He did not even offer me a tissue but instead stated, “I’ve seen you cry before,” waiting impatiently for me to finish.

The atmosphere was ‘hostile,’ a revolving door. Most people either quit or get fired before completing two months. The CEO and President of Sales proudly announced during a company meeting that the company had broken its record by firing someone less than 14 days after they started. You should have heard the pride in their voices!

I quit with no notice (which is not like me); it was a very liberating moment. I refuse ever to allow someone to treat me in such a manner again.

The second example is ABC Company, which also dominates its industry. They provide quality service to their clients by creating relationships with their clients, considering what the client wanted, and providing a high-quality finish.

ABC Company expects people to work during work hours, not after or before. They expect you to spend your weekends with family or personal matters. They frequently checked in to make sure people were doing okay and if there was a way to support you.

Having been burnt once, I waited for the real monster to rear its ugly head. But it did not; instead, they continuously showed everyone within the organization how much they are appreciated. I have been surprised on more than one occasion as I opened my porch door to find balloons, cupcakes, or flowers, just saying, “thank you,” from my boss.

These two companies could not be further apart from each other, but both help me make my point. I work harder at ABC company than I did at 123 Company. I do not spend copious amounts of time trying to calm down, crying, or consoling others who went to the restroom to hide.

So, this labor day, I hope other companies will consider that people do not quit their company; they quit their boss.


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