Friday, March 16, 2007

the next generation: are we there yet?

I'm pretty lucky to have my current job situation. If you've read my blog before, I'm sure you know that I've had serious issues finding work as a modified college student. For a while there no one seemed to trust or respect me, for no other reason than my...questionable...appearance. Then I got lucky this past December and randomly found a temp agency on that was located in my home town. Perfect for when I'm home from school! I got all set up with them, and before I knew it I was workin' away at some health center and thus achieving cash flow during my winter break. It couldn't have been a better arrangement.
So I gave the temp agency a call prior to my Spring break (which I'm still on), and they immediately found me a position at a Mercedes dealership in Fairfield, CT. Nice :o) I didn't really consider the issue of my lip piercing - until I was getting ready for my first day. I never really notice it anymore, and hoped they wouldn't either.
The first of the two days I was scheduled, a Saturday, everything went perfectly. The other employees helped me out when I needed, and I made sure to do everything they asked. I had an awesome time chatting with customers while they waited for their cars to be serviced, and some even wanted to talk about body modification after seeing my wrist piercing peeking out from my sleeve. I got lots of thanks on my way out, and went home expecting to have a comparable experience my second day there. Any anxiety I had had about my piercing was gone, and I smiled to see that effort really can be more important than appearance in the working world.
When Monday came around, I woke up at 5:30 am so I could shower and look Mercedes-worthy by 7. After primping myself up, I drove in traffic to the dealership, and settled in at my desk immediately because people were already waiting to be helped. About 30 minutes into my shift, one of the nice service managers came up and awkwardly addressed my lip piercing. He said that a particular supervisor who hadn't been there my first day of work had a problem with my "presentation." He told me that he was on my side, and had tried to get her to forget about it, but she wanted me to take it out. I informed him that the hole would probably close up if I had it out for my full 10 hour shift, and he left it at that. I thought I was safe....until...
So here I am, keeping things in working order, getting people helped immediately, and generally just keeping a happy atmosphere goin' on in the waiting area. All of a sudden a woman walks through the doors, and I can't help but notice that her face is plastered with about 6 layers of makeup and more eyeliner and lipstick than Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. Of course I smile and say hello, but to my surprise she knows my name. "Hi Tanya! I'm Carol, the head supervisor! Megan from Office Team (my temp agency) wants you to call her."
With that simple phrase she turned her back to me and began walking away.
"Um, excuse me, Carol?" I was timid, I didn't want to sound stupid but I had no clue what she was talking about. "I'm sorry but I don't understand. You want me to call Office Team and tell them what?"
She turned and yelled back to me "Oh, Megan called me and didn't know how to reach you (mind you, Office Team calls my cell phone at least a few times a week). So she wants you to call her!"
"Oh, ok..." I picked up the company phone in front of me, dialed, and was soon informed by Megan that Carol had actually contacted her. Megan gently addressed the issue that Carol had brought to her attention, my "presentation, for lack of a better word." I guess Carol had requested that I either remove my piercing, or leave the job.
She had actually called and asked my temp agency to do her dirty work, and without ever having met me in her life. Plus, the first and only time I did meet her, she lied to me. Nice people they have selling you cars these days. Honestly, I think people would rather buy a luxury vehicle from an honest individual with one classy piercing than from an old, clownish hag who lies through her lipstick-stained teeth.
Since she was of a totally different generation than myself and her other employees, I can understand her aversion to my "presentation." But on my way home I began to think about the situation, and became sickened at realizing that they had no one else to work the front desk for the rest of that day. I had only worked for one hour, and I was signing people in until the moment I walked out the door. They literally would've rather had no one attending to their customers than me. All because of my miniscule lip bling. Damn.
I guess I could complain, but whatever, the day they let me go was beautiful, and I wouldn't have been up early enough to enjoy it otherwise. Gotta focus on the brightness.
This siuation made me wonder how long it will take for old farts like her to cash in on their soc. sec. and finally be able to keep their prejudices to themseleves. I'm aware that I was taking a risk by accepting a job at a high-end car dealership, but I went through with it just hoping that they would appreciate my work and disregard my apparent presentation flaw. I may not be a genius, but I can take on almost any task that's thrown at me. Just don't mess with my metal. Thanks.

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