This happened around the time I just came back from the Netherlands after my three month visit. I stayed with my dad for a month before going back to Cape Town to live with my mother. There I started to job search. I knew I was going to be in South Africa for a few months and I could finally get a well paying job. Most employers wouldn’t want to employ me after hearing I’m only available for six to nine months at most. So finding the right job that paid well was difficult. Eventually I looked for something temporary and that’s when I found the position. Receptionist at a car repair shop. It was a three month position and they didn’t require any experience as all the training you would need could be done in one day. The salary was good and the work day wasn’t too out of the ordinary. It was the normal 8am – 6pm job. It also required two Saturdays per month (9am – 3pm) and it seemed like a good fit. The interview went well and I felt hopeful. They called me the Friday afternoon and said I got the job. They wanted me to come in for a few hours the next day for some training. I was excited. The lady I was replacing would help me will all my training and it felt like a good fit. I felt like I hit the jackpot. I found a good paying job and the work seemed like something I could easily do. I just had to greet new customers, make some calls and do some quotes and that was about it.
On Saturday however I quickly saw that this might be a little more difficult. I figured the bad feeling I was getting was just nerves and it was because they were busy and it would be all ay okay. While there, I met the other staff member who I would share the office with. I also met the boss who…in the best way I can describe him…is a cocky man who thinks he is the king of the town. The way he carries himself and the way he treats women. He was constantly making comments on where the women belongs (the kitchen, what a surprise) and if I could handle all the men around the office. He also said I should brush aside all sexual and sexist comments from him and his men or I won’t make it. I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t like it but I also figured well how many times would I leave the office and if I tell the guys personally what they could do with that comment it would be fine…They were also making fun of other temps they’ve had these last few weeks (apparently they all quit within a week because they’re weak and JUST girls) and just over all making the office a very hostile environment. They were treating me like a dumb little girl that is just looks and no brains. They constantly brought up my appearance, what I should wear the next day, how I should do my hair and makeup etc. They also couldn’t let go of the fact that I was engaged and preparing to leave my country to move abroad for my fiancé. They couldn’t help themselves with their snide comments and how dumb I was being. I should go have fun. Play the field. I’m still young. The men in the office was disgusting (the boss and the other admin guy). The short work day finally ended and I went home feeling annoyed and unsure what I should. The lady I was replacing was leaving on Wednesday and I got shivers just thinking of being alone with those two men (mainly the boss though) for three months. I was also really worried as I haven’t received any training and only had three days to know enough to do it all by myself for three months.
On Monday, I started my work day ready to face whatever they throw at me and boy did they throw a lot of shit to me. I got minimal training and was just trying to figure what I was supposed to do while talking to the supplier, finding out prices and making quotes for customers. Around lunch time the boss came up to me and asked me to drop a car off for him. I had no right to refuse so I climbed into the strange car and followed him as we drove to the customers place. It was only when I dropped it off that it clicked that I was driving the customers car and he was driving his own personal car. The bastard wanted me to take the risk of anything going wrong on the road. If I crashed or something broke it would’ve been on me. My wallet. He didn’t even care enough to explain this to me. I unwillingly took that risk and he would’ve left me on the side of the road if anything went South. I was livid but went back to work all the while listening to his snide comments. He also said he expected me to work through lunch (take no break) and work every Saturday. He demanded this of me. Once back at the office, I continued with my training (by myself getting minimal guidance as I go) all the while the boss, admin guy and receptionist I was replacing, couldn’t stop talking on how much work I will have to do when she is gone and how much will be on my head. I won’t lie. At this moment I got scared. How the hell was I going to survive three months in the toxic environment. Around the afternoon I had to take customer to the shopping mall nearby with my own car (at least they gave me petrol money) and by then I started to feel that maybe this job wasn’t meant for me and I should get the fuck out to say it nicely. Once back at the office I got some more nasty comments, sexual jokes and eventually my work day came to an end. I grabbed my stuff, ignored the last snide comment from big boss man and left.
Once my mom heard everything I went through the day and I informed my husband of the real story (I felt hesitant to share about the sexual harassment as the salary was good and it would help us). I wanted to stick it through and just get through these next three months. It would be anything but pleasant but I could do it. I was prepared to but my mother and husband (fiancé back then) just said quit that shop. So I did. I emailed my resignation (I haven’t signed any contract nor have they received any person information of mine) at this point. The next morning I got a few calls from them, one snide message from the boss and from that point I never heard from them again.
I don’t regret quitting before giving the place a proper try. It was the right decision to make in the long run. Two weeks later I got a new job that was a lot of fun and a new experience. Although the company went bankrupt after a month. What I learned while working for them served to help me even today so it was definitely worth it.