Don’t Tolerate Disrespect

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

When it comes to summer jobs, there’s nothing quite as notorious as working in customer service. Coworkers and friends complain amongst each other, and entire memes exist based around the lamentations of the job. I work harvest during the summer, and so my job is a unique form of customer service. I see the same customers (the drivers and farmers) over, and over, and over again—and I’ve been seeing these same people for five years now. Each year I inevitably have to deal with cranky farmers and drivers who are upset about waiting in lines that are completely out of my control. In the past, I tolerated inappropriate and rude behavior. I also believed I deserved it, and that I was somehow bringing it upon myself.

One particularly negative experience this year reset my thought processes. A farmer chewed me out for something I had no control over. Everyone working was following a specific system for moving trucks along, and the farmer didn’t agree with it. The system set in place was done so by someone higher up than me, and yet this farmer decided to come unhinged on me. He cussed, pointed his finger in my face, and raised his voice. This, by far, was the nastiest experience I’ve had at work. I stood my ground and explained the reasons behind the system, but only once he’d left did I realize a few things:

  1. I did not owe him any explanation. He was upset over a decision, but that did not give him the right to yell at me.
  2. In any case, I do not need to offer explanations of how I do my job in order to—first and foremost—be treated with respect.
  3. Since he was so angry, he should have taken it up with a higher ranking employee instead of berating someone who wasn’t involved in the decision making process.
  4. My instinct was to stand there and take it, because I felt like walking away was a sign of weakness. However, listening to that hot-headed tirade was a waste of my time, and I was under no obligation to stand there and take it.
  5. He will likely never apologize.

I regret my tolerance in years past and shake my head at ever believing I deserved to be treated poorly. However, I know these feelings are a reality for a lot of young, service industry workers. My only hope is that others will recognize their worth on day one of the job instead of five years down the road. 

Internship First Steps

Internships: a beyond complicated ordeal. Most employers are looking for someone who is experienced, but you are still getting your feet wet with your major. I am even more frustrated with the fact that my major is graphic design, and I feel that no one wants to hire someone who they think “can’t” design. So where do I even start?

First off, I spent a good half hour of panicking in tears (please don’t do this). However, this led to me emailing my art director and setting up a meeting with her. She gave me the best advice ever: Create a list of dream jobs from companies you would love to work for. From that, start tailoring your resume to fit those clients. They may be out of your reach, but it helps you focus on creating an impressive resume and piecing logistics together, rather than applying willy-nilly to any place possible.

I had her look over my resume, cover letters, etc., and then she told me, “All right, now just apply.” I was rather confused, because I feel like the jobs are way beyond my capabilities, and the companies are not advertising that they want an intern. She explained that just because they are not promoting internships, does not mean they will not welcome the extra help. Plus, if you show that you are passionate and willing to learn, they are probably willing to show you a couple ropes.

We’ll see how this strategy works, but it seems pretty hopeful. What are your tips or strategies for attaining an internship? Any good successes or roads not to travel down?

-Kd.

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