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The Boss MAG
I turned around as headlights hit the ceiling. Not many people came during the rain. Occasionally, headlights would shine through the window, but even then only the most ambitious stayed for a while. Then the boss strolled in.
“Andrea, we are opening up an ice cream parlor here this summer, and I am going to hire eight new people. We would like you to stay with us after school ends.”
I sat back and smiled as my boss walked out of the room. It was 7:43, only two more hours until I could go home. I have been a golfer since first grade. I grew up around golfers. People who come to the driving range always seem surprised to talk with a young female who knows so much about the sport.
Saturday nights are slow at the range. Most golfers are out with their families or at parties. In fact, that is where all my friends are, at a dance. Nevertheless, it is all worth it, all the missed Saturday night dances, because I’ve finally secured my first real summer job.
Four months later, my new co-workers arrived. I walked toward the cash register on my first weekday of work. The boss stopped me.
“Andrea, you are no longer working at the driving range. We hired boys for that. We want pretty girls to sell ice cream.”
I was stunned. I wasn’t allowed to work at the driving range because the boss needed pretty girls to sell ice cream? I looked to see if she were serious. She was. I had not missed all those dances and fun times with friends so I could lose my job at the range and be a poster child for the new ice cream business.
As the summer progressed, work settled into a routine. The driving range cash register and the ice cream shop were in the same room. I was allowed to work at both when I was alone, but if a boy showed up for work, then I was expected to leave the range.
“You know, our bosses have no idea what we get for grades in university,” said my co-worker, Tom, from across the room. I nodded. It was true. “But,” he continued, “I didn’t know I would still have to learn how to work with bosses who held different values than me.”
His comment made me realize the simple luxury of starting my own business. I would not have to please
someone with such different principles.
“Time to close up,” said the boss, walking into the room. “Get a mop and clean the floors. Just do the usual routine.” Tom reached for the mop. The boss stopped him.
“You don’t have to clean up, Tom,” she continued happily. ‘We’ll let the girls handle it.” Tom glanced at the girls awkwardly. Jardine and I smiled back at him.
Getting the “right” answers is only one part of life, I thought as I grabbed the mop. Learning how to build successful relationships with difficult people is definitely another. At that moment, I promised myself that when I am in a position of authority, I will not succumb to shallow stereotypes.
I looked at the headlights splattered on the ceiling. Ten more minutes.