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My Stand In Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   At the beginning of my sophomore year, I began looking for a job. Since most jobs did not hire teens until the age of sixteen, I was pretty unsuccessful until I heard of a nursing home which would hire fifteen-year-olds. I applied and was immediately hired. Soon after, I started.

The job was easy, and my supervisor was very nice. She made it a point to make me feel at ease and asked me about myself. I was so happy; my friends talked about how much they hated their bosses, and my boss was great. Or, so I thought.

I began dating someone from work, and my supervisor started to ask questions about our relationship. I did not know what to answer. I tried to be polite, but I kept quiet. She was still very nice, and I still considered myself lucky.

The day before my birthday, while leaving the kitchen, my supervisor asked one of the cooks to wait for a few minutes. I thought little of it until the next day, when I heard she had quit, claiming our supervisor had sexually harassed her. I was sure she must be lying.

My supervisor began to ask more and more about my personal life. Some things she said embarrassed me greatly. I was very shy, so I tried to forget it, figuring if I ignored it, it would stop. Soon after, we signed papers on the sexual harassment policy. I was appalled to find that she met every one of the criteria. I figured it could not be right. She was a woman. Sexual harassment was supposed to be between a man and a woman.

I was very embarassed, and I tried to refrain from talking to her, but it only got worse. Her talk became more and more sexual. I became increasingly afraid. In April of my junior year, she changed my life. My boyfriend told me that she had been lying about me. She told him that I would cheat on him in a second. She also referred to things she was sure I would do when I went away to college. The sexual content of these messages pushed me beyond the limit. My grades were dropping, and I was terrified to go to work. This had to stop.

The next day, I wrote a letter to the administrator, telling him about my previous year and a half. He took my complaints very coolly. I requested a transfer. Within three days, five other people wrote letters to him on both my behalf and told what they had experienced. My supervisor was suspended for five days.

Everyone thanked me for giving them the courage to bring this out. They congratulated me and treated me as if I were a hero. I did not feel like a hero. I could not eat or concentrate; I felt as if she was watching my every move. My grades dropped more, and I was a complete wreck.

On her return, my biggest fear came true. She called me and a co-worker into her office, asked him one question, and then told him he could leave. When we were alone, she threatened me. She told me she would make sure I suffered and that I could not get away with anything. I left in tears and went straight to the administrator. I told him I wanted to be moved immediately.

After I was transferred, I got a lawyer, and he sent a letter to both the company and the administrator, stating everything that had happened, and how if something was not done, I would seek more extreme measures. Soon after, another female cook turned in a similar letter. Our supervisor was escorted out. I had won!

I was proud of myself. I had done something I could never have done before; I stood up for my rights. To me, this accomplishment cannot be compared to any other success I have ever had. I now know and understand what I am capable of, and I can meet future challenges. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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