Say what you will if you’re still skeptical about working out. It makes you tired. It makes you sore. It makes you break out. You’re concerned you might lose your donk. But it will increase your confidence absolutely exponentially. I have my occasional days where I’m like “Omg why did no one tell me I needed a nose job so badly!” but on the usual, I’m fairly fearless. Which is the only explanation for why I did what I did yesterday.
I’ve had a thing for DC for a while now. So when Athleta Georgetown called me to interview me for a managerial position, I pelvic thrusted all the way to that phone interview. I love specialty retail, and I love (or I thought I loved) what Athleta said with their business. They made clothing, not just technical clothing, but clothing for women who worked out. Their models are Olympian athletes, not bikini girls, and they do it all. Yoga, swimwear, running, and athletic. Perfect, right? If I could make good money doing what I loved in a city I loved, why not, right?
I flew the phone interview with flying colors. Me and the woman who spoke were almost romantically involved is what I’m saying. I also stalked her on LinkedIn, and figured out that she had the same disorder I have, where we speak as though we were raised in The Valley, but rock the locs and the dark skin, and stan for some fitness. It was perfect! And I got an in-person. EEP!
I timed the interview so that I would drive down from New Jersey, the almost 5 hours in traffic, and arrived for the interview.
The woman whom I’d spoken with on the phone, just days earlier, had been let go. Okay, I said to myself, no big deal, things happen. And the interview commenced. Mary, who seemed completely uninterested in meeting me in the first place, sat down, and pulled out a copy of my résumé. “What is Fleet Feet,” she asked dismissively. I was a little caught off-guard. She spoke of Fleet Feet almost with a sense of disdain, and disgust. I pushed that away. I must have been imagining it. I explained, with a shaky smile, about my history with Fleet Feet, and my history in retail. “Yah, but what do you DO there,” she asked, very apparently exasperated at this point. And the interview continued along this way. I was mortified.
The clincher was when, at the end of the interview, she sighed, slid backwards, and said, “Well, this went a lot better than I thought it was going to!” Why…thank you!
The interview went on with another manager, and I was horrified. It was apparent that Mary had no interest in meeting me, had not looked at my paperwork prior, and looked me up and down at the beginning of the interview and decided that that I’d rolled off the hot mess express along with Amanda Bynes, and I didn’t deserve the respect of decent courtesy that you normally extend to folks you’re interviewing.
The benefit of the doubt
I called Alexa, and talked to her about it. I told my friends. I told my hubby-to-be. Because I know I can be dramatic, but I’m certainly not histrionic, and I don’t imagine things, as a general rule of thumb. Was Mary having a bad day? Did my looks offend her? Had she simply forgotten I was coming? If so, why hadn’t she just said that, and not acted as if I was a blight on her society? Did I seem like I was not in good-enough shape for Athleta? The worst thought I had, while I tossed all the scenarios around in my head, was that she hadn’t realized I was black, and was having trouble masking her disdain when my lanky, nearly six-foot frame slinkied into her door (I was wearing heels). No, right? Couldn’t be. I played all the potentials up in my mind, and I couldn’t figure out why she’d treated me like a dummy when I’d come into her “home.”
Mary called me the next day, and I didn’t pick up. She left a voicemail, and I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to it wholeheartedly. And after a few weeks, during a 15-miler, I knew that I had to confront her. I was so uncomfortable with what’d transpired, to the point where I wound’t even shop from their renowned catalog. But if she were a representation of what’s going on within that corporation, I needed to know that.
I sent her an email. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t accusatory. And it wasn’t disrespectful. And I used my social work skills to help resolve the conflict.
I told her I was having some difficulty, and I asked her to help me understand what was going on in that interview. I gave her concrete examples of the things she’d said, and I told her that after she treated me that way, that setting foot in an Athleta was not something I’d ever planned to do again. (Team Lulu kinda!)
She sent me an email back. She apologized for the “misunderstanding,” and said that she hoped I wouldn’t let it affect my future with that company.
She’s more than welcome to refer to it as a “misunderstanding”. And may, just maybe, there is a chance I misunderstood her intentions. Maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she was taking it out on me. Maybe she hates tall girls. Maybe she hates runners. Maybe I smelled weird. I’m not sure. But I will say this. I am SO PROUD of myself for thinking about how uncomfortable the situation made me, and standing up for myself.
I learned something from this. Oprah tells us to stand up for ourselves, right? So do some other people, but when Oprah says it, it’s for real. This week, this month, this year, if something makes you uncomfortable, do this.
- Think about it.
- Talk to friends and family about it.
- Examine your history. Have you had this issue before? Or is this a fluke? MAKE SURE you’re not just being insane.
- Once you investigate, it it’s still bugging you, confront the situation. Don’t be a lunatic about it. Be kind. Be respectful. Be quiet. Be gentle. But you totally owe it to yourself to get answers. And if you get a rude answer, or a refusal to acknowledge what really happened, just know that you’ve done the right thing, and you’ve done all you can. Then…
Let it go. Have a beautiful Labor Day weekend dolls. I’ll keep you updated!