You do not work here. You do not live here. You create here. You are building something. Even if this is a transition, it’s still a path. You’re meant to be on it. Know that. Let this be a space where you redefine leadership. Especially if that is not your position. Speak up. Ask questions. Splatter paint. Break the frame. And if you are the CEO, president, or occupy a corner office, lead with your heart instead of your head. Drop the megaphone and walk with a mirror. Look at yourself before judging others. Don’t see them as working for you. You work for them. That’s the only way you will grow as a leader. Interns, assistants, up and comers. Know your value. They were where you were once and if they don’t realize it, remind them. Dodge your fear, not their staplers. Laugh, it’s okay. Have a cookie. Leave your mark. Fuck the clock. Punch the sky.
I wish this was the case at my workplace.
I am one of two Asians in my section at work. For a long time, I was the only Asian in the department. Most of the people I work with are high school and college aged students like myself. I’m usually quiet during my shift and get my work done as fast as possible. I don’t make trouble and socialize but still am productive. I like to think of myself as friendly although I do get frustrated with newbie workers who complain too much about a simple part time job as a cashier or bagger.
I get a lot of stereotypical/discriminatory comments said in the form of joking. Because I’m Korean, I tend to always get linked with Kim Jong Il. Or, there are plenty of white co-workers pretending to speak Chinese or Korean which is basically the whole ching chong blasphemy. Two co-workers (also my “superiors” since they’re assistant managers) always tell me that whenever they see me, I remind them of Chinese food. One guy even suggested that I get the nickname of PFR (pork fried rice). I’m also called Dragon Lady by my manager as well.
It’s hard for me to strike back or respond. I mean, all of it is said benevolently in a supposed to be funny sort of way. So basically, if I flip out or feel like I’m being attacked then the assumed idea will be is “she can’t take a joke.” Whenever I do try to talk back or defend myself, it’s twisted around and I’m the sore loser again. I know some of it is my fault, I never really made it clear that this makes me feel uncomfortable. Honestly, it didn’t in the beginning. I knew people were joking but I’m starting to get sick of it. I feel like it’s too late for me to say anything and that people are going to think I’m weird for saying anything.
And I work in a grocery store. It’s a face-paced environment and not exactly a seminar where we get to ponder the effects of privilege. So most of the time I feel like it’s more of a waste to even try to reason with these people.
There’s one particular guy who basically commented every single time he saw me at work today. I always talked back to him and I want to be able to make come backs which is why I haven’t ripped into him yet. I know there are harsher people out there and I want to get practice defending myself verbally. Is that weird?