When I was five, I had learned that I had a love for art. I would draw every chance I could get. It was just a passion I held at that early age. Cartoons, obviously, were an influence at the time. As I've grown older I've only gotten even better. Even though I no longer have a career in drawing like I had always dreamt I would, I did have the opportunity to work with an independent multi-media company. This company was reaching popularity because the man that had founded it was cunning and intelligent. Despite coming off as independent, he was actually quite kind and helpful. At least I had thought so.
I suppose I was naïve to think the talent I had was worthy of being exploited. This man wasn't just some guy who had reached out to me to compliment my art and offer a position at the company. That very day, the moment I had said yes, was the moment I became prey. Over the course of an unbelievable and blissful week, I had been hired as an Art Director. Which was the role right under the founder, my boss. I had not asked for this role, just something to do with art. At the time I was just filled with glee and amazement, it never occurred to me why I became such an important role so quickly.
I was twenty at the time. He was about thirty-eight. I just wanted to do something I love. To work a job that made me happy. That has always been my dream. Maybe I should have seen why I was getting this special treatment. Looking back on it, this man would often flirt with me. But I'm so introverted and such a shy girl that I had never caught on. And when he started to get more assertive and aggressive about it, I would always change the topic.
It was doomed from the beginning. This man knew that I was uneducated when it came to workplace harassment. Even then I felt like doing anything would be wasted. He was the one that handled everything. I couldn't complain about my boss, to, well, my boss! Eventually, his advances became more inappropriate and aggressive.
Then suddenly, they stopped.
This, of course, was not on his own freewill. It was because I began to date someone. This man, my boss, often showed his disapproval and seemed to always be snappy with me over my new boyfriend. It was expected, despite being about forty at the time this happened he was not the most mature person. I remember whenever we'd talk he'd always display an angry tone when it came to relationship topics. When I'd mention my boyfriend to anyone at work, and he was close enough to hear, I would sometimes catch him roll his eyes. It hurt. You see, I thought I had established a friendship with him. So for me, it was frustrating that my boss was so hostile. As the months went by my hours and pay began to dwindle.
I went from working five to six days a week to working one maybe two, if I was lucky. I went from 40+ hours to 5-10 a week without any real reason. Our business was skyrocketing, so I didn't understand why I wasn't working. No one else at the company that I knew of was part of the Art team. I began to feel my happiness sink. Along with my hope that this petty jealousy would dissolve.
When the time came, I finally decided to take the next step in my relationship. And moved in with my boyfriend.
This is when everything hit the fan, and exploded.
I requested a change of address. We had art supplies shipped to my house due to my office space being my main source and area of work. I wasn't given the form. But I was interrogated. I didn't want to tell my boss the truth, because I knew if I did this would be awkward and even harder. But I cracked. I blurted it out. I remember my heart began to race so loud I couldn't even hear my voice. I began to shake, before he even spoke I felt my heart break. I already knew what was going to happen.
His face expression became twisted with anger, disappointment, and maybe sadness. Words weren't even necessary. I still took the form and filled it out. Just to try and keep it peaceful. But that evening when I got to my new home. I began to cry. He admitted to "loving" me. He then confessed he hated me for not returning his feelings. That's when he told me.
"Your work isn't needed here anymore. Thank you."
That was it. That was the last time I had ever heard from him again. I was terminated. From the career I loved more than anything else. It wasn't enough that I was talented. It definitely wasn't enough that I worked more than anyone else to make sure everyone was happy. It never mattered to me if I struggled, as long as work was in perfect shape.
I won't lie, to this day I still feel the pain of losing something that made me so happy. I don't regret why I lost my job, however. Sometimes you just have to let go, and move on. I'm trying to do that. Maybe one day I'll get the opportunity to work in a similar atmosphere. Until then, I just have to keep working hard and get my work noticed. It's just time to let it go.