Lately, I have been hearing a lot of people say stuff like “50 is the new 40,” and “your life truly begins after 50.” I definitely think these sayings apply to me. I have always tried to make the best of my life’s circumstances and my socioeconomic status. I have worked hard and played hard. However, it was not until well after my 51st birthday that I decided to start the second half of my life and venture into a world full of twenty-something’s…college. Here’s what pushed me in that direction: I have worked in more gas stations and convenience stores than I prefer to count right now. I guess you can say I am a professional in that sense, and it’s not that I don’t have self worth. My father raised all of us, even his daughters, to carry our heads as high as any proud male with God-given rights. I suppose I just never placed a monetary value on this worth until one day while I was working at Chevron. That would be the last day I allowed myself to be yelled at and degraded for less than ten dollars an hour. I knew in my heart that it was time to go back to school. From now on, if I was going to get yelled at, it would be worth my invested time and the value of my dollar. This is when I decided to fill out my FAFSA and enroll at Austin Community College. For over 30 years I had been going through the motions of my life and its monotony, never questioning its path or validity. Until on this memorable day, which started out as any other. It was uneventful, yet turned into the start of my intended life! When my usual day employee rang up the normal sales of gasoline, chips, and sodas, the early afternoon got interesting. I heard a loud smash and looked out the store window behind me. “What?” I asked aloud. A huge truck had managed to knock down the poles we kept next to the gas pumps at the store I ran. “Here we go again,” I murmured under my breath. I continued to stand up from my chair behind the computer and desk and walked outside. This exact situation had never occurred under my management, yet I had been in this industry long enough to know the drill and protocol. I ran outside in order to get the information I knew was important. I wrote down the license plate number, the truck’s company information, and even got his drivers license number. When I reported back inside to my boss I was in for a rude awakening. Instead of a “Thank you Mary Ann, we will follow up on this,” or a “Good Job” I got the mouth whipping of a lifetime. Let me remind you that I was always to work on time, six days a week, and that another employee would often come to work hung over or still drunk. When she was in trouble, my boss would take her into the office to speak privately. On this day he chose to reprimand me in front of my co-workers and customers. He told me “It is your job to get the insurance information. What is wrong with you? Are you incapable of performing your simple duties?” Needless to say, I felt very low after my scolding. I immediately got in my vehicle and drove to the location of the truck driver involved in the wreck. In order to satisfy and pacify my boss, I got the insurance information and anything else I was lacking initially. I always worked my hardest and to the fullest of my capability. None of this was good enough for my boss and I felt guilty for letting him down. After going home and crying to my husband and children I came to my senses. I was better than this. In my heart I knew so, and my dad would expect me to know so. I was no longer going to be yelled at and degraded for nothing. My integrity was not for sale. I am a valuable woman! It was time to go back to school. I know I am very capable of being trained for a task. I am good at any job or task people put their faith in me to perform. This is why I am now in school to become a nurse and work for hospice. If people are to continue to demand and entrust me to perform duties to make a living, I want them to be meaningful and require skills. In the future, if someone yells at me, it will be for a life threatening situation and of more importance than simply degrading me. I am going to continue furthering my education. I want to improve my self-value and worth. I also want to improve the quality of life for my family and those whose lives I can make a difference in. The day my boss made me feel as low as the ground is the day my wildest dreams of working with doctors skyrocketed into a reality for me and my family! My grandchildren will know there is no limit to our capabilities. To this very day I still have nightmares about my boss yelling at me. That was the day that changed my life, literally.
Submitted at Are You ACC?