I started writing this post several times, but I always stopped before finishing it. I still felt too paranoid about the events of the past month. But they say writing is cathartic, so I'll give it a go now!
Before carrying on, I want to add a disclaimer that this post is in no way meant to offend, slander or libel anyone. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
There. Now that we got that out of the way, I can continue.
About a year ago, I quit my full-time corporate job to focus on my writing. I wasn't ready to give up the working world completely, though. I decided to get a job that wouldn't involve too much mental energy, but would still let me interact with people and earn a little bit of money to help out with my household expenses (i.e., shopping and haircuts). I came across an advert for a part-time receptionist at a health spa. Everything about it seemed perfect, so I applied and got the job.
It was a good job, I have to say. The environment was relaxing, my coworkers and managers were nice and all was great -- except for one thing. The clients. Botox-starved, rail thin, neurotic... I can think of a thousand cliched adjectives to describe them. Throughout my time there, I was called stupid. I was told to shut up. I was even described as 'a clever girl' because I managed to spell a surname correctly. That surname was 'W-H-I-T-E.' I kid you not.
After nine months of this and countless hours telling tales to my friends and family, I decided to start blogging about my experiences, mainly as an outlet for my frustration at being treated like a peon by women who probably hadn't even finished their A Levels. The blog would be completely anonymous, a way for me to get my own back.
I never thought anyone connected with the spa would ever stumble across it, let alone connect it to me. But unfortunately, that's just what happened. One morning, my manager asked me to come to her office. I left the reception desk and trotted over, wondering what was up. As I entered, I saw my blog up on her computer screen. And her business partner was there as well, likely to provide back-up in case I flared up. (They had nothing to worry about - I'd never 'flared up' in my life.)
That's me done, I thought as my heart pounded in my chest. Quickly I scanned through in my mind everything I'd written. Thank God I'd never mentioned her or any of my co-workers. The blog was anonymous, so I guess I could have denied it. But as time went on, I had revealed a few too many details about myself and it was pretty obvious it was me.
After informing me that my blog was 'silly', she fired me. In retrospect, I don't blame her. Although I never thought of it that way, by bad-mouthing the clients, I was jeopardizing her business. She was a good manager, and I do feel bad at causing her upset. In my defense, however, I'd never mentioned the name of the spa; any of our clients' names; or anyone who worked there.
I'm not sure how I feel about what happened next. Before I left, they told me I had to delete my blog. In front of them, right that instant. I felt so bad about my manager's reaction to my blog, I didn't even protest. Under their gaze, my fingers were shaking so much it took several attempts to even log in to my account, prolonging the agony. Finally, I hit 'Delete' and my blog vanished from the blogosphere. I was gutted. I had what I thought were some pretty good pieces of writing on there. And now they were gone.
At home, after a few drinks and some reflection, I was angry. I'd never blogged at work or even thought about using their computers (they were antiquated, anyway). Did they even have the right to practically force me to delete my blog? What would -- could -- they have done if I said no? They'd already fired me, after all.
I could have put up a fight; resurrected the blog; but it's just not worth it for me. Freedom of speech and all that, sure, but I don't need any added complications or paranoia.
The chapter was fully closed when a week after my firing I got a letter from the spa. Nervously I opened it, skimming the contents with disbelief. I'd been banned from the premises, like a common criminal!
If ever I needed confirmation of the power of words, here it was.