Not having to care when peers arbitrarily don’t like me.
I’m just gunna put it out there – I have a minimum wage, part-time job. It’s kind of my guilty pleasure, my “do something lame and menial before I spend the rest of my life pouring my whole self into teaching”, my last hurrah.
This job also happens to be a bunch of 16 year olds first hurrah. This fact certainly keeps the workplace banter interesting. Some of the spectacular things I’ve been asked by (high school) co-workers: “What’s the difference between like a Jew and a Christian?”, “So like Michael Jackson was actually part of the Jackson 5?” or a personal favorite from a 18 year old: “What’s leap day?”
But by far the most frequent question I get is “What do you think of So-n-so?”. It doesn’t take a college degree (3.5 weeks!) to know that that is a mine field of a question. I almost universally answer that “I think she seems nice” and that “I enjoy working with her”.
Today, however, I received my own results on the “What do you think of Allison” workplace poll. The results: They didn’t like me. When my co-worker told me that, I was astonished at the extent of apathy which I felt. 6 or so young women (according to this self-proclaimed drama authority) weren’t my biggest fans. Why didn’t I care? Well, I knew I had done nothing to wrong them, I had never personally taken a disliking to a single one of them, and I certainly didn’t answer in kind when asked what I thought of any of them. So, I realized, if someone wants to dislike me for having a super hot husband or too many freckles (this is what I had narrowed the possible reasons down to) I give them all the right to, in-as-much as they are aware that I don’t care.
“Don’t you want to know why they didn’t like you?” She asked.
No, I thought. “I guess, I dunno” I said.
“When you first started here, they thought you worked too hard.”
That was all the validation and flattery I could handle in that moment! Not only had I not cared initially that I hadn’t won the praise of a handful of girls who don’t know what leap day is, but the reason they hadn’t liked me was for an attribute I am glad to have!
And so, on this day – exactly 24 days before I receive my college degree – I officially declare myself victorious over the high school social paradigm! I, like, feel, like, totally untouchable!