Dear Auntie Bubbopants,
I am a very thin and small girl, but I have always had a large chest. I understand that it does draw (often unwanted) attention to myself because it is disproportionately large to the rest of my body. As a teenager, I dealt with the inappropriate comments from boys. As a college student, I dealt with the cat-calls from men and sneers from women. But, you know, it’s what I have, and I didn’t make the choice to have them. For the most part, the comments have stopped in my adulthood. It seems that common courtesy kicked in, and people realized how inappropriate these comments are in everyday conversation.
However, I am now 24 weeks pregnant. I am not a very “showy” pregnant lady, so I understandably deal with the “Oh, I wasn’t sure if you were just getting fat,” comments. (Why do people think it’s okay to voice your thoughts?!) Only now, the comments surrounding the size of my chest are returning. “Wow, it must be nice to be so large.” “Oh, that explains why your boobs are so big.” There is absolutely no reason I need to be subjected to this inappropriate behavior.
I work in a customer service environment where it is HIGHLY stressed that we don’t upset the customer. 99% of these unwanted comments that I’m receiving come from the customers. How do I deal with them?! I just don’t know what words to use that won’t leave them thinking they had a bad customer experience. Auntie, can you help me with this?!
Busty Bumpy Lady
I grew up in a Scandinavian family in Minnesota. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “that’s none of your business” as a child I’d be rich! Seriously, I would rather eat glass than make a comment to someone about their body or touch them or even stand too close. We were all about respecting other people’s space. So when I read about comments like this it drives me a little batty. Who are these people? Who is the person who says these things??
My goodness there are strange people out there.
Go talk to your boss or supervisor and explain the situation to them and ask them to set the parameters of what you say. The same laws that protect a person from harassment in the workplace definitely apply to customer/employee interaction. No one can tell you to just suck it up and smile if it truly is crappy like that and it is the duty of your direct supervisors and managers to make sure that you are comfortable in the workplace. By asking your manager you do two things. The first is that you make them aware of the situation (because nobody can fix anything if they don’t know it needs to be fixed) which makes them responsible for helping you find a solution. The second thing is that they set the parameters for appropriate responses and that lets you know what you can say without getting in trouble. You don’t just want to tell a customer off, management gets touchy about that. But, if management agrees that you can respond a certain way to a situation then you know you will be fine.
I had a job where I was a manager in a very intense customer service area and I can promise you this, any manager worth two poops is going to watch out for his or her employees. Certainly, employees mess up and yes you want the customers to be happy. But a customer never walked away from one of my employees satisfied that he’d been right in abusing or being rude to that employee. I did not let that happen.
Go talk to your boss or even your HR person and have them lay out the parameters for you. I think it will help everyone out in the long run.
Congratulations on the baby and good luck with the customers.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I need some work related advice.
I am currently working as in a job that I hate. The work is alternatively boring, annoying, and severely frustrating and stressful, and I have been miserable for the past six months. I wake up every morning wishing that I didn’t have to go to work and come home every day and ask my dad (I still live with my parents) if I can just quit. Immediately.
As you’ve probably noticed, the pay is not the best. I do not make enough money to move out and finance my yarn habit at the same time and I am not financially secure. It doesn’t help that I am paid exclusively on a system that amounts to being paid on commission. Also, I do not usually find my own work, it is fed to me by my boss, who is somewhat of a tightwad. I feel like he has tried to underpay me from the beginning, and that isn’t even counting all the times that I have performed office and other miscellaneous tasks without pay. I am not paid to be office staff, but I am apparently expected to answer the phone, unpaid, when everyone else is busy. A new worker has also been hired, and most of the work that used to come to me is now being redirected to him because he is paid less than me. Right now I am at the office watching him hand work to the other guy instead of me. I like to think that my job is not all about money, but it seems like it is all about money for my boss. I also feel isolated from the rest of the staff, and have to bear constant verbal implications that I am simply not as good as their standard. I am hurt by this, even though I’m pretty sure that they aren’t doing it on purpose.
Now that I’ve painted that horrible picture, let me tell you why I have a dilemma about this.
EVERYONE I have talked to so far, with the exception of my dad and one of my equally disgruntled, and coincidentally unemployed, friends has told me that quitting would be a HUGE mistake and that I simply “have to tough it out” and keep going. No one has said anything about it getting any better, but quitting and finding another job, or another career (I bring that up when I get frustrated) would supposedly be akin to suicide and should not even be considered. I’ve been trying to find work in the same field, but it’s not looking optimistic and with the economy going the way it is, I think things will get worse on the job front, not better.
I guess I should say that I am a lawyer, working at a tiny firm. I didn’t want to say that off the bat, because a soon as I say that I’m a lawyer, everyone immediately thinks I’m nuts for wanting to quit. I hate my job though, and I can’t see any redeeming qualities other than the fact that my co-worker’s son (my godson) is amazingly cute and I wouldn’t get to see him as often if I didn’t work here. There is some small chance for advancement, as the boss is considering retiring and passing over the practice, but that won’t happen for many years to come. And I think he wants to pass it to the new hire and not me. But, I breached the topic of quitting gently to one of the legal secretaries who works here and she immediately told me it would be a bad idea.
After that long rant, what I really want to know is, am I being terribly soft about my perceived suffering? Is everyone else right and do I need to “keep at it” and ignore all the things I am unhappy about? I’ve applied for a few jobs during the last six months (including a part time job at a yarn store) and no one seems to understand that I am just not happy here. One hiring person actually asked me if I was applying for a less stressful job out of desperation! Part of me wants to quit, quit right now, and screw the financial and career implications. As much as I don’t want to do it, my parents will pay my way for at least six months, and I have some savings that aren’t labeled property of the tax man, so even though it seems like no one wants to hire me, I’ll be ok financially for a little bit. Another part of me realizes that committing career suicide at 25 might not be such a good idea, and is a bit scared when everyone whom I talk to seems to advise against quitting. And there’s the fact that I’ve always been a long term person and am petrified of not having financial security in a year’s time. I’ve tried to remedy the things I’m unhappy about, talked to the boss very gently, told some of my co-workers that I am unhappy (and they’re great and tried to cheer me up), but nothing seems to make it any better.
You probably can’t make this decision for me, but should I just quit?
Thanks for reading my long letter here.
About ready to explode,
That is a lot of typing! wow!
I don’t know anything about being a lawyer or how the lawyery job market works or how one might ‘work their way up the lawyer ladder’. So maybe there is some lawyer related reason why you should keep this job, I don’t know.
This is what I do know. The point of having a job is to trade your time and skills for money so that you can get the things you need and not have to worry about hunting AND gathering AND making flint arrows AND building your hut. You trade your time and skills for money and then you give that money to other people in exchange for their time and skills and products.
The whole system was set up to simplify things. Throg is no good at building a nice hut, but he can make awesome loincloths. Juni builds good huts but has all the loincloths she need. So they invent money as a basis for trade and then Throg can relax because he can now get a good hut built and Juni can bargain for something that the village has standardized so she doesn’t have to figure out how to offload a pile of loincloths in order to buy tasty mammoth jerky.
Everything is simpler and easier.
So why have we made it so hard on ourselves? Obviously a job isn’t easy or it wouldn’t be worth the trade for money. But on the other hand, I cannot think of a good reason why a job should be disliked to the point of making you ill. How is that worth it?
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? can you see the light? are we talking about ‘toughing it out’ for a few months or a year but you can definitely see where it is headed and the place it is headed looks good? Or is this a matter of toughing it out and maybe things will slowly get better but there’s no real good way to calibrate ‘better’ and it’s not like your stomach is going to hurt less?
If you don’t want to be a lawyer, if your job makes you so unhappy that you get sick then stop! No, it won’t be easy. In fact it will probably be a bit of a struggle, but if you think about it, that struggle will be less worrisome than what you are currently dealing with.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I recently moved to a new area, and started a new job ( about 4 months ago). Long story short: The job is NOT a good fit for me at all. My supervisor is very nice and helpful, my coworkers have all been great. But the workload is INSANE! It is in the human services field, and I know the workload cannot and will not be changed. In fact, I honestly feel I am doing the clients a disservice because I cannot give the kind of service the clients deserve because of the workload.
I do not want to be a “job-jumper”, but I go to work EVERY morning with a huge knot in my stomach. My question: Would it be better to grit my teeth and stick with it for a year ( That’s my internal minimum time frame that makes it kinda not job jumping), or knowing that this is the way it is going to be, just cut my losses, and start looking now? My gut is telling me to start looking, but I wanted an outisde opinion.
please read the answer above. If your job makes you unhappy there is nothing that sticking with it for a year is going to help.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I am having some serious issues with my roommate. We share a two-bedroom apartment, and I am seriously getting fed up. I have come to terms with the MESS and CLUTTER and DIRTINESS everywhere (I clean the bathroom spotless and don’t use my kitchen and stay in my room). Ok, I haven’t come to terms, but thats not why I’m writing.
She is from another country and can’t go home to visit family over the holidays
They disowned her because she’s getting gender reassignment surgery
Also, I don’t want to hear about her sex life (and I swear she’s hitting on me, she has slept with at least one other roommate, I know this because she told me about it)
I can’t really move out at this point because I’m planning to move to a large city far away for school in 6 months and can’t sign another lease.
I know this makes me a huge chicken-butt, but I’m really afraid to say anything.
I think the hormones make her unstable in addition to whatever other issues she has going on, and she has lots of swords around from doing theater. She told me she considered killing herself with one after her old roommate, who she was in love with, started dating another guy. And she wants to do trannie porn to earn extra money THIS IS THE KIND OF THING SHE’LL BLAB ABOUT AROUND MY 12 YEAR OLD BROTHER!!!!!
I really don’t want her around at my holiday gatherings. I look forward to these times being all about family. I dread coming home and my stomach sinks when I see her car in the driveway. What do I do?????
Poor Wimpy Chicken Butt
Okay, so the obvious answer is to move, but you can’t. Suck. You’ve got 6 more months, however, and that’s not super awful.
But gah!! really! GAH!
Yeah, the hormones are messing things up, but that’s not an excuse for acting like a 14 pound mcweenustron!
How do you make someone stop talking about their sex life? Sometimes just asking people to cut it out isn’t enough, or sometimes a serious talk can make things feel strained. When I can’t get someone to understand that I just don’t want to hear about their sex life or conspiracy theories or opinions regarding Pluto’s status I resort to being 7 years old! Fingers in the ears and “LAH LAH LAH LAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” and I keep it up until they stop. And mostly it works.
As for inappropriate things said in front of your 12 year old brother, that’s when you have to very pointedly say, “No! He’s twelve.”
Unfortunately, you can’t make her not be in her own home. And you can try to get her to recognize what you won’t tolerate, but you can’t force her to change.
So try to limit your time with her, focus on your family and remember…there is a definite light at the end of this tunnel. Six months and counting down…down…down…
I am writing on behalf of my parent’s newest kitty, Sorcha. Sorcha came up to their house a couple of months ago, starving and pittiful. She is less than a year old. She gets along with the oldest cat, Hannah (female), and the youngest cat, Brian Connor (male), but not the midde cat, Olive (female). Olive really really hates Sorcha and attacks her all the time. Poor Sorcha has gone from super loving to scared of everything, and we think it is because Olive hates her and attacks her. And now Sorcha has started peeing on my parent’s bed! My parents don’t know what to do! Is there a way to get Olive to not hate Sorcha so much, or should my parents find Sorcha a new home?
HI HI HIhihihihIHIHHHIIII!
HI! Okay, hi! I’m supposed to be calm at the time that is night! so okay! Do you know what? DO YOU? The thing that happened was that I had to go in the car but not to the dog park or to the vet or to the lady’s mom’s house with the cats or even to the place with the tent!!! I went to a different place! And this place had a house and a box outside where the lady and the man and maddie and I slept and we got to run around and I made peewee in so many places and I got to go in a canoe!!! and I got to eat turkey and I barked at things and I wore my warmie coat and OH MY GOD!!! I got the thing that is a tick! and the lady did a freak out thing that was all crazy lady thing but also crazy!!!! and she was all “LIME DESSERT LIME DESSERT!!!” and crazy (she goes crazy sometimes!! I think she is like that one dog at the dog park that is crazy!!! ha ha ha!!!)
But then another lady told my lady that I didn’t have the tick with lime dessert and so the lady made calms and she hugged on me and then she did the thing where she touches her fingers all over Chester (me) and she touches all of my fur and my toes and my belly looking for more ticks…but it made Chester…(me)…so sleepy..
OH!!! But CATS you ask me about cats! What do i know about cats?? Not much!! (ha ha ha ha get it! not much!). I know that there are cats and that the cats do not like other cats or do not like maddie or are just cats!!! So I asked the lady about the thing that is the cat making peewees (don’t worry, I don’t think she will be lime dessert crazy!)
Okay! HI!! HI! hi! yeah, okay so I asked the lady about the cats and the Olive and the Sorcha and she looked sad!! She did. She told me the thing about how she used to own cats (I am not a cat, I am a dog!) and she had a kitty that was a rescue kitty that she loved but she also had another cat that she loved but the other cat was like a cat that would punch the rescue kitty and it was sad and all of the cats were upset! and I don’t know why they didn’t just do the thing that is barking and then sniffing butts!
But the rescue kitty did the thing that was peewee in the house but not in the peewee box! and so the vet looked for peewee infections and the cat was the thing that was healthy but scared. The lady said she was such a sweet kitty (probably not as sweet as me CHESTER!!) but she needed to be an only kitty! and it wasn’t fair to make her live where she was upset and scared. and I know about that because when I was a puppy I lived in a place where I was upset and scared and then some people came and put me in a place and then another place and then one day the lady was there and sat on the floor with me and I went to sleep on her lap and then I went to a place and DO YOU KNOW WHAT???? Maddie was there!!! So maybe the thing is that Scorcha kitty needs to find a place that has a nice lady! do you know? I know! I know this because I am Chester and the thing that I know is all of the stuff!!!
I was flipping through yesterday’s paper and came upon an ad for the local grocery store. A large banner was proclaiming “PORK IS SAFE”. What? Has there been some concern with this nation’s pork supply?
As an aside: Yes, yes there is something wrong with this nation’s pork supply but it is still safe. In fact, some of the very issues related to the modern pork industry are exactly why it’s so safe. Pigs are now so fragile and so unlike real pigs now that they live in these weirdly sterile environments suspended over a lake of toxic shit. There is about 12 inches of dead air between this amazing dichotomy. Sterility to the point of fragility above, overwhelming toxicity below. Incidentally, the next time you eat a mass produced pork chop close your eyes and think of pee. Really! Do it. Just once. That weird flavor you’ve been covering up with sauces and brines? Ammonia! You can’t live over that much physical effluvia and not absorb the gases. Next time, take some care and buy small farm pork.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Of course the pork supply is safe. Why do we need a big old ad telling us….
oh…right….the ‘swine’ flu. They took out a great big old ad to assure people that you can’t get the flu from a pork chop. Ads are expensive and I imagine they would not have placed the ad unless this was a real issues with consumers.
Holy 12 pound pig shit on the floor! Seriously? Enough people believed this that pork sales went down? I do not have words for this, I really don’t. Is the general pork buying population so lacking in basic science that this is an issue? Sure, in Afghanistan they quarantined their only pig against the possibility of it just spontaneously developing the flu….developing the flu in a strain that can transmit from pigs to humans! I think it’s pretty easy to see that education in Afghanistan has been a pretty sketchy proposition since 1979. Basic biology might not have been a big priority. Egypt? Well, yeah, pig slaughter but it’s pretty obvious that’s more about politics and religion than anything.
But here? HERE? Really? Well, this is a nation where we debate the scientific merits of religion and people actually believe that the philosophy of creation should be taught in the science room. maybe that’s the problem, a systematic unraveling of logical processes, a discounting of scientific method and rational thought. Teaching creationism isn’t about promoting a religion, it’s about teaching blind acceptance. No evidence, no experiments, no hypotheses, no proofs, you just accept that this thing happened.
Things get dumbed down over and over and I guess it is little wonder that someone is dousing the spare ribs in Thera-flu and chicken soup.
Well, thank god they’re cutting education funding again in the state! Holy crap! Who needs education funding? We’ll just send out monthly newsletters based on whatever current panic is in the news and just tell people what to think.
This is why I drink so much Blue Moon, people! I have no faith in the future! I fear I’ll be walking through the refrigerated section to find an exorcism being performed among the fish in order to the Salmonella Demons from attacking the eggs and perhaps little altars to the Gods of the Complete and Balanced Breakfast will be erected by the Cheerios.
darnk a lot of coffee, ate pancakes with Owen, bought lawn bags, 409 and barkeepers friend from the Home Depot*, enjoyed the sunroof, mailed 2 packages to customers, made some flowers from recycled sweaters,had some ice cream, watched some Doctor Who (9th Doctor, debated the relative merits of the Doctor vs Cap’n Jack), drank 2 beers, made a little jellyfish minimini purse for the stargrrl (had to re-do the lining, I screwed it up the first time), ate 1/2 a quesadilla, walked the dogs, rearranged my schedule for the week, played some solitaire, and wondered why after so many years does Capital One think that maybe TODAY’S piece of junk mail will convince me to get their card**!
kind of in that order but with some overlap here and there.
*it is my sincere opinion that Home Depot and HGTV have conspired to make every splitwiener in the land think he’s Bob Villa or something and this is why when I go looking at houses I just see one home after the other with half finished remodeling jobs and SCARY plumbing mishaps.
**I’ve gotten a piece of mail from capital one at least 4 times a week since I moved into this place in 2005. I am not kidding about this, I really am not.