Tears for true fears

I don’t work there anymore, and now I don’t care, so I can tell this story.

One day when I was working at my last job, I came in to the office to find the intern I’d been mentoring very upset and near tears. By that point we’d moved our desks beside each other so it’s not like I could miss it. “Caroline*,” I said, “what’s going on? You look upset. More than upset.”

“Can we go somewhere else to talk?” she asked me, looking at all nosy people arrayed around us in the semi-open plan office.

For some privacy, we went to a small conference room where she told me that she found out after being assured otherwise previously that she would not be hired fulltime (or at all) for a role where she was currently interning, something she had very much wanted (hell, I wanted it too — she was a great worker and a friend).

Then she looked at me and asked, “Is it for the reason I think it is? I mean, I feel uncomfortable talking about this, but I want to know, ok?”

I knew where she was going but I wanted her to say it. I said, “Why do you think it is?”

“In my department, I’ve noticed that tons of interns come in, but the prettier ones are treated just the worst and never get hired fulltime. I mean, that’s just what I’ve seen. And I know I’m not ugly. At least I don’t think so.”

“No, you’re right,” I said. “You’re awesome. And the opposite of ugly for sure. I thought that it would be enough, that you’re just damn good at everything and smarter than just about anyone. But that department is run by some very fucking bitter old women who despise anyone young and at all attractive. I don’t know why. But yeah, you figured it out, unfortunately. You’re exactly right.”

She looked down and after a moment said, “Oh shit, Mike, I feel both infuriated and embarrassed at the same time!” She started crying a little and being the very physically demonstrative person she was, she grabbed my hand and held it for a bit. “Can we just sit here a while?” she asked.

Of course we could.

She seemed to feel better after that for the rest of the day. The next day she didn’t show up to work, so I texted her, “Everything ok?”

“Yes,” she responded. “Just couldn’t deal today.” I understood perfectly.

After that, she started looking for other opportunities, as they say, and in just a few months she was hired by Google. So screw those bitter old broads who consistently treated her like trash and made her cry. By the way, one of the reasons she was working with me cross-department is to get away from those women (and that we just hit it off and she was interested in what I did). I honestly have no idea what their problem is or why the vendetta, but it’s not uncommon I’ve noticed.

Sure, pretty people experience life on easy mode, most of the time, but there is no life on that mode all the time.

*Not her real name.