Keep your head up…

I have busted my butt for many many years. I love the company I work for and live my job. But, sometimes you but your butt for a company and they take advantage or neglect to even notice all the hard work you do for them. I have been with this company for 18 plus years…and I generally just let things slide and roll off my back but recently I was compared to another manager just like myself within the company as we were equals and I stood up for myself saying that we were not equals although we are both part of the same team. And we are…we are all part of a big team. But my knowledge about our industry and abilities within our industry is far greater than that of the other manager and I stated this. 

I am not trying to be arrogant. Although it usually doesn’t go over well when a woman stands up and states that her worth is greater than she is being given credit for. I know my self worth although I do not normally say anything I feel that I should stand up for myself.

I was right! 

The owner is finally taking notice. Confidence is all people need. It took a lot for me to actually say anything. For years I have been told how I was as good as other people and although I knew that I was better than some I was afraid to say anything. I didn’t want to seem arrogant or cocky. I didn’t say anything with attitude or anger. I was confident and matter of fact about what I said. Like he should have known. It has helped and I am even happier at my job than I was before. I didn’t think that could happe. But it has.

You have to stand up for you! If you don’t then know one else will. 

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How I became a strong woman! 

It starts as a young girl. I am not sure if I baca me a tomboy because of my young trama or if I was a tomboy before. I only have a few vivid memories of my young childhood. Most of those are not of the good kind. A funny memory…I was about 4-5 and my mom was sitting in a chair and I had snuck some celery to eat(yes I lived vegetable from a very young age and had them with me at all times in my pocketbook…don’t judge lol) and I started eating it behind her chair and I couldn’t figure out how my mom new I was even back there. Lol

But more on the strength training… 

When I was about 8 I was orally molested by my uncle. I told my mom but I was young and when she didn’t do anything about it I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt alone.

When I was about 9 I was walking home from the park and some guy stopped and was asking me if I knew where someone was and I walked up to the car and told him that I didn’t know anyone by that name and he had his junk out and stroking it…I ran away. 

Growing up being told I can’t do something because I was small and a girl I was always like watch me. I wanted to do everything that would make me be noticed and not in a girly way. I am still this way for the most part. Don’t tell me I can’t or I will.

When I was about 15 I was walking home from GitNGo I was pulled into an alley by a couple of African American males…and was raped. I went home and showered for hours. Got in trouble for using all of the hot water. I did not say anything because I didn’t feel it would do me any good.

When I was 16 I was very very lucky! A young guy was asking for directions and I was giving it to him and he offered me a ride to my street on his way to where he was headed. I got into the vehicle…he didn’t stop at my street as we drove by and I kept telling him to stop…there was a light up ahead and I got so lucky that there were cars in all of the lanes and he had to stop. I made my way out of the car and ran!!!  I got in trouble for forgetting the milk and for getting into the truck. 

I got in trouble a lot for things I really didn’t do. Or I did but had reason that was never heard. Two examples… 1. I didn’t like my boyfriend chewing tobacco so he signed and dated the bottom of a can and gave it to me because he was trying to quit for me. My mom found out from a friend who’s daughter went to school with me that I was chewing tobacco. I brought home the can to show her and she called me a liar and that I was grounded even longer for having someone sign and date the can just before bringing it home.             2. My sister used to bring her boyfriends in the house when the parents were not home and one night I got tired of listening to them doing whatever it was they were doing in there. I left and went over 1 block away and was sitting on the front porch fully clothed when mom got home and came looking for me. My sister denied it and I got grounded. So I was relying on myself a lot. I was anarexic for a while in high school wearing baggy shirts and controlling what went into my body…it was the only control I had. One of my teachers was very instrumental in my recovery. 

When I was 16 almost 17 my mother signed for me to get married. I guess she really did want to get rid of me. Any ways he was very abusive. At one point I tried to commit suicide but it didn’t work and I had to drink this nasty charcoal stuff. I took a mini break and went and visited my grandmother. When I came home I kept trying to call for a ride but the line was busy. I took a cab home and walked in. He had a whore in my bed. I took his wallet paid the cabby and took his keys and bailed. 7 months and back home. With a lot more rules I might add.

On my 18th birthday I was home all day at about 7pm a friend called and asked what I was doing. I said nothing because there was nothing going on at my house no party no nothing. So I went out with my friends. I crashed and found a way to make it home and to work the next morning on time. She called me at work and told me because I was out all night she had to show an example to the rest of the kids that it would not be tolerated … I had 2 days to get my shit and move out. She had it packed for me and sitting at the front door. I slept on park benches and with friends. My boyfriend knew this older gentleman that needed a live in helper so I took that. He was a very sweet guy. I finally got a job as a nurses aid at nursing home and was helping the older guy after my shift. Until one day the police showed up at my job. I was being accused of stealing from the older gentleman. My boyfriend had set me up. So I was out on the street again. After a few days a friend at work let me stay with her. On one of those days where she had to work and I was at home with her children her ex husband was also there hanging out. Nothing happened but she came home and her brain got the better of her. Back out again….but he offered to let me stay with him. Before long that was well….he expected other forms of payment. I had no where to go. 

My dad with I really had t had a relationship offered to let me stay there but of course rules applied. I don’t mind rules but I do not like being treated like Cinderella. I lived there with my dad his wife, my 1/2 brother and 2 step brothers. I was to do all the laundry and the dishes and get dinner started and clean the house. I needed a job but had no car to get a job. My dad had a 72 mustang out back that needed a motor. He said it was mine. I could have it I just needed to get a job and put a motor in it. My step sister took me to put in applications. She was my only way out of that house. My step mom got onto me for not doing things right. She just didn’t seem to like me. And by the end the feeling was mutual. I get that I was there rent free but I am no ones slave girl. Those boys had no chores what so ever because I was there to do it all. So I left and went to stay with my sister.

Well now that is not the best of ideas. You see I dated her husband before she started dating him and got married. He wanted to stay up and hang out with me and she didn’t like that so back to my moms again with lots more rules. Mind you I am not even 19 yet so all of this is happening over about 6-9 months. 

So I find a guy and get married again right after I turn 19. He is from Michigan. I am thinking fresh new start. Happy and all is good. His grandmother in grand lake loved me and she was very sweet. When we made it to his mothers house. She took one long up and down look at me looked at him and said how dare you bring white trash into my home. Needless to say we did not get along. His dad was great! This husband was also abusive. Physically and emotionally. He let his mom talk to me however she wanted and never stood up for me even after our daughter was born. At some point I gave him an ultimatum you touch me one more time in anger and we are done. And of course he did…no another one bites the dust. 

I was back in Missouri at this point with 2 children. I started seeing a guy I met in Michigan. And he would fly me and the kids up there every 6-8 weeks. My daughter would see her grandparents and I would stay with him. After about a year of this I begged him not to send me back to Missouri. I needed to be there with him. He sent me back and I felt totally rejected and alone. I fell into a depression and started up with my neighbor. When my Michigan man came for me I wanted to go with him. I was dying inside because my neighbor had my two children in his place and threatened to kill them and the Michigan guy if he came to the door. So I told him I didn’t want to be with him any more and to go back to Michigan. He said he would be at a hotel for a few days if I changed my mind. All I could think about was how to grab the kids and get there. But I wasn’t allowed to make a move. I felt so bad. But I made my choices. And I paid the price and he deserved to be able to move on and be happy. 

So now I am with psycho and that would be 5 years of torture. The only good that came out of that was my baby boy. This man was abusive physically mentally and emotionally. He was bipolar with paranoid schizophrenia. When he was medicated he was fine but he missed those highs but I did not miss those lies that follow. This man accused me of cheating with every guy I came a crossed. Come to find out he was the one cheating. He threatened my life and my holders lives. He cost me the life of a child I was pregnant with before my baby. I thought I was free of him a few times and his mother would bring him back and leave him on my doorstep. “He is crying for you and he loves you make it work!” I gave and I gave and it just wasn’t going to work. I finally summoned up the courage to leave and file a restraining order. He ended up finding me and he came to see his son… He raped me in the bathroom but the kids were right outside and even though I was telling him no I wasn’t screaming or making a big scene but I meant no. I moved and was never alone with him again. So another one gone.

What is wrong with me that no man truly loves me! Why am I not good enough to be loyal to? I gave everything of myself and I mean everything. It was exhausting! I am a people pleaser I don’t like people to be upset with me. I was truly down to absolutely no esteem left. I wondered why I was even born. My mom didn’t want me she signed me away as soon as she could. The men set me up for stealing, raped, molested and cheated on me. What was wrong with me?????

I was wrong with me. I wasn’t demanding the respect I deserved. I was being walked on by everyone around me family included. I was determined that no other man would ever do me that way again. I put everything I had into my career. I did not want to ever depend on a man again for anything. When I started seeing the man that would become my next husband I told him up front. I am a bitch…my family is crazy, loud and dysfunctional….I have 3 kids and my career means everything to me. I let him know up front what he was getting into so he could back out before anything started.

Through it all I got back up and tried again and in the end was not defined by someone else but by my perseverance to keep moving forward. My kids needed their mom and a good role model. I am still working hard and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Although my kids are now adults and out on their own now. 

Just don’t give up on yourself when everyone else has. You have something to give whether you know what it is yet or not. You are special!!! 

Workaholic 

I am (admittedly) a workaholic. I do love my job and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. You see I manage a dry cleaners. Now the first half off my day consists of getting the items due that day cleaned, pressed, inspected, bagged and put into place. Now while I am trying to make sure that is all happening with a nice flow I get interrupted… Not always a bad thing but can get a little like this…

I am bagging an order of say 12 pieces… Which takes 3 to 4 bags normally…I get one group bagged I have a phone call…while on that call I have 2 to 3 employees asking me questions…after the call is over I have a customer wanting to talk to me in the lobby…done with customer and an employee needs me to come and look at their press something isn’t right…done with that the owner wants to ask me a question in the office…I am coming down from there and the Libby is full of customers so I help get them waited on and on their way…done and come back to start bagging again to find that for the past hour no one else has bagged one item. So joe the bagging line is much much longer. 

Now not everyday is like this but more often than not I get pulled in 5 different directions at the same time. I love the challenge but I do have to gather my thoughts sometimes. Which is hard because even if I run to the bathroom real quick it never fails that as soon as I get in there I hear…” Kim, are you in there? You have a customer in the lobby waiting for you.” Lol

Now for the last part of my day is where I do all the little things that the customers pay extra for me to do personally. Yes, I am good at what I do…but if my dry cleaner was more customer friendly and patient he could do some of it and at times I have given items to him with specific details as to how I wanted them done for him to do it his way anyways. He is good at what he does. His patients isn’t always there for spotting in items. We both read care labels and sometimes you cannot go by the care label. And I won’t go by the care label if I know that there is a chance that something attached to the item could be damaged by the process. I will use an alternate process. If I feel any process will harm the item I will make a call to the customer and discuss the different processes and let them make the call they would like for me to do. 

Now I get to work at about 6:30 am and most of the time I don’t get out until at least 7:00 pm at the earliest. I am trying to train others in what I do and show them the exact reason as to how I decide on the process to take with each item.  This is an art. And I am great at it. But I also make mistakes like every one. I have gotten rushed and made rash decisions that cost me in the end. But my record is far better because I take the time needed on every piece I touch. Most items are easy and you can make a split decision on them but when they have anything attached either by glue or sewing makes an item much more difficult to clean properly. And care labels will often say excluding embellishments  (Which really cannot be removed) or they are mislabeled completely. Leaving the dry cleaner the one to blame for any errors made. 

I care so much about retaining and making our thousands of customers happy I get lost in time in the afternoon trying to get everything done that I have on my plate. 

Now I love my family very much! I work hard to make the money needed to provide for my family! And I am working on a way to leave work earlier so I can spend more time with them.