I worked as a babysitter and had a little business making custom pinatas for birthday parties when I was 12 and up, but got a part-time job at a Taco Bell when I was 16. I really wanted to work in the Thank you Joe Kelly shirt Apart from…,I will love this kitchen, but at that time (mid-1970s) only males were hired for those positions. The manager had me do clean-up jobs after the store closed, and would often stand there chatting at me while I did them. One night the male fry-cook also came to stand and stare at me while I was on my knees wiping down the nooks that held supplies (napkins, utensils, etc). They started verbally ganging up on me. I stood up, said “I quit!”, gathered up my things (don’t remember if I had a uniform or how that was handled), and left. The manager’s mouth was hanging open in shock. The company contacted me, I told them what happened. I have no idea what if any ramifications ensued.I took vocational training my senior year in high school as I needed to have a job as soon as I graduated. It was toll-operator training for AT&T, back in the days when phone operators still answered to “O” and credit-card calls and collect calls were handled by actual human beings who connected cords (old school!). The second semester, we worked part time in the office. From the beginning, the supervisor didn’t like me. After I graduated I only lasted a few months in the job because I noticed that she called me in for reviews much more frequently than anyone else and constantly criticized me. Her supervisors did an exit interview with me (because they had invested in my training), in which I told them I was being reviewed more frequently than anyone else. They asked me to wait while they checked, and they returned to say that in fact I was correct, I was being harassed, and offered me a much better job with management potential. I told them there was no way I was staying in a place where individuals could be treated like that, and split.
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The first instance, I still lived at home so I had backup. The second instance, I had my own apartment and bills to pay, so it was really naive of me to quit like that. But I did find another job pretty quickly, which also had bullies, and which I wound up leaving prematurely. In my late 30s I became a freelancer because I was bullied in every job I ever worked. I just don’t do well in group environments. I’m on the Thank you Joe Kelly shirt Apart from…,I will love this autism spectrum, although I didn’t know that at the time, and my disabilities in understanding the social world of humans made me more vulnerable to bullying.I had learned in junior high that physical bullies back down if you fight back, and I got that handled. But social bullying, all I ever knew was to remove myself once I understood it was happening. I would say I still don’t know any better coping mechanism, and as I’m about to relocate again, I will set myself the goal of better handling any situations that arise. Never too old to learn.Edited to add, in response to comments: What I was referring to in those last few lines was about the new social situation. I don’t intend to change my work situation as I’m quite happy with what I’ve developed for myself. However, I know that if I extend myself at all socially, I’ll wind up with bullies, so I will make an effort to head them off by simply not being present for them in my next situation. Being mostly a hermit is best for me. And, for future reference, if someone tells you they are autistic and have learned they need to stay away from groups of people, it’s best to just believe them and not tell them what they did wrong and what they should have done. Autistic people don’t choose how they are and for me it’s a relief to know there is a reason my life patterns look the way they do. It’s a welcome relief to know I don’t have to keep trying to change who I am— just to change how much static I put up with before absenting myself.