I was at a job fair at my alma mater. I was very nervous, because uncertain situations scare the crap out of me. I actually had to bribe myself to even make me go there (with having a Faygo red pop slurpee afterwards. Those things are spectacular) so that’s my frame of mind at the career fair. Constantly wanting to flee, but stopping myself because goddammit, I need a job and there are employers here!
There was one booth in particular that I wanted to visit, because i’ve been trying to get into this company for years. It’s had a huge part in Detroit’s renaissance and I want to be part of it. So I stood in a long line to meet with the hr woman at the booth. There was a youngish guy (who i’ll call Spud) who was chatting with people in front of me in line. It took me a minute to figure out that Spud was with the company. At that point, I put my phone away and waited for him to get to me (I was next in line.) After finishing talking to the guy in front of me in line he went to talk to...the guy BEHIND me in line.
A million things went through my head at this point.
Did he not see me? No, i’m clearly in line.
Did he think I didn’t want to talk to a representative from the company? Maybe, but i’m clearly in line here.
Did he assume that because i’m not as nicely dressed as some other people here that I didn’t matter? Or because i’m less-nicely dressed than some here that I’m not serious about working for this company? Or because i’m a woman, that i’m unimportant? Or because i’m older than the rest of the people in line, that i’m not important?
I felt so small. I felt like I don’t exist. In one second, all the insecurities I had as a white trash kid growing up in a middle class environment came rushing back. I’m not important, or he wouldn’t have skipped over me. I’m not someone his company would hire. I’m invisible. I’m worth nothing. All this education, and he can still see that instantly.
I assume this guy motioned to him that I was next, or something, because just as I realized what had happened, Spud came back to me and quickly muttered a little apology as I cast him a look of “I see what you did there” side eye. He introduced himself and explained that he’s the “student ambassador” for the company and asked if I had any questions. I explained that I had already researched the company and had applied there a few times, so I didn’t really have any. He then did a quick “thanks for the interest” speech and went back to the guy behind me in line. Then the kicker. Spud said to the guy behind me, the guy he skipped over to me for: “Sorry about that.”
Sorry. About. That. Sorry she was in our way, dude! Sorry that I had to do my fucking intern job here and talk to a lady in line at a career fair WHICH IS MY JOB. Sorry about that.
All this aside, I still want to work at this company. But I got a cute, fun little taste of the brodude shit women get to deal with every fucking second in the professional world. Little fun microaggressions that prove without saying a word that you are less than. Good times.