Workplace tyrants are real, same as bullies and the worst of them are often kindred.
Home was where the boss lived, he was my father.
Under the microscope is how life and job was but I retreated like a thief in the night without any loot.
My first job started at ten when I walked into my father’s sole proprietors establishment and declared, “ hire me, I want to become a businesswoman.”
My mother never seemed to like my youthful idea, but I gather in later years she assumed it was a childish idea that would eventually fade; it didn’t, it lasted through half of my current age.
Mother nourished my appetite for the arts, music and modern dance; but my weekends and holidays saw me working, and I fulled time after high school; having swallowed my father’s suggestion to build the business alongside him, towards ownership.
I’ll call father Boss- Daddy here.
Together the business expanded and we partnered 52%/48% ownership as a limited liability company.
The hardware closed at four, and block making factory ran all night, the petrol station closed midnight, trucking maintenance and accounting fell to me.
The partnership meant being available 24/ 7 It complimented his agenda while he went off to regular weekday events.
As maturity kicked in, I recognized the cost of being boss daddy’s favorite of seven children. Love for me was all about his purpose and success.
He was the door. I was the door hinge.
Mangement privilege was absent.
Salary nonexistent — wage was a stipend.
Rent free would slip from his lips regularly.
I drove rentals, hired transports.
Car loan through the company didn’t happen; though he enjoyed a new car every five years. My first owned was secondhand.
Continuing education was an accomplishment long overdue though costly having to fly to Kingston thrice weekly to the UWI (Mural center).
Fatigued plagued me until I geared my creative side toward entertainment, and became industrious in my own right, went on and…
- Bought and led a band.
- Managed entertainment at tourist resorts.
- Created and led a three-girl singing group.
- Recorded, produced and marketed music.
Hell, I even produced a reggae album in French for a French lady claiming to be Edith’s Piaf illegitimate daughter.
The Rastafarian entourage of artists I hired were friends than employees; if my boss-daddy could belt me, he would.
Distaste for my endeavors became challenging and considered moonlighting unless it served up profits to the company.
Announced my worth; I was human again. Setting the motions of emancipation. Bob Marley said it in song, “ none but ourselves can free our minds.”
Boss-Daddy wasn’t going to win; I wouldn’t let him any further, the time called for ending the gauntlet, aimed at squashing egos.
Conceding to ultimatums were over. I fought with confidence, came and went as pleased, performed regularly and took overseas engagements.
Inspiration came with a song, bolstered by Corrine Drewery and Andy Connell’s ‘Breakout,’ it was the lightning rod … an intervention.
When explanations make no sense
When every answer’s wrong
You’re fighting with lost confidence
All expectations gone.
The time has come to make or break
Move on, don’t hesitate
Breakout, don’t stop to ask
Now you’ve found a break to make it last
You’ve got to find a way
Say what you want to say; breakout.
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
I ended my midsummer night’s dream, took off the head of the ass and said my goodbyes to less than a handful who mattered.
In the 70’s when most Jamaicans were becoming conscious of gifted and black, I got into the head wraps, kente everything and stirred plenty displeaures. On several occasions I was ordered home to redress in an appropriate hairdo (whatever the hell that is) for the workplace.
I never looked twice in the mirror on my rump but if I missed a half-slip the creases would be showy depending on my dress material; it never slipped his eyes or tongue lashing as “indecent.” Pants were a no-no; considered too masculine.
Imagine me getting called on, or visted for a lunch date at the workplace; don’t forget my 24/7…
He was a fart in so many ways and lived the mind of a colonialist even though he constantly pouted and drop friends who were uncle Toms.
I zapped my dog mindedness and barked no more tail wagging.
Boss-daddy’s partnership and control are behind me now as is the millions in arbitration since 1994…
A door is always there, or the window… It’s true, when one door closes another is open; walk out the door, don’t look back.