More than ten years ago when I was working at a hourly college job, my supervisor came up with this grand idea for a team outing. For every alcoholic drink we drank, we could charge an hour. I was the only one underage at the time and by that social outing, I had already decided that I wouldn’t ever drink. But I felt obligated to go, so I went. At the bar, my supervisor got upset when I refused to drink. “You can have juice,” he angrily said.
My coworkers didn’t notice. I got assigned the role of keyholder. But as the night wore on, I hated the idea. People became stupider and I wanted to go, but of course being an insecure college kid, I felt like I couldn’t leave.
By the end of the night, I was pissed and unhappy. And being a contemporary of that time, I went back to my apartment and promptly described the event on my blog.
And also at that time, everyone read each other’s blogs. My supervisor imed me and immediately asked me to modify it. That I could leave it up, but I had to remove the word “my supervisor”. It would get him fired, he said. After some consideration, I took it down, because I decided that it would hurt him.
My memory of the event and the events that happened consequently are fuzzy. This wasn’t sexual harassment. But it was coercion and I certainly felt powerless. I was also very insecure and lacking confidence. I didn’t know if people would punish me for having gone along with the idea. Plus with the fact that I didn’t drink, I was already super insecure about my personal belief and felt that most people wouldn’t accept that about me. And all of that kept me silent for years although in casual conversations here and there, I would openly talk about it.
To this though, I have always wondered what would happened if I did say something? That era is different from today. Blogs and journals were valid evidence of anything. They were only soulful laments of lonely people. But today in this day and age, it means something more.