Photo courtesy of Peter Beste
Dear Willie D:
I am a single mother with a small child, clocking 50 hours a week at an auto-parts warehouse to pay the bills, and provide for my baby. It is an understatement to say, I work hard for the money. My problem is what to do about my disrespectful, pushy supervisor? Anytime I have an issue with something concerning my job her favorite saying is, "find a way or find a job."
If she doesn't like what I'm wearing, it's not uncommon for her to say, "That's ugly" or "That's not for you." She is very rude and uncouth. You would think with both of us being single working mothers, she would have some sort of compassion and camaraderie. I have started looking for a new job but in the meantime I have began taking antidepressants just to deal with her mess. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do until I find a new employer to avoid a nervous breakdown?
Dear Working Mother,
First of all, on behalf of every child raised by a single working mother, including myself, thank you for your contribution. I have a few suggestions on how to handle your bullying boss. Every time she does or says something improper, document it. If your employer has a Human Resources Department or ethics group, contact them and make a formal complaint. If it's a smaller company, go to your supervisor's boss and keep going to the top until the issue is addressed.
Either way, be prepared to move on. Companies don't like employees who shake up the natural order of things. But don't let that discourage you. Always fight back. Nothing discourages a bully more. Get off the anti-depressants. They are more trouble than they're worth. You cannot drink or dope away your problems. They pass with clever solutions and time.
Dear Willie D:
I have two sets of children: The first three are via my ex from a turbulent 10-year relationship; the last two are with my current wife. When the ex and I split, the kids went with her back to her home state. They left driving my only car. Seeing as she never held a steady job throughout the course of our relationship, I committed as much as I could to ensure their stability.
I'm now being demonized because I'm not in the same financial place I was as a newly single male, so the money I have to send is dwindling as I deal with my own income trials. I've always kept the courts out of my affairs, but I don't know what to do, as I'm tired of being told, "Well, you knew your responsibilities. You shouldn't have had any more kids!" What do I do?
Sincerely, Demonized Dad
Dear Demonized Dad:
Paying child support is like making records; you're only as good as your last hit. Give them 100 classics in a row and the first time you miss the mark you're a bum. Babies are expensive business. If you want to keep the courts out of this, the best thing to do is to humble yourself and have a candid conversation with your ex about your finances. Just like with the IRS, you may have to show her your financial records and work out a payment plan.
Personally, I think putting everything on record in a court of law is the best way to protect yourself. That way she can't come back and say you didn't pay. But know that the courts don't care that you have a new life, a wife and two more babies to take care of. Your ex damn sure don't care. All she considers is what you're doing for her kids. Contrarily, your wife probably feels the same way about your obligations to the children you share with her.
I feel for you man. You seem like a good dude, but this is one of those situations where you made your bed, lied in it, had sex, conceived babies and now you have to pay for them; even if the money is gone.
Dear Willie D:
My husband is a Neanderthal. He emphatically believes that a woman's sole purpose on earth is to cook, clean, and pump out babies. We are often at odds over his totalitarian views. For obvious reasons, there's not a lot to be said about the babies part of my issues with him but I don't like feeling obligated to cook and clean. Since both of us eat and dirty up the place, shouldn't we share in the responsibilities of cooking and cleaning? How do I get him to meet me halfway?
Sincerely, At Odds
Dear At Odds:
Consider your relationship a business contract. Sometimes people sign contracts and realize later they don't like the terms. So they want out or they want to stay in but renegotiate. Now the person looking to renegotiate -- you -- may feel they deserve some relief or favor because their value in the relationship has increased since they first signed the contract. The person on the other end -- your husband -- attitude might be; Hey, you knew what you was getting before we got married. A deal is a deal.
Like a lot of men, I was stubborn and stuck in my ways when it came to what I expected domestically from a woman. I still enjoy the personal touch of a woman throwing down in the kitchen but to keep the peace in my home today I could care less about some damn food or who cooked it. I have no problem eating out, ordering delivery, pickup, or cooking myself.
Even though I think you're wrong as Bishop Long for trying to change the rules during the game, your issue is important enough to you to be addressed. But you have to know where your man's mind is currently. He may not be ready and willing to change. You might run him straight into the arms of another woman.
You have to ask yourself is it worth the risk. Looking back, when I was with my ex nothing she said or did would have convinced me to change any of my standards because my mind wasn't there. But if we had met today she would be the beneficiary of a wiser man who understands that sometimes you have to lose to win.
Dear Willie D:
I am a police officer in the state of Arizona who was recently transferred from an affluent area of town to a low-income area. The neighborhood is mostly Hispanic. Some of the residents have gang ties but most of them are just regular people.
While patrolling the community, I noticed the tolerance level that many of my fellow officers have when dealing with poor people is ten times less than they have when dealing with people who have money and those who live in nice communities.
My partner is the cowboy type who shows up and immediately starts throwing his weight around and stretching his authority. He will draw his weapon or taser with little to no provocation. He told me that we have to be more aggressive with [them] because that's all they understand. He's not the only one with that attitude. I know several officers with the same mentality.
The problem is so pervasive that I feel like an outcast. I treat people like I want to be treated. I respect them and they respect me. I don't talk to grown men and women like they're children and I don't cruise around trying to instill fear in the hearts of their children. It's easy to write tickets all day, lock people up and push them around. But what type of environment would I be contributing to?
Sincerely, Officer With Respect
Dear Officer With Respect:
If all you did was write tickets, arrest people and abuse them all day, the environment you would be contributing to would be that of broken homes, fatherless children, record high incarceration levels, gang membership, community separatism, dangerous neighborhoods, distain for law enforcement, hopelessness, hostility and the whole us-against-them mentality.
Make no mistake about it: as with teachers and doctors, every community needs policemen. But we need to do a better job of recruiting the good ones and purging the bad ones. I have family members and friends who are cops, and I'm proud to say they are among the good ones. If I had seen more officers with respect when I was growing up in the hood, I probably wouldn't have insisted on playing the bad guy whenever my brothers and I played cops and robbers. We need more officers like you on the streets. Thank you for your service.
Ask Willie D anything at askwillied.com, and come back soon for more of his best answers.
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