You’re fresh out of seminary and already got your first job. You’re kind of excited about it, kind of nervous. You’re fairly confident in your abilities, but the workplace is a brand-new world for you.
Of course, you want to make a good first impression,
so you choose the outfit you will wear on your first day carefully, so carefully that your bed and floor are strewn with clothing by the time you are completely satisfied. And then you change once more just to be sure.
You walk into the office for the first time since the interview, maybe after circling the building several times because in your haste not to be late, you left far too early.
You are smiling on the outside, shaking like a slightly sick leaf on the inside, but then something tight inside you eases. Everyone is smiling back at you. The work is fine, too—just challenging enough to be interesting, but not above your abilities by any means. Everything, you tell yourself in relief, is going to be fine. Except, spoiler alert—if your name is Leah Kaplan, a 19-year-old girl who shared her story with me—then everything is not going to be fine at all. This is one dream job that will rapidly descend into a nightmare.
My first job was at a dental clinic. I would do filing and call patients to remind them about their appointments for the next day,” she explains. “Not super mentally stimulating, but I actually liked it, and the hours were flexible, which was great for me because I was starting my first semester at Touro. And it would give me some pocket money, which was nice.”
Her direct boss who oversaw the running of the whole office seemed nice enough at first. She explained to Leah her duties and introduced her to the rest of the office staff. “I have every confidence in you,” she had said warmly when she hired Leah, “and I look forward to working with you.”
For the first month everything went swimmingly. Leah’s work was praised, and her sweet personality was appreciated. Shy by nature and slow to open up, Leah was finally beginning to relax—when a new girl was hired to handle an increase in the workload.