Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

Have you ever had to stand up for your principles? What was the outcome?

I have always been a quiet type of woman. I was not an introvert, and I was not loud or bossy. The one time I stood up for my rights was when I worked at A. B. Dick Company. I worked in the accounting department for most of my years there. Then, one day, one of my previous bosses from accounting, who was now working in Production Control, asked if I would like to work for him again. It was a supervisory position with a pretty hefty raise. Of course, I said yes.

The next few weeks were quite crazy. We were not following protocol. Human Resources got involved and was upset because Hugh had not informed them first. Then, the head of accounting asked me if I would change my mind. Of course, he said, "Money isn't everything," I agreed with him, but I was up for a new challenge. Ha! Ha! He has his window office and probably a six-figure salary. My immediate supervisor was refusing to sign my transfer papers, so one day, I told him this was my last day; either I would go to my new job on Monday, or I was leaving the company. He signed the papers.

I worked directly under the head of Production Control, Mr. Weaver. Mr. Weaver was an alcoholic. I learned to only talk to him in the mornings because he had liquid lunches and came back a bear.

We were just bouncing back from a recession, and orders were coming in quickly. Our inventory was low, and I was constantly calling vendors for updates on shipping dates. Our biggest problem at the time was castings, as these were made of steel and needed a several-month lead time. I finally got the vendor to ship these to us in partial orders so that we could continue production.

There was this guy, Joe, in the factory office who didn't think a woman should be in my job. I kept him informed on whatever results I got from vendors so he could be ready when the parts hit the door. When Mr. Weaver asked him about updates, he lied and told him I was not doing anything about it. I got called on the carpet, but I told Mr. Weaver I was on top of everything and that Joe knew everything.

I was on fire. I stormed down to the factory and burst into Joe's office, and in front of his six employees, I gave him a piece of my mind. I told him that I don't like liars and that from then on, I would give him information in writing with a copy to Mr. Weaver. I didn't give him a chance to respond, so I stormed out just as I had stormed in. I then went to the restroom to calm down and splash cold water on my face.

When I got back to my desk, my phone started to ring, and six of his employees called to say, "Atta girl," you shocked all of us.

From that time on, Joe treated me with respect.

I like to think that people treat you as they like to be treated, so I always treat people with kindness and respect. However, this is not always returned in kind.