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Wonder: A wrong righted 10 years later

 

10 years ago, I interviewed at a large retail company for a summer internship while I was an MBA student at Darden. It was my top pick for an internship and I was proceeding well in the process. The final step was a psychological evaluation that was supposed to be a formality. Instead, the psychologist dug into my family history for over an hour. She asked me a lot of very painful questions and was very judgmental about my childhood. I stood my ground, told the truth, didn’t crack, and stated how I did the best I could in the circumstances I was born into. I didn’t get the internship, and I was heartbroken. I thought the story was over, but it wasn’t.

A few months ago I received a letter from a law firm. A class action lawsuit was filed against this retail company for discriminatory hiring practices. The HR records had been subpoenaed and unsealed, and it was deemed that I may be due a payment for damages. I confirmed that I interviewed with the company during the time period in question, sent the letter back, and never gave it another thought.

When I arrived home yesterday, I had a letter from the law firm.The retailer confessed to its discriminatory practices, and settled out of court. The letter contained a check for damages. Not a huge check, but one that I can put to good use. I was shocked. I’m still shocked. I actually cried a little. And then I cried a lot. Not out of sadness, but out of relief.

I didn’t realize how badly I’d felt about this incident all these years. When you grow up without enough, you think you aren’t enough. It is a painful fact of growing up poor. And as much as I have grown into a strong, resilient, and confident woman, there is a small part of me who still carries around this slightest feeling of shame. I’ve learned to use it to go further, try harder, and reach higher.

That incident 10 years ago with the retailer brought all of those feelings into clear focus. I wasn’t mad that I didn’t get that internship. I was ashamed and deeply embarrassed because I knew that my family history made them turn me down. I was told I wasn’t good enough because I hadn’t grown up with enough. How hard I had worked for so many years to lift myself up didn’t matter to this company. And in fact it was a black mark against me.

So getting that check yesterday was a nice thing financially, but that is such a small benefit compared to what it means to me on a much more profound level. That is karma. That is the universe righting a wrong. That is the reward of standing tall, and not letting small-minded people get you down. That is proof to me that our authenticity, work ethic, and determination to making meaning of our past does get rewarded. It can take time. It can often take too much time. But it happens. It happens.

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About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Wonder: A wrong righted 10 years later

  1. This just goes to prove that a gracious, sensitive, highly motivated person (you) can always make lemonade out of lemons, and there are people/organizations/agencies on your side. Sooo happy for this resolution. You earned it. Xxxooo

    Like

    Posted by creationsbysandy | April 27, 2016, 10:37 am
  2. What a hard experience to have had that interview. And what an affirmation to have the universe bring a smattering of justice around to you.

    Like

    Posted by Jan Schaper | April 27, 2016, 11:19 pm

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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