Many years ago, my husband and I purchased a home in the middle of the woods. The house was lovely, but the yard needed some work. We called several landscape architects and asked for bids. Redesigning our yard would cost a fortune — plus one of my kidneys.
If my husband and I wanted to live in a beautiful house with a beautiful garden, which was the dream that George W. Bush promised us after 9/11, I had to find a better job. When I finally received a good offer, my new company required a pre-employment physical as a condition of my employment.
I was like — I’m not joining the Marines. Can I say no?
My new boss was like — Sure, okay, but then you don’t get the job.
The medical facility was run by a vendor, of course. I met a guy who introduced himself as the company doctor but wasn’t technically part of the enterprise. Then I had to hang out with a team of contract LPNs — all dudes — who wanted me to take my shirt off so they could do an EKG.
(Like I haven’t heard that line before!)
I had to give blood, pee in a cup and fill out a truckload of medical forms, too. At some point, I decided to lie.
Do I have a history of anxiety and depression? No way. Does anyone in my family have diabetes? Nope. Am I the picture of health in America with a BMI of 27? Of course. The BMI is the real lie.
The next day, I received a call from one of my new boyfriends down at the medical complex. My bloodwork and urine showed that I was heavily dehydrated.
Are you taking diet pills?
Turns out I was taking copious amounts of legal and prescribed diet pills and supplements to lose weight that I gained after getting married. Phentermine? Yes. Diuretics? Yes. The old school prescription form of Alli®? Yes.
But I was very guarded about it. My weight loss schemes are nobody’s business. You can do HR and be dehydrated. In fact, you might do it better.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend was strict. I couldn’t go to work unless I gave a healthier sample of blood and urine.
(Also not the first time I’ve heard that line from a guy.)
If I wanted landscaping and beautiful gardens — along with tree removal, a new irrigation system, and a million other nouveau riche trimmings — I had to stop the diet pills and drink a bunch of Pedialyte.
But the thing about saying yes is that it’s difficult to say no in the future. The choices don’t get any easier, either. Once a company knows you’ll do X, they will ask for X+Y in the future.
And once I said yes to the pre-employment physical, it was a slippery slope. I had to say yes to a whole host of other sketchy situations that compromised my principles and are now covered under a very thick non-disclosure agreement.
So learn from my mistakes and act as the CEO of your life. You are a small business. Set up your company’s mission, vision, and values. Stick to your principles. And if an employer asks you to violate your principles, big or small, you need to move on and find something new.
No landscape design is worth it.