Starting a job in a corporate environment can be extremely intimidating. Many aren’t even old enough to legally drink or rent a car, yet young professionals are expected to act with perfect corporate equanimity from day one.
Arguably, setting high expectations on employees early on could be an effective management tool, i.e. “throwing someone into the fire” can help them to develop “thick skin” in the workplace while teaching them to deal with adversity under pressure.
However, some instances where power dynamics can make employees—especially new hires or interns—uncomfortable is if they feel they’re being unfairly criticized or put on blast by someone in the company.
And a TikToker named Zaynab (@fruitchaatt) said she was put in one of these situations after getting chewed out by a boss at the company she just started interning for.
The reason for the manager’s gripe? Zaynab said she was given a previous intern’s work laptop that had yet to be ‘wiped clean.’ She said this meant everything on the laptop was under the previous intern’s name, including the Zoom application.
While on a last-minute group Zoom call, Zaynab said the Zoom profile was logged into the previous intern’s. She said she hadn’t had a chance to update it as it was only her second day on the job. This led to a higher-up at the company chastising her in front of her co-workers for not changing the profile name.
@fruitchaatt Lol keeping it very very real. Yall idk its just hard being young & female & brown & visibly muslim bc you never know if something is a micro aggression 😃 #hijab #hijabi #muslim #muslimgirl #storytime #abaya #muslimah ♬ original sound – zaynab
“I was like supposed to introduce myself to people, then the head person cut me off,” Zaynab recalls in the clip. “And he said like, my manager’s name is like Laura, he was like, ‘Laura, are you sure this is the right hire? And that this, this is the right person?”
Zaynab said she thought he was joking at first, but he just doubled down.
“He was like, ‘Because are you sure they didn’t overstate their capacities and their capabilities if they can’t even change their name and profile picture on Zoom?'”
The manager then allegedly asked Zaynab if she was feeling “attacked” or “kidded” and Zaynad said she simply responded noncommittally.
Zaynab said the interaction made her “numb” and that after being put on blast by the manager, she fought back tears during the rest of the meeting.
While the TikToker didn’t say that the man on the call brought up race or ethnicity, she expressed that it wasn’t necessarily a good look that an older white man with a “Santa Clause” beard was chewing out a hijab-wearing person of color.
“Yall idk it’s just hard being young & female & brown & visibly Muslim [because] you never know if something is a microaggression,” Zaynab added in the caption.
There were debates in the comments section among viewers who had different bits of advice for Zaynab. Several thought she should immediately report the manager to human resources.
“Please please please report this to HR. Also once this internship Is over never look at that company again,” one person wrote. Another said, “Okay as someone who’s had internships and consulting jobs where I managed interns this is not okay. Tell HR immediately.”
Another couldn’t believe that a higher-up would subject an intern to this kind of embarrassment, especially when they just started the position.
“I’m so sorry this is ridiculous to treat an intern like this on their first day please go straight to HR to talk abt the incident,” they wrote.
Others, however, said it was probably best for Zaynab to speak with her manager one-on-one before going straight to human resources about the incident.
This advice was echoed by another TikToker who wrote, “I would recommend talking with your manager about how that interaction made you feel. If they don’t want to do anything about it or maybe set up some.”
Someone else agreed with that potential course of action as well.
“Tell your manager that was not okay!! stand up for yourself and create boundaries at work,” the user wrote. “They underestimate us because of our age and background.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Zaynab via email.