Goodbye Old Job!
I wrote this a month ago, right after leaving the old gig.
I figured I’d give myself a month to see if I still felt the same way about it all. And I do. So here goes.
That was the poster they made for me at my job when I arrived. I was brand new, new to the location and my new role. I was excited to learn everything I could and I was excited to be making more money. Who wouldn’t want to make more money, right? I had just finished taking my last college course. I had just been rejected by an airline for a flight attendant position and this was going to be my first official job after college.
I had never been a manager before so I ran into a lot of obstacles. I was challenged everyday and I can’t forget to mention that I started off at a crazy time in retail; the holiday season!
It wasn’t just about telling people what to do or managing. It’s never that easy. Believe it or not, just because people are hired to work it doesn’t mean they want to work. Some just want the paycheck. And just know that just because you have a title, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to listen to you. Quite the opposite, they will give you a hard time if they can. I did a lot more than just delegate. I was also a friend, a cheerleader, a therapist an enemy, even. Depending on what kind of relationship I had with an employee.
If there was a spill on the floor or a mess in the bathroom, believe that it was my responsibility to clean up if facilities workers weren’t around. When this happened, I would just want to take my college diploma, weep a little and use it to wipe up whatever soda or water some dipshit parent let their clumsy 4 year-old carry into the store. Lord help me. Working on the kids floor was the best birth control ever. I’d see children and smile at the sweet ones but the minute I saw a little terror, I’d walk in the other direction. If the kid’s an asshole and they’re barely speaking, I am sure the parent is an asshole. It’s a reasonable assumption. Making sure the floor was packed with product was a responsibility. Overseeing the logistics teams was part of the gig. I had to know what everyone was working on at all times because you did not want to get asked questions by your boss and not have an answer. Not having an answer was not an option.
As far as my supervisors, I had my favorites, naturally. Who doesn’t? There are going to be bosses who have absolutely no faith in you and want you to quit. This will be the case wherever you go. However, at the same time, you will find bosses who believe in you when you barely believe in yourself. They will tell you to get out and not get stuck in a place where you aren’t 100% happy. They’ll be honest and tell you that this place isn’t for you and that you really don’t belong there. And you won’t get offended by what they say because you know it’s true. You won’t get offended when you find out some of your bosses wish you would turn in your keys because you’re dying to turn them in anyway. But you refuse to be pushed out or demoted. NO, you will go when you have a proper situation set up for yourself. Could you leave a job without knowing where your next check is coming from? You could but you probably shouldn’t. And I didn’t.
Then there was the boss who in not so many words called me a racist. I had to remind her that I wasn’t white, that I was latina and had to inform her that I had never been accused of such a disgusting thing. Those who made me look like a complete moron in front of my employees by not backing me up.
I had someone tell me I wasn’t performing my duties on a Monday. When I asked what they meant by that, they couldn’t tell me much more. Only that I had been with the company long enough to know what was expected of me. Right… I was pretty much told that those in my role who weren’t up for the challenge of the position would be managed out. At that point, I knew I was on the chopping block but little did they know, I was already making my way out.
When I gave in my two weeks notice that same week, the same person told me I had done great things with the company and that I would continue to do great there even if my days were numbered… Yes. The hypocrisy of it all was absolutely fantastic. One day I am below target, the next, I am just “great.” Can you blame her? At that point, I could have just said, “screw it all” and started acting up. She had to try stroking my ego or giving me a pat on the back to keep me in line. She didn’t have to be concerned though. I would never be nasty or cause a scene. That’s not who I am.
I realized that as much as I love people, and I do, I just couldn’t change people’s attitudes. A supervisor once asked me why one of my co-workers couldn’t act more like me, a bit friendlier. And I replied with, “I can’t control the attitudes of other people, I can only control myself.” My supervisor smiled and told me I was right. Sure, you can’t change people. However, I’m proud to say that I became close to people who really disliked me at first. Okay, they hated me. But they warmed up to me and gave me a chance to show them that my bubbly attitude really is me. It’s my personality and not an act. I suppose they realized that after almost 3 years at that place, I was still the same so they figured I was genuine. Those little changes are my successes. I’ll think of those people every now and then. The debbie-downers will have their Facebook friend requests deleted. The hypocrisy shocks me.
When the district manager, who was nothing short of an absolute horror to work for, shook my hand and told me to keep in touch, I couldn’t help but gag. That’s the only time I remember him addressing me by name. You want me to keep in touch? For what? So that you can ignore me when I say hi but yell at me whenever you want? So you can tell my boss not to thank me for coming in on a snow day because everyone else made it too? HELLO!? I was the only opening shift manager and mid shift manager on two days due to callouts but no worries, I’m just here to do my job. No need to thank me but you don’t need to be an ingrate either. I’ll pass on the whole keeping in touch thing. Verbally abusing and humiliating people isn’t a good way to make people want to work for you. It’s good way to make people genuinely dislike you though.
I escaped retail and if all goes well, I won’t be returning to that life again. I can only work hard enough to not have to cross that bridge again. As happy-go-lucky as I am, I was so close to becoming a negative person. That environment will break your spirit. That environment will change you and as much as people said, “you can’t let your environment impact you, you have to impact your environment,” they didn’t get it. I guess that’s easy to say when you’re behind a desk all day and not dealing with not only crazy customers but a few impossibly frustrating employees. I deeply respect my friends who have managed to keep their sanity at that place.
Anyway, I digress. Goodbye Old Job! Thanks for the memories. As much as I’ll miss the people and the fabulous discount, I won’t miss my job. Not one bit. I’m gladly moving along to different things.