It has recently come to my attention that a lot of people are giving out misinformation regarding the circumstances of which I quit. Although I haven’t felt the need to let you all know individually, (or write any letters to the corporate offices about the hostile work environment you all fostered) I have felt newly compelled to write an open letter to my now former place of employment.
I really just want to clear one thing up in particular: no one forced me to quit, nor was I ever asked to leave by my manager. I made the decision to leave. I do feel as though the couple months before my departure were made so terrible for me, that I had no other options but to quit. It was like everyone (including my manager) wanted me to leave, but no one dared say anything to me.
I never got an explanation for the horrible way I was treated towards the end, nor do I wish for one. I’m not especially bitter towards anyone I worked with, including my manager, nor do I wish any ill-will. I’m past the part where I need “closure”. My time working there is over, and it’s now just a chapter in my life that I’m finished living.
Again, I’ll say: if you’re reading this and we used to work together – please do NOT message me about this. I don’t want to read any reasons or excuses for “why” I was treated the way I was. Nothing good will come from sending me such a message. I’m not looking to get into a fight about it, argue, or any negativity for that matter. Thank you in advance for your understanding and for respecting my request.
For you to tell people it was anything but my own decision to leave would be wildly inaccurate. Nor is it accurate to tell people that I “had a lot of issues”. I have a lot of issues? What about the employee (who still works there) who gossips incessantly about everyone who she encounters, who is such an overtly negative person and has caused many (customer and employee) complaints?
But I digress…
I have an innate character flaw in that I am a people pleaser. I will (figuratively) set myself on fire to keep others warm. I would frequently come in on one (or both) of my 2 days off per week to either cover a shift, or come in as an extra, or cover for my manager as she ran personal errands. This over-time often came at the expense of my own well-being.
I ask you: in what other workplace can a manager come in hours late with no repercussions? Occasionally, she would forget that she told a customer to come in during her shift, and they’d come in–yet I’d be the only management in the store, trying to quell this stranger’s annoyance at their wasted time while covering for my manager while she slowly made her way to her job. Or when I’d have a customer literally yelling at me, and I’d have to call her and she wouldn’t answer the phone, so I’d have to call the manager at our sister store for temporary advice or relief. I often found myself with a stress level of 100; I’d have 10 things I needed to do but couldn’t because I was the only person with any key passwords or could help if another employee had an issue.
No, I don’t handle stress particularly well. In my defense though, I did not sign on to be a manager, nor was I being paid to be. Yet more often than not, I found myself thrown into the head manager position.
Of course the stress got to me—I was paid $1 more than a new sales associate to be a stand in store-manager for the better part of a day. I often found myself with no one to back me up or defer to. I had to suddenly act in a position that I wasn’t trained for.
It’s like not knowing how to swim, but being thrown into the deep end of a pool and the lifeguard shouting, “good luck!”
I remember coming back from an impromptu (but much needed) vacation with my parents, and the horrible newly appointed assistant manager was no longer there. In her absence, other employees started approaching me and letting me know what she had been saying about me.
Before she left, it was common that if I did something or said something that struck her the wrong way, she would immediately usher me to the back room to yell at me about what I had done.
After a particularly bad incident, she left work, found our manager, spoke to her about what happened, came back, and lied to me (she told me that our manager had said to send me home). Believing her, I went home. She told the other employees at the end of the night meeting to “not worry about Emmy, she’s going to be fired”.
I found myself in the habit of coming in early Sunday mornings (alone) to get things ready for the busy day. I loved how productive I could be, and the peace and quiet of the store. I genuinely loved my job, and was happy being there alone for a little every Sunday to put in some extra TLC. The horrible assistant manager usually worked the rest day with me, and she’d let me leave a little early, which I thought was really nice because I was there much longer than anyone else. Even though I never asked to leave early, I thought it was very thoughtful that she took into consideration my level of exhaustion. Apparently though, she’d go on to tell everyone else that she “sent me home early” as in she cut my paid hours on purpose rather than just doing something nice.
Things were never the same for me after that horrible assistant manager left (by left, I mean abandoned her job). She had inflicted damage that was irreparable not only with the other employees, but also within myself. She forced me to take a hard look at myself, and reevaluate who I am as a person, such as how I come off to other people. I tried really hard to make adjustments when interacting with other people, and it only seemed to make things worse. I was no longer being genuine to who I am. I felt like an imposter.
It was soon after her departure that my therapist strongly advised me to stop doing huge favors for everyone at work. To stop going so “above and beyond” for these people who didn’t deserve nor appreciate my actions. When I stopped covering everyone’s shift, and instead stuck up for my needs and myself in small ways, I noticed my manager didn’t treat me the same way she used to. Suddenly she was snapping at me on the sales floor and telling me petty, small mistakes I’ve made. Or questioning me about things she’d been “told” that I’d said. Around that point, I realized that my word was suddenly not enough. I found myself having to defend my words and actions against someone who hadn’t been there even a quarter as long as I’d been. I thought I had earned the right of the benefit of the doubt by consistently proving I deserved it, so it was strange to think I hadn’t. For a long time, I had looked up to her as a big sister, which is why it was such a huge pill for me to swallow. Something happened along the way to skew her view of me, to which I can only speculate was caused by a few trolls who ended up being fired.
By the end of my time working there, I found myself becoming a hardened, and bitter individual. I was so unhappy with myself, and was so stressed that my hair was falling out. I hated the person I was quickly becoming. For a long time, my job was my “safe place”, it was where I came to get out of my house and head and to feel like I belonged, excelled, and had a defined purpose. I strived to be the best I could be every day, and eagerly arrived at work at least 15 minutes before each shift.
A part of me wanted to stick things out. I wanted to help things get better so I could leave with happy memories. I didn’t want to be remembered as “a problem”, I wanted to be remembered as the hilarious person everyone loved for so long, the person who was so caring and sweet to everyone. At the end, I knew I had to do what was best for me. I’d had enough. It became a toxic environment for me, and I needed to get out.
After I gave my 2 weeks notice, my manager told me that it was very generous for me to give 2 weeks, but it was okay if this was my last week. I guess the look on my face was one of shock, because she quickly added, “if you want…” I told her I’d let her know, yet when I did go to her to tell her that I was good with it being my last week, she coldly replied “I figured, I didn’t put you on the schedule for next week…” In my head I thought, “OH OKAY, so much for it being my decision.”
After quitting, I was a wreck. I was confused about who I was as a person, and what direction my life was headed in. I thought about suicide a few times, and I became increasingly withdrawn from the world. I felt so tired and alone: hopeless. I just wanted to stop feeling all that pain.
I ended up enrolling in an 8-week intensive outpatient program, which is where I discovered so much strength within myself, and realized that I’m worth so much more than what those few people reduced me to.
So to reiterate, no, I wasn’t forced to quit: I merely couldn’t take a single more day of being treated the way I was by not only other employees and customers, but by my manager as well. I’m not a child, nor am I in high school anymore-I’m a grown woman, and I can deal with people not liking me or being mean/rude to me. It’s when it comes from a person who is supposed to be an authority figure, someone I look up to, my boss; that’s where I can no longer handle it.
Oh, and to everyone who now wants me to “come back” – no thank you. I cannot work for a manager who cannot manage her staff. I can’t work for a manager with a high-school mindset that gets just as wrapped up in the pettiness as everyone else who works there.
I’m meant for so much more than a dead end job filled with damaged people. I’m meant to make a difference, to pursue greatness. I’m meant to hold a solid degree from a respected University, and to find myself making the world a better place even if it’s just for a few people. I’m not meant to be a manager at a franchise store, I’m meant to own it.
So please, get your facts straight about me and about my time as a highly valuable employee before imparting any false information to people who don’t know me.
I’m not a monster; I’m your scapegoat.