Yesterday, I quit my job at SEE. It was easily one of the most challenging decisions of my life — I have literally grown up at that outpost, and it’s as much of a home to me as anything else. Half the people there have watched me grow up — even scarier, most of them contributed to my development. I cannot tell you at what age I learned to moon, but I can tell you it was young…and it was a public excursion. When asked at a staff meeting how long I’ve worked there, I said “birth to present” — because honestly, it’s true.
A lot of things contributed to my decision to leave…but it boils down to the fact that I was not respected for the work I was doing and was instead punished for doing my best. I was always stressed. I didn’t leave SEE without crying. There was a lot of petty bullshit going on. For example, M. (the store manager) accused me of “fluffing” my hours because I stayed behind to mop and straighten up after the trips left, even though that was what I was supposed to do so the store would look nice the next day (cough, job description, cough). Another time, C. yelled at me one day because I was a dollar and a penny short in the cash register, and I wasn’t even the only one who had handled the register that day.
It always seemed like a power struggle between M. and myself, even though I didn’t even want the store manager job — long story short, the general store manager, T., bypassed M. because she was never available (who ever heard of a store manager working only one day a week?) and gave me more responsibility that M. had tried to take away…and in response, M. chose to hire two more store girls and reduce my hours in the store, even though I was supposed to be a full time employee. It was a childish power play which belonged in High School, not at work. So two days ago, when I complained to M. about my reduced hours, she told me it was because I was doing a poor job in the store. That was…well, it was crap. She said I hadn’t mopped or straightened up before I left — which, if you recall, she’d demanded I not do because I was getting too many hours. She brought up a bunch of petty things, and I called her out on them…and then she threatened to fire me.
I was livid. All the rest of that day, I thought about quitting — my mom had been trying to get me to quit for a while, and I had recently decided to put in my two week’s notice at the end of this Friday…but M.’s accusations and threat were upsetting. So I decided to quit. I mulled on it for twenty-four hours, and the next day, I followed through.
I had originally wanted to quit to T., who I had briefly complained to about M.’s attitude, and then call the owners (who I am good friends with and really respect) to tell them as well. However, when I called the outpost, I got one of the owners on the phone, and decided to go ahead and bite the bullet; he promised to address the issue, and he hoped that I would be back next year if circumstances permitted it. I called a few more people who I feel deserved the respect of hearing it from me, and I made sure they knew that I will always love working for SEE…but not when I’m being so disrespected by my two immediate bosses. I never actually got to talk to T., and I regret that, because I really like and respect her.
I did learn a lot, though. I learned to keep doing a good job, even if the management hates you. I also learned not to put up with the management’s bullshit. There’s a laundry list of grievances I have with the management — far too many to list here — and it became too much. All I wanted to do was go to work, talk with guests, and make the store look good…but I caught shit from every angle.
Right now, SEE is in a bad place. Out of the five areas of work at SEE (guides, store employees, bus drivers, reservationists, and the photography department), the current management has pissed off both my mom and I, who were the most experienced and well-versed store employees at SEE, the head bus driver, the head reservationist, and the head photographer. There are also a bunch of disgruntled guides, though no one particularly high up in the system — all the higher up guides are either shaking their heads and watching everything fall to shit, or they’ve already left. It’s…frustrating.
It was a hard decision, but now, another twenty-four hours later, I think it was the right one. I don’t have to go in to work on Thursday, after all. No more stress, no more crying, no more bull shit. I found out today that in my last time sheet, which is still in the Mo’ Money book, has FIRED written in big angry lettering on it…even though everyone knows I really quit. I went up to the Pines today to see all the guides, and no one really seems to care. They’re all still my friends…and they knew I was stressed. So, I guess it’s all good.
I’m just glad that my job at Emory has already agreed to take me back at the beginning of August. They pay me well, they give me as many hours as I want, and they respect me…and really, that’s what a job should be like.