What made you leave a job? A few years ago when I first moved to Charlotte I got a job at a retail store in the mall. I won’t say the name of it, but let’s say that they have an eclectic mix of expensive clothing and home decor items. I do need to be respectfully discreet, so I’ll just say it rhymes with “Blanthromologie.” There. Phew! I feel better, and now you’ll never know.
Anyway, I don’t know how the store fared in terms of their sales but, as it is in much of retail, the managers at the time treated the employees like trash. Arriving at work and being told five minutes later that you were “cut” and needed to clock out due to sales not being high enough and them not wanting to pay you was a regular occurrence. While this may sound great to get a day off once in a while, it was really irritating when you base your whole day around coming into work at 2 PM and making X and then you’re told you’re not needed. What happened to common courtesy? Why couldn’t they make a simple phone call? The fact that it happened regularly sucked even worse.
This irritated me, and although I was dealing with it, my patience was wearing thin. I needed the job at the time – and loved the discounts – but the lack of consideration was gnawing at me. And then, there was the morning it happened.
It was the holiday season, and one of the managers scheduled me to open the store in the morning with her. This meant that we needed to be there by 6AM in order to get everything set up. So, I woke up at 5AM, got ready, and made it to the mall parking lot by 5:45 to wait for my manager to come at 6am with the key.
She didn’t show.
6:15 hit, and I thought maybe she’d be here any minute. But by the time 6:30 rolled around, I was pretty shit-sure there was a schedule change and no one told me.
I texted another manager asking if there was in fact a change, and she said yes – that the night before they decided they didn’t need to open that early, so the manager I was waiting on simply erased the scheduled hours and wrote in new ones which involved her and I arriving for work at 8am. Only, of course, no one told me.
You could imagine I was pretty livid, and decided right then and there that I’d quit. But instead of driving home at that moment so I could get back in bed, I sat there and waited another hour for the manager to arrive. Hell, I was already waiting that long, right? And it wasn’t like me to be a no-show or walk out with no explanation. Once she was there, I walked up to the door, she let me in, and I told her I quit. She looked at me, half-concerned, half-dumbfounded, and said, “But, why?” My answer to her was: “The management in this store is terrible, you have no regard for your employees, and someone needs to teach you common courtesy in your management classes. You can’t run a successful business while treating your employees like trash.”
Later that day, word spread throughout the store. I received several texts from other employees, saying things like, “THANK YOU!” and “AMEN!” and even one from another manager saying how happy she was that I did what I did. She said that the manager I spoke to that morning had bought them all coffee and apologized for not treating them better. But my favorite line I was told she said was, “Little Ali unleashed on me!” which made me crack up.
I don’t know how much actually changed in the long-run, but I do know that not one person who managed or was employed by that store at that time is even there anymore. That’s the world of retail (and many other corporations) – the turnover is high, especially when employees are taken for granted. But I do know one thing: I may have been broke with no backup at the time, but I felt like a million bucks when I left the store that morning.
Have you ever walked out on a job, with no backup plan? Ever gotten to the point where you just couldn’t take it anymore? What sent you over the edge? Tell me what happened in the comments.