There had been many downsides to my job which accumulated over time. Imagine being security, seeing malpractice by management, but having to answer to management. Yeah, that was a nightmare. If I spoke out I was subjected to backlash. The whole thing became a game of politics more than the job responsibilities.
There were department breakdowns. Lots of shady stuff swept under rugs. I also felt like I didn’t have a voice anymore. The other day I began to write but could not publish:
I am sworn to secrecy. I am trapped within myself. I am not able to state the truth. Every moment, every crucial part is confidential. This catastrophe brings ruin. It has already caused severe damage and life will never be the same from it.
I wish I could vent, speak my mind, share my true feelings. They are moot. They are damming.
How did I get here?
You know it’s bad when you’re watching the people in charge more than anyone else. And those people, young and new to their roles, are market favorites that were specifically placed there to help save a slumping environment so you’d better learn to tolerate the wrongs. I was catching people left and right – the guy who pulled a security device off a laptop and about to be conceal it, the people who came with keys to unlock merchandise, and yet I was no longer the hero. I was one to “watch out for”.
It’s a huge red flag when the manager says, “Eh, why would you say that you WANT to catch someone today?”
Um, because theft is going to happen and one of us needs to NOT cross our fingers and close our eyes hoping against the facts. Because I’m ready for go-time. Because…why do I have to explain this to you?
I walked through seven years of eggshells and politics. My store was broken in to because someone higher up didn’t have their alarm bases covered. Seasonal people up to no good would get pissed because I’d say something like “hey can you stop face timing your friend you’re on the clock” and they’d go straight to HR claiming I was a stalker. Then I’d have to wade through their “investigation”, time and time again jumping through the most ridiculous hoops just to keep doing my job. Management changed over and over again, meaning any raise I received would be up to someone who couldn’t review my performance let alone pay me more.
Friendships developed over years and years together. I would learn they were often not friends. Or perhaps they were, but they were doing dumb things. Then there were those who did everything besides support me and I had to pretend, every day, smiling to their faces, knowing my circle was full of fakes. The toxicity was real.
I became complacent and with every freedom I felt like I had lost, I came to accept. The freedom to be me. The freedom to speak up. I let the role change because it was desired. And never, ever let them know that you’re aware of everything going on because they’d hold it against you. “How does SHE know” mentality every day, like unwarranted harassment I didn’t need.
“The manager does NOT like you. He says you take things to HR anonymously and cause headaches for him.” I thanked them for the inside feedback (literally, as a leader was on their way out on their ‘quit’ day), and if I wanted to survive, I couldn’t even be “anonymous” anymore.
Clients began walking out more and more, saying the nastiest things. “This is why you’re closing.” “This is the worst place and I’ll never be back”. “You’re the only one who talked to me.” “I work at another location and I have to admit yours is an absolute mess.” “My manager refuses to accept any transfers from here because it’s where employees go to die and that’s it.” “You’ve got it made, doing nothing all day.”
Then the guilt set in. Knowing I wasn’t the best. Not anymore.
It wasn’t until my on-boarding process with another company that I began to confess. And the truth was, I was unhappy. I was in really bad drag every day. I didn’t like you, you, you, or you. I used to literally cry, my eyes welling up with tears, and have to pretend that someone had just told a really funny joke that had caused my eyes to water. I said for years that I wanted to climb the ladder and you always put that on the back burner because you said you “needed me here right now” and I allowed stagnation at a dead-end job to imprison me.
I started interviewing. I was scared. My emergency/crisis response work turned in to offers for medical facilities, data input, filing, and I learned that there were people hiring loss prevention associates all over the state. By the end of the week I had a handful of offers where people said YES, WE CHOOSE YOU. Shall we move forward?
“I’ve had some time to think about it… and I’m ready. I want the work.”
“Good girl. I’m so happy you said that. Get out of there and leave it all behind.”
Closer to home.
And a promise to myself, to never stay in my own way again.