Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Time Elaine Stood Up For Herself

Disclaimer: the girl in the photos with me is NOT my manager. She's my friend and previous co-worker that I LOVE! So yeah.... not my boss.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had some not-so-light hearted things to say. Basically in a nutshell, I told my boss to shove it a few weeks ago. After working at Claire's for a year as Assistant Manager and being mistreated by my boss, I finally had enough.

I approached my boss about a situation that had occurred at work (a situation in which she talked down to me in front of the other associates and made me look bad intentionally). She apparently had an "open door policy" which means she's always open to talk about anything that might be bothering you at work, etc. So after she had put off talking to me for 5 days for various reasons,I approached her in a mature way after work when the store was closed. I told her how I felt about the situation and she took it as a personal attack on her management style and flew off the handle. She kept telling me she didn't want to talk about it and didn't want to have the conversation and I started to get heated. If you claim to have an "open door policy," then you have to be willing to TALK to your EMPLOYEES no matter what it is they want to say. So I started to get infuriated, she kept telling me to leave and eventually YELLED: "GO HOME. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS NOW. GO. HOME!" It ended in an ugly argument.

I stormed out of the store, went outside, and cried on the curb. I was crying because I was SO mad, embarrassed at my behavior, and because I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. Ian was at work, my Mom was on a quilting retreat, and my sister was out of town. So I called my dad. And... he gave me dad advice:

"You are an adult now. From now on for the REST of your life, you are an ADULT. You swallow your pride, and march your a** back in there and apologize, young lady! You have BILLS to pay!"

It was good advice. a) Because I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep that night knowing that I hadn't apologized, b) Because he was right-- i AM an adult. And respectable adults don't argue with their bosses, and c) Because it was the Christian thing to do. The hardest thing and the right thing are almost ALWAYS the same. So I went back in and apologized. Did I mean it? ...not completely. I was sorry that I hurt her feelings as a person, but I don't regret saying it because i had been provoked to that point & was standing up for myself. She had ignored me as a part of the management team and purposefully treated me like a child. SO basically, my boss didn't want to hear any of the apology. Which I knew would happen because that's the kind of person she is. I wasn't trying to erase what I said, I just wanted to let the record show that I did the hard thing and the bigger person thing and apologized. She reported it to Human Resources, and I was fired a week later. I've never been fired from anything before, but it comforts me to know that it wasn't entirely my fault and that I will be out of the poisonous situation now. Lesson learned: Poor Communication=Unhappy Workers

I've been enjoying my time at home. They called me over my vacation and let me know I was canned, so I've still been pretending like I'm still on vacation just with some job applications worked in. I actually got a call today for an interview on Monday at Bath & Body Works, so we'll see what happens with that. The bottom line is that my life is SO much less stressful without that job. I'm not walking on eggshells all the time, I'm not pulling my hair out... yeah. She was just an IMPOSSIBLE person to work for. I loved the job, LOVED working for the company because they do so many wonderful things for their employees, but I just couldn't take the crap from her any longer.

Truth: I don't want to work in retail forever! I want to get out and begin my life as an artist! I want to take my photography and art full time and ditch the mall jobs. When will my life choices iron themselves out and get me to a point where I can be the person I want to be without corporate stuff getting in the way? I know it will happen. God has a plan, but.... patience is NOT my strong suit.

So anyway, this was long and boring, but I wanted to explain my situation and just say how much I loved the job itself, just not the manager. But things are looking up and I'm excited to see what God has in store for this marked chapter in my life!



Lotus said...

Bless you Elaine!
That was an awesome move on your part, to apologize for your actions in the confrontation. We're called to make amends with those we have a problem with... you asked for forgiveness and she chose not to give it to you. So, who's soul do you think is heavy? ; )

Retail is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. I did it for 20+ years and I don't miss a day of it! I believe my present job (city bus driver) is a close tie... lol!

Since you're considerably younger than I am, you have a wonderful opportunity to do what you love. Pray on it and trust... God will let you know where he's taking you... your gift for teaching is something to ponder... ; )

Take it easy

Sandy said...

I think you did the right thing although it was probably very hard. One day she will realize what she is doing wrong when she starts loosing valuable people. I hope you get the job at Bath and Body Works, they have great stuff so just think you'll always smell great.

I've never worked in retail but I'm a Nurse so I've had to work with sick people, their families who are stressed and a lot of back stabbers who are nice to your face. I understand what you mean.

I hope things work out for you and you do get to do the art thing full time soon. It's always better for us to do what we love.

Allison Drew said...

I was in a similar situation earlier this year. It's tough, but it seems like this is a lot better for you. Good luck!

Elliemae Ink {Cherie} said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Claire's has no idea who they just lost. God always has a reason for the doors that get closed in our lives. I hope that the next door you open will get you closer to your artist dreams. That door is most definitely in your near future. You are so creative and talented and that future is most definitely coming for you. We just have some life lessons to go through first before we get there. Hang in there.

astr!d said...

bath and body works will be so much less stressful anyway!!! we all have these stories, you will be fine!!!!!!!