Therapeutic Power of Writing

I have decided to quit my part-time job. (Hopefully we will be moving to a new department at my day job that has more pay and the possibility of overtime, but we will see.)

In any event, I decided to strike back by not only quitting on the spot, but also by turning in a letter (to my direct manager AND the owners) that addresses the issues at the place.

At any rate, I wrote two versions of my letter. One version is the one they will actually get; the other one was like a mini-therapy session. I have included that one here for your reading pleasure…because it’s just too good to not let it see the light of day SOMEHOW. In a perfect world, this undiluted release of bile and disdain would be the letter that I COULD send them.

PS: None of my coworkers are mentioned by name to avoid any kind of legal BS. They are mentioned by first initial only, and with the letters in bold type.
***********************************************************************************
To Whom It May Concern:

This is my resignation letter, effective immediately. I can no longer bring myself to work in a place where condescension and insults are considered a good form of management. Before you think I’m leaving simply because I got lectured about doing the instant Lotto count wrong, let me say that I am one of the most accountable people you could ever hope to meet. Come to me with a mistake, and I will own up to it and do what I can to not do it again. What I object to here is the complete ABSENCE of professionalism that runs rampant in this store, and the only reason it is this way is because of your poor choice of manager. D thinks that, whenever she has to tell an employee they did something wrong, it has to be accomplished through insults. In her mind no one ever makes an honest mistake; it HAS to be because they are a colossal screw-up. This is not the way to conduct business or to treat your employees.

Before I go, I wanted to clarify a few things:

*I may be quiet, but that’s not the same as being stupid, and I don’t appreciate being talked to as such. I open up and share myself with people that I think deserve to know me better, who I can trust and feel I can let my guard down with. I wouldn’t feel that way toward D even if we were quite literally the last two people on Earth. In that situation, I’d prefer solitude over human company.

*D said something about how if I have a problem with the fact that J told me to do something, then we needed to talk. I never said I had a problem taking orders from him. However, I thought he was joking about me not doing the count anymore. The last time I took what he said seriously, his information turned out to be wrong. I’m referring to one Sunday when I was originally supposed to do 4-9 but got switched to 6-close because no one could get a hold of Z. Two days before I was supposed to do the closing shift, J told me, “They got a hold of Z, so you’re not closing anymore.” I thought for sure Z had been fired for doing a “no call no show,” but Jesse said you had given her another chance because you “felt sorry for her.” So I came in at 4pm, thinking I was doing 4-9 (again, BASED ON WHAT J TOLD ME). D called the store to ask why I was there early. I explained it to her, and she said, “Don’t listen to J. He doesn’t make up schedules.” Let’s make a decision here and stick with it: either I am supposed to listen to him, or I’m not.

*When it comes to the sheet we write the instant ticket count on, I have NEVER “erased what other people put down and started writing my own numbers.” This was something D accused me of, and I have absolutely no idea what she was talking about. The only time I erased numbers was if I had counted a ticket and then someone bought another before we closed.

*I’m willing to admit I may have transferred the “open” column from one day to the “open” column of the next, but I doubt it happened more than once. After all, I don’t close that much. Keep in mind you DO have other employees there who could have made mistakes. And might I add that Deb likes to call several of these employees “stupid,” usually when she is talking to OTHER employees (yet another example of the high standards of professionalism at this place!). In other words if you have some of these “stupid” employees who work the closing shift way more often than I do, odds are that I am NOT the one who screwed up the count multiple times.

*If I DID mess up the count more than once, it should have been brought to my attention immediately. I can’t fix a mistake that I don’t know I am making. Once again, chalk it up to poor management.

*I did NOT fill up the mop bucket with “scuzzy water,” no matter how much D wants to brow-beat me into believing I did. This is what happened when I closed on Christmas Day:

B took the mop back to the deli. When he came up, he said he had spilled the water no less than FOUR TIMES. (By the way, if I mopped up the floor with “scuzzy water” then so did he because he had the mop BEFORE I did! I find it very interesting how he got no lecture about it though.) As I was making my way from the back room to the front of the store, the bucket caught on the doorway, and the water spilled all over. B and J both took turns helping me mop it up. There was a small green bucket with washcloths in it sitting by the sink. I dumped that water out, filled it with CLEAN TAP WATER, and then put THAT in the mop bucket.

I know it is really a moot point to address all of this. D will keep thinking condescension is synonymous with good management. (If you don’t know what that word means, feel free to look it up.) However, I felt like I couldn’t leave without clarifying these things.

Further clarification needs to be made about how bad the lack of professionalism is here. I don’t think it is good leadership when the management makes fun of one employee (who they perceive as an “outsider”) to her “in-crowd” staff. For example, there have been countless times where she has made fun of Z and C to J, M and B. It is also poor managerial skills to insult workers in front of customers. And while I’m talking of customers, I have even seen her be disrespectful toward them as well.

Then there are all the times when people like Z will be told to not stand around and “goof off,” but meanwhile D will have one or more of the boys hanging out with her in the office. It is a very common thing to see J sitting in there on his cell phone, doing nothing but shooting the breeze with her. Or what about all the times when the boys should be back in the deli, but instead they run out to the gas pumps when one of their friends shows up so they can check out the person’s car? Let me ask: what makes them get the golden pass, but meanwhile if I do so much as stop to ask Z how she’s been, I get the speech about keeping busy? What applies to one should apply to all.

But hey, what does any of this matter? You folks don’t care as long as you keep getting money. You don’t care that your store is run by a mean-spirited, condescending bully. Unfortunately, most people are lazy; they will keep coming to your store simply because it is conveniently located. They don’t care if they get bad treatment and service. They don’t have the ambition to go to some out-of-the-way place where they would have a better experience; convenience takes precedence over getting treated right. It’s a shame that this is reality because if people actually gave a damn to go a couple minutes out of their way for better service, your store would start losing money. Maybe THEN you’d get the hint that you can’t treat people this way. But that’s not how it works. For some reason the world leans toward favoring people who treat others like garbage. So congratulations, you found a winning formula. Somehow in this backwards world we live in, YOU are the winners and a guy like me (who treats people respectfully) is the loser. I don’t get it, but this letter is not the place to go on about a philosophical topic like that. Not only would it take forever, but I have a strong feeling that it would be lost on you anyway.

It’s a new year. I know what my resolution is, and I know what yours SHOULD be: working to make sure employees at your store get treated better, and increasing the level of professionalism. But as long as D is there, that will never happen.

D needs a reminder that she manages a convenience store, not a lab where she is trying to cure AIDS or cancer. The job doesn’t require a lot of brain power but, since it’s all she’s got, she MAKES it that way. Things shouldn’t be as annoying and stressful as they are there, but I guess when most of your life has passed you by and all you have to show for it is that you manage a gas station, you have to get some kind of joy out of your life. Sadly, it comes at the expense of others.

Well, it’s not coming at MY expense anymore.

You want to know why?

I QUIT.

Sincerely,

Steve G

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About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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15 Responses to Therapeutic Power of Writing

  1. rachelanoel says:

    I’ve worked at some places like this, unfortunately. I’ve often wanted to write letters like this, but they mostly ended up on my blog in some way or another. Good for you for being brave!

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      I wrote another version of the letter, which I will turn in not only with my uniform, but I will also mail to the owners. I’m operating on the assumption that my manager gets away with this crap because they don’t visit the store the other day, so they don’t see how she runs it. Who knows…maybe they won’t care anyway, but it’s worth a shot.

      One of my friends said, “Wouldn’t it be something if they fired her and asked YOU to manage?” Ha!

  2. Like you, I usually write two letters. One to help me hear myself and to help get stuff off my chest as to the reason I am leaving. In the end the cleaner one is the one that is sent or given. I applaud you for your bravery and honesty. From BHB/Susan Cooper

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      It probably won’t make a difference as far as how that place is run, but either way I’m not working there anymore…so where is the harm in trying?

  3. Charlotte says:

    You are so self important, no? You wrote a NOVEL to quit a minimum wage job at an Xtra Mart? I just looked up the word, ‘loser’ online and there was a picture of you!!

    • wcman1976 says:

      Been a while since I heard from you. Glad to see your mom finally let you have the cable back for your cable modem so you can interact with the world in a meaningful way.

  4. I only wrote one letter when I resigned from my teaching job (the safe, bland one…) but I just as easily could have written a therapeutic one as well. It’s always amazing how writing can help us clear our minds and gain focus.

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment. Good to see there are people out there who are intelligent enough to understand the point of the exercise wasn’t that my “X-tra Mart” job deserved to have a novel-length resignation letter. The point was just to vent.

  5. jbutler1914 says:

    I loved this resignation. I should have wrote something similar to this when I left my bank teller job a few years ago. It’s a great feeling to be able to resign from a job where you are not being treated fairly at all.

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment! To be honest I turned in a letter that was LITTLE more toned down than this. What you read here is too full of bile and hatred; I wind up defeating the purpose of talking about what is wrong with how the store is run because all they see is how angry I am. I make good points, but you can’t get past the aggressive tone. So I revised it and sent in one that sounds more professional.

  6. Jeannette says:

    Writing is very therapeutic, even if all we do is destroy it. I was having a trauma release session with a 14 year old young man. Part of his process that day was to write how he felt then destroy it. How he destroyed it was his choice. He decided to tear it up in little pieces, toss it in the toilet, pee on it then flush it down. He came out with a big grin on his face!

    I love your comment: I may be quiet, but that’s not the same as being stupid, and I don’t appreciate being talked to as such.

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, in my life I have found that being quiet does next to nothing for anyone. For a long time I kept to myself because I didn’t want to stand out. After all these years what I have learned is being quiet makes people think two things about you. They think that you are either dumb or an easy target…or sometimes both!

      A trauma release session? What do you do for a living?

      • Jeannette says:

        I have a nephew that has always been very, very quiet…graduated from CAL-Tech with honors, went to work for GoldmanSachs, and now runs his own hedge-fund…I’ve always thought of the quiet ones as the deep thinkers.

        (I work as an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist and Trauma Recovery Coach)

  7. becc03 says:

    I think it is a great thing to write your true feelings as well as the one you will hand in. It is a cleansing of the soul of sorts. I am not sure I could have published it though, but I am a scaredy cat!

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      As for posting this version of the letter, there was nothing for me to be afraid of. After all, there is nothing in the letter that isn’t true.

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