The day that his daughter was graduating from 6th grade he had made it very clear to his bosses that he would not be able to work that day. They agreed and it was all set. Three other members of the kitchen staff were all from the same family and unfortunately they had a death in the family that week. All three would need the weekend off to attend the funeral. Normally, my brother would have stepped in and run the whole thing himself and his bosses were counting on that. He refused to work the day of his daughters graduation. He told them he would stay all day to prep the day before and would work the entire weekend but that they would have to pull someone from the other location to cover graduation day.
I had a great job for about seven years. It started out great and I was an entry-level employee on the worst shift possible. My work and skill were recognized with promotions and raises, even a transfer to a project which was the gateway to a position in regional management, a job that would take me out of the retail world of nights, weekends, and holidays with benefits that would have set up a nice career and life for my family.
At the end of the project, however, the numbers they ran to measure our success were analyzed and found lacking. After a year of work, my upward trajectory stalled and I was forced to relocate back to the store where I was hired. I took a job as an assistant branch manager in an area of operations I didn’t exactly enjoy or perform well in. On top of that, the store had turned over most positions and I knew very few people or their abilities. My boss was someone who took my failure on the big project as a sign I wasn’t as big a deal as people told him and so began treating me like shit.
I was depressed about it, unhappy with my job, but motivated to stay and work at it because my wife had become pregnant. But every month, it just got worse. I hated waking up on work days. Every few weeks it seems by “regular schedule” would change. We went to some ridiculous 10-hour days that were broken into first and second shifts. I put in for jobs at the regional office that I knew I could do well, but I was never interviewed. Eventually, the regional office laid off most of its staff sending a message that office locations would be suffering the same “belt-tightening”.
It got to the point all the employees either didn’t like me or trust me. And it was a fair assessment. I wasn’t fair or impartial or even competent. It was a rough pregnancy at home and I wasn’t prepared for the temp job I’d been assigned. If I had the savings tied up or could count on unemployment upon quitting, I would have left, but we lived paycheck to paycheck and I was nothing more than a shell of a human being coming to work, speaking in business terminology, hemorrhaging business because morale in the store was an open wound.
His bosses were furious. How could you do this to us? It’s a huge weekend! All of the local schools were having graduation ceremonies and the day was set to be a monster in terms of customers. He never told me exactly how the conversation went but I do know that it ended with the wife uttering the words “What’s more important to you? Your job or your daughter?” My brother looked her dead in the eye and said “My daughter will always come before you. I quit.” and walked out. Later he got a call from the husband begging him to reconsider. I know the conversation when something like this: