“The company won’t challenge any unemployment claim you make. You have my word. If you want a reference, I’ve seen your growth and profit numbers that, taken on average are quite strong and a personnel record that I would be proud of, so that’s what I’ll say to anyone who calls. But you need to go. If we don’t agree on a date right now, it will be today and all you’ll get is your PTO.”
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.
The next six weeks allowed me to sleep at night. The hammer had fallen, the shoe dropped. I could move on with the next stage of my life. The new manager did not treat me with anything less than respect and good humor and I regret not being able to work longer with him. He was an inspiring leader and I’m glad to say that even in this terrible time in my life, I was able to learn grace and empathy from him as a manager, a lesson I took to my next jobs and to heart as a supervisor and manager in another industry where I’ve been happier and more successful for over 14 years.