Emotional material ahead. If you have been upset by past Record Store Tales, do not read on.
RECORD STORE TALES Part 320: End of the Line #2 The Last Straw
Date: 2005/12/20 08:32 am
Well, I guess it’s time for some major news. I quit my job yesterday. I feel that I have been pushed one step beyond what I am willing to accept. I wrote my letter of resignation yesterday. My last day has yet to be decided but come January I will be free as a bird to de-stress and spend every day finding that new job that I know is coming.
I have never disclosed my exact reason for leaving the store. I spent almost 12 years there, but the last several of them were not pleasant. There were personality clashes and other issues that I will not get into to protect the guilty. Suffice to say that if I wanted to, I could have written another 320 Record Store Tales about all the shenanigans behind the scenes.
One of the biggest signs of a problem was the fact that I was losing my love of music. That is not something I thought would happen, but it set in slowly like a cancer.
I had been looking for other work for a little while but only half-heartedly. I had discovered that, even though I had 12 years’ experience with 10 of them as a manager, retail experience was not valued in many of the jobs I was looking at.
Events became unbearable on December 18, 2005. It was exactly a week before Christmas and our stores were busy. I managed to get myself a couple days off for that entire month, the 18th being the last of them (besides the 25th itself). I spent the morning with Jen and my parents, having breakfast at a local place that they enjoy. We had a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and beans. It was a chance for my parents to get to know Jen a little better, who they only met two months previous.
As soon as I got home from breakfast, I found two messages on my answering machine from the store. Somehow, I had a gut feeling that would be the case. They had only been open for two hours. Apparently there was some sort of power surge and our computer was on the fritz. They couldn’t ring in sales, so all transactions were being done on paper. In addition, somehow, the computer’s monitor was now displaying sideways! They had turned the screen on its side just to read it. The messages on the phone asked if I could run down to Office Depot and buy some receipt books for them to record manual sales on, and check in on the store. They had already called in some extra help for the shift. When I got the messages, I called and said I was on my way.
The store was busy when I got there but not overwhelmingly so. I stayed an hour to help, and then went home. All was well and there was nothing else I could do that day. The computers were even working again. Jen was with me the whole day and will stand by all of this.
The following morning, Monday the 19th, did not go at all like I had expected.
I went into work an hour before we opened, as I always did. The monitor had righted itself, and all was more or less back to normal. All was well with the world again.
Except for one person.
This one person was not happy. At all. Apparently, when the store’s staff couldn’t get hold of me (remember I was at a breakfast with my parents) they called someone higher up. And that person proceeded to tear me a new asshole for it. This person was not interested, at all, in the fact that I did come into the store on my day off and help. I did everything requested of me. This was not good enough.
“You have to leave your cell phone on, all the time, from now on,” the person demanded.
My personal cell phone. I had owned my cell for about 6 years. I selected it and paid for everything myself, for my own personal use. Work never had anything to do with my personal cell phone. It was mine, and I rarely used it.
So, I did what I had always rehearsed in my mind, should a demand I deemed unreasonable ever come up. I nodded, paused, and the words came out of me automatically:
“Then I’m going to have to give you my notice.”
There was a very brief silence.
“Then you’ll have to write a letter of resignation.” Into the office. Door closed.
That was it. I had done it. Finally, I had done it.
In my letter of resignation, I stated simply that I no longer wanted to deal with the stress of a job that had almost become 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I signed the letter, perhaps the most important letter I ever wrote in my life.
It was the scariest thing I had done yet.
To be continued…