Somehow, I’ve found myself working for people who expect their employees to defy their humanity entirely. For the past five months I have been working at a brew pub on Martha’s Vineyard, and I have enjoyed the job immensely. It’s a fast-paced, yet relaxed environment, with coworkers I like and food and beverages I can honestly stand behind.
However, the returning summer staff from previous years has come back, and with one of them has come a giant pile of problems for yours truly. On two separate occasions, at the end of a twelve-hour double shift, I wanted to go home. Apparently expressing that desire to my coworker is enough to get me fired. He took my saying, “Is there anything else you want me to do before I go?” and reported to the boss that I asked repeatedly to leave and had an attitude that showed I didn’t want to be there. I have been brought into the office twice to talk about my attitude–in reference to complaints made by this one particular person. This person who has given me nothing but the cold shoulder despite repeated attempts to be friendly to him AFTER the first time he ratted me out.
I have been suspended from work for a week while the powers that be decide my fate as an employee. Not because I left a shift uncovered, or showed up abominably late, or neglected my tables, or gave attitude to customers. Because at the end of a very long shift, I expressed verbally my desire to go home.
During the meeting, my boss asked me to take a few days and think about whether that was really the place for me–if it was the right fit. At the time I said yes, I didn’t have to take a few days because I already knew it was where I wanted to be. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, though, and I’ve realized that if I do keep my job, I’m probably going to be under constant scrutiny, and it’s not going to be very comfortable. I’m going to be wary of my coworkers, waiting for one of them to run to the boss with a twisted version of something I’ve said. I think I’m over it. I am a good employee, and a loyal employee, and I feel that I’ve been brought to task unfairly for something that everyone does. I will miss the coworkers I could trust, and I will surely miss the money, but I will not miss the feeling that I’ve got people hanging over my shoulder, watching my every move, waiting to find a reason to fire me.
I have enough money in the bank to last me for a while, and I have another part time job, so I think I may go in there today and tell them that yes, I would like to still work for them, but unfortunately for them, I value my own pride more than the money I can make in their restaurant, and I’m going to seek employment elsewhere.
I hate leaving jobs I like. But what I hate even more is being represented in a false light, expected to fail, misunderstood. And I hate watching the bad guy get their way. And he’s getting his way already given the fact that I’ve already been called into two meetings. Whether I get fired or not, he’s already won. The least I can do is walk away with my head held high. They want me to beg for my job, and I’m not going to do it, because I don’t deserve to be on the chopping block and I know it.