Thursday, February 16, 2012

time for an update?

So some time has passed since my last post, and some things have changed. It's a new year, for example, and that means I'm another year older, what with my birthday following so closely on the heels of New Year's Day. Happy Birthday to me.

The big news is that I found a job and quit that job, all in the space of these past few months. That one sentence can't even begin to encompass the range of emotions I went through in that brief time. Back in November I was wasting time online when I found out that a brand new yarn shop had recently opened quite close to where I live. I was so excited! I was at the shop the next day with my resumé and some samples of my work. I spoke with the shop manager, whom I liked right away, and within a few days, I was being interviewed by her and the shop owner. I was thrilled when they hired me on the spot, and I began working there almost immediately. Initially, I felt so at home there, and wanted to learn everything about the shop as quickly as possible.

The first sign of trouble was when the shop manager gave her two-weeks notice. I had so looked forward to working with her and knowing her better. But the good news for me was that the owner wanted me to step up and become one of three "team leads" in her stead. I was offered a raise and the chance to set my own schedule. It all seemed too good to be true - and you know what that usually means. The owner told me she had hired and promoted me for my experience, which made sense to me. I had worked in two other yarn shops, and knew alot about what worked - and didn't work - in that setting. I realized pretty quickly, however, that the ideas I suggested to her were not being implemented and were never going to be implemented. My "duties" were unclear to me, and over time I grew increasingly uneasy about meeting expectations of which I was not aware. I began to dread the shop owner's impromptu visits, and her many emails were always upsetting to me. Ben urged me not to read the late night emails I received from her before I went to bed as I got too upset to sleep after reading them. I kept telling myself, things will get better, things will get better.

I soldiered on, and worked hard, both at my job and at making friends among my co-workers, which was very important to me. I began to feel successful in both those areas, and that was, of course, when the hammer fell. The shop owner came in one night when I was working late, and asked me to stay after the shop closed. I had already worked an eight-hour plus day, but I sat down to talk with her. To listen to her, I should say, because that was when she unloaded on me. That was when I at last learned what her expectations of me had been. She criticized everything about me, even mimicking the way I spoke. At first, I tried to answer her criticisms, but it quickly became clear that she wasn't interested in a dialogue. So I listened until she finished and I left.

I drove home carefully that night, not letting my emotions make me careless. When I got home, I told Ben, "I think I may have to quit, " and I outlined what had happened that night. "Don't you ever go back there!" he told me. "That's it. You don't have to take that." Well, in fact, I did have to take it, but not for long. Since email seemed to be her communication of choice, after careful consideration I wrote her one the next morning, outlining my resignation. Then I went in to work. She came in later that day and asked me if I was sure about my decision. Oh yes, I assured her, and the sooner the better. She seemed surprised, which surprised me. What about me made her think she could talk to me the way she had and that I would just take it? I kept hearing Tweety Bird's voice in my head saying, "She don't know me very well, do she?" And she never will.

I feel very glad to be away from the oppressive shop owner, but sad to have left the friends I was making among the customers and my co-workers. I miss them. And I especially miss helping the enthusiastic new knitters who came into the shop looking for a familiar, friendly face and some encouraging help with their fledgling projects. I was good at that. I am good at that. That has not changed.


Ben said...

As someone who joined you on this roller coaster ride, albeit from a few cars back, let me say how glad I am that we're off that ride. We had many good discussions about your position here. I admired the way you went after something you wanted, and got it. I admired your determination to keep at it, even though every sign pointed in the same direction: "wrong". And still, as the rules, restrictions, and bone-headed decisions mounted, you hoped the ship would right itself. And I admired the way you summed it up and went with your gut, and exited more gracefully than they had any right to expect. Of course I'm biased, but the owner didn't deserve you. Even so, you made some good friends, whom I hope you will keep in touch with. There are plenty of good places out there, and you will find something better, I have no doubt.

anne mancine said...

See what I mean? Couldn't do it without you.