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Manager, Manage! Part 6

, , , , , , , | Working | January 16, 2023

A few years ago, I got a job working in the deli at a local [Grocery Store]. I quickly became indispensable, especially when it came to one specific thing: frying chicken on Fridays when the fried chicken was on sale. It was an eight-hour shift of CONSTANTLY filling the fryers with as much chicken as could fit, hefting around heavy cases of raw chicken, bending over the hot oil to lower the chicken in, and breathing in all the smoke coming out, all while people demanded to know why we didn’t have more chicken already cooked.

Unfortunately, I was a little TOO indispensable.

It started with me begging [Store Manager] to not work EVERY single Friday. He promised he’d try to get the other workers sometime to train on the chicken fryer, but Fridays were so busy that it was always all hands on deck, with me frying and everybody else up front selling. I was stuck.

Then, I got engaged, and I wanted to move in with my soon-to-be wife, but they lived across town. Luckily, there was another [Grocery Store] two blocks from their house! I asked [Store Manager] about transferring. This was in May.

Store Manager: “Oh, well, we just don’t have enough staff. We’re really working on hiring some new people for the deli, and I’d be happy to sign off on your transfer once we have enough people.”

This was during the global health crisis, when literally every retail and food service place was struggling to find staff. People were quitting left and right. But eventually, we got some new people, and of course, I was the one training them. On every day but Friday, I made sure to train them as best I could, and they were quickly great workers.

I eventually asked [Store Manager] about a transfer again in August.

Store Manager: “Oh, but so many of our staff are still pretty new and don’t have that much experience. The deli really needs you right now. Once they have some more experience under their belt, then I’d be happy to sign off on that transfer.”

I waited a couple more months. I even got married! I was married, but I couldn’t live with my now-wife because their place was too far from my job, and I didn’t have a car.

But the people I had trained were some of the most reliable workers we had at this point, and we even got a transfer! That’s right: someone from another store transferred to the deli, so we had someone with plenty of experience!

I managed to get [Store Manager] to sit down with me again. By now, it was October.

Store Manager: “Well… I would, but it’s just too close to the holiday season! You know how busy it gets. We just really need the help for the holidays. But things really slow down in January, so it should be a good time then!”

I wanted to grab him and yell, “I ASKED IN MAY! IT’S YOUR FAULT IT’S CLOSE TO THE HOLIDAYS NOW!”

I was miserable. But it was a job. Almost a month later, my wife came to me and told me that I was clearly suffering and that [Store Manager] was never going to let me go. They knew I didn’t have another job lined up yet — I was always exhausted from work! — but encouraged me to quit anyway. I said I’d think about it. They even said I shouldn’t even put in notice, just quit without notice.

Then, the Thanksgiving schedule came out. I was so looking forward to getting to spend some time with family, and Thanksgiving day was always dead anyway! But there I was, scheduled from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. There were already enough other people scheduled; I was just there as extra help and in case somebody called out. Something inside me snapped.

I waited until the Monday before Thanksgiving, which was my day off, and called [Store Manager].

Me: “Hey, it’s [My Name]. I just wanted to let you know that I’m quitting, effective immediately.”

Store Manager: “Oh. Um… Okay… Effective immediately?”

Me: “Yep! Okay, bye!”

I enjoyed my relaxing Thanksgiving with family and then started job hunting.

I got a much better job in January, and I love it! One perk? I’m driving all over town, and sometimes I take my breaks right by my old [Grocery Store] and go in to get a beverage! Everyone is always happy to see me and talks about how much they miss me — everyone except [Store Manager], who gets to see me in my fancy new uniform while he’s working his butt off in the departments that he somehow can’t find enough staff for!

Manager, Manage! Part 5
Manager, Manage! Part 4
Manager, Manage! Part 3
Manager, Manage! Part 2
Manager, Manage!

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