Team Leading The Way To Quitting

, , , , , , | Working | October 25, 2017

(I work at a big national department store. My initial availability is basically “all day, every day.” After having been there for about a year, they start looking to promote me to “team lead” status, but at the same time my mother’s health takes a serious downturn, and the following occurs:)

Assistant Manager: “We were looking to make you a team lead, but I see you just changed your availability until only six?”

Me: “Yeah, unfortunately my mom’s just been through several health scares, and I’m the only one that lives with her.”

Assistant Manager: “Well, if we’re going to give you this promotion, you need to be a bit more flexible. You can’t work closing at all?”

Me: “I can occasionally, if it’s absolutely necessary, but not on any sort of permanent schedule. Why is this such a big deal for being a team lead?”

Assistant Manager: “Well, when you’re a team lead, you need to be available to close one day and open the next day, twice a week. It’s just the regulations. We’d really, really like to give you this opportunity; you’re one of our hardest workers and we think you’d be a great fit.”

Me: “I’d like it, too, but unless you can find someone who’ll voluntarily be a 24/7 live-in nurse for my mom with no compensation, I just can’t do it right now.”

Assistant Manager: “Are you sure? This could be a really big opportunity!”

Me: “As you said, but my mom’s health comes first.”

(This conversation happens about once every two or three months with a couple different assistant managers. They even start sneaking closing shifts outside of my listed availability onto the schedule, despite me repeatedly saying I can only occasionally cover someone as an emergency, so it becomes a weekly ritual of finding someone to switch shifts with. After about a year and a half, my mother passes away, right in the middle of me landing a more standard 9:00 to 6:00, Monday through Friday job. Unfortunately, in order to score the job, I basically have to give in my notice on Thursday that I’m starting the new job on Monday, and end up talking with the very first manager that started the cycle.)

Assistant Manager: “Listen, I’m really disappointed you’re looking to go through with this.”

Me: “I know, but it’s a stable position. It’s about 50 cents less per hour, but it’s more hours and more stable hours without constantly having to shift my schedule around, and honestly, I have more potential for improvement there. I’ve already found people to cover my scheduled shifts here the next two weeks.”

Assistant Manager: “But you’re finally free up to switch to team lead!”

Me: “Really? That’s your take-away from my mother dying? That my schedule’s more free?”

(At least he had the sensibility to look embarrassed about that. I still took the new job, and got several rapidfire raises and promotions, well past what I would have in the department store. Here’s the funny part! About six months later I was shopping in that store, and the assistant manager saw me. He actually asked me if I “came to my senses” and wanted my old job back!)

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