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This Kind Of Boss Won’t Even Accept Your Death

, , , , | Working | January 16, 2023

I am rear-ended by a speeding driver and, as such, I am late for work for the first time in over a year. I call in to tell management but nobody answers. Eventually, I leave a message with the fitting room attendant and ask for someone to call back to confirm that they got the message. This is actually how we have been trained to do callouts: three attempts to contact a manager and then leave a message with the fitting room to be relayed. Then, a manager calls back to confirm the details.

I am two hours late because the guy wants to exchange insurance but not actually give me his information until the police arrive. It was a fender bender, nothing major, but he is furious.

When I finally get to work, [Manager] pulls me into his office. He is fairly new at our location and often reminds me of someone who peaked on the high school football team and has been trying to ride that wave ever since.

Manager: “You know, when we set the schedule, we expect you to be here. The team does not work if you are not pulling your weight.”

Me: “Yes, I’m sorry. I was in an accident this morning by [Intersection] and—”

Manager: “I don’t care.”

Me: “I did call, but—”

Manager: “Again, I don’t care.”

Me: “Okay… I can prove it.”

Manager: *Rolling his eyes* “Sure, you did. When did you call?”

I pull up my call log to show the list of attempts to contact someone.

Me: “I called every five minutes for half an hour. No one answered, so I left a message at the fitting room.”

Manager: “The fact remains that you need to talk to someone if you’re going to be late.”

Me: “But… how can I talk to someone when no one answers the phone?”

Manager: “That’s not my problem. You need to figure it out.”

Me: “I… I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. I followed protocol. I called and called, but no one answered. I left a message like we were told to do. What more am I supposed to do?”

Manager: “You need to talk to a manager when you call out. I don’t care if it takes one call or one hundred. I will not accept these messages from the fitting room attendant anymore.”

Me: “Okay.”

Manager: “I wanted to fire you, but [Store Leader] said you deserve another chance. Instead, you’ll be written up and it will serve as a final warning. Any more lateness and you will be terminated.”

Me: “Okay.”

I sign the write-up and leave the office. Later, I pass [Store Leader]. 

Store Leader: “[My Name], I heard you had a rough morning. Everything okay?”

Me: “Well, no. Not really. [Manager] said we can’t leave messages at the fitting room anymore? He wrote me up for being late and not notifying anyone. I showed him that I called several times this morning but no one answered. I don’t know what else I was supposed to do.”

Store Leader: *Confused* “You did everything right. Can you show me the calls?”

I show him the calls.

Me: “And then I spoke to [Fitting Room Attendant], and she said she would pass the message along.”

Store Leader: “Did you get a call back confirming your message was transferred?”

Me: “No, just [Manager] writing me up. So I assume he got the message at some point.”

Store Leader: “Right… Okay. Don’t worry about this. I will fix it. You are not in trouble.”

Shortly thereafter, [Store Leader] told me that my write-up had been reversed. Apparently, he had not talked to [Manager] about firing me, but he had heard about my callout when someone else asked if I was okay.

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