I am very, very bad at leaving jobs. I can’t think of one time that I left a job and it went well. My very first job was at a JC Penny’s. I was actually asked to resign from that job for abusing my employee discount. In my defense, it was my first job. I didn’t really understand the basic rules of jobs and I didn’t know that I was doing anything wrong. Basically, my mom came in and bought some things and I rang her up and used my discount. To me, at the time, it just made sense that if I could check out with my mom and use my discount, why couldn’t I just check her out myself. I didn’t want to bother my coworkers. I see why that was wrong now and I wouldn’t have done it had I known it was wrong then.
I actually don’t think they would have even fired me for this in a normal situation but the store was closing for good and they were letting people go anyway. So yeah, first job didn’t end that well.
Another job I left on not the best of terms was Walmart. I worked in a one hour photo lab. Let me explain for the children: There used to be this thing called film. You would put it in a camera and take pictures and when you were done, you’d take the film out of the camera and take it to a place to be processed. The film could not be exposed to light until it had gone through processing or else it would turn completely black and your pictures would be gone forever. There was no cloud.
Once the negatives were processed, you then made pictures from it by shining light through it onto special, light-sensitive paper. You couldn’t expose the paper to light either or your photos would come out black. As long as you had your negative, though, you could try again. You could use the negatives over and over. People would save them in case they ever wanted reprints.
Sometimes people would wait up to an entire week to get their pictures back because they sent them away for processing. If you were fancy and/or impatient, you could take them to a one hour photo lab where someone like me would get them ready for you within the hour.
The process took two huge machines, one for developing the film and the other for developing the pictures. If there wasn’t a long line of people in front of you, the process actually only took about 20 minutes and that’s the way things were done in the olden days when phones were just for talking on. If you’re really curious the movie, “Photo Lab” starring Robin Williams has a really accurate portrayal of what it was like.
Okay, now that we are all back on the same page, I worked in a photo lab for four years after high school. It was my first full time job. I treated my boss like my mom because I have “mommy issues” and she acted like my mom because she must have had some issues herself.
Around the three year mark I decideded I needed to find a different job and I did. I found a couple actually. But every time I tried to tender my resignation my boss would convince me to keep working at the photo lab, at least part time, in case the new job didn’t work out. That way I could come back to work there and not lose any seniority. I’m not much of a risk taker, so I said okay. For at least three new jobs I did this and every time I ended up back at Walmart working full time in the photo lab.
Because of my mommy issues, I was a very bad employee. It was like I was testing my boss, seeing how far I could push her before she stopped loving me. I could push her pretty far as it turned out. I was late everyday, sometimes hours late. I was late back from all of my lunches and breaks. I left early whenever I could. I called in whenever I wanted. I didn’t like this about myself. I wanted to be a good employee but I was at the point with my coworkers where they actually gave me more shit for coming in on time then they did if I was late.
I realized that I could never be a good employee at the photo lab. I would have to work too hard against my own reputation as a slacker. I knew I would never stay with another job as long as I had Walmart for a safety net. I also knew that no matter what my boss would not let me go. She would talk me into staying. A part of me really wanted to stay but I knew I had to move on.
I got my fourth or fifth job at a payday loan. (Just really quickly for the children) a payday loan was a racket where people who were living paycheck to paycheck could come in and get a small, short term loan. They charged like 300% interest, no joke. If you took out a $500 loan then you would owe them $575 two weeks later.
There were people who would come in every other week and pay off their loan and then immediately take out another one. Essentially they were just giving us $150 a month and getting the same $500 dollars over and over again. I would try and talk them into at least paying it down, “maybe only take a $400 loan this time?”
Usually this did not happen. More often then not these people would just stop coming in one day and then they would owe us the $575. A large part of the job was collections. I didn’t want to collect on these people’s money. I didn’t work there very long. I don’t remember how I quit that job.
But back to my story. So I got this job at the payday loan and I knew my boss atWalmart wouldn’t accept my resignation and so I just stopped coming in one day. They called and called and tried to make me change my mind or at least come in and sign my paperwork so that if I ever wanted to come back and work at Walmart I could. I never did it. I couldn’t do it. I was scared and I felt like an asshole. I never set foot inside that Walmart again. It took me years to step into any Walmart. Even now I only do it when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s not because of guilt anymore though. It’s just because Walmart sucks.
That was years ago and I still feel terrible about it. My boss was like a mom to me and my coworkers were like family. I stopped talking to all of them. I ghosted them.
I’ve ghosted several other jobs too. I probably ghosted the payday loan. Those were jobs that I only had a few weeks or months that obviously weren’t a good fit. I don’t feel proud that I left so many jobs on bad terms but Walmart is the only one I really regret. I’m just really bad at confrontation. I honestly don’t think I could have left there any other way. I needed to burn that bridge and boy, did I.
Most of the people I worked with in the photo lab are still friends. I’m “friends” with some of them on Facebook but they don’t really talk to me. I see their conversations with each other and I feel bad. Now I’m sad.
I do have a much better job now and I am a really good employee. Hopefully I’ve grown up enough that when it’s time to leave I can tender my resignation like an adult. Maybe not. We will see.