The Art of Departure Or, How to Quit My Job.
April 3, 2013 8:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving from one retail job to another. Which is easy, except for the mild emotional entanglement. How do I pull my hand out of the tiger's mouth?

For six months, I worked at a retailer (let's call them Store A) as a cashier, among other things. While often the most mind-numbing job I've ever had the misfortune of taking on, the store's social dynamics encouraged me to establish relationships with my coworkers beyond cordiality. In fact, one of my bosses gave me an end table: she was trying to get rid of it, and I had just moved into my current apartment. She and another manager were kind enough to give me multiple rides home. The managers were EXTREMELY flexible about my taking two weeks' leave in January, with less than 2 days' notice, as a tragedy involving my father rapidly unfolded.

But then I got another job at a pharmacy chain two weeks ago, called Store B. The pay is not much higher (because HR lowballed me last-minute, and I wasn't in a position to refuse), but I have 40 hours a week there. I barely got 25 at Store A, and at the time of hiring at Store B they were about to drop my hours to 18.

Also, commuting to Store A would not be cost effective for me: I don't have a car, my bike is broken, and the round-trip taxi costs 2 hours of work. Any day that I chose to work at Store A could have been spent at Store B, where I'd make (a pitiful but noticeable) 75 cents more per hour. The fact that I am a member of management at Store B and still at the bottom of the totem pole at Store A is the nail in this coffin.

The management team at Store A did not take news of my second job...as well as I thought they would. I was told that while they wouldn't exactly hate me for quitting if I chose to, they'd certainly feel hurt by my departure. My friends have encouraged me to view the job as disposable despite those feelings: it's retail, I don't need them for recommendations, etc. etc. But I feel guilty. Like this morning, I got an angry phone call this morning from the assistant manager. I had requested (by phone, last week) to be removed from the schedule for two weeks, so that I could adjust to my new job. Apparently, the scheduling manager (despite agreeing to my request) placed me on the schedule for this week, and they thought that I was a no-show for this morning. After I explained the apparent miscommunication, the manager snarled that I needed to "get my priorities straight." I was tempted to quit then and there, but said nothing. That phone call has made me anxious about how to approach leaving.

So:

1) How do I phrase this in a way that acknowledges their previous generosity and doesn't royally piss them off further?

2) Do I go with my gut and quit in person, or does the lack of formality (retail) make a phone call acceptable?

and

3) Should I offer to try to stay on until they replace me, or leave them to figure that out as I adjust to Store B?

Notes: both jobs at Store A and B are completely unrelated to my career goals, but I'm leaning on semi-disposable jobs until I miraculously get one with a two-digit hourly wage.

Thank you!
posted by Ashen to Work & Money (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's always the classic, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible." Suitable for all such unreasonable requests. Sounds like you already gave notice, so given that they've reacted so poorly, I don't know that I'd go in person for more of the same behavior out of them.

If you really want to smooth things over without making a scene, send them a thank-you note for how kind they've been to you over your six months there.
posted by asperity at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2013


Honestly, giving notice is better treatment than most employees do in that position. Having been a retail manager for many, many years, I was always happy when my cashiers would show up for the day sober.

Don't sweat it.
posted by xingcat at 8:24 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are going to be pissed off because this isn't easy or convenient for them. They don't have your life or your best interests in mind. The only acknowlegement of their generosity needed is the thanks that you gave them at the time of their help to you- which was not exceptional, really- and a polite and professional demeanour. Don't let them guilt you into doing something that is not best for you. This isn't personal, it's business, and they're going to be pissed off by anything you do that isn't convenient for them, as they have already demonstrated. I would personally feel fine quitting by phone or email, but that's just me. They may act nice, but as I have learned the hard way, your employers ARE NOT your friends. Don't let them confuse you.
posted by windykites at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


If your last paycheck doesn't arrive timely, be sure to report them to the state Department of Labor.
posted by spacewrench at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they wanted you that badly, they'd treat you better and pay you more. If you've tried to be nice and accommodating but had that kindness returned with snarling, drop them like a fucking rock. Send a thank you email to whoever was nice to you if you like.

Remember, the reason you only get 25 hours, low pay and few benefits is so that they can maintain maximum flexibility. They haven't invested in you, don't invest emotionally in them.
posted by skewed at 8:27 PM on April 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


Congratulations, you're part of a sick system!. This is how abusers work, too, which is why you feel so afraid and entangled. Rest assured that if they wanted to can you, they'd do so without regrets or hesitation. Remember that: you are disposable to them.

After I explained the apparent miscommunication, the manager snarled that I needed to "get my priorities straight." I was tempted to quit then and there, but said nothing.

These people are assholes and you don't owe them anything. Call them up and quit. "I've decided not to return to work. It's not working out. Hope to see you around."

The worst part of quitting is always the build up. You'll feel so good once it's done.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 PM on April 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


"I got an angry phone call this morning from the assistant manager. "

Anybody who can't deal with employees coming and going in a professional, unemotional manager is not someone you want to work for.

You owe them nothing. You give them work, they give you money, any of you can cancel that arrangement at any time.

Treat them like a jilted ex - just stay away as much as possible and let yourself forget about it.
posted by colin_l at 8:34 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, the thing to never forget is if they needed to get rid of you, they would. In a heartbeat. Now I'm not saying they wouldn't feel shitty about it or that they would want to, but people in business make business decisions that effect other people all the time. You need to look at what you're doing as the same thing. It is a business decision that reflects the relationship you're already in. Your relationship has always been business - being friendly was just icing.
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:45 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


How to quit? A friend in high school quit her retail job by giving her two weeks, then calling before her next shift and saying that she had pink eye and couldn't come in anymore.

I understand what you're going through. I worked a crappy retail job with decent people and I didn't want to screw them over. So try your best not to screw them over and tell whoever when they're working on the schedule for next week not to put you on it. After you've done your due diligence, don't give them another thought.
posted by kat518 at 9:10 PM on April 3, 2013


but I have 40 hours a week there. I barely got 25 at Store A, and at the time of hiring at Store B they were about to drop my hours to 18.

they'd certainly feel hurt by my departure.

Bull. Shit. If they aren't 100% happy for you that you can do better for yourself with regard to making more money, then they don't give a shit about you aren't your friends. They're more than capable of giving you 40 hours, if they feel that strongly about it.

They know it isn't personal, but they're still pulling this guilt trip crap on you? Fucking manipulators.

Just call in "not coming anymore." It's just retail. What are they going to do, put something on your permanent record? (No.)
posted by ctmf at 9:19 PM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dude, it's a crappy retail job that you don't need or really even care about. you have a better job. And they've been dicks to you.

They are not your friends. They are your employers. The full scope of what you owe them is set out in your contract - written or oral. Give them whatever minimum notice they require, then go off to your new job.

The management team at Store A did not take news of my second job...as well as I thought they would. I was told that while they wouldn't exactly hate me for quitting if I chose to, they'd certainly feel hurt by my departure.

Their 'hurt feelings' (read: manipulative nonsense) are not your problem. This is business as usual, and they need to harden the fuck up. If they wanted you to stay so badly, you wouldn't be a casual part time employee.

1) How do I phrase this in a way that acknowledges their previous generosity and doesn't royally piss them off further?

Say "You've have been really great to work with, and I really appreciate your generosity and flexibility. Thanks." If they get pissed at that, they can go to hell.

2) Do I go with my gut and quit in person, or does the lack of formality (retail) make a phone call acceptable?

Whatever you feel like. A phone call would probably suffice, but if you're worried about their hurt feelings, you can do it in person. Just don't let them talk you into staying, or take any of their shit. You need full time work, they can't give it to you, so you're leaving for a better job that meets your needs. End of story.

Good luck.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:08 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck them, fuck their store and fuck their phone calls. If you were important they'd pay you an extra 75c per hour. Call in sick for any remaining scheduled shifts and tell them not to schedule you again since you're not sure how long this flu will hang on. Never call them again.
posted by jacalata at 11:25 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


That phone call has made me anxious about how to approach leaving.

I've had this job. I've had a shit manager like this who randomly shorted me on paychecks, and constantly said/did guilt tripping bullshit like this.

I want you to listen very carefully.

Call them up, and tell them to go fuck themselves and that you quit.

This is not a career, this is not some situation in which this matters. This is one of the only times you can actually get off scot free doing this in life. It's not like they're going to give you a good reference anyways, they'll probably give you an illegally bad reference and say more than their allowed to. More than likely you'll have trouble getting your last paycheck.

You've already crossed the finish line of having another job lined up. just go. you don't even have to be nice about it, in fact why bother? it's not like they were nice to you.

Quitting my bullshit job like this was one of the better days of my life. Oh, and for fucks sake, if for some reason you need a second job again or something. do NOT go back. I made that mistake once too.
posted by emptythought at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The good news is, you don't need Store A or a recomendation from them: you've already gotten that new job. The bad news is, Store A is doing their best to guilt-trip you into staying, even while they cut your hours.

Look, if Store A really, really wanted and needed you so very much, they'd have matched what Store B is giving you. It may take a tiny bit of acting, but go to your supervisors and in a sad and regretful manner, tell them that although you LOVE working there and all your coworkers & bosses are the most wonderfulest peoples on the planet, you're thankful for the opportunities Store A has given you but you're very sorry to say you really have to move on, and here's the final date you'll be working there. Two weeks' notice is most common, but go ahead and offer just one week --- and be aware that they may say not to bother coming back tomorrow.

In other words, no need for name-calling or yelling: go with class and dignity, if only for your own self-esteem.
posted by easily confused at 2:45 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


What? Ashen, sweetie, you've got it all wrong. You don't owe them anything! Two weeks is nice.

Just write a note to your manager that says:

Dear Employer,

I have been offered full-time employment elsewhere and I am giving you my two weeks notice. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you, I've learned a lot.

Ashen.

At the end of the day, employers will use guilt and manipulation to get you to do things that aren't in your best interest, but in theirs.

All of your rationalization is none of their damn business, you don't owe them ANYTHING!

Now write the letter, and quit.

That's it.

Good luck with your new position!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:09 AM on April 4, 2013


Also, you give them too much credit for being nice. Taking the old furniture was a favor you did for her so she didn't have to dispose of it another way. Giving you occasional rides when you had transportation issues is the kind of "above and beyond the job description" that's pretty much par for the course for a good manager. 2 day's notice of a call-in, even a long one, is more than they usually get. Don't forget, they weren't flexible about that because they wanted to be, they knew the other option was, "Them: We need you to come in anyway; You: No."

So yeah, they were more overtly pleasant; it's better than a lot of places to work. But don't go crazy thinking they bent over backwards for you or anything.
posted by ctmf at 7:39 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


At the place where I work, we lost an extremely valued colleague earlier this year because she found something better. We haven't been able to replace her, because of weird funding issues. We all regarded her as a friend. Because we regarded her as a friend, we were all - including my boss, including the person who is now covering two people's work, including those of us who were depending on having someone in that role to get stuff done efficiently - sincerely happy for her, and pleased that she found a position that was such a great match for her. On her last day, we all got together and drank Prosecco that my boss bought, and made jokes and thanked her for everything she'd done. That's what it's like to be working with people who genuinely care about you, as opposed to entitled fuckwits who want to pressurise you into feeling like you owe them something.
posted by Acheman at 7:50 AM on April 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Quit then and there next time. Giving you rides home and accommodating your family emergency was basic human decency, not job perks nor reasons to feel guilty.
posted by rhizome at 8:46 AM on April 4, 2013


I don't understand this part:

I had requested (by phone, last week) to be removed from the schedule for two weeks, so that I could adjust to my new job. Apparently, the scheduling manager (despite agreeing to my request) placed me on the schedule for this week, and they thought that I was a no-show for this morning.

Did you give 2 weeks notice and then ask to not be on the schedule for those 2 weeks? Or does you new job start start yet, so you gave more than 2 weeks notice but you want a leave of absence? Are you going back to Job A after you are not on the schedule for 2 weeks? Are you hoping to work BOTH jobs for a time period?

This may be why you are getting some flack from the managers at job A. The choices are these: Give 2 weeks notice, WORK those 2 weeks, and then never go back or Quit immediately and just don't go back. I'm not sure what you ended up doing.

But in any case, don't get caught up in their emotional manipulation. "It's been great, I'm moving on to another opportunity" is all you need to say. Then go.
posted by CathyG at 9:30 AM on April 4, 2013


Thank you for all of your replies.

To answer your question, CathyG, my intention was to start the job at Store B, get settled, and then work Store A back in. I asked for two weeks off-schedule at Store A to accomplish this. I hadn't intended on quitting for quite some time, as I wouldn't be able to get onto Store B's insurance for another 6 months. I wanted to work both - I need all the income I can get, because I'm doing terribly.

When I first explained this to the scheduling manager last week, her deadpanning threw me off, but I've learned to just take her consistently terrible moods in stride and not take her lashing out personally. Same with the manager who called me.

But I also haven't heard from them today, so I don't know whether to a) assume that they've gotten the whole "Ashen is off-schedule for two weeks" now, or b) assume that I'm fired. They aren't used to people just "not showing up;" the only person who does that has yet to be fired, but hasn't been for legally sticky reasons. If the manager still (!) has me on the schedule for this week and the next, then I am the first person to blatantly not show.

The idea of actually telling them that I'm done and then dealing with their subsequent feelings is setting off a really, really strong fight-or-flight reaction for me. I want to handle this in a way that reduces my exposure to their anger, because disappointing people is an anxiety trigger and I try to avoid that as much as possible.

I'm gonna steel myself up and call; however, I still have things there. What should I do about getting them back?
posted by Ashen at 10:02 AM on April 4, 2013


When you call up to quit, tell them you'll come get your things and your last paycheck on x day (and make it as soon as humanly possible).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:13 AM on April 4, 2013


Fuck those people. You owe them nothing.
posted by ewiar at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2013


And also, you're not "blatantly not showing" and you're not disappointing anyone. You told them not to schedule you and they didn't listen. It seems like you've really internalized a lot of self-punishing behavior.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, if you need a part-time job in addition to your full-time job, you can now look for one that might be fun. Bartending, waitressing, phone sex, whatever it is. You can pick something close to where you're living and/or working.

When you go in to turn in your resignation, take your stuff out at the same time.

So they're disappointed, they'll get over it. They have NO power over you, and it's just not all that important.

They would have dumped you in a heartbeat and stranded you with no money, if the business suddenly closed.

Your feelings are not reciprocated.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:46 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


" I have found a full time position and will no longer be available".

Not sure how much you've worked in retail, but the flexibility you are asking them for (2 weeks to transition into another job and then work them back in?) just does not exist at thath level of employment. They were expecting too much of you, and you were expecting too much of them. Quit and move on, find another supplemental, disposable job.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:08 PM on April 4, 2013


I did it. I walked in and quit. All I have to do is email them a written resignation, and then I'm officially cleared.

I haven't chosen a best answer because each of you helped. Thank you again.
posted by Ashen at 7:26 PM on April 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Congrats, Ashen. And good luck with the new job.

Out of curiosity - how did they react?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2013


« Older Web resources for current events?   |   simple HVAC DC motor design Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.