Putting my persuasive skills to use for rehiring - advice?
August 22, 2014 11:22 AM   Subscribe

I want to return to a retail job I resigned from last December. A few complicated layers. Snowflake deets hiding under the fold!

Currently, I'm unemployed, and not having much luck finding a job. I've been unemployed since December 2013, when I had resigned from my previous retail job. At the time, I was burnt out, unhappy, disillusioned with the job, and just wanted out. I've since then begun to regret this decision for the last several months.

While I don't want to name the specific retailer, I did a few AskMe's in the past relating to this job. I had a lot of mixed experiences (both good and bad) with this job, but the more I've sat at home, trying to drum up a new job, going to several interviewing and failing, I realized I wanted to go back. Laugh at me all you want, but I've even had several dreams of working at this store, and they were all portrayed positively, and I actually felt happy being back. I have came to the realization that I missed working with customers, that working there did help develop my people skills, etc. Basically, I miss the job and want to go back, and feel better prepared to deal with the frustrations I had previously. When I went to the store several times to visit, everyone seemed happy to see me, and the vibe felt cheerful. I think it helps that some rude former co-workers had left since I left, too.

The issues I'm facing?

a) This retailer has a strict blackout policy for holidays. In December 2012, I was able to get approval to go home for Christmas, because my grandma was fighting cancer. Bad me, it was a mistake, but I ended up staying a bit longer than anticipated, and didn't communicate this with my boss until I had already left to go home. Not cool, I know *facepalms* but we talked about it when I returned, I came clean and apologized, I lived with the consequences, life went on.

b) I resigned in December 2013 partly because I wanted to go home to my family (I felt like I had no choice, as my family is 3,000 miles across the country, and all my friends were leaving the DC area to go home for vacation), but also because of personal issues. I sent in a resignation letter 3 weeks in advance, and made it clear I was potentially interested in coming back. My boss, as well as the manager team, did not respond in writing to the resignation letter, but individual managers approached me and all seemed sad. I was 'clapped out' on my last day. Positive vibe overall, don't think I left with any bad blood or burnt bridges. However, a co-worker, who is also a friend, and is older/wiser, said that I may have burnt a bridge by leaving right before Christmas, knowing full well of the blackout, and that it may be hard for me to go back. I don't know if she's right or not.

c) I applied online on the retailer's general website in the spring, as well as had a co-worker internally refer me (more priority). Nothing but a brick both ways.

d) Other than the Christmas 2012 'fiasco', I had generally good marks and attendance was pretty good, no serious issues (small issues were all ironed out, nothing more or less than normal job issues). My sales numbers were always high, sometimes one of the highest, and even this summer, when visiting the store, a former co-worker mentioned that my boss still spoke highly about me and my ability to sell their warranty.

I was given the recommendation from a current employee (subordinate) to email my former boss (aka, the store general manager) instead of taking the roundabout routes I took (as mentioned in [c] above). I'm not sure what to say - that's where your advice on how to best tout my persuasive skills come in play. It doesn't help that the boss is a bit...how should I say it? Stoic and reserved, not very warm or friendly. Dare I say, a bit intimidating (but that's all my perspective, and hey, I get intimidated easily). She's a good person, though.

I'm also not sure if it's a good idea if I go ahead now and book flights for Christmas vacation. I'm afraid if I do so, the manager would just deny my reapplication and not consider hiring me back. On the other hand, technically, if travel is already booked, that should not have a bearing on the (re)hiring, even if it's during blackout, because, technically, I wouldn't have known I would be hired by then, and it's always best to book in advance, right? But, I'm afraid that'd play a factor in the rehiring (if the rehiring is even considered in the first place). Should I also try talking to the company's main HR team, explaining my situation, and see what they could do? Help me navigate this minefield.

I'd really appreciate your help and advice on how to best navigate this to get the results I want. Please feel free to tell me if I'm being too skewed in this, if I'm just having a classic 'the grass is greener on the other side' moment, if I'm being downright insane to think I'd even be rehired (ha ha), or if I'm missing something important in the big picture. I'm definitely wet behind the ears when it comes to jobs, so it's not easy for me.

posted by dubious_dude to Work & Money (32 answers total)
Go ahead and ask, but accept in your heart that this job means you aren't seeing your parents for Christmas. If you can't accept and be ok with this, then you shouldn't try to go back to this job. They are very clear about this rule, and of course your availability during peak times should play a factor in rehiring. "Technically" they can (and probably should) fire you if you leave during Christmas this year, regardless of when the flights were booked. Plan on an early December or late January family get together instead (and if there are other siblings or whatever involved get them to agree now -- there's nothing special about the date, it's about everyone getting together, so find a date that works. Bonus: everything (flights + gifts) is way cheaper after Christmas).

As for what to email, I don't think you need to be super persuasive/salesman-y, but you might want to explain why you left, and why that's no longer an issue now (and while I wouldn't lie or completely make something up here, you also shouldn't feel obligated to tell the whole truth here... find some aspect of the truth that is also a good story), and say you are interested in coming back and prepared to stay and work through the Christmas season and beyond, and ask if there are any openings available.
posted by brainmouse at 11:32 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

On the other hand, technically, if travel is already booked, that should not have a bearing on the (re)hiring, even if it's during blackout, because, technically, I wouldn't have known I would be hired by then, and it's always best to book in advance, right?.

Not totally clear, but are you trying to make the argument that because your tickets are booked, if you get rehired for a job with a holiday blackout, that they should let you go despite the blackout?

Unless you have some sort of leverage you haven't mentioned, that's probably not going to happen. If you do get rehired, the blackout applies, and your tickets are a sunk cost, unless you're going to get resign again.
posted by griphus at 11:52 AM on August 22, 2014

Do not apply for this job if you do not plan to stay with it through the black-out holiday period. Because if you get it, and leave a third time during the holidays, those bridges will be more burned than a really really burnt thing.
posted by jaguar at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think you have anything to lose by speaking to your former manager, although I would see if there's a way to do it in person rather than over email. Face-to-face is always better (unless you are someone with extreme anxiety who just won't be able to remember what you want to say, but it sounds like that's not the case for you). You could call or email and ask to set up a meeting, perhaps?

But, I'm not sure what your thoughts are about the holidays. I think it would be deeply uncool to apply for this job knowing you are going to quit right before the Christmas season yet again, and that absolutely WILL burn bridges permanently. And unless you have a similar urgent situation with an ill relative, I don't see why you would get an exception to the holiday policy. Especially as a new hire, you will be lowest on the totem pole -- if anyone is getting an exception, fairness would dictate it go to someone with seniority. So, if you want to apply, do it with the committment to work through the holidays.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just to be clear - if I were to be rehired and go see my family for Christmaa, I would not plan to resign then. It would just be time away. This is to clarify that I would not plan to resign again.
posted by dubious_dude at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2014

Does the company have a different policy in place than when you first worked there? If you're not planning to resign, and they have a strict holiday blackout policy, how would you get the time off?
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

In my somewhat uninformed opinion, if you were rehired, and asked for days off over their blackout dates, (in fact, waved your plane tickets in the air and demanded the days off) it's quite possible you would be fired. Is that something you want to risk?
posted by aimedwander at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

It would be resigning then, just maybe not entirely by your choice. It is 100% not an option for you to have this job & see your family then. The fact that you may have spent $xxx on plane tickets is not relevant to your employer if they have a Christmas blackout rule, and a jaguar says probably even asking would be a bridge-burning fiesta.
posted by brainmouse at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

It's one thing for a totally new employee to say "oh, but I already have tickets for Christmas" because then it is at least feasibly something they didn't know, it's another thing for someone who used to work there and knowing the blackout took extra time one year then resigned the next year.

I'd really appreciate your help and advice on how to best navigate this to get the results I want.

If you work there again, you'll be working there over Christmas. The results you want -- to be hired there but also to be across the country over the holidays -- are not possible to get.

You might be able to get rehired, but when you speak to your ex-boss you will be saying "and I know that there is a blackout date, and I have already told my family that I will not be leaving DC in December". And then you need to follow through.
posted by jeather at 12:05 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

You don't want the job enough to give up holidays with your family. It's a retail job, and they treat employees as a commodity, so for the most part I'd say 'screw 'em' regarding taking the holiday off. But it does put a burden on the coworkers who have to cover that time. Plus, if there's any time off at all, it should be someone else's turn. I think you have a blind spot about the reality of working retail - for most retailers, the Thanksgiving - Christmas season is a huge percentage of their business. They schedule staff to make sure sales are optimized. If you can't work at Christmas, you should consider other employment options.
posted by theora55 at 12:07 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't think you are thinking through your current plan.

You left your previous job, and you might or might not have a mark against in your industry, per your description. You *know* that they have blackout dates and rules, which one would imagine would be standard in retail.

So you have choice A, which is (going to the nth the suggestion, go in and talk in person) to restablish communication, apply (you might have even better odds before the holiday season) when bodies are needed, and if you are hired, follow those rules. Because you run the risk of never getting a reference, even for retail if you get the reputation of leaving at the time when everyone else stays. So if you chose option A, stay during the holidays.

Choice B might be to apply to other retail positions. I know that you want to brand this is the most high tech, unique, etc, but at the end of the day, it is selling something in retail and there are similar companies out there. Apply to one of those jobs but be open during the interview process (or when then offer you the job). Vacations are negotiated, often during the hiring time, but not to a place where you already have a history of this and know the rules. I think that this is probably your best option - new employee, they have no preconceived notions of what you will do or not do, and everyone knows what will happen from the start.

Option C is to just move where your family lives if holidays are that important. Surely there are retail jobs, there, too, no? But that might have to wait.
posted by Wolfster at 12:09 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've worked retail (national chain). I've worked holiday periods (they suck, overtime notwithstanding). If you buy plane tickets and don't mention it and they hire you, they can absolutely withdraw the offer or fire you once you tell them you have plane tickets and want whatever days off. There's nothing illegal about it, and given your last holiday-related experiences with this, I don't understand why you don't understand that retail-worker holidays blackouts is how it works. You have to choose; your potential future employer does not have to keep you on staff just because you bought tickets.
posted by rtha at 12:09 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry, but I deeply doubt they'll hire you back --- especially if you interview *with December flights already booked*, KNOWING ahead of time about their December blackout policy!

Look, you've already got two big strikes against you: you were granted an exception in Dec. 2012 that you knowingly took advantage of, then you quit in Dec. 2013 so you could take a vacation.... now you want to be rehired but (before you even build up any real amount of vacation leave time) you're already insisting on yet another exception to the rules, just because what? You're special or something?

The thing about retail is, December is THE busiest time of the year, bar none, and that's when they need everybody on the floor. If you DO try to get rehired, face up to it right now: you will NOT be taking time off in (this or ANY) December, because they've told you the rules ahead of time. And wanting to take off basically just because all your friends have taken off from THEIR jobs? No boss is going to be sympathetic.

Basically, assume right now that IF they hire you you'll be working all of December, and plan your trip for February.
posted by easily confused at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

if I were to be rehired and go see my family for Christmaa, I would not plan to resign then. It would just be time away. This is to clarify that I would not plan to resign again.

I am totally sure you have no plan to resign again. But from what you describe, the only way to get the time off you want would be to no longer be employed there. So resigned, fired, ridden out on a rail, whatever. The point is that "time off during the holidays" and "employed at this job" are for all intents and purposes mutually exclusive.

Getting re-hired doesn't give you leverage to do something you couldn't do before. It's just the opposite: you have to put your best foot forward to prove that you're not a liability. Following a really, very clear rule that you cannot, at all, claim ignorance to is one of those things you need to do.
posted by griphus at 12:15 PM on August 22, 2014

You should definitely go back!

I was given the recommendation from a current employee (subordinate) to email my former boss (aka, the store general manager) instead of taking the roundabout routes I took (as mentioned in [c] above).

Yes, I agree with the current employee that you should email your old boss and ask if you can come back. If you were a good worker (which it sounds like you were), she'll probably be able to get you a re-hire (which is sometimes easier than a new hiring, depends on the company). As a data point, I did this with a large restaurant chain and it worked out really well. I was moving out of the area, left under kind of a cloud because I ended up not being able to put in my full notice period (moving stuff got overwhelming and I had to put in extra hours there, so couldn't work my last couple shifts), but I had been a good worker overall and when I reached out to my old boss she was happy to have me back.

I reached out to ask about being rehired by calling my old restaurant and asking for an appointment to see my GM. I showed up for the appointment in interview-ready clothes with a sorta cover letter saying how much I wanted to work at the restaurant again and a resume, and straight up asked my GM my old job back. She was very easygoing about it (way more so than I expected) and everything was great.

Being (officially) a re-hire rather than a new hire meant that I didn't have to get knocked back to square one in terms of have to re-do the orientation, or in terms of other bureaucratic issues related to "benefits"/privileges, etc. I pretty much got to step back in where I had left off when I quit the first time. However, I did have to prove myself again to a certain extent because in a business like that, with massive turnover, I was going to back to a staff that had a large percentage of newbies who hadn't worked with me before (though I was only gone about a month!).

I'm also not sure if it's a good idea if I go ahead now and book flights for Christmas vacation.

No, don't book flights for Christmas vacation. If you are working for a company that blacks out leave during the Christmas season, you DON'T HAVE a Christmas vacation. You can take a vacation at other times but ABSOLUTELY PLAN TO BE WORKING OVER CHRISTMAS. That's just the nature of the beast if you're working in retail.

There are pretty comparable situations in other industries, too, if that makes you feel better -- accountants in the US can't have "spring break," for example, because that's the height of tax season. Some industries just have a heavy season when companies make a huge percentage of their money and workers in those industries have to accept/adapt to that, and retail is definitely one of those industries.

If that's not something you're willing to deal with, then you can't work for this company (or probably in retail), which doesn't allow leave over Christmas. Even though it's a "job" rather than a "career," this will be how you're making a living, and you have to be willing to prioritize and adapt to that to a certain extent.
posted by rue72 at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

You really haven't been able to find a retail job since December 2013? How hard have you been looking? It sounds like this store's holiday policy does not work with your priority to see your family for the holidays. I would really, really try to find a job somewhere else.

If you want to re-apply, do it, but tell them you've booked a holiday vacation with the exact dates up front so they know you've thought about this. Or, the other thing you could do is just wait to tell them until the holidays if you'd rather work August to December and get fired instead of not getting re-hired at all. There's always the chance they won't fire you because firing people sucks.

I don't know your age or your money situation or whether this is your career or just a job to make some extra cash, but I personally would not skip seeing my family over the holidays to work at a retail store, convincing holiday shoppers to get a warranty with their purchase. But that's just me.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2014

If you got rehired, and that's a big if because you definitely have some exes against you, and you didn't disclose the vacation at the time, not only would you be fired or forced out someway, you would be burning bridges in an insane fashion. Not just there, but if your bosses talk to other local retail places, you could find yourself fighting just to get any position.

I did retail for a short time. I hated it but when you work that kind of job not spending christmas out of town is part of the job, at a lot of places. I'd be really wary of hiring you to be honest, because it seems like an awful lot of drama.

Also, I think you're romanticizing this job a bit. I know what it's like to be unemployed so I feel you, but visiting your old job is nothing like returning to work there. It's great that some awful people left, but I doubt it's magically so much better. Now I'm not saying you shouldn't attempt to work there again, just take off the rose-coloured glasses so when the daily grind hits you, you're not too surprised.
posted by Aranquis at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2014

Response by poster: Would a better option be to take a week off in October to visit family, explain that I've already booked a vacation in October to visit my family, but that I'm free otherwise through Christmas?

Just a note of reference: the blackout begins Thanksgiving, through January 10ish.
posted by dubious_dude at 1:05 PM on August 22, 2014

Honestly, I think you should look for different kinds of work, maybe something more clerical or administrative. Look for temporary positions just for the sake of getting back into the workforce. Check USAJobs or another government job board...the IRS is starting to hire for seasonal work, some of which involves customer service if you like that sort of thing.

I say this because, if you want to spend time with your family on the holidays (which is totally understandable), going back to a retail position isn't really the best way to go about it. I get that long-term unemployment wears on you (trust me, I've been there) but I think this might be a situation where any job sounds better than none, and because of these various reasons you mentioned that they might take you back, you aren't taking an objective look at all the available options and are kind of idealizing this particular job that's familiar to you when it ultimately may not be the best option to satisfy your needs. It seems impossible some days, but you just have to keep trying and sending off those applications...good luck!
posted by cosmicbeast at 1:10 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Booking a vacation before you accept is a bad idea, regardless of when it is. After (if) you are rehired, you can have a conversation about "I would like to take a week to see my family, I was thinking either October 15-21, or January 20-27, would one of those work?". Then, once you get approval, you can make your plans and buy your tickets. If this job is important for you, it needs to come first. The company doesn't need to (and shouldn't) privilege any plans just because you're already made them when they hire you, and they can easily say no to a date for whatever reason (e.g., 2 other people have already requested that week off), and if you've already bought tickets you're just SOL. Job first, then vacation plans, with their approval.
posted by brainmouse at 1:10 PM on August 22, 2014

In December 2012, I was able to get approval to go home for Christmas, because my grandma was fighting cancer. Bad me, it was a mistake, but I ended up staying a bit longer than anticipated, and didn't communicate this with my boss until I had already left to go home.


I resigned in December 2013 partly because I wanted to go home to my family (I felt like I had no choice, as my family is 3,000 miles across the country, and all my friends were leaving the DC area to go home for vacation), but also because of personal issues.

Considering how important your family is to you and how attached you are to visiting them at length in your hometown, is there a reason why you aren't considering moving back home to be near them and applying for a position with the same retailer once you're settled? Is there a reason your family couldn't visit you, rather than the other way around?

I'm sure at least a few of your co-workers also have relatives who live thousands of miles away, people they'd surely have liked to visit during the holiday season if only they weren't already scheduled to work. Maybe you can ask one of them how they've been able to balance their employer's schedule demands with their desire to visit far-flung family members?

Like rue72 says, vacation blackout dates exist in many industries -- I have a bunch of weird ones, mostly aligned with audits and fiscal month/quarter/year-end dates -- so since it's something you'll probably have to deal with at other jobs, it's probably in your best interest to learn how to adjust your work/life balance accordingly regardless of whether you get rehired at this particular establishment.

Would a better option be to take a week off in October to visit family, explain that I've already booked a vacation in October to visit my family, but that I'm free otherwise through Christmas?

You can't apply for this job with a pre-booked vacation, no matter when it is. A former employee who no-call no-showed after an approved vacation, then resigned at the holiday rather than submit to a previously agreed-upon vacation blackout policy simply doesn't have that kind of leverage.
posted by divined by radio at 1:16 PM on August 22, 2014

Response by poster: A few things that's making this situation a bit more complicated than it normally should be:

a) I'm Deaf, and where I am now (DC) is more ideal than California, due to social and employment opportunities. If I were hearing, I'd much prefer California, and I may move there next year or so if my job search comes to a dead end. But, I'm tired of being unemployed, and numerous job searches/USAJOBS.gov has resulted in nothing.

b) October is my high school graduating class 10-year reunion, and I'd really like to get that booked/planned as soon as possible. This job requires at least a month of approval for time off. Would it be a good idea to explain that I'd like the job back, that I have a week-long class reunion/vacation potential plans in October, ask if it's okay, and from there, be clear that I'll be on deck for Christmas?

I'll share any other thoughts/circumstances if they come up.
posted by dubious_dude at 1:36 PM on August 22, 2014

I would really recommend not asking for time off before they've (re-)hired you. You're already asking for a favor by asking to get back on staff. You can't ask for a second favor (getting time off for your reunion) before the company even decides whether to grant the first one. Asking for multiple favors at once is likely to come off as inconsiderate and arrogant at best (and I know that's not what you're going for!).

I also wouldn't book the trip until you know that you can get time off work for it, because that's a relatively reckless gamble to take (you could end up throwing away a bunch of money on plane tickets you can't use, or throwing away your job, if things don't go perfectly).

If the trip is more important to you than getting your old job back, then I would keep applying for other jobs (that might have a post-trip start date), and wait to ask to be re-hired at this retail company until after the HS reunion trip. Mid-October is only like eight weeks away -- even though it's technically possible, I don't think it's realistic to expect to be able to ask for the job, go in and see your GM and work out the details of a rehire, get back on staff and prove yourself as reliable and able to pull your weight as a full employee, and then take a week off right before the black-out period when a ton of other employees are also probably trying to take time off, in such a short time frame.
posted by rue72 at 1:51 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Look, you basically have a history of screwing over this retailer due to your vacations. You should not ask this particular store for any consideration of any of your vacation plans while asking them for your job back, because you will demonstrate that you are once again prioritizing your vacation schedule over their needs.

As a human being, you certainly should prioritize your own life over a crappy-ish retail job, but you are not coming to them as a human being, you are coming to them as a potential employee. Retail employees with vacation-related strikes against them do not have leverage to ask for additional vacation-related considerations.

If you want to work retail, are willing to work over the holiday season, and need to take a week in October, I'd recommend applying for a job at a totally different retail store.

If you want to prioritize spending time with your family and friends (which is absolutely a valid choice), then temp work or some sort of office job might be a much much better fit.
posted by jaguar at 2:36 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I meant to add: Only apply to this job if you want to work retail, are willing to work through October, and are willing to work over the holidays. You may be able to get the time off in October, but I would not ask about it during the hiring process and I certainly wouldn't count on it.
posted by jaguar at 2:37 PM on August 22, 2014

If you want to go away in October, try to get hired at your old company after that.

You can, possibly, apply to OTHER retail jobs telling them before you are hired about your October plans, but not the job you had before. But you won't be able to go home again until after the holidays if you get those jobs either.
posted by jeather at 6:31 PM on August 22, 2014

When I first started reading this Ask, I was inclined to be sympathetic. I left a long-term, stable position at a good retail job a couple of years ago, myself. Like you, part of the reason I left was burnout, which doesn't seem as bad in the proverbial rear-view mirror. I still have friends working there who are happy to see me (a trip to the store can take over an hour, just saying howdy), and on days when I'm feeling unsure about my current path I sometimes want to pursue slotting back in. I may yet. I'm not going to laugh at your desire to return.

I am going to laugh ruefully at your assumptions and your approach to making that happen, though. Bear with me:

I'd really appreciate your help and advice on how to best navigate this to get the results I want.

The result you want is to get your old job back, but you also want a fantasy version of that job. You won't be able to navigate anything until this is resolved. It seems like you don't grasp how the retail world functions. You need to really examine whether you fit in that type of work, or even the service industries in general. At this point, without a significant adjustment in expectations, I suspect your request to re-up will be laughed at, thrown in the trash, and that trash can burned with fire.

Retail workers -- at all levels -- just work during holidays. It's not fair. But it's the reality of the work, even at the best of employers. This one did you a kindness by allowing you time off for family reasons, which you proceeded to disrespect significantly (like, firing offense significantly). This was surely irritating and somewhat embarrassing for the manager who probably pulled strings/cashed favors to make it possible. Not only that, but you inconvenienced your coworkers, who had to work harder during an already stressful time; I wonder if any of them had sick relatives? Then, just one year later, you quit in order to visit your family again (and because all your friends got to visit theirs?). The message you've sent them so far is that, while you may be a high-quality employee when you're there, you aren't willing to actually be there. No surprise that you didn't get a pleasant official response to your resignation letter, and no surprise that they haven't eagerly responded to your renewed interest. They may positively love you as a person, but you've given them every reason to be wary of you as an employee.

If you really want this job back, my advice is to completely forget about vacations for at minimum six months. When you talk to whichever manager you think might be willing to give you the time, make this absolutely clear. And I don't mean you saying, "So I'll just take my Xmas vacation in February, right?" I mean, "I know my reliability has been an issue, and I'm committed to improving. You'll have me through the holiday period, no question. Seeing my family is important, but we can revisit that during the slower months." The priority should be on demonstrating your willingness to step up, not on trying to secure a specific vacation window before you've even been rehired. Who knows -- it might work; my former retail employer hired people back, but only if they'd either been extremely dependable during their previous tenure, or had made concrete and sincere efforts to change problem behavior.

Larger picture, this tension between personal freedom and the needs of the employer is simply something that you'll struggle with in any line of work. White collar, service, what have you. It's possible that retail work (with its tight margins and tighter labor budgets) won't allow you the flexibility you want. Something that isn't as dependent on specific employees doing specific tasks during specific times may be a better fit.
posted by credible hulk at 12:19 AM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

For someone without a job, you're sure demanding about what you'll accept in a low-level job like working retail sales!

But yeah, you're displaying a lot of apparent entitlement here. What you need to realize is that, no matter how good of an employee you were to this company, you seem to feel that A) company rules don't apply to you; and B) you somehow or other deserve exceptions that would get other employees fired on the spot. Yes, you were granted one exception for a valid cause (the compassionate leave you were given in Dec. 2012, your sick grandmother), but you screwed that up by willfully and knowingly over-staying, without even the decency to phone your supervisor. You followed that up with your Dec. 2013 resignation --- and let me guess, you tried demanding leave then, and were told to either be at work or quit, right? So basically, this company has documented proof that you are not a team player, and you have no respect for either the clear & well-known company rules or your coworkers.

Either you need to face the reality that, in the unlikely case this company does rehire you (and I wouldn't, if I were them) you will not be taking any vacations until at least next spring; otherwise you need to look for work that doesn't have the kind of seasonal blackouts retail has.
posted by easily confused at 6:51 AM on August 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies.

I'm clarifying a few things to the points that were made - first, resigning in 2013 was partly because of me wanting to visit my family for Christmas, yes, but a bigger part of it was that I was simply feeling burnt out. It may or may not be hard for you to understand, but it's difficult being Deaf and alone for Christmas. It may come across as an 'excuse' to you, or me playing the 'deaf card' - but it's not. If I were hearing, it'd be easier for me to make new friends and spend Christmas with friends, but most/if not all of my Deaf friends are going home for Christmas. I'm a family kind of person. My family is 3000 miles away. That's what makes it double as harder. Also, my family gives me the emotional boost I need. That may be possible via Facetime/Skype, but nothing beats in-person interaction. You can interpret the above as excuses, if you want, but those are my feelings. Yes, I do struggle with having to conform to job expectations when it comes to personal freedom. It's something I'm trying to work on.

I emailed my boss in December 2012. I've already owned up to it and realized I screwed up, and admitted as such. I lived with the consequences. Everyone makes mistakes - why hold it against someone? It's part of growing up.

I didn't demand leave for Christmas 2013. I simply asked if it was possible again, was told no, then personally weighed my options and made a personal decision to leave (which was already in the works, anyway, due to internal frustrations I had at work).

I'm not trying to be entitled or selfish. I do realize that company rules apply to me. It's just that my situation is unique, given my own circumstances. I don't see myself as above others and/or others' needs lesser than mine. For example, if a co-worker's mom had cancer, of course I'd rather them go than me.
posted by dubious_dude at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2014

Your situation really isn't unique; a lot of people have reasons that are just as good, or better, for needing to be with family at the holidays. Your boss at the time made an exception, and you took advantage of it; they are not required to do so again.

Your choices have been outlined here: if they hire you back, you have to not ask for time off during the blackout period. If you want time at the actual holidays with your family, then you can't work a job that requires you to work then. No one really cares how unique or not your needs are; many, many people are lonely at the holidays and would rather go home to family than work, but they don't have a choice about it. You may end up back in that category. It sucks, and it's hard, but it's not special.

You can ask about the time off in October, but honestly, if I were them, I'd regard that request with a raised eyebrow, given your past behavior. Don't expect them to say yes; decide beforehand which choice you'd make .
posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're looking at your intentions rather than at the effects of your actions. Most employers really only care about the effects of your actions. Continuing to focus on your intentions is going to lead you down the wrong path for future employment.
posted by jaguar at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

None of your additional information changes anything. Your situation is unique, but everyone's is unique. In anything but very detailed strokes, it isn't particularly unusual: you live far away from your family but depend on them for support; you have friends who go away during the holidays; you find it difficult to make new friends and are as a result lonely during these holidays.
posted by jeather at 1:23 PM on August 23, 2014

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