The Girl who was Used Up

Liberated. I was not dismissed. I was liberated. Set free from the oppressive regime that clipped the wings of my soul to deliberately keep it from flight.

I used to love the job even though I was only working on the checkout. I loved starting my shift and working constantly to help the customers at the end of their retail journey. It was all about customer service. I was all about customer service.

It went on like this for years. I looked forward to going into the store and work with happy staff and interact with happy customers. Then last year it all changed.

The year seemed to start well. It looked like the new general manager was settling in and be the much needed fresh air that was much needed. Then came a new deputy.

The man was ignorant (and probably still is). Just knowing him is oppressive so you can imagine what working with him was (and probably still is) like. A true Machiavellian I remember mentioning to a colleague that I thought he would push you off a cliff if you did not earn him any Brownie points from the area manager.

He did not introduce himself when he first came. I cannot either trust or respect people who ignore others. The first time that he spoke to any of the shop floor staff was just after he had been observing their work on camera. The first words to people were words of criticism. It is impossible to like a person who does this. Contrast to the trading manager who started a few weeks before. An amiable chap who went out of his way to introduce himself to everyone, including the trolley boy.

More and more rules came down from head office, and the deputy manager was determined that these rules would be upheld whatever difficulties the individual may have. By this time I overworked. I was automatically expected do overtime, (up to twice my contracted hour), end at 9pm and start the next day at 7am, and sometimes even to do more than 5 days in a row. I was not the only one. I was told by one of the staff that she was down to work a continuous 12 days. He did not know any of this. He did not know any of us. We were all tired, and if this led us to make mistakes we were punished. I was making more mistakes than others and he was ‘in my face’ all the time. I used to cry myself to sleep.

 

roy lichtenstein crying girl 1964

(1964)

 

You may ask why I did not tell him. Why I did not complain about the expectations upon me. It’s difficult to explain, but complaints to my supervisor were all in vain and I found the deputy manager to be completely unapproachable. For most of my life I have lived with untreated depression. I thought that I had it under control. I did not realise that being so tired would affect my focus. I made my third, and final, fatal mistake.

I was suspended before I was dismissed. The day after the suspension occurred I was in bits. I could not understand what had happened to caused me to err so badly. I managed to calm down though and decided seek treatment for my depression. I am now on anti-depressants and have noticed that I liable make some strange decisions on the days when I forget to take one.

Now I have been free from his tyranny for about 10 months. I no longer cry, volunteer a few days  week, and find that I am more creative and interested in life than ever. Please, if this is happening, or has happened, to you, know that this is a time of growth. A chance to reflect on was has happened and look to the future. As for the today, it is yours to do with want you will. Stay positive, and the world is yours.

One often meets his destiny on the road that he takes to avoid it

~ Oogway (Kung Fu Panda, 2008)

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