BY AMBER AINSWORTH, ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Amber Ainsworth is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for The Michigan Journal. Amber’s views do not necessarily reflect those of The Journal.
After three years at a workplace, staying until the end of college seemed like the choice I would be making. As of a little over a month ago, that changed. While the job I had held since high school provided a (mostly) steady income, it finally occurred to me that I was trapped somewhere toxic and destructive.
Of course I wasn’t expecting much out of a minimum wage job I started when I was 16, but, in my opinion, I was caught in a disaster. I couldn’t really judge too harshly though, as I hadn’t experiences any other place of employment. I guess I kind of began to believe that being treated poorly by superiors was the norm. After beginning a new job with managers understanding of my schedule and the importance of school, and supportive coworkers who aren’t on a mission to cut each other down, I really started to consider a question: When is enough enough when it comes to work?
For a long time, my parents were insistent I stay at my first job and deal with it. I had seniority there and it was a secure job (though seniority meant nothing like it was supposed to and my hours were a roller coaster, sometimes at zero). It wasn’t until I would come home crying and defeated by management that they realized I was somewhere that was slowly destroying my sanity. There was a union, so I had some bit of protection at work, but that didn’t stop the verbal attacks. I wasn’t the only one there facing it, either.
Most of it was petty; walking into work was like walking into high school again, Some of it, though, belittled me in a way that made me dread walking into work each time I had to go.
My tipping point and decision to leave came after comments made after my grandma passed away. Don’t worry, since my grandma lived in another state, grieving was a really absurd concept and my manager thought needing time off work was unnecessary because “there’s no body.”
My new job has opened my eyes immensely. Yes, I am only a college student. Yes, I am just looking for part time work to get me through school. No, I don’t deserve to be treated poorly until I am brought to tears by the people I work with.
Throughout my three year tenure with my previous place of employment, I watched employees come and go at an alarming rate. I now can see completely why the place is unable to retain workers.
So, to my former employer: Thanks for the weekly paycheck, but no amount of money is worth blatant mistreatment. More importantly, thank you for showing me what a toxic work environment is so if I ever end up in the same situation, I know to run, not grit my teeth for years and pray some sort of positive change suddenly comes.
Money is necessary, but there comes a point when one has to realize that enough is enough. Don’t allow yourself to take negative blows just for the sake of making money. I understand that finding employment is difficult, but search. Sitting around like I did will be the worst decision you’ll ever make. Plus, when you finally escape, you can dance out the front door knowing you’re on to something that won’t make you feel like trash every day.