Jc-penney

I posted this on FB and wanted to post it here as well.

I have largely kept quiet about a lot of this until now, but with the double whammy of Thanksgiving and Black Friday fast approaching, I had to say something. To wit: this coming Sunday will mark one year since I walked out on the worst job I’ve ever had.

A job where I was actively discouraged from taking my federally mandated rest periods. A job where my first supervisor encouraged me to prey on Hispanic customers and convince them to open credit cards because, in her words, “You know those people. They can’t help themselves with money.” A job where that same supervisor disparaged fat women openly: “They’re always so angry. That’s why they leave the plus size section a mess.” A job where all of these things happened during my first week.

A job where management expected employees to flatter and humor customers who sexually harassed them. A job where I was reprimanded for calling out sick 3 times in a year and a half, despite having doctor’s notes. A job where my scheduled hours were consistently kept just low enough that I never accrued a single hour of paid time off. A job where I was encouraged to work off the clock. A job where conversations with my HR lead were immediately repeated and spread, despite my insistence that those conversations remain confidential. A job where those conversations were held over my head and used as a reason why I might not succeed in a managerial role. A job where I was poorly trained, micromanaged, mocked, and belittled. A job where my direct supervisor, a woman who made at minimum three times my salary, did not understand how time zones worked. A job where, as employee morale plummeted, the staff was repeatedly told, “If you aren’t smiling, you aren’t doing your job.” A job where my team members were sent home (without pay, obviously) for “looking tired.”

One year ago, I realized that I was wasting my time, energy, sanity, and youth at a company that did not give a flying fuck about me. I realized that it’s normal to dislike your job, but not for your job to make you feel utterly worthless, hopeless, and suicidal. I realized that it wouldn’t change. I realized that I could fucking do better. I walked into the building on the morning of November 27th, 2015, put my keys on my store manager’s desk, and told her I was done. The night before, I had told another manager in confidence, “I can’t trust anyone in this store.” That morning, my store manager glared at me and said, “I’m disgusted that you think you can’t trust anybody here.” Note that I never said those words to her, thus proving my point. I smiled at her and said, low and slow, “If you’re finished, I’m leaving now.”

In the year that has passed, I have not, for one single moment, regretted my decision to leave that viper’s pit of backstabbing, gossip, and incompetence.

I worked in retail for ten years, from independent stores to small regional chains to national big box retailers. No job has ever destroyed my sense of self worth so thoroughly, no company has ever treated me as poorly, as JC Penney. If you read any of these things I’ve written here and thought, “Wow, that is awful,” I urge you NOT to spend your money there. Not on Thanksgiving. Not on Black Friday. Not ever.