I feel emotional and upset. But also empowered and free.
For those of you who have followed my blog, I have discussed previously the difficulties I have been facing in a casual, part-time job I have been doing as a session coordinator for young kids and adults with learning disabilities. I loved the job, and the kids I worked with, I’ve made such progress with them. Their confidence is soaring and it’s incredible to see. But the management, people I considered as friends, have let me down – and through their behaviour, they have lost somebody that wasn’t there for money or ‘just a job’ – but someone who was passionate about their business, backed their goals and aims, and promoted their business unconditionally.
The issues started last year. I was a volunteer with them from 2014 to 2015 before I moved away. They were like family to me; they had a small social-enterprise and everything was smooth riding. They weren’t in the position to offer me a job then; despite my regular requests and their claims they definitely wanted me to be part of their team at some point because they valued me. So last year, after moving back home and getting back on my feet, I returned to visit them and they offered me a casual job to help them out. I didn’t need the money but I could see they needed support so I accepted.
Everything was fine for a few weeks – but when it came to policies and procedures, they wouldn’t tell me what their new procedures were. So I didn’t know there were forms to fill in for certain things; and rather than tell me – they would give me warnings for ‘not knowing’ despite accepting liability for not giving me proper information. They had grown so much as a business, they were playing catch-up when it came to making mistakes. They may well have policies in place, but they didn’t give staff an induction or explain their new procedures.
So, my first warning was after notifying them of a holiday I was taking – I told them verbally and also in a text. At no point did either of the directors or managers say ‘Okay fine, you’ll need to fill in an annual request form first’. I didn’t even know they existed. So they gave me a warning for not knowing procedures – despite accepting liability for not giving me the correct information. They are so hell bent on showing they are now ‘managers’ – they will hand out warnings even though they are in the wrong to assert their authority.
As time has gone on, they have put more work on me without proper support, and been unreliable. I have found it increasingly difficult to work with them – but have carried on going as my job isn’t about them, it’s about the kids I work with. But this week, everything came to a head and I decided I couldn’t do it no more. The way they manage themselves, the way they improperly inform their staff of policies and then turn it around on the staff to be punished, it’s just not for me. With everything going on with my mum being unwell and being busy at my main job, I just couldn’t carry on with the additional stress.
After a dispute this week that came out of nothing over remaining holiday pay, I decided I was going to resign – I wrote out an email but I just couldn’t press send. These guys were like family to me and I had more respect than to just send an email. So I called my other manager as it was his session I was running for him, and let him know of my decision. He talked me out of it and told me to come in that afternoon and have a chat with him. So I did. But what I didn’t know is that his partner had made the decision already to give me a warning – without first having a meeting with me or discussing the issue. He came into that meeting with one outcome only – giving me a warning. I disagreed with the warning – but they wouldn’t have none of it. We ended the meeting with them agreeing to give me some of my holiday pay – just 3 hours of it. But it was more than nothing. To be polite and courteous, I apologised him for causing him and his wife stress without intending to. He told me ‘this may seem harsh, but this can’t cause me any stress as it’s not my problem. I have other things to think about’. Hurtful really, as I, too, have had more important things to focus my energy on but I still gave them respect and time.
After the meeting, I’ve had 3 days to sit and think about it. And I really have thought hard about it. The way they have treated me is wrong. They don’t know their own procedures until they fuck up – and in an attempt to show they know what they actually didn’t know, they give out warnings and improvement plans to assert themselves as managers and validate in their own minds that they are managers. But they don’t know how to manage – and it’s poorly done.
So, after days of deliberation, snide emails from his wife who is the financial director, I have wrote my resignation, explaining also that I disagree with their decision and that I have to do what is best for me, and pressed send.
I feel disappointed – not for them, but for the kids and also for the fact the company has lost somebody that had their back. They talk about building a team with people like me who support their goals and their dreams, are passionate about the company. But because they messed up and didn’t want to lose face, they lost me in the process. This had to happen though – because I realise now that you can’t work for your friends. It doesn’t work as they can’t treat you with common sense; they have to prove to you and themselves that they are above you in their business. The equality of friendship doesn’t stand in business. I get that.
But this year, I have decided I’m not going to be walked over anymore. My goal for 2018 is to be assertive – I’m tired of being the timid, easy-going person that accepts shit. I’ve stuck up for myself on numerous occasions this year, and I like that I’ve finally started doing it after years of telling myself ‘I should have said what I really feel…’ about too many situations.
I feel sad now but I know I’ve made the right decision for me. I hope that their experiences with me has helped them learn from their mistakes, too. Maybe this will be what they need to get their act together in terms of management and make it work better.