Thursday, June 6

Mama Kat Thursday: When A Job Turns Bad

The Mama Kat prompt topic for today is:
"Tell us about a job you quit...and why?"

I suppose everyone has a job they've quit at some point. I quit mine after 17 years.
I used to work for a local flower shop as a floral designer.
When I was first hired, the manager was a woman named Millie. She's actually the one who trained me and she was a pretty good manager. She provided a strong sense of leadership, clear guidelines for everyone to follow, hosted feed-back/brain-storming sessions for her employees and was smart enough to have an assistant manager, so she didn't have to be there every minute.

About 18 months later, Millie decided to retire and her assistant manager, Donna, took over as manager.
Now the flower shop was actually owned by a Frenchman named Alain, who was a very savvy businessman. He just did the books, paid the bills and set the financial goals for the managers.
Donna was a decent manager. She was there Monday through Friday and continued the policies and traditions Millie had set. Donna also had a spirit of fun. She made sure every one's birthday was celebrated, encouraged dress-up on Halloween and was a strong advocate for our annual Christmas "Secret Santa."

She did ask for feed-back and ideas sometimes, but didn't train anyone to be an assistant manager.
Over the next 9 years, the job wore her down to a point where she decided to quit.

About this time, Alain, who actually owned 2 flower shops, had just sold the one on the other side of town, so the woman who'd been managing that store was now available to come replace Donna. Her name was Peggy.
Peggy was actually a generally fair manager as far as over-all decision making went, but she didn't really invite outside ideas or opinions much. She also didn't want to celebrate birthdays or dress up for Halloween or do "Secret Santa" at Christmas and stopped all that stuff. Not doing those things was really about money for her. She was always broke and her phone or her electricity or something was always being turned off.
She also never hired or trained anyone to be an assistant manager.
In fact, she hated the whole process of hiring. Instead, she preferred hiring people she knew or someone somebody else knew who needed a job---even her old boyfriend worked as a delivery driver.
Eventually Peggy developed a disgruntlement with Alain over salary and to "punish" him, decided to take more time off, choosing to "manage" the shop from home by phone.
That left the shop running in a hodge-podge manner with whoever was there making the best decisions they could.

 Then, a few years later, Alain decided he wanted to retire back in France. Peggy had a dream of owning her own floral business, so the two struck a deal: he'd sell her the flower shop business if she'd pay him monthly for it until she owned it outright.
This allowed him to leave and gave Peggy her dream.

However, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
Peggy didn't like computers or spread-sheets or details of that sort, despite the fact Alain taught her all those things.
She didn't re-evaluate any expenditures, but just let things run on as they had been.
She never bothered hiring a manager to replace herself.
Instead she continued trying to manage the business from home by phone. She thought she shouldn't have to work, but just pop-in and write checks from time to time, like she used to see Alain do.
So, things went to pot very quickly, particularly since Peggy didn't assign herself a salary allowance, but instead just used the shop's business account as her personal checking.
Five months later, the once profitable flower shop was deeply in debt, behind on every bill and on the verge of going under.
 Alain had to come all the way back from France to figure out what was going on, because he still technically owned the business and he wasn't getting paid.
It was a mess.
Peggy had a friend, who'd gone into buying the flower shop with her for a 10% share, to whom she turned for a bail-out, though he had to keep bailing her out until his 10% share transformed into in to a 51% share.
I held on through all this stuff, but Peggy's absentee management and the uneasiness of the questionable financial shenanigans was making things pretty stressful.
I used to like the job because it was fun, but now it wasn't and quitting was starting to look appealing.
Then, shortly thereafter, a new ceramic tile floor was put in throughout the store that gave me an entirely unexpected allergic reaction, since I'm not normally allergic to anything. That situation made up my mind real quick. The floor was emitting odorless vapors, making me cough like I had bronchitis, so I quit.
Happily, the coughing cleared up as soon as I stopped working there and, really, I don't miss it.


Melissa McKee said...

I was not expecting the twist at the end! That sounds like it was a nice job for a while, and it's a shame Peggy couldn't be a success in her dream.

imakemyselfthequeen said...

Oh, wow, what a nightmare! I was getting stressed out just reading this. I really can't stand poor management. I don't know why someone who couldn't even pay her phone bill thought she had the skills to own/run her own business. Yikes! I'm not sure I could've stuck with it as long as your did.

Here from Mama Kat's.

Stacey @ Chasing Cloud 9 said...

Bad management can make even the best job difficult.

Kim @ This Belle Rocks said...

How sad that this woman didn't even want to be there to run her own shop after all that. And Alain letting her buy it that way was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she didn't even try to grow from it. I don't blame you for quitting.

You didn't say what happened after you quit, but I'm wondering if the shop is actually still in business, and if she can afford to pay her employees.

Just here via Mama Kat's!

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