I found myself sitting in the chair opposite my immediate boss participating in an exit interview after barely two months. “I just want to touch base with you to understand any improvements that we can make to keep people here,” he said. Apparently, there had been several people over the course of a few years in and out of the position that I was now returning back to the company like a bad fitting pair of shoes. I didn’t have the courage to tell him that my feet hurt; literally and figuratively.
The Truth was…
I didn’t tell him that it was the lack of properly training me before throwing me into such a fast paced environment that was making me leave. I didn’t mention the 10 hour days with no break, the un-organization that I got blamed for no matter how much more organized I made the place since I’d been there.
The virtual babysitting of grown men. I didn’t even refer to the demotion I felt I had received after turning down the offer of a higher position which would’ve required even more of my time and sanity. Instead, I took the cowardly approach in saying “Oh, it’s just… I need to focus on some family issues.” There was some truth in there…somewhere. Maybe.
But the real truth was more intense because it included mornings I woke up feeling unrested, unfulfilled, and unappreciated. Being a hard worker is something that comes natural to me but after a few weeks, I stopped caring about my work ethic at this place altogether. I then knew something was wrong. I had just come home from working my a** off overseas and didn’t think civilian work should be more draining than that but it was.
Somethings Gotta Give
So, why care about providing top shelf performance when they could care less about me? I’ll work, you’ll pay but don’t expect anything extra and especially don’t expect me to stick around.This was the mentality I had developed for jobs notoriously known for their low wages and high employee turnover rates.
Every night I would go home to refine my resume and spend at least 2 hours searching for jobs in my area. EVERY. NIGHT. Every morning I would listen to inspirational sermons and videos on YouTube about people leaving their jobs with or without a backup plan simply because it made them miserable. EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. This lasted at least a month until I finally wrote my notice.
Quitting is not something that’s easy for me. My hard work ethic was a source of pride and nothing could take that away or so I had thought. I had been down this road before and was determined to value myself even if my employers didn’t. You want to know why millennials job hop? Why employee turnover rates are forever high at Burger King? (or wherever) Here’s Why.
What the Hell do you Expect?!
It always fascinates me when I see the inner workings of places that offer low waged pay. Productivity must always be high! They demand this even if that means going into a zombie-like trance after scrubbing the ice cream machine that doesn’t work for two hours on a slow day. Time theft is real. I get it.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALWAYS WORKING!
Meanwhile, as I’ve leveled up into more professional jobs, I’ve found that with better pay and an understanding that I am actually human, and not a robot, productivity and high turnover rates are not issues my employers are faced with.
Productivity doesn’t have to mean constantly moving. It took me being at my current job for months before I knew it was okay to sit at my desk without fear of backlash from my very sweet manager. And, alas! my productivity, contributions, and creativity are at an all time high.
I’ve been in some high points during my working history like being given an A/C cooled suburban truck to drive in the desert for work, while my superiors were walking in 140 degree weather. And low points like being a waitress for a restaurant after earning a college degree because I couldn’t find better work and rent was due. The high points vary but there are so many similarities in the low ones like…
No respect for schedules. If there even happens to be one. Sometimes I seriously think those things were suggestions. Just save the paper then.
No work/life balance. Due to the lack of scheduling you can virtually be called in or asked to stay. Whatever you had planned can wait because apparently your job should come first. YOUR JOB IS YOUR LIFE. Saying no too many times is unwise. I don’t know about you but No life + hella insomnia + crap pay makes me a very grumpy girl.
No real raises and promotions are few and far inbetween. I was 17 working at burger king when they raised the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $7.50/hr. Big deal for me but not such a big deal for a mother of a young son in sports with rent, insurance, groceries, phone bill, light bill, water bill, gas, and let’s just hope she or her son doesn’t get sick. Rent continues to rise despite low quality housing, grocery prices are crazy, and gas companies are trippin’.
Side note: I’ll never understand how we can justify paying people crap money for our convenience appetite/services but we’re okay with paying congress and other elected officials like they should all enjoy summer homes and country clubs. Meanwhile, they do a government shutdown almost every other year in which Soldiers don’t even get paid. Remember that next time you go order that #3 with cheese and a tea, it comes with a side of attitude for a reason.
No authentic relationship with bosses high up. I always hated that mad dash to make sure everything was in tiptop shape for store owners or whoever. Fake smiles and fake concern accompanying them through the door. In my eyes, if you bleed red then I can talk to you about real issues and try to come up with solutions.
Putting owners/bosses/superiors on a pedestal because of their position is just doing them and you a disservice because you’re not gonna be real with them about what you want and need to be the best employee. I’m not saying ask for a $10 raise but do mention the ice cream machine stays broke because they keep sending a mechanic to fix a 25 yr old machine instead of replacing it. It’ll save you getting cursed at the drive thru everyday and make them more money than they spent replacing it.
No real concern for who employees are. I had one boss who I had several great conversations with. Customers gave him glowing reviews about me and still he couldn’t remember my name even after 12 hour work days, coming in when called and with a name tag on. Apparently, KRYSTAL wasn’t significant enough to remember though I earned regular customers due to my performance. It really is the little things that matter. Sometimes employees don’t want a trophy, they’d just like to actually be acknowledged as a vital part of your operations.
No real reason for me working hard besides making money. “If you take pride in your work it makes me money and that keeps your paychecks coming.” Yea. Okay. That’s all dandy but while you’re taking a break in your office eating for the 2nd time today, employees who have been on their feet for 8 consecutive hours with an empty stomach feel unappreciated. Sometimes, making you money just feels degrading especially considering my minimum wage paycheck after taxes.
No real solutions to fix issues. Getting called in early for meetings always erked me. Not because I’m opposed to meeting and talking about what to expect but because I’m not here for the fake pep rally. Generally, you just wasted my time because the meeting didn’t address real issues or provide any solutions. We’re just meeting for the sake of saying we did.
No communication skills. I am not your child. Do not speak to me as such. I’ve watched as employees (other than myself because they knew better than to try it) got berated and “talked down to” by managers, owners, or other staff. “Everyone here can be replaced.” There’s no quicker way to get me out the door than hearing that. If you think just because you’re paying someone that you’re doing them a favor instead understanding it’s a mutual relationship then you’re in for one wild turnover roller-coaster ride baby.
Personally, when there is mutual respect with the people I work for there is almost nothing they can’t ask me for that I won’t trip over myself to make happen for them. I do this because they’ve proven that they’d do the same and more importantly, I’m valued. So, you need a kidney sir? I GOT YOU!
Often immediate managers or bosses deal with their share of these things, so they could care less about your complaint OR they’re so far removed from this with their set schedules, weekends off, and higher pay that it really is no concern of theirs whether you feel valued or not because they’ve been shown that they are.
It’s up to workers to know their own value. Once they come to this realization many leave. Those blessed enough to have savings or fall back support would rather deal with no job at all than to deal with some of these incompatible, hectic, and unimpressive conditions. Those not so lucky are explained in the book Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America which is one woman’s take on the poverty situation in capitalistic America. The book is truly amazing in so many ways in explaining the plight of those unfortunate enough to be low income or impoverished working in America. It was partly an inspiration for this post.
The real inspiration, however, was for the young adult reading this wondering whether to leave their current crappy job. I can’t answer that for you. I was that young adult a year ago. I went from one stifling job to the next. This process is referred to as millennial job hopping as mentioned in one of my earlier posts https://letsbuildfutures.com/2017/10/20/the-glass-slipper-job-hunt/
I don’t know if the reasons are the same for the corporate world but as a former (slightly current) low income young professional I understand. When starting from the bottom and working my way up, it was always weird to hear the shock companies express when discussing high turnover rates. Nobody wants to be miserable at a minimum of 8/hrs a day for 5/6/7 days a week for $8.50 an hour!! Not even for $10! Saying, “thank God I even have a job,” wears off when the job puts more of a strain on you than unemployment did.
Looking back I wish I would’ve had the balls to tell my manager the real deal, respectfully, as to improve the environment for employees coming after me and especially for the poor sap replacing me. How can I expect them to improve if I don’t point out places in need of serious repair?
If you know your value and have the ability to move on. MOVE. Don’t apologize. Don’t berate yourself. Just move on and be honest with your ex-job about why you’re leaving.
Now, I had some savings which allowed me the luxury of hopping but a week later I ended up in another terrible work environment just to ensure I had money flowing in. Eventually, God looked out and placed me in a job I don’t just tolerant but I LOVE.
Coming for lower income beginnings can place us in some pretty uncomfortable jobs at first but we have the ability to aim higher, for better and land closer to that Cinderella job. So throw those deuces✌🏾 when you need to and #LETSBUILD!