Damned If You Do(n’t)

latinSo my first job in NorCal seems to be coming to an end.

From the moment I started the position, there was a woman named Ana who I could not seem to get along with.  Ana, for what it’s worth, is a Latin woman who shrills at just about everyone, customers and coworkers alike.  She frequently talks negatively about her coworkers, particularly one named Maria, and boasts that she does “what I want, when I want” fairly frequently.  At the same time, she will also claim to be constantly worried about being fired or threatening to quit, knowing that neither one is likely to happen.

I had discussed the issue with Ana previously with my boss, Scott.  When I first discussed the issues, he stated that she was “reasonably irrational”, then tried to walk back the comment.  This was an immediate red flag, but I took his assurances that the issue would be resolved.

The next time I worked with her, she refused to answer my questions and completely ignored anything I had to say.  Scott was there that day, and so I had him come and try to mediate the situation between us.  I calmly (and yes, I said calmly) explained that we needed to work together, and she argued that she didn’t have to talk to people she didn’t like.  Scott did nothing to try to bring any peace between us and insisted that I simply stop addressing her.  Another red flag.  But he assured me that he would just not schedule us together in the future.

Not only did he schedule us together in the future, but he and his father, the owner, went on a work-related vacation in Las Vegas and left us working together alone for long amounts of time.  One of the days didn’t seem so bad, but she changed her tune immediately the next day and by the last of the days we had scheduled, she was threatening to quit again.  This would have been enough for me to quit already, but there was one incident that topped the cake.

There are two groups that deliver most of the goods to the store.  One of them, CoreMark, is the bigger of the two, and when they show, it is always very stressful.  Add onto that another shipment from the other group, as well as the gas pumps completely failing, it was not a good day already.  Given that Ana obviously has an issue handling stress, I was already feeling quite ill with her.

That night after the deliveries, a customer walks in carrying a pink tote, much like the ones used by CoreMark, which seemed to contain trash but noticeably had our store’s logo on it.  The man explained to me that he had seem this tote fall off the back of the truck and the drivers not stop to retrieve it, essentially littering.  He took the time to pick up the smashed product and brought it into our store “in case (we) were short on product.”

Not really sure what to do in this case, as I’m new, I paged for Ana to come talk to the gentleman.  I thought it was really nice for him to do that for us, given that we could have potentially been in trouble if a cop had stumbled on all of the goods in the middle of the street with our logo on them.  When I explained the situation to Ana, instead of seeing how nice the man was, she began yelling at him, screaming “Why you bring your trash in here?!”, kicking the tote towards the door.  The man, understandably, became very frustrated with her attitude and reminded her that he was doing us a favor.  She stormed away, arms waving in the air, screaming incomprehensibly in Spanish.  I turned to the guy and was speechless as he took the tote and placed it outside our dumpster.

That was bad enough.  I was simply stunned at what I had just seen, and it became clear at that moment that nothing would be done to curb her behavior, and I could no longer believe with any credibility that a concerted effort would be made not to schedule us together.  But then Ana gets on the intercom from the back and starts screaming at me for no apparent reason, none of which I could understand.  It was that moment I decided to quit.

I waited until Friday for Scott to return to work.  When I arrived, however, he was not there, and I was instead greeted by a man named Weldon, whom I had never met.  He explained who he was and that Scott would not be arriving in time to speak with me but that he would hear me out and relay the important information.  “Typical,” I thought.

Weldon and I went into the back office, where I explained from the beginning the issues I had been dealing with involving Ana.  He asked me what may have provoked her to dislike me in the manner she did, to which I replied from information I had gathered from other coworkers, she just did not like new people and had a tendency to chase them off.  Weldon agreed with that assessment and I continued into my story of the tote incident.  At that point, Scott arrived, seemingly exhausted.  As I explained the story, I noticed Scott’s eye began to twitch, which I now understand as a sign of his frustration with Ana.  At that point, I explained that I would work another two weeks, three if they really needed, and that I would be gone.

In the next couple of days, Scott asked me about my willingness to only work weekends on an open-ended basis, including my notice period.  I explained that part of the reason I gave any notice at all was simply because I needed the money.  My car seems to be in need of an engine mount, and there’s no telling when that may finally go.  I did tell him that if it would be easier for him, he could jump me around on the schedule, since it would only be temporary anyway, to which he replied that it would be a big help.  He also said that as of that day, my schedule would be unchanged until the following Monday (yesterday) when he would discuss the issue with his father and get back to me.

Well yesterday came and went, and I never heard from anyone.  So I assumed, with good reason, that my schedule would be unchanged through the rest of the work week.  When I went in today, I had discovered that all of my remaining days had been cleared off the schedule, apparently with no one to replace them.  Scott said he attempted to call me twice (apparently he had the wrong number) to say the only way he could schedule me is strictly on weekends, but offered to do it as long as I needed.  I told him, straight up, that the situation sucked, and he agreed.  I told him to let me think about it, and he asked for me to let him know by tonight.

I was already planning to leave, although I had hoped to earn a little more money before doing so.  Nevertheless, if I left today, I would essentially have twice as much money as I arrived in NorCal with, albeit without food stamps at this time.  I had already discussed my displeasure with Alameda County and my plan to try the actual city of San Francisco, but in a few weeks.  Now it seems I’m confronted with the issue: do I just do it now, or bide my time with my current job on weekends and remain somewhat tied here?

I feel very confident that I will find another job fairly quickly, given the responses I received the first time around and the number of Now Hiring signs I see.  I also have a positive reference in the area  now, which should only serve to help me.  Plus, the job is twenty miles out from the nearest gym where I can shower: the gas really doesn’t seem worth it if I’m only working two days a week.

One thing I can’t shake, however, is the fact that Scott knows I have done nothing wrong, and admits I’m a good worker.  He refuses to get rid of Ana because he can’t keep anyone, but she’s the reason he can’t keep anyone.  As a former manager, I dealt with a similar issue regarding a Mexican employee named Berto who terrorized everyone, including me and my assistant manager, but the owner refused to let me fire him because he supposedly does a better job than anyone else could.  The truth of the matter is that Berto worked partly under the table to avoid being paid overtime and it was cheaper for the owner to skirt the law than it was to hire legit people to do what he did.  I wonder if there’s a similar reason they keep Ana, or if it’s simply lousy management.

What are your thoughts?


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