I’ve worked in retail for 10+ years. The majority of my employers have promoted me within the first 3 months of my employment. I always get good reviews on my evaluations and my assessments. I’m often commended on my work ethic, customer service, and people skills. Every company is the same format, so once I figure out what the terminology is for a particular brand, it’s fairly simple to adapt to be the employee they need.
I recently left my job to pursue more Zumba and a costuming business. I have technically been “unemployed” for a few months and now, due to being “financially unsuccessful,” I’m reluctantly rejoining the workforce. I say reluctantly because of everything I have experienced working for corporations and different brands.
You see, every company I’ve worked for has loved me and promoted me until they stop and look at who I am. What they see at first is a smart and hardworking man, someone older than the 18-22 year olds they tend to hire. Someone who listens, absorbs, and applies their policies and practices. Then they give me more responsibility, they are always impressed how quickly I pick up on things like scheduling, inventory, and payroll. They are less impressed when they look closer and see that I am an advocate for employees. I learn the company policies and procedures and they love that until I turn the critical eyes towards them.
What companies truly want is someone to recite a script of equality and acceptance in the workplace, but they don’t want someone who tries to uphold that standard.
Living in Lufkin, there are so many employers who choose to run things differently than the company standard because we are so far from the district managers that our stores rarely get visits. When visits do happen, everyone is prepped on what to do and say for that short period of time.
I don’t want to be a part of that system any longer. It kills me inside to hear the way other managers talk about their employees and to see the way they treat them is even more terrible. I make mistakes myself, I don’t always handle situations in the best way, but I always strive to grow and get better. That is not encouraged behavior in my experience.
I say all of this because I have made a choice to not stand for this anymore. I am direct and open about my experiences and I refuse to go on lying for the sake of finding a job. Since I have been unemployed for so long and I’ve had to move back with my parents, I am labeled a lazy millennial. People are now telling me that I am entitled and whiny. I’ve been called a victim and accused of wanting everything without working for it, au contraire my friends.
You have to stop belittling my generation for wanting more. We will work hard, we do want to be successful in what we do. But not on your terms, not at your price, and certainly not by your measure of success.