View Full Version : The Spectacular Implosion of My Workplace...(not a pretty sight) Part 1

2-19-12, 11:28pm
I have alluded in previous posts about the insanely dysfunctional workplace I've been at for the last 2.5 years, always wishing that I had the energy and were withal to really detail it here all along. I'm going to attempt a brief synopsis by using a timeline:

Fall 2010: store general manager enters negotiations to purchase store from 80 year old owner who has no heirs. It would have been a perfect transition as we all liked and respected the store manager and knew he would make this 50 year old business a totally awesome place.

Winter 2010: negotiations drag on and on, store owner simply cannot let go of his "baby" even though he has the perfect way to transition out of the business

Spring 2011: store general manager (GM) finally in disgust, pulls away from the potential deal and opens a different store of his own in a different town. GM gave three months notice. 80 year old store owner does not make any move to hire a new GM who actually knows how to run the place. He insists that he will be able to do the job as well or better than departing GM (he had been in semi-retirement for the last 7 years, while GM has run the place and turned it profitable by modernizing, going on the web, etc). Owner barely knows how to work on a computer at this point, and is showing what we employees think are early signs of dementia.

May 2011: GM departs, owner does not promote the next obvious choice (senior sales person with floor manager duties) to replace him. Floor manager (FM) is a no holds barred, tell it like it is type of guy and he and the owner are constantly fighting. Did I mention 80 year old owner is THE most stubborn, selfish, egotistical, self-angrandizing (sp?) SOB? The fights intensify. I decide then and there that I would never accept a promotion in that place because I am not that much of a masochist. I prefer to remain in sales and that way I am protected from a lot of BS by FM.

June 2011: 80 year old owner gets a pretty bad case of the shingles and is pretty sick. He has no plans or provisions in place for anyone else to make important decisions. Things limp along and every possible thing that could go wrong does. The roof leaks badly while it is being repaired. The guy running the repair shop for the last 35 years gets in a bad car accident and cannot work any longer. The owner tries to take over the duties in the repair shop (while sick with the shingles) with potentially disasterous results concerning customer's property.

August 2011: two really cool new repair guys come in and start getting the repair shop up and running and for awhile it seems like things could possibly get better.

Fall into Winter 2011: sales slow down drastically going into X-mas. A part-time salesperson gets laid off and my schedule gets cut right before Thanksgiving to just below 30hours per week. Signs of strain are showing. We are constantly being berated for not selling enough. Owner has NO idea what he is doing. The ordering gets all messed up, the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing, there is no cross-training. Oh yeah, and then the office manager walks out. The office and paperwork are in complete disaray. Customers are getting angry at things promised but not done. Owner either lies or pulls the sympathy card, which doesn't always work. Owner causes a terrible scene inside store with a customer. The store is crowded with people during this. I am completely mortified to the point of tears, it is so embarrassing. Owner's wife refuses to step in (she doesn't have any ownership stake in the store) because she can't make him listen to her and basically has given up and is willing to let him run it into the ground and ruin his 50 year reputation (he won't listen to his lawyers or accountants either). The signs of dementia are getting worse but he absolutely refuses to listen to anyone. He operates in a fantasy world and often stops dead in his tracks in complete confusion. We employees try to bravely soldier on, trying to put a happy spin on things. We run out of so much stuff leading into X-mas that when it finally got busy a week before, it looked like we were going out of business. The reason we ran out of stuff is that owner wouldn't let the buyer make orders and the owner was apparently paying payroll out of his own pocket. Owner also said he might close the store after X-mas in the town on-line paper, but not to us employees. We are kept in the dark about a lot of things and the owner gets angry if we ask.

After the new year started, I've been making a concerted effort to update my resume and work with a career counselor because the stress and uncertainty of the last 8 months has been getting unbearable and I knew I had to start making my move and stop being complacent. There is absolutely no future in this job, period.

Now that your interest is piqued, I am going to leave this dangling for Part 2, which I will fill in tomorrow, as I am tired of typing this out!

2-20-12, 12:28am
I've got no good advice to offer, but I really feel for you. What a horrible, stressful work situation! Been there and done that! :(

2-20-12, 6:50am
I know I wouldn't have coped with that type of working environment - so good for you for sticking it so long. I'd have been out the door after the first GM left!

2-20-12, 6:53am
What a cliffhanger!
I can't wait for part 2 and hope that you get out safe.

2-20-12, 8:15am
What chrisgermany said....I hope this ends with a great new job for you. And if it isn't there yet, that THAT ending (or beginning) is in the works....what a sad, sad story, for so many people, starting with your old GM and right on to your loyal customers.

2-20-12, 8:41am
I'd be sick to my stomach. From a simple relationship perspective I give the wife three stars for staying out of the whole thing (so far).

2-20-12, 9:19am
Monday A.M.

Thanks for hanging in and reading Part 1; I'm going to have to do Part 2 later, as I need to spend all day at the MichiganWorks! computer labs to get my resumes/cover letters/on-line apps up and running. I actually have the next two days off.

I am feeling sick to my stomach from the stress of what has happened in the last four days (I know, big teaser here). I have lost 6 lbs. despite making myself eat. It reminds me exactly of how I felt when my daughter was deep in her addiction; I lived with that constant, awful weird adrenaline feeling of not being able to take a deep breath despite intense efforts to meditate and find a "zen" space, bad insomnia,, thoughts constantly churning...I have a (usually) mild case of Bi-Polar 2 which only really crops up at times like this when I can't sleep and my head starts spinning. Then I do all the wrong things, like drink too much coffee and smoke cigs in order to cope with the situation. Knowing all these things about myself is precisely why I refused to take on any managerial role at this store way back in May. I had learned over the course of the past year how to take care of myself better, and as my daughter got better, I did too. I cannot function for very long in this kind of high-stress environment. I thank god that I am a frugal person and despite having only worked in retail, I have a nice emergency cushion of cash saved up, and I am also expecting a tidy sum of tax refund money.

Anyway, I have a gazillion things I need to do today and really have to focus on getting them done. I must remind myself to make sure I eat breakfast (nothing sounds good but I'll try to choke down something). It is nice and sunny here today so I will make sure I get a long brisk walk in after I go to the computer lab.

Bye for now.

2-20-12, 10:07am
Focus on escape, SiouzQ. Your health and wellbeing are in danger here, and if you don't do something soon, your tidy emergency cushion may be going to pay for medical bills, and you'll REALLY be stuck there.

imho nothing is worth this. Nothing. Put in your notice -- it will be so freeing.

Just my humble suggestion, from someone who HAS let toxic environments hurt her, and who still feels the effects many years later.

2-20-12, 7:35pm
imho nothing is worth this. Nothing. Put in your notice -- it will be so freeing.

Just my humble suggestion, from someone who HAS let toxic environments hurt her, and who still feels the effects many years later.

From sad experience, I have to agree. Took me about six years, including a long stretch unemployed, to recover from a toxic (both mentally and chemically) workplace I was in some years ago.

2-20-12, 9:59pm
I couldn't agree more with the other posters who advised you to escape. One thing I am learning is that life is too short to spend it on being miserable.....Focus on getting out of there and claiming your life back from this horrific situation.....Rob PS Sending good thoughts and good wishes out your way!

2-20-12, 11:15pm
Thank you Rob, and everyone. You are absolutely right! I am tired of this crap renting space in my brain every waking moment lately. It is time to stop and get on with my life.