I'm starting this blog at approximately 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 3rd. In ten hours, my boss will walk in and discover that I've quit my job. I will refrain from using names, but I would like to tell the story of why I've become so miserable working at that place, and why I've finally decided that it's time to leave.
This is how he's going to find out.
Never before have I been treated so poorly by an employer, especially considering how loyal and dedicated I was to this job. If I had made it to late July, it would mark four years that I had spent with the company. In the nearly four years I spent there, I was never late (as a matter of fact, on most nights, I was at least a half hour early), I didn't call off, I showed up every day, did my job, and left. I was hired without filling out an application, was never given an employee handbook, and was never given any sort of training on my job. I was given a call on a Friday afternoon, told to come pick up the key to the front door later that day, and show up on Monday. Prior to being hired, I was a paying member who had just signed a new 3-year contract. I signed the contract in April 2008, was hired in July, and my membership was not frozen. It wasn't until last April that I was able to workout at the gym I worked at without paying for it.
At first, everything was awesome. This was my first full-time job, so at the time $9.50 per hour seemed like a gold mine. I didn't have a car payment, I didn't have a fancy cell phone, so my expenses were minimal, and I felt great, almost all of that money was for me to spend any way I wanted. Quickly, however, things changed. I began to realize just how vindictive and horrible my co-workers were. There were exceptions, of course. I did get along with some people over the years, but for the most part, I didn't speak to the people I worked with unless they spoke to me. Over the first few weeks, my boss would show me a few things just so I knew what all my duties were, and that was fine, I liked this job and I wanted to make sure I kept it. Sure, I was working 12-8 a.m., but it was quiet, I worked alone, I could take breaks when I wanted to, so this was my kind of job. I would just show up, turn on my iPod, and get to work.
After those first few weeks, however, my boss started being much more hateful when pointing things out, saying things like "This place looks like s***," "You're not worth the money we pay you," and "You're easily replaceable." So, for the last 3 years and 9 months, I've been living in fear of losing my job. Not having job security is a terrible way to live. Better not buy too many groceries, I may not have a job on Monday. I shouldn't fill up my tank completely, my boss might find some insignificant thing and fire me for it. That's how I've lived for over 3 years.
Nobody enforced the "Pick up your weights" rule, so this was another one of my duties.
Over the course of my employment, there were several times, sometimes month-long stretches or more, where I didn't even know who my boss was. People would be fired and re-hired so quickly that I didn't even know that they had been fired to begin with. If you were a new salesperson, good luck keeping your job. The company was so obsessed with sales that one bad week could result in termination. Even though I didn't do any sales, I know this is true because there have been at least 20 different people working the shift before me. In a two-week time span, I had three different people working that shift because one had been fired and the other had quit. I should have taken that approach long ago.
I would show up and have notes from co-workers (not even bosses, just salespeople) telling me how bad I was at my job. I had one co-worker who would always chew sunflower seeds, and instead of throwing away the shells, he would simply sweep them off the desk onto the ground. Guess who would get in trouble if it wasn't cleaned up? No, I'm not kidding. Let me also mention that I didn't work on weekends. My weekend would officially start at 8 a.m. on Friday morning, and I would show up to start the new week on Monday at midnight. How much cleaning was done by the rest of the staff during this time? None. Absolutely none. They didn't even empty their own trash cans. I show up on Monday and there's trash stacked almost a foot above the top of the can. I once showed up on a Friday evening to get in a quick workout and the men's locker room was flooded. When I showed up on Monday, it was still flooded. They didn't even bother to take the time to put up a "caution" sign. I would show up on a Monday with a note telling me the place was disgusting, with them not taking into account that I hadn't been there in two days.
About a year into my tenure, I was told that I was going to be put on salary. I was told that my pay would be increased, but that's what my pay would be from now on. Let it be noted that my pay was never increased, I stayed at the same pay rate as always. As a matter of fact, my checks were smaller because I was no longer receiving overtime pay. When I complained to my boss, he insisted that I was making more money. Well, I'm the one that deposits the checks every two weeks, so I'm pretty sure I'm not, jerk.
Every year, I would take one week off in the Summer for vacation. This, of course, was not paid time off. The first time I did it, my brother filled in for me. When I returned home from my trip, he informed me that a co-worker had told him that my bosses would deliberately throw trash around the gym just to see if I picked it up. Seriously? You're complaining about the place being dirty, but you're the ones making it that way? I would go through stretches where things were cool and nobody would be complaining, but after about a month of silence, I would have a new manager that wanted to make a difference in the company and would get on me. One even went as far as to ask me to make a log of everything I did in a night.
I'd now like to talk about how much I was paid/given as opposed to what a recent manager was paid/given. In one week, I earned $300 after taxes (I'll come back to this) and received no insurance or benefits of any kind, worked the graveyard shift, and did the most physical work. My manager, who had been fired and re-hired several times (for stealing money from members), earned $900 after taxes (three times what I made), the company paid for her rent, paid for her to drive a rental car, and the most physical work they did in a day was pick up a phone to call me and complain about something.
In the past 4 years, I've received: 0 pay raises, 0 paid vacation days, no insurance or benefits (they weren't even offered to me), was deliberately taken to the women's side of the gym and yelled at for 45 minutes with the sole purpose of trying to embarrass me, and was treated like I wasn't a real employee by nearly everyone I worked with. After doing some research into the U.S. Department of Labor, unless I'm missing something, I've been being illegally underpaid for almost three years now. I could be wrong of course, but on the Department of Labor's website, it states that salaried employees must be paid a minimum of $455 a week, I made $375. Also, I am supposed to have 2 full-time employees working directly beneath me, I had none. Lastly, I'm supposed to be involved in all company decision making, and don't even ask me if I was or not, because you know I wasn't. So if anyone out there knows a good lawyer that deals with cases like this, let me know, I would love to know if I have a case or not.
Fight the power!
In the last year, especially that last couple months, I've basically zoned out. I feel like Peter Gibbons from Office Space. In a given day, I do maybe two hours of real, honest work. The rest is spent either working out or doing homework...or writing blogs like this one. So, in conclusion, good riddance to Premier Fitness. I'm at a place financially where I can afford to leave, and it's very liberating. To those people I've become friends with over the years: thank you for being awesome. You know who you are.
Hey, I paid for this, I can take some if I want. What are you? The cake police?