In the midst of a deep internal struggle to try to figure out whether I really want to try to finish out my last few days of work, I reached out to a friend for some conversant advice, and — I guess predictably — got the typical “you’ll feel better being the better person.”
Here’s the deal.
No, I won’t. Two reasons: One, I am already the better person. Two, I have spent two and a half years suffering from trying to “feel better being the better person.” I will not feel better. I will feel worse.
My boss is a liar. He is a coward. He is a manipulator. He is selfish. He is dishonest. He lacks integrity. I’m already better than him on my worst day. But it’s more than that. It’s the food handling station still not being cleaned properly after two and a half years. It’s the times I’ve tried to improve a bad situation or a failure and I’ve been told they’d coach the person or were “working on it.” Hell, when one of my bosses complained after I told him that I was leaving that “it’s always the good ones who leave,” I told him that if they did something when the good ones complained about the bad ones, we wouldn’t leave. “It’s a process,” he said, and walked away.
I know it’s a process. I used to be a manager who specifically dealt with the kind of bullshit I complain to my managers about every day. I know about the documentation “process.” I put process in quotes here because it’s only a process if you fucking start it and not telling the person they’re doing shit wrong isn’t starting the fucking process. Nobody is starting a process. Nobody is doing anything until midyear reviews when it’s a handwave before they tell you if you got a raise or something. There’s no fucking process. Nothing is getting done. The good people are getting overburdened. The bad people are rewarded (sometimes with dramatically higher pay) for either doing shit or actually making good people work harder. This is not a fucking process. This is laziness and cowardice and lack of communication.
I should not get told that I should try to “care less.” I should not hear my boss telling one of the new kids to leave bad produce on the shelf because “soon people will be so desperate they’ll buy anything” over the holidays. I should not be asked what I’m working on when I throw back some water real quick in the break room while one open door away three coworkers are giggling over videos on someone’s phone instead of ordering product like they’re supposed to. I should not tell a manager that I won’t be able to finish a task because they cut my time allowed and hear back “whatever.” I shouldn’t have to lower my standards and compromise my integrity to keep a job.
I have been the better person every work day for over two years. I have cared. I have done my job well. Even when I am so furious that I give no fucks, I still do my tasks right, and treat my customers with integrity. Calling them now and telling them that I won’t be back tomorrow, or Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, does not make me the worse person. It doesn’t make me anything but strong enough to finally prioritize my health and personal value over their attempts to tear my integrity to shreds.
I also won’t “feel better” if I try to drag myself through this. I am bitter squared. There is no ignoring my anger and resentment at this point. I have been abused and mistreated by this management team and swallowing myself for four more days isn’t going to give me a sense of relief at the end. It’s going to leave me burning with more bitterness and rage that no matter how I’m treated, I’m forced to bow to the corporate American bullshit that means that leaving without two weeks’ notice makes you a poor employee and unemployable. It’s going to leave me ashamed that the people who dehumanize me keep winning. It’s going to leave me with that sick feeling that I’ve had when my consent has been dismissed and someone has gone ahead anyway. I am not a thing. I am a person. I have been a person this whole time. I have been the better person. My actions now do not defeat the sum of my efforts during my employment. In my heart, I have no question of what I want to or should do. Fear holds me back.