Friday, July 5

Hitting a Wall

~ by Jana Richards

Aero, one of my canine colleagues.
In the last few weeks, I’ve hit a wall. And I’ve decided I’m done with the day job.

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. I’ve worked at this job for twelve years and I’ve enjoyed it and the people I’ve worked with. It’s part-time and I have the freedom and flexibility to choose my own hours, provided the work gets done. I started out doing month-end accounting, but over the years I’ve added several other duties, most of them to do with our annual conference, but some special projects as well.

For a long time now, this arrangement has suited me pretty well. Writing can keep you solitary and isolated if you let it, so getting out with congenial company was great. There are times of the year when things get pretty busy, but most of the time the job affords me time to write. I considered retiring from time to time but pushed the idea to the back burner. Until a few weeks ago I was content to let things ride.

And then we discovered that one of my colleagues has been using the company credit card for personal use. In other words, stealing.

Here’s some background. We’re a very small office, five or six people at most. So, you get to know your colleagues well. In an office this small, if one person doesn’t do their work or can’t keep up, it means the whole office suffers. Someone else has to pick up the slack. Over the last five years we’ve had some staffing changes that have been difficult, to say the least. Each time I’ve helped to pick up the slack and move forward.

Then we discovered the theft. And I discovered I don’t have the desire to step in to cover any longer.
I’m done.

Aero and his little buddy Huey are the best parts about work these days.
I considered the young woman involved in the theft my friend and I thought she felt the same way about me. She had been reconciling the credit card account for the last several months, and in my naiveté, I thought she was doing so to help me out because I’ve been so busy with the additional projects I’ve been given. To learn she had been using my friendship and trust to hide her theft has felt like a betrayal. I feel stupid and used. I’ve been both gutted and angry. She’s emailed me but I haven’t been able to bring myself to respond.

As much as I’d like to, I can’t throw in the towel immediately. We’re so short-handed it would be irresponsible to go now. I’ve told my boss my intention to leave by December 1. She wants to revisit that decision in September to see if it’s still what I want to do, but I don’t think my decision will change. It’s time to go. I’m only sorry I’m leaving with such a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you ever felt betrayed by someone you trusted and thought of as a friend? How did you handle the situation? Should I return her email?

6 comments:

  1. Oh, how painful this is. I hope that "bad taste" alleviates before the time comes. I don't know the right thing to do there. Is she apologizing or trying to pass blame? Betrayal always hurts--a lot--and there's just no getting around it. Thoughts are with you on this.

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    1. Thanks Liz. Apparently she is making nasty remarks about our boss online, telling people she was pushed out. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us wanted extra work this summer and to be embroiled in this distasteful situation.

      I'm starting to put the anger behind me. Honestly, I can't help but feel sorry for the young woman and her family because she could yet be in for a world of trouble. But that doesn't mean I can forget what she's done.

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  2. What a horrible situation to be in, Jana! I don't think you owe this person anything - even something as small as a return email. What I do think you need is time to grieve - grieve the loss of a job, the loss of security you felt in working in such a small place, and the loss of a friendship.

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    1. I never thought of it as a grieving situation, but I think you're right. This too will pass.

      Fortunately we've someone to help out on a temporary basis and she's great. I hope she'll become permanent. She's taken much of the pressure off. But now that I've decided that I want to leave in the fall, nothing is changing my mind. I'm starting to look forward to doing other things. Like write. And maybe try my hand at non-fiction. Just an idea.

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  3. This is such a hard situation. I think you're perfectly justified in ignoring her emails. I agree with Kristi about the grieving. I know when I left Walgreens in 2014, I was a bitter pup--mostly due to the working conditions I'd been through at one particular store. Coming back erased most of that bitterness, but I'm in a great store with a great manager now and that makes all the difference. Good luck and know we're here if you need more "counseling" :)

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    1. I've kind of decided I don't want to email her or see her again. I'm done. So thanks for the confirmation on that.

      I once worked at an office where the executive director was probably a sociopath. Fortunately, as a lowly accounting clerk I didn't have much to do with him. But the atmosphere in the office was always tense. You could practically feel everyone's blood pressure go down if he was out of the office for a few days. The head of an office/store sets the mood of the place.

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