“[…] I’m happy you put your foot down for your emotional and mental benefit. I wish I wasn’t such a doormat sometimes!”
It really got me thinking, though. Truth be told, I may have put my foot down about Thanksgiving and my Mother-in-Law’s demand that the Holiday Party torch be tossed to my Husband and I, or wants be damned… But there was something much bigger in my life that I hadn’t put my foot down about yet: My job.
When I took the job with my Mother, it was because she genuinely needed my help in getting the place running again after the severe neglect of the previous General Manager. I have since left twice in these 5 months- both times to work on my Book, The Sisters Grimmoire. At that time my book was more important to me for several reasons; it was an agreement that I entered in to in January of this year (far before my agreement with my Mother), and had a clearly outlined deadline for completion- which my job was interfering with. It was also my first major publication, as well as the first ever publication of my co-author, a woman who is a good friend of mine. I did not want to mess that up on any front and so it took precedence to helping my Mother.
Coming back the second time, though, was because of our Refrigerator. My Husband and I are not bad off financially. We do not have a savings account, but we do not live paycheck to paycheck, either. We are much better off financially than most young adults of our age group, and for that we are blessed and grateful. The reason I came back, though, was because- after having to make an emergency purchase of a Refrigerator on rent to own- I wanted to pay the Refrigerator off quicker and easier in order to free up money again so that my Husband and I could start a savings finally.
After working there the first and second times, though, I knew my limitations. I knew that I could only work so many hours, so many times a week before my Chronic Fatigue set in again and my mental health started spiraling; I cannot, in all truth, handle anything more than 10 hours a week, I knew this, and I said something about it: I asked for a weekend job- something that would provide short hours 2 to 3 times a week. It would solve my need to help pay the fridge off faster, not be too overwhelming for me to handle, and get me out of the house more often.
It seems like a win-win-win, right? Unfortunately that is not what I received.
People think that working for family is easier than working for strangers. That may be true in some cases, but those people genuinely do not have a Mother (or Father) like I do. I am pushed harder and expected to know more than most people- and I am expected to do more regardless of my mental, emotional, and physical problems (which I have to admit are usually ignored or treated lighter than they should be).
She started me out on a highly inconsistent schedule or around 20 hours a week. For a while she made an effort to give my Husband and I days off together, but after a while she stopped caring. My hours increased, and then I was asked to become a Lead- a position that came with only a 50 cent pay raise, and meant closing 5 days a week. Due to it being my Mother, I had a hard time saying no to her despite my Husband voicing reasonable worries about my ability to handle it.
For a little while, I genuinely could handle it and I was doing well. But then within a few weeks I was sick with an Upper Respiratory infection that left me out of work for a week. After that, everything started crashing. My Chronic Fatigue kicked in to overdrive, I was working for a week straight here and there- and babysitting a coworker’s kid on the days two of my most labor intensive shifts every week. My mental health started declining, my housework suffered, I never got the opportunity to see my Husband- who was losing hours at his own job in an effort to get home in time to ensure that I did not have to walk to work- and more.
To a lot of people, these seem like trivial reasons to quit a job. I was made well aware of this by coworkers who constantly cracked jokes about how much time I wanted to spend with my Husband (and how I’d change my mind about that later as I got older), among other things. People- in not so plain terms- told me that my priorities were off, and that I should be thankful to have a job at all in today’s market. When I would tell them that we did not need the money and could support ourselves fine without my working, I was given sarcastic remarks about how “that must be nice” or how “that would change once we had children”.
Everything from my ability to handle my job responsibilities, to my relationships with my coworkers turned in to a mess quicker than I could blink. And yet I was still afraid to say no to the position because- at 25 years old- I am afraid of disappointing my Mother; I am afraid of angering her; I am afraid of confronting her; I am afraid of saying no to her.
Ultimately, though, I could not handle it. I needed to quit my job because with this realization there was no way that I could conceivably continue working there. Based on my experiences working there the last few times with her, I do not genuinely believe that I could have gotten the schedule I needed- and it would have been unfair to continue acting as if I could handle it, wasting valuable time that they could have been using to train someone who actually could.
And really, I have accomplished the goal I set out to accomplish: We have paid the Refrigerator down by half already, and should pay it off within the next few months. I have no reason to feel guilty about leaving my job.
Reading Elsie’s comment gave me the strength I needed to quit working for her; to quit being a doormat. My Husband has commented on the marked improvement in my Mental Health since I did so- and today I even managed to do the mound of laundry that hasn’t been washed in two months.