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RHUer In Need of Advice: Do I Stay or Do I Go Now?



Ok RHU I come to you in the hopes that the community I have come to love through the years can offer me advice through a troubling time.

About a year ago I rejoined the retail world (higher end apparel). Up until 2 months ago I loved where I worked. My co-workers were awesome, my boss (B) was great, my DM was one of the most lovely persons I had ever the pleasure to meet. Then it all came crashing down when The Harpy Bitch Queen from Hell returned (HQ). Apparently long before my time and my amazing DM oversaw my store, HQ had been the DM previously, and oh my how the stories of the terrible atrocities set upon the staff haunted me in my sleep. One story summed HQ up nicely - Once they bullied a female customer into purchasing nearly $500 in merchandise because HQ wouldn't stop chasing her around the store badgering them about all the new products in. The following day that same customer came back to return all the merchandise complaining she had to buy just to get HQ off her case. Naturally when we all found out about the return of HQ, the older staff - B included - were not happy. Morale plummeted and anxiety skyrocketed as suddenly we were overwhelmed with e-mails demanding every minute detail of our workday. If we so much put a toe outside of plan we better damn well have a reason and a plan of action the following day to never let it happen again. HQ loves to blame people for mistakes - they want a scapegoat to pin a bad day on. Where my previous DM was so encouraging, HQ will degrade and humiliate you. I swear it's like a switch flipped in our store because overnight it the whole thing went to shit.

HQ's store visit was the most uncomfortable, blood pressure raising, demoralizing experience I've ever had to be a part of - and believe me the DM's at Gamestop were fucking terrible. HQ belittled and insulted B to their face in my presence. HQ talked down to me like I was a drooling toddler and then made jabs at my personal life when asking me questions about myself. HQ openly mocked a fellow employee about their desire to pursue higher education. Never before in all my years of retail did I feel like a trained circus monkey being whipped to perform for the master. I can only guess that HQ's ability to grind employees into submission is the only reason HQ has held their job this long because "they get results!" (said to me by another store manager). However, my store has been in the red for weeks and honestly I don't think the few remaining people of my once great team have any fucks left to give. (Although I learned today HQ needs to replace 4 store managers in our district now. Coincidence?)
So here stems my problem - I'm pretty much the only key-holder remaining at my work so everything falls to me. B's known for months we needed to hire some new people and I don't think they've held a single interview yet. It seems that B is just waiting for the perfect candidate to just fall from the sky (That's pretty much how I landed my job, 2 key-holders were leaving literally 2 weeks from the day I decided to show up and shop). I really do believe B is looking at those doors too thinking of a way to escape. This isn't the same person that hired me a year ago. It's so sad, and I think B is just done but in their hesitance to hire someone I'm the one that suffers. I'll never get a Saturday or Sunday (and fucking forget an entire weekend!) off as long as this continues, which sucks since I barely get to see my husband during the regular work week.
I am so unhappy at work that every day I just loathe going, and I have zero drive to really do anything besides the bare minimum. What I really want to do is go back to school and go into the medical field (not nursing, think more recovery). I was an excellent student in high school and college and I think it would be a great change for me. My hubs supports my decision and he's even offered to pick up a second job so I can quit and just focus on my studies (I'd never let him do that btw, poor guy works 50-60 hours a week already). The problem with that is my job really helps pay the bills and we've been able to pay down some debt. We still have a ways to go and if I stopped working AND go to school we'd have to really do some serious budgeting and no more real saving or debt reduction.
What would you do if you were me RHU community? Do I give the double barrels to HQ - and sadly in turn my boss (whom I do really like but am really frustrated with) and just take care of me? Do I swallow my pride, think to myself that it isn't as bad as some people have it, you've played this song and dance before, yadda yadda and juggle work and school? I'd say I need a vacation to go clear my head, but that'd easily be more than a month away if we hired someone asap.



Corporate will suck the life out of you, use you up, and toss you in the discard pile. Start planing a change before you're burnt out and have to make a change anyway.

Misty Meanor

Better start planning now.


It's time to start looking. Put out feelers for other jobs. See if you can find them and line one up.

If that fails, look into temp agencies in your area. The jobs will probably last between days and a month or two, and yes, a small percentage of your pay will go to the agency, but it will still be income, and being readily available to jump from one temp job to another will keep a fairly steady flow coming your way. From what I can glean, tightening the belt is a little is easier for you than quitting outright and dumping it all on hubby. And honestly, what you're dealing with is pure poison. Have your contingency plan on hand before you turn on HQ.

Also, Document, document, document. It doesn't matter whether you carry around a notepad and pen all day long and write down HQ's incessant insults, or whether you sum them up at the end of the day. Write! Them! Down! If you have a litany of ways that the bitch is making your workplace a hostile environment, it becomes a weapon that you can hand over to your boss and say "This is what she does on a daily basis. We can discuss how you will be handling my Hostile Work Environment and HQ's Harassment if you like." (Note capital letters involved; these are your weapon words, and they usually scare the crap out of upper management.)

If things do not improve, leave and do not look back. But give them copies (COPIES! Keep the originals!) of the documented harassment and give the boss a chance to fix it. Make it clear that you are serious, and will not tolerate this treatment.


Get ready to pull the chute on this job. It's not worth your sanity, and it sure as hell isn't worth your marriage. When you do get to put in your notice, be sure to get a message sent to whomever HQ answers to about WHY you wanted out. With specifics. Document harassment and maybe even note the "results" in terms they'll understand... sales dropping and the volume of employees no longer wishing to be there.


I have had good jobs and bad jobs, worked for tiny personal business owners and big chain corporations. My experience with that last is even from a keyholder/assistant manager position you're just a grunt with no hope of changing the grander scheme of things. If this horrific higher-up has been there a while, then the company either encourages people like them for whatever reason, or they don't care/have written off his style as acceptable even if it brings some disadvantages. It is possible they are aware of the drawbacks of their work, and therefore pawn them off where they feel those effects are an acceptable loss.

In any case, the why of this person's continuing to be allowed to bully grunts and destroy morale is irrelevant. They are turning your workplace into a living hell, and there's nothing you can do to change that, so you need to ditch your company loyalty and look after yourself. You can do so with an apology and a friendly smile for any coworkers/lower manager you genuinely like, but you cannot STAY for their sake, because that's really not doing either of you any favors in the long run.

Going back to school is a good dream, but if that's not a realistic option, then look for some kind of compromise, maybe another job with a more flexible schedule that allows some classes on the side. Or if you feel like the time is right, then do go for it and chase higher pursuits. Whatever you do, you need to escape what is clearly a toxic situation. I have fled toxic jobs before, sometimes with something else wisely lined up, other times without and I floundered for a new job for a while, but either way I found myself able to be a better, healthier person once I was free, and that had an effect on my partner as well. Even when I had to scramble for more work, she was grateful to see the stress lifted off both of us from the workplace that had been poisoning my life.

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