It’s My Life, and I’m Taking Over Now

Well I haven’t written anything on my blog in quite some time and that’s not exactly how I had hoped this would go, but oh well.  Life happens.  Like when you go on vacation and are so anxious to transmit back home all the wonderful things that are happening in an exciting travel blog! But the internet reception is spotty on the computer and non existent on the phone.  So that opportunity passed by, but hopefully I can post some pictures and summarize some events from my vacation in the next week or so.  This one, also a timely topic, hopefully hasn’t passed too far into the “who cares anymore.”    

In the meantime, I have done a little life re-arrangement that I feel could use some explanation or at least closure.  After 15 years of being a Wal*Mart employee….. I quit.  A lot of people pass it off as being an easy decision, long overdue or just plain no big deal.  But in reality, when you break it down, I have spent just under half of my life there.  I certainly wouldn’t refer it to a second home, but as a regular location in my life routine it became familiar and comfortable, part of what I do and would be a void when it wasn’t there anymore.    

Life at Wal*Mart hasn’t always been good and currently it was at a really really low point.  Even before my approved leave of absence this summer, I had had more than what I could tolerate of the store and everything associated with it.  I felt under appreciated, used, fearful of my job, and did not put forth the effort capable from the type of employee that I knew I was.  I became more easily agitated with less patience for “little things.” I had an expectation of how things should go and this wasn’t happening.  I would come home from work angry and feeling sick every week.  I would dread going to Wal*mart and want to pop anyone in the face who said, “Thank God it’s Friday; I’m so ready for the weekend!”  I’ve never had that feeling of TGIF because ever since I was 18 years old I have spent 95% of my weekends working at Wal*Mart.  (Someone pointed out that I couldn’t have spent EVERY weekend at Wal*mart since I was out of town for my internship for 3 months so I feel the need to clarify). 

People assumed that once I graduated college that it would be an automatic that I would leave Wal*mart, as if it were paying my bills.  At 16 hours a week, it wasn’t paying any bills except maybe gas for the truck.  Graduation did play a big part in my decision.  Finally, I didn’t have to stress about homework deadlines or run to the library after work til all hours of the night to work on projects.  I felt a sort of freedom and I wanted to break away for good, but next I picked up another internship at the Braille Library doing transcription work.  That didn’t go as well as I had planned.  I didn’t like to feel that I was failing at something, but the truth is, I was.  It was during this time, that I realized I didn’t want to go back to Wal*mart and began tossing around the idea of quitting.  I wanted to start doing what I wanted to do.  This was further confirmed during my most awesome vacation. 

Despite all my gripes and irritation, I was still unsure up to the point of where even when I was dialing the phone to call the personnel office, whether I was making the right decision.  I wasn’t trying to be talked out of it, but I wanted one more chance to run it past someone who might be able to change my mind.  That didn’t happen though.  Everything was taken care of over the phone.  I was sitting at my desk at my full time job and after sending three text messages regarding what I had done.  I wanted to cry and almost started until co-workers started to trickle into my work space with other things to do besides sit at my desk and cry.  Several times, thinking about it, I would tear up.

Two days later when my mom came home from work she told me something that really made me cry.  She had asked my department manager if he was aware that I wasn’t coming back.  He said he knew, and made some very kind remarks.  I strived for and I felt I had something to prove in my department.  So to hear that from my manager meant so much.  I cried and cried and cried (alone in bed where no one could see) that night (and that wasn’t even enough!) because in my mind, I wasn’t working for Wal*Mart- I was working for him and that’s all that mattered.

I started to do some deep thinking because I knew it had to be more than just me being an emotional girl, and I feared that if I was that upset, I probably didn’t make the right choice.  I tried talking it out so much and couldn’t really put into words how I felt.  I came up with something that I feel could be possible explanation.  It’s not easy to self-analyze yourself, (but it sure is cheaper).  Friends and co-workers would say that I quit because of the lack of help in the store and the extra pressure associated with it.  I think if I had been confiding in Frasier Crane instead of a friend and co-woker, this is the resolution we would have come to.  To make it easier, I’ve written it up as a dialogue.

Frasier: Why do you think it bothers you so much that you quit your job?

M.E.: The store has changed so much and wasn’t being run like it used to.  They don’t schedule enough people to help customers and stock shelves.  All the work is heaped on a few people.   But despite that, I won’t deny that I liked what I did at work.  The people and things I was surrounded with.

Frasier: Why do you mention the “things” you were around?  Do you consider yourself a material person?

M.E.: No, I mean I really liked the department I was in.

Frasier: Why did you like it or what was it about it that you liked so much?

M.E.: It was mainly camping and hunting and outdoor accessories.

Frasier: I see.  So you are a lover of the outdoors, much like my dad

M.E.: Yea and my dad too.  He loved hunting and fishing. 

Frasier: So naturally, because your dad did, you do as well?

M.E.: I guess so. 

Frasier: Do you do a lot of hunting and fishing yourself?

M.E.: Not as much as I’d like to.  I’m always working weekends so I don’t get the chance to.  I try to go camping at least once a year.

Frasier: Did you and your dad spend a lot of time doing those things during your childhood?

M.E.: We would go fishing when I was little or go up to my grandpa’s cabin.  I miss that.  Once my parents divorced I started working two jobs….. three sometimes when I was with the Brewers.  And then I also started going to school as well so there wasn’t much time for any recreation or anything really.  I’ve tried, but I get so busy.

Frasier:  So to compensate for that you surrounded yourself with the things that brought back those memories to you.  For instance a fishing lure or compass, you could hold that item and be transported back to happier times. 

M.E.: I never thought about it that way.

Frasier:  Let me tell you what I think.  I think the reason that you are having trouble separating from Wal*Mart now is because it brings to the surface feelings of your father being absent from your life.  So you filled that void with your job at Wal*Mart and now that is also being taken away, albeit by your choice.  In a way it’s almost like going through another divorce.  I know it sounds strange to think you are divorcing department store merchandise, but maybe a better analogy would be a person on a diet giving up comfort food.  Only your comfort food was sporting goods equipment.

M.E.: Do you really think that’s it?

Frasier: I do.  I’m sure there are other mitigating factors involved such as maybe not seeing as many as your friends as before.  I think as time goes on, and you find there is so much more out there waiting for you to do, your separation will become easier for you.

M.E.: Thanks, Frasier.

Frasier: You’re welcome. 

I have only been back to Wal*Mart 2 maybe 3 times since then.  I feel too embarrassed to go back inside.  I don’t want to see anyone because I feel uncomfortable. It’s not like I was fired; I quit.  I feel bad because I did sort of do it the coward’s way by not facing management and just calling in my resignation over the phone.  I’ve also angered and hurt some co-workers.   I haven’t seen Dave since I left and I know he’s mad at me.  There are a lot of people I’ll miss there. 

There is an up side to this story, but it will have to be saved for a future posting.  “What I Am Doing to Occupy My Free Time on the Weekends”  Stay Tuned….

5 thoughts on “It’s My Life, and I’m Taking Over Now

  1. Hats off to you Maggie for taking control of your life. Decisions are always hard, but at least you took a hold of the reins and stepped FORWARD. BTW… you are a very talented writer, seriously! I would very much enjoy reading you more here.


  2. Life is all about making decisions that take us where we want to go. You’ve closed a chapter in your life and now a new one is about to open. It’s an exciting time . . . embrace it and enjoy the ride. 🙂


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