Tonight was my last night working at the restaurant.
It was a very abrupt ending to a job I really loved, with people I love, and customers I love. I can't really believe it's over, actually.
But oh baby, is it over.
It is important to note that this restaurant is awesome. The food is great. The staff is amazing. So if you know me "in real life" and know where I work, please do not let this color your view of the place. The staff deserve your continued patronage. That said, I am going to tell you exactly what happened.
Because I know you love details.
Honestly, I am almost embarrassed to even say what happened. Almost. But not quite. Even though people will be quick to say I am over-reacting, I still refuse to be That Girl who takes it with a smile. My embarrassment is so fucking textbook that even THAT embarrasses me. I am embarrassed about being embarrassed. Good Lord. Let's say embarrassed one more time. There - now it doesn't even make sense as a word anymore. Moving on.
The reason I left is because my employer spoke to me in a way that was just not acceptable. It was, without getting overly dramatic, abusive. Yesterday, during my shift, the owner told me to "shut the fuck up".
He told me to shut the fuck up. HE told ME to shut the fuck up.
I know, I didn't really know how to respond either. There is a lot of backstory, and restaurants are pretty raunchy places so it's not unusual for poeple to use the word "fuck" or yell at someone. And I am sure if asked, he would have many reasons/excuses/justifications for what he said, the first of which would be "Well, I said it because she needs to shut the fuck up. And if she doesn't like it she can get the fuck out."
In the end, what I decided was that none of his explanations mattered. It didn't matter if he was stressed (he is), or if I was being loud or out of line (I wasn't), or if he meant it to be funny (he didn't and it wasn't). It's just not okay to tell your employee to shut the fuck up, especially in the middle of your restaurant during business hours while people are eating.
You know, I think I can take that further. It is not okay to tell ANYONE to shut the fuck up in anger. There is joking, there is kidding around, there are people who swear like sailors all day every day (like myself). I am not afraid of the word fuck. At all. I am not afraid to tell someone to shut up, or indignant at being told to shut up. People tell me to shut up ALL THE FUCKING TIME - and I happily reciprocate. Sometimes I even take their advice.
This was not That. This was your classic verbally abusive guy using horrible words and his position as the signer of the paycheck to make others feel worthless and small. You may be reading this and rollling your eyes, and thinking "Man, he must be thrilled to get rid of THIS one" and I can understand why you might feel that way. But there is another side to this. This sort of behavior is habitual, and goes on all day long - it was just the first time it had been directed at me. This was someone in a position of power trying to intimidate and "discipline" me. Good luck with that, buddy. You and my mom can cry into your drinks (tea for her, beer for him) about how obstinate I am. (Oh, she could tell you stories. And show you the bills. That poor woman.) But you cannot argue with the fact that I am a good employee, and a good person. And I am finally going to walk the walk that is so easy to talk. I'm not just going to stand around complaining about him during my shift, or tsk tsking about how awful it was, and is. That sucks, and I hate it when people do that. It's better that I leave, and not spread the negativity in the workplace. He does that just fine on his own.
An abusive relationship does NOT need to be a romantic one. Just because our relationship was strictly professional doesn't mean it was healthy. Once you have been spoken to like that, it is really easy for it to happen again (which is where we get into textbook abuse scenarios). People can be assholes, and then people can cross the line into abuse. And until you acknowledge it, until you say it out loud, until you expose someone as abusive, the abuse continues, and spirals and grows and worsens and deepens and starts to affect every part of your life and you become ABUSED and then you feel shitty about yourself and everyone else involved and it's just.......it's just not good. It's not good, and it's not healthy, and dammit people know this goes on and just sort of roll their eyes and say "Well, what do you expect. That's how he is." But it's not how I am. I am not going to make excuses or look the other way or try to rationalize it. I'll take my tax return and spread the word that I am unemployed, and I will find another job and work my ass off. I am not going to be afraid to leave.
"I can just leave" I thought to myself as he walked away to greet more customers.
So, I left. My shift was over, I had transferred my tables, my paperwork was done, and I left without a peep. He probably thought to himself "Hah! That's right, just walk away, you hoity-toity bitch". But what he maybe didn't realize is that I am not walking back.
He'll be fine, he has a great staff and I am just one of many able employees. He is lucky to have such a good team, and he doesn't need me. I know that. He just hadn't made it quite so clear until Friday afternoon, when - in front of the candidate for mayor and his campaign manager, two families and the rest of the staff - he told me to shut the fuck up.
Not fucking likely, you douchebag.
22 hours ago