8 years ago, I ventured back into the world of work after having my youngest child. Being a mum and housewife, being on the school PTFA, helping the children read at school and housework didn’t seem enough for me. I wanted more. I wanted to contribute to society. So I started volunteering. Looking back now I wonder if it was the wisest thing for me. I admit I was using the role to help me overcome my depression, to give my some sort of motivation and confidence to get back into the swing of this thing called work.
Little did I know that it would be one of the most wonderful but also terrible times of my life. From starting out as a normal volunteer working one day a week, within a week I was the Shop Leader. I was the youngest team member there, this did not go down well with several people and so they left. I loved the job. I lived and breathed the role. I came home and spent hours writing notes, ideas and plans down. Then my husband left work and I needed a paying job. Luckily at that time the charity were considering taking the step to paying managers and so 2 years later I became one of the only paid Sales Managers in the whole organisation.If I knew then what I know now I would have ran for the hills.
The change was dramatic. They wanted blood, sweat and tears and boy did they get them in abundance. The targets became unachievable and unrealistic even though I had this goal to reach I knew it was going to be difficult but I worked my socks off. I worked overtime, worked 7 days a week, didnt have holidays and in the end I was exhausted and my passion for the role had diminished.
They gave me another shop to run along with my first shop. What a nightmare. I was even physically attacked by a “customer”, had the staff in this shop hating me and my ideas and I was crying every night I left the shop. I felt alone and unsupported. Everything I did was undone, I got ignored, even to the state they would only bring in enough biscuits for them and not me. Thats how pathetic and childish it was. Yet I felt so alone. I had no one to support me, no one to listen to me apart from my family.I got pulled out of this shop and sent back to my original shop full time. But the problem was I had my confidence knocked so severely for the first time in my life I considered suicide.
Thankfully I recovered enough, I thought to be able to return to work, but the support was not there, it felt like I was being treated as a second class citizen as I had time off for depression. One of my team had recruited a new volunteer. She latched herself on to me and started stalking me. Everywhere I went she was there. The last straw was when she showed me naked pictures her husband had of her on his mobile phone. I walked out of the shop one day as she upset me, she followed me, I went back, she came back again, I could not be alone. In the end I had to take solicitors action against her. Yet again the charity did not support me at all.
Then in July, my new line manager and her manager came into the shop, this was a surprise. They asked me to go through the SMART plans I had arranged and to talk about them. I did this. Then came the blow that my role was going to be made redundant as I had not reached the targets they wanted me to reach. I did expect this, but it was still upsetting. Next came one of the most devasting things to have happened, they accused me of gross misconduct and I was suspended until an investigation had took place. This hurt me so bad as I had NOT done anything wrong, I felt like a scapegoat and a criminal even though I had not done anything wrong. I had never felt so low in my life and once again the thought of suicide came into my mind. Luckily I have a very supportive husband, family and GP who helped me through it. But this company have NO duty of care towards their staff.
Thankfully the truth came out after a long time and I was found not guilty of gross misconduct and I was expecting to be re-instated into my position to work out my redundancy,,., WRONG!! They made me redundant with immediate effect. I felt vindicated but I was not allowed to talk to any of my old staff, People I called friends. That hurt too. These people I had worked alongside for a long time. Who I had shared good times and bad, who supported me 110%. I felt alone in the world.
I feel sick when I see their adverts on TV as I felt I was treated like the proverbial throughout my employment there. I won’t name them but they have lost my respect as an organisation. Its not sour grapes at being made redundant, I was half expecting that but the way they went around it by making false accusations which destroyed me. If only these people knew what making false accusations can do to a person all to save money!!