Voluntary Termination

I finally quit my job at Target. It was a very difficult decision, but I think it’s for the best.

My main reason for leaving is because it’s not fair to my fellow team members to continue working there. I can’t offer the reliability and dependability that Target expects out of me and that I expect out of myself. I called out last weekend, and I had plans to call out this weekend too. It’s better to just part ways so that they can hire/schedule people who will actually show up for work.

After I handed in my “voluntary termination” request form this morning, I’ve been thinking about my decision all day. I don’t think I was 100% ready to quit, but it had to be done. Even though it’s good for me, I felt sad to know that I’m no longer a Target team member.

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Calling Out

I was scheduled to work at Target yesterday. I spent most of the weekend visiting my sister in Orange County (The OC), which is pretty far from my Target. It was a really fun weekend, but I was always aware of how much time I had left because of work. After a lot of thought, I considered calling out.

To “call out” at Target is to call before your shift to let the leader-on-duty (LOD) know that you’re unable to work that day. Calling out is frowned upon, of course. The store can’t look good and guests can’t be helped if no one is working. It’s better than not showing up without any advance notice though (that’s called a “no call no show”), because calling out at least gives the executives time to find a replacement.

Being the reliable and dependable person I am (or strive to be), I never called out before. I’ve always known that I could call out if I ever wanted to, but I never wanted to let my team down. At some point, though, I just didn’t feel like working. Without overthinking more than I already had, I called my Target and asked to speak to the LOD.

When the LOD picked up the phone and said her name, I felt guilty immediately; she’s one of my favorite executives. I told her I wasn’t going to make it in, and she made me feel so bad (partially jokingly) about calling out. I apologized many times (I really did mean it too), but when she asked if I was sure, I said yes.

I felt really guilty for about two hours afterwards. I kept thinking about how much I was letting them down while at the same time trying to justify my decision (to myself). Even now I’m not entirely sure why I called out. I probably could have made it back in time for my shift and been fine. But by the time I reconsidered, it was too late anyway. I made my decision.

I didn’t actually do anything exciting with the few extra hours of my weekend that I had freed up. After I got home, I mostly just relaxed on the couch. As fun as the weekend was, it was also very tiring. A couple hours spent off my feet is far better way to prepare for the work week than constantly walking and standing at Target.

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Growing Apart From Target

Working at Target today felt different. Now that I only work once a week, I miss a lot of what happens in the store when I’m not working. There are new interns training to be executives, and we’ve hired a few new people, but I haven’t met or been introduced to any of them.

One of the big reasons why I like working at Target so much is because I really feel like I’m part of a team. Lately, though, my team is changing, and it’s changing without me.

It’s like when you go away for college and all your high school friends stay behind and hang out together. They all grow up together, and when you come back, everything feels both familiar and completely different. You change and grow up, too, but in your own way.

It’s not a bad thing, of course. It’s just not the same as it was.

My Last Weekday

Today was my last weekday working at Target. I’ll only be working there on weekends from now on, though I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep that up, considering how tiring both of my jobs can be.

My day started out like any other day at work until people at work started noticing that it was my last weekday with them. A couple of my work friends came to visit me on their day off and brought me a small chocolate cake to say goodbye and congratulations. A couple other people gave me hugs, saying they’re going to miss me.

My favorite team leader only works on weekdays, so tonight was the last night that I get to work with him. We had a long of fun together, and I could always vent any frustrations about work or life to him. During our last break, I gave him a big slice of my cake.

At the end of the night, after saying goodbye to everyone, I suddenly felt really sad. Even though I’m working through the weekend, tonight was different. Without my favorite team leader and the vibe of Target on weekdays (less busy and crazy than on weekends), work at Target will never be the same.

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Leaving Target (Almost)

My friends at Target had mixed feelings about my leaving. They were happy for me but also sad that I was leaving. My favorite team leader said he’d miss me a lot, especially since I work so much harder than anyone else. The executives were really great; they said it would be “devastating” to lose me (though of course they’ll survive), but they just want to support me.

Because I love my job, the people, and the discount, I decided I would try an alternative to completely resigning. Instead, with the support of the executive who makes my schedule and the human resources executive, I changed my availability to only weekends. Hopefully, I will only work every other weekend. That way, I can maintain some level of contact with my Target friends as well as keeping my team member discount.

Because I’m giving Target a heads up, my human resources executive said that if I can’t handle having both jobs, whether the workload is too much or I want more of a social life (or any other reason), I can leave Target without giving an additional two weeks notice.

Who knows, I could be shooting myself in the foot with this setup. Since I don’t know how well I’m going to perform at my new job (I’m really worried), I want to make sure I still have a place at Target if I need it, at least for a little while. I’m basically using Target as insurance, lowering the risk of taking on my new job (I clearly learned something from studying for the actuarial exams).

More Development Needed

Remember that team leader assessment I had a few weeks ago? My human resources executive team leader finally sat me down today to discuss the results.

The executive told me that I did “phenomenally” (her word) on the computer based assessment test (the “written” part). Apparently, I know what it takes to be a leader on paper but not in practice. My interviews were “okay,” meaning I made an impression but not a strong (enough) one.

The interviewers said (in notes they gave my executive team leader) that I work well in a team (plays well with others) but I don’t demonstrate courage. I don’t challenge my supervisors or voice unpopular opinions (what if my opinions are always the popular ones?), and I don’t take risks.

Basically, I’m not ready to be a team leader (if there were any open positions, which there aren’t). Instead, I’m supposed to work with the executives to find activities for me to do over the next six months to “continue my development.” At that time, I can participate in another assessment to see where I stand from a leadership position.

I guess it’s good that Target is willing to work with me to work on developing me into a leader. I’m just a little upset that I’m not already leader material (because I certainly feel like one sometimes when I’m working). Who knows, though. Maybe this opportunity is fading to make way for an even better one.

The Store Which Must Not Be Named

Today marks the first day that I walked inside a Wal-Mart since I started working at Target. When I’m at work, I don’t use the rival store’s name; I either say “The W Store” or “The Store Which Must Not Be Named.” These days, I wouldn’t normally go inside Wal-Mart out of my own volition. My parents and I went out for dinner, and they wanted a place to walk off the meal. Wal-Mart was closer than Target, so who am I to argue?

I had been inside that particular Wal-Mart dozens of times before, but I never saw it with red and khaki colored eyes before. I couldn’t help but compare everything! First of all, as my parents and I were walking in the door, the cart attendant was pushing a long line of carts through the same door! It’s a big safety hazard to have so many carts blocking the entrance/exit. At Target, we have a separate entrance for carts. I think Wal-Mart does too, but theirs is narrower and clearly wasn’t being used. When the cart attendant pushed the carts in to connect with the carts already in the store, a cart from the front of the line rolled out and almost hit my mom!

As my parents and I were walking around, I noticed that there were very few signs to help navigate the customers through the store. Not only that, but the aisles were extremely long, so I couldn’t see what merchandise lay ahead at the end of the aisle. I was looking for the coffee (to compare prices), but I couldn’t tell which aisle it was in; the combination of long aisles with no signs made it impossible to figure out. I ended up choosing the wrong aisle, and I had to backtrack to find the coffee section.

Another thing I noticed is that the merchandise was stacked incredibly high. The one display that stood out to me was the tower of paper towels. Even though they’re just paper towels, I wouldn’t want them to topple on top of me. I was scared just looking at them. That sounds like another safety hazard to me.

With long (thin) aisles and everything stacked high, it’s difficult to tell where you are in the store. I could easily get lost in there. It’s a wonder that kids aren’t constantly separated from their parents. Probably the worst thing, though, is that the employees weren’t friendly at all. No one asked if we needed help. There were a couple times when I even felt like I was in their way.

In the end, Wal-Mart felt like a gigantic dollar store, except that I like dollar stores. I don’t see why Wal-Mart is considered competition for Target. My store has such a different (better, more friendly) vibe. I’ve always liked Target more than Wal-Mart, but now I can actually see why.

I made most of these comments to my parents while we were in Wal-Mart. They think Target should pay me for my shameless advertising.