“I was working at this ‘bakery’ that makes cakes and gelatos that then get sold to grocery retailers like Fresh Market and Whole Foods to be sold in their bakery sections. This bakery was basically a reverse ‘sweatshop,’ where all the windows were boarded up, you worked Monday – Friday from six in the morning until eight at night with one half-hour break. There was no music, we weren’t allowed to talk, we had to be in uniform and couldn’t wear jackets, it was kept at icebox temperatures so frostings wouldn’t melt. It was soul-crushing.
Then the woman who worked as a janitor quit. Rather than hire someone else, they put me in that role when I’d been hired as a baker. I had to clean the front office, prepare all the shipping boxes, mop every mess, clean the bathrooms. I had two industry degrees and over ten years of experience in culinary at that point, to be reduced to the janitor. It was mind-numbing, tedious work.
One day, I came back from my lunch break and was told someone had made a mess in the bathroom, and I needed to stay after work to clean it. I went to the front office to talk to the woman who did most of the management work. She was chatting with her daughter, who was a teenager who she’d hired to handle their social media, despite knowing I had social media marketing and SEO as skills on my resume. I waited and waited for about 20 minutes just standing there so I could talk to her about this.
I’d thought the janitor thing was to help them out until they hired someone new, but after a month and a half, it was clear they had no intention of hiring someone else. That was just my job now. I wanted to talk to her about how that’s not what I’d been hired to do and to see if there was a way I could go back to my original job.
Her daughter glanced at me a few times, but this woman, who was facing me but never so much as acknowledged me, just kept ignoring me. So I just clocked out, got my stuff, and walked out.
One of the bakery managers followed me out and said how I’d already taken my break and to get back to work. I said, ‘No, I’m not doing this nonsense anymore.’
She insisted I needed to tell the manager, the one who had just ignored me for 20 minutes, that I was quitting. I said I tried, and she could go forget herself for treating me like I’m subhuman.”