My father was not the best of people. I do question if he was as bad as my narcissistic mother made him to be to garner my devotion to her, but I do know there are things about him that weren’t at all okay in society. However, he did, somehow, manage to instill certain beliefs, traits and ideologies I have followed even to this day. Perhaps it is because he was a person who exuded authority, or maybe it was because he was able to assert himself enough for me to see that those things he told me were things he displayed effectively in a positive light and they took him to a level of a better person. Either way, I atrribute a lot of my ethics to him.
I am as much of an ethical person as I can be. I do everything I can to not lie, to take accountability, to do the right thing, even if that means fucking myself over to do it. These ethics have taken me far, put me in places a lot of people may never find themselves, and has gotten me a lot of loyalty and respect. These things have value to me. These things prevent me from becoming a narcissist like my mother, and her mother and possibly a long string of people on her side. I will always make every attempt to look at a difficult situation by removing my personal feelings and potential gains from the equation, and look at the right thing to do, what I would tell someone else to do, what I would want others to do for me if they were in my situation. It isn’t always easy. It often makes me angry, mostly because I often feel I’m the only one willing to do the right thing. It is often a lonely road to stick to one’s ethical codes.
So, this week, after a week and a half of realizing my job was putting everyone’s health at risk for profits and asking me to be complicit in helping them keep the fact there was a covid exposure among the employees, it made me angry. Every day that I went in, there was some new bit of information that made the whole situation worse. From being told not to say anything to the employees unless they ask, to not informing them they should consider getting tested, to having employees who should have been quarantined, coming back as of nothing never happened, reinfecting the store after cleaning, not notifying anyone when the employee tested positive, then letting that same employee return as opposed to staying quarantined….all these things were just too much to deal with and the $12 an hour I was making was absolutely no consolation for trying to force me to sweep a serious problem under the rug.
I had every intention of turning in a two weeks notice. How, the news that all the affected managers were returning, the affected employees who should have been also quarantined, were not given that, and the employees weren’t even going to be told…by Saturday, I was tired of being put in the position I had been put in. I felt used and icky inside. I had told my coworkers to get tested, to be safe, without them asking because honestly, it wasn’t just the right thing to do, it was the legally required one. The managers returning well before they should have was the end of the agony.
I wrote my letter that evening to let them know I was turning in my keys and not returning. That they had broken trust and severely risked the health and safety of me and my family. Even though I have had my vaccination, I hadn’t had my final shot before this started and didn’t know if either of my kids had either. As it stands, my daughter got her first shot after I told her I had been exposed.
Companies, corporations and businesses need to quit putting people in ethical dilemmas. They need to quit forcing people to make horrible choices out of fear. The only other manager left did not follow my suit, even though they did not agree with what had happened either. They remained quiet because they need the job. I needed it too, but honestly, I’d rather starve than help a person or a business remove people’s rights and potentially expose them to a deadly virus. When the choice is between “need a job” or “people could be seriously ill or die”, I’ll pick the latter always to make sure people aren’t at risk.
The current job market is slowly starting to improve. I am applying. I hope I will be all right, but I’d rather be struggling than be the person who didn’t stop someone else’s suffering for my own profit. I don’t know how people live with these choices. I know I can’t and won’t.
So…I’m starting a new chapter in my life. So far, nothing I have done has been remotely successful to keep myself from struggling, but at least I struggle knowing I did the right thing.