Head office decide that they should send the new franchisee owners to me in the morning. I have plans and won’t be there. I refuse to change my shift pattern as I’m secretly meeting another company, yes, I’m finally going on an interview.
The interview is weird. I feel the pressure and cannot answer the questions properly. I feel some strange attachment to my employer even though I am desperate to leave. I am made to give examples of my working persona and it saddens me to hear my own words, to really hear myself describe my love for creating atmosphere, giving above and beyond customer service and ensuring my clients are happy.
I am conscious of the time as I know back at work the Franchisee is waiting for me. I am not sure which direction the interview is going so I start wondering if I like the torture of working for my rubbish employer or if this company, a world leading company, who seem to treat their employees with love and respect is really a possibility for a girl like me?
I leave unsure. I want a new experience, something professional and less stressful. The calm, happy and financially secure interviewer shakes my hand. I wonder what her life is like. On the train I think about the interview, I am happy that for once I was strong enough not to flake out when it came to money. Who knows what they want or what type of person they need, maybe just maybe it could be me.
Back at work the eager franchisee awaits. I greet him warmly and launch into conversation. I get straight to it. Can he use a booking stystem? Does he know much about hair? Has he been trained by anyone?? He says No to all so I set about training him in my usual style. He’s blown away. He pulls me to the side and tells me that himself and wife have put in a considerable amount into the company and over the last few weeks have journeyed some distance to London to learn about the company. He tells me that they have been to our flagship, our highest earning branches, to award winning Managers but nowhere has any staff member been as warm, helpful or informative as me!
I reel. I’m just doing my job I say. I do not take a compliment well. He is so happy he has met me and begins to take notes, ask questions and learn.
I am happy for him and I am happy for my company yet I am sad for myself. Over the last few weeks I have offered my services and skills and been told nicely but firmly not to bother. I offered to help train front of house staff old and new so we could increase profits and ensure client has a professional standard visit, each visit, no matter which branch they went to. I then offered to cover last minute absences, I offered to do drop ins, mystery shop, I even offered help on my days off. Nothing was said back.
The next day the Franchisee continues to shower me with praise and I’m fed up of it. I don’t care that I am good at my job, I don’t care that he wishes he had my enthusiasm and passion because inside I’m hurting. Every time he compliments me is another stab, another wound to my soul. Maybe I should tell the Franchisee he is a fool, that he owns nothing, that I am a manager on paper only, that the company know how to squeeze the life out of an employee until there is nothing left, that they only want money and sometimes blood!
I keep quiet. I am part of the game. They send the new starters to me so they can be charmed, motivated and enticed by Me. My false happiness, enthusiasm and drive inspired them.
I cannot do this anymore. I have to leave. What does this say about me? Here I am underpaid, over worked and pretending to be something I am not! I want so desperately to teach others and to be an educator that I allow the company to exploit me, exploit my education, years of study, time spent in university libraries or working till dawn. Least of all they refuse to pay me what I deserve.
I am thirty three and nearly three thirds – it’s time to make some changes!
The Franchisee’s compliments have pushed me over the edge! It’s time to go and have the working life I deserve. I hope his comments and praise and appreciation make there way back to head office, to operations, to the owners just about the time I hand my notice in!