Today was it. My last day at AAA. It started normally enough: I woke up, ate breakfast, worked out, went to work, checked my voicemail and got down to it. They have a tradition of having “food days” for birthdays and departures, so I walked in to donuts and had chili-mac, cake, brownies, chips and dip, and cookies to look forward to for lunch (yes, yes, I know, but I’m allowed to splurge every now and again). The day went fairly quickly in contrast to the rest of the week. Emotionally I started off ho-hum (because, really, I’m going to do the same thing somewhere else, just for more money. I’d be way more excited if I’d gotten out of claims), then grew more and more excited with each person who came by and reminded me that it was my last day, then, during the last hour, the sadness crept in.
AAA has been one big roller coaster ride. I was elated when I was offered the job in late March 2011. By that point I was desperate for work and would have been elated with just about anything, but the job itself sounded interesting and it was with a large company with opportunities for future growth. The first year was a whirlwind of learning the trade, bonding with my coworkers, and finding a way to make the job fun. We were all on top of the world at our one-year anniversary lunch (I’ll never forget blasting Michael Jackson in the smart-car with Brian). Sure, no one really liked working weekends and holidays, but we were all in it together and, somehow, that made it better.
Then came the catastrophe. In one month, all the goodwill I’d held towards AAA was obliterated. Not only were we taken advantage of and treated horribly as a group (is it really too much to ask for expectations to be spelled out clearly?), I personally was disrespected by my manager in the most unprofessional way for daring to bring up a concern I had with what was going on and daring to request one day off each week (while she took three vacations in a ten week period). Shortly thereafter, my previously-promised promotion was magically taken away.
I stayed at AAA solely because of my Japan trip. True, after the catastrophe, once I settled back into a relief adjusting Monday-Friday role, things were better, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t forget. I knew that as soon as another catastrophe hit, everything would go to hell again. When I was offered the opportunity to jump ship and join Sonja’s team, I didn’t hesitate.
I got lucky – Sonja was laid back and knowledgeable, and all of my team members were easy to get along with. I’ll always feel a special bond with the original weekend team (going through hell together from day one breeds closeness), but my new team was just as amazing.
I started looking for a new job within days of returning from Japan. No matter how amazing Sonja or my team was, I couldn’t forget how the company allowed the weekend team to be exploited. I couldn’t forget that Katie, a girl who had started after me and still asked me the most basic of questions, was given the promotion I had been promised, simply because she was best friends with our manager, who herself was unqualified for her promotion from HO adjuster to manager of a team of brand new auto adjusters. I couldn’t forget that the company based promotions solely on customer service surveys, not taking into account work quality or skill. I couldn’t work for a company like that.
That said, I’ll still miss the people- Amanda, Daniel, Jim, Sarah, Casey, Scott, Mark, Jason, Kristin, Sonja, Cynthia, and others whom I never got the opportunity to know well. The worst part of today was all the goodbyes. I tell myself that I’ll keep in touch with a few of them and go to their Happy Hours to see the others, but, while that might happen, the more likely outcome is that I won’t see most of them again. And while life is full of people flitting in and out of your life, that doesn’t make it any less sad.