I say I’m alright, thank you ma’am. She says I can take a seat at the island while I wait. I sit down, and she’s on the other side still standing. She starts asking the normal parent questions, how long I’ve known Emma, to which I say three years as we had met in high school, she asks what my plans are after high school, I say that I’m getting a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management and wanted to work in Human Resources. After hearing this, she actually began to warm up to me and “seemed” really nice.
I had a great job for about seven years. It started out great and I was an entry-level employee on the worst shift possible. My work and skill were recognized with promotions and raises, even a transfer to a project which was the gateway to a position in regional management, a job that would take me out of the retail world of nights, weekends, and holidays with benefits that would have set up a nice career and life for my family.
At the end of the project, however, the numbers they ran to measure our success were analyzed and found lacking. After a year of work, my upward trajectory stalled and I was forced to relocate back to the store where I was hired. I took a job as an assistant branch manager in an area of operations I didn’t exactly enjoy or perform well in. On top of that, the store had turned over most positions and I knew very few people or their abilities. My boss was someone who took my failure on the big project as a sign I wasn’t as big a deal as people told him and so began treating me like shit.
I was depressed about it, unhappy with my job, but motivated to stay and work at it because my wife had become pregnant. But every month, it just got worse. I hated waking up on work days. Every few weeks it seems by “regular schedule” would change. We went to some ridiculous 10-hour days that were broken into first and second shifts. I put in for jobs at the regional office that I knew I could do well, but I was never interviewed. Eventually, the regional office laid off most of its staff sending a message that office locations would be suffering the same “belt-tightening”.
It got to the point all the employees either didn’t like me or trust me. And it was a fair assessment. I wasn’t fair or impartial or even competent. It was a rough pregnancy at home and I wasn’t prepared for the temp job I’d been assigned. If I had the savings tied up or could count on unemployment upon quitting, I would have left, but we lived paycheck to paycheck and I was nothing more than a shell of a human being coming to work, speaking in business terminology, hemorrhaging business because morale in the store was an open wound.
She then asked Emma where exactly we were going, she says to the movies, mom wants to know the exact theater, Emma doesn’t know but I had already pulled up the address on my phone so I passed that on to mom, she asks what movie we were seeing (I really don’t remember what movie, some PG-13 comedy), movie starts at 5:30, so mom said Emma was to be home by 8. No later. That was the first weird thing to me, I understood wanting the address but being home by 8? The movie would most likely end 20 minutes before that.