It started out taking a turn for the worst during our monthly staff meeting at 9am. Tensions were very high, specifically over our inventory manager (not present). I tried to stay out of that conversation entirely as I have little interaction with him, though I will say that he has severe social problems, and is highly anti-social and horrible at talking with people. Our conversation went on an extra 30 minutes and was cut short by the store being open.
A bike I had just fixed a flat tire on had loose handlebars. I laughed off the joke of “Is this how we fix bikes here?” and tried to make a note to be aware of that more. Then shortly after the store manager, Big T, asked me to step outside with him, and “talk with him in his office,” as he puts it.
He proceeded to tell me that while I am easy going and nice I am a horrible mechanic. I don’t take the job seriously, I am openly disrespectful when I laugh of problems, I don’t give a shit about my work. And that he doesn’t want me to continue working there if I keep up the work I’m doing. Instead he would rather have the mechanics understaffed and have to fix bikes himself than have to deal with all the things I fuck up.
Somehow I was extremely calm and collected and said all the right things. I apologized for messing up the repairs, assuring him I took pride in my mechanic skills. I said I would make sure to utilize a checklist like he suggested and I let him know I was trying to develop a pattern for working on bikes so I don’t miss things. I also asked for advice on what to do on bikes that we repair flats on – should I do a complete checkover of the bike? (because I was previously told that checkovers cost $35 by this same manager). I also let him know that I would work hard to stop missing things and put in good honest effort to do a great job.
It cleared a lot up but when I left the conversation what he had said earlier in the conversation soaked in. I felt horrible. I felt like a horrible mechanic, incompetent, worthless. I thought to how shitty my life is currently and I thought to one the think I looked forward to in life, being a good mechanic/ frame builder. And how maybe I wasn’t ever going to make it. For a couple minutes I felt like my dreams were unachievable because of my incompetence, I simply wasn’t meant/able to be a mechanic.
Then I cried. I hid in the back with the repair bikes and cried to myself. I felt so awful, and so worthless.
After a few minutes I calmed myself and went to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and realized that wasn’t going to make it look like I hadn’t just been crying.
I got back to work and just starred at the ground, continuing to feel worthless and incompetent. Then one of my service managers, Tats, asked me how the meeting with Big T went, and if it was just “a waste of time”. I responded saying that it went okay and that it wasn’t worthless. Then he made a comment I didn’t get at first, then I realized he knew what the manager and I talked about. He knew that I was nearly fired, in fact he and the other service manager had a problem with me for a while but had refused to talk to me about these issues. Instead they let them build up to the point when the made the store manager yell at and belittle me.
I felt even more worthless, I felt humiliated and embarrassed. Ashamed that everyone at my shop in Glenside thought I was incompetent. I fixed my eyes only on my work and the ground, rarely looking at customers.
Pretty Boy was working on a customers bike. He had called our other service manager, Red Beard (who had previously worked on this bike) and asked him for advice on what to do and began following Red Beard’s instructions. Tats noticed what he was doing and started yelling at him and chastising him for doing it the way he was. Pretty Boy yelled right back at him. This resulting in a slew of yelling, that went on mostly in the back room for a solid 30 seconds.
Then Tats stormed out and said “I leaving.” He took off his work shirt, told one of the store managers he was leaving and then left after briefly talking to Pretty Boy. This was espcially crazy because he had already put in his two weeks noticed and had a few days left. But he just couldn’t put up with it anymore, and promptly quit.
The rest of the day followed suit, being horrible and awful.
I talked to the other store manager, Big M. (Big M only has a week left and is now an EMT). Big M listened to me recount my encounter with Big T and said that Big T had told him the conversation was mostly “constructive feedback.” To which I responded, “only because that’s what I made it into.” He expressed his condolences and said that he would try to talk to the owner about it, but he didn’t really have any input because he was about to leave the company.
I thanked Big M for listening and letting me know that wasn’t true and had the joy of mutually venting with Pretty Boy on a beautiful ride home. This left me feeling a lot better, but that ain’t mean I feel good.