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Why employees quit their managers

bad manager

I thought this article from Buzzfeed would be amusing, but it wasn’t.

It was extremely sad.

It’s about things that finally led exasperated employees to quit their jobs. Many remarks have to be censored for decorum. Such as:

“I worked at a dollar store, and my commute no longer made sense with the kind of payment I was making at the time, so I secured another job closer to my place. When I went into my next shift, I told my manager I would be giving her my two week’s notice. She was livid and proceeded to tell me that ‘She will give me the worst references ever and that I was a piece of s—t for quitting.’ Then she told me that since I am leaving, I have to pick up all the open shifts so everyone can have time off before they were short staffed. I walked out five minutes later and left them with a line of 20 people at the register.”

Dollar stores don’t come off too well:

“I briefly worked at a [dollar store]. One day, I was stocking a shelf with bottles of bleach, and because they were cheaply made, a bunch of the bottles cracked, spilling bleach all over the shelves, the floor, and me. I cleaned it up quickly and asked if I could go rinse the bleach off my arms as it was literally burning my skin, she told me to just use the same paper towels I had cleaned with and took the money for a replacement uniform shirt out of my pay. I hunted for jobs like crazy and was out within a month.”

One comment from a reader seems to sum up the situation: “I hope the great resignation keeps up. Employees are treated like s—t in so many industries. You can have high standards for your business and still treat your employees with respect and pay a living wage. If you don’t, the culprits are either greed, ego, or a bad business model. Often times all three.”

Most of the anecdotes come from people in low-level jobs. But this issue potentially affects everyone at every level, since everyone has to report to somebody—except CEOs (but then they are the ones who should be the most concerned).

One related comment:

“T[o] b[e] h[onest], I feel for some managers. They are at the mercy of people above them who don’t have to deal with the regular employees one on one, and they are usually making ridiculous demands and holding a small pity bonus over the managers’ heads.”

Another comment sums up the situation: “Employees really do quit managers and not jobs. It’s a fine line for them to walk and a lot of managers step off of it regularly.”

The Great Resignation has emboldened employees to a perhaps unprecedented extent. But certainly it did not create situations of this kind.

No matter how high you are on the company flow chart, this issue can hit you from both ends—from both your supervisor and the people who report to you.

Does this issue affect the produce industry? Evidently. A recent news report describes a Texas potato farm that was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for denying full wages and overtime to some 500 workers. And two California farms were cited for violations such as illegally rejecting domestic workers and making illegal deductions from pay.

These three cases involve H-2A issues, but we can assume that there are plenty more of all types of infringements that never attract the attention of DOL.

If you’re in a position of authority, the question is, do you want to be that type of manager?

If you’re an employee dealing with this type of superior, you may or may not be able to quit, but here’s a resource for dealing with some of the more extreme versions.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.