I was beginning to feel like the only person in the world who was aware of the bullying going on in the fast food industry. I was bullied horrifically at the McDonald's that I worked at for five years. I finally quit because I realized that no amount of money is worth the psychological damage that place was doing to me.
So here's my story: When I first started working at McDonald's, everything was going well. I learned things quickly, my co-workers seemed to like me, and everything was going pretty smoothly. I had a little trouble learning the cash register, because for some weird reason, nobody ever took the time to show me how to use it. Still, I was confident that I would learn at some point. I felt that I was productive in every other function of the job. Also, during the entire five years that I worked there, nobody bothered to train me how to work at the drive-thru teller window. I was still confident that I would learn.
Everything went well for 9 months. I was improving at my job and getting more hours. Then the bullying began. It started with one person. She would normally work at the drive-thru teller window. I would normally work at the "presenting" window. She began to nitpick everything I did, telling me to "hurry up" and occasionally would walk up to my face and try to intimidate me by saying, "what are you doing? Just standing there?" I never was. I was always moving around and doing something. I ignored it and continued to do my job the best that I could.
Then it got worse. This girl would complain right in front of me saying, "I don't want Natalie working at the presenting window. I want someone else. I refuse to work with her." It was embarrassing, but I still ignored it. Then she tried rallying the other co-workers against me by yelling at me in front of everybody, "hurry up, Natalie. You're fucking slow. That's why we all get bitched at." Or she would say "Watch out for Natalie. She's been here a long time and she doesn't know what she's doing." It was totally not true, and my hours proved that. Still, the other co-workers would giggle with her because they were afraid to stand up to her. The humiliation she kept subjecting me to ended up giving me a bad reputation with my co-workers and managers I worked with.
One day, she even threatened to beat me up after my shift because I grabbed "her" McDonald's bag that she was using to serve food to front counter, and I used it to assemble the food for drive-thru customers. The bag was empty. It wasn't even a big deal. I notified both the shift manager and the head manager that she had threatened to beat me up, and the head manager told me she would "fix the problem." She never told me HOW she fixed the problem. The girl that had it out for me would complain to the managers about me too, and right in front of me, saying that I was a "good worker, but I was slow." People began to look at me in a bad light because of all the public negative attention this girl was giving me.
She would make snide remarks to me whenever I worked at the presenting window, saying "oh, you're helping me; no wonder my drive-thru times are going up." Or when someone complained the drive-thru times were going up, she would blame it on me. She quit a year later, but her legacy left me with a bad reputation at that place, making my work environment very uncomfortable.
Because my work environment was so uncomfortable, I began to make more mistakes, I would experience extreme anxiety while working, and my confidence began to drop. This, of course, affected my work. It's very difficult to function in a place where you feel like no one wants or respects you, and are scoffing at every move you make. It was like this girl had started a disease that spread through all the co-workers. They would ask me rude questions like "are you pregnant?" and then laugh. It was so embarrassing! I would feel tears come to my eyes, and I would have to fake that I was sick and go home because I didn't want people to see me crying while I was working.
My hours became unbearably LAME. To the point of where I was only working about 4 hours a week. My co-workers treated me like I was incompetent and stupid. They laughed at me, they gossiped about me, they humiliated me in public. I would try so hard, and it seemed like no matter what I did, I always made some kind of mistake, according to them. One girl would say something rude to me and then look at their friend and they both would laugh. When new food or new equipment was introduced into the workplace, nobody ever told me about it or trained me how to do it. I was always left out.
At our annual Christmas party gift exchange, someone always "forgot" my gift, while I always spent about $20 getting someone else a gift. No one cared, of course. People blamed things on me that I didn't even do, like burning the meat or chicken, and would punish me by sending me home early. and when they discovered I didn't do it, they wouldn't even apologize. When I would ask my manager a question, she would roll her eyes at me, and always made me feel stupid for even coming to her with a question. It was a nightmare. I dreaded going to work. I was barely working any hours, and I still dreaded going to work.
During my performance reviews we had every 6 months, my manager would ask me illegal personal questions about whether or not I was pregnant, and how much money my husband makes. None of that is relevant to my work performance. Things got so bad at my job, I dipped into the bad habit of drinking heavily the night before my shift just so I could sleep at night. I was always wondering what rude comment was going to be hurled at me next and whether or not I was going to feel hurt or humiliated. After five years of this kind of abuse, you gradually began to think that you deserve it.
Even eight months after I quit, I am still traumatized by everything I went through while working at that place. I realize now that nobody deserves to be treated like that at their job. And if they are treated like that, it makes a very unproductive work environment for everybody, not just that person. I definitely think there should be a law against workplace bullying. I believe if it's done to someone over a long period of time, it can cause them permanent psychological damage. My advice to anyone else dealing with a similar situation like this is never to put up with anyone, no matter who they are, making you feel inferior or incompetent. Stand up to them, and do it respectfully. Go to Human Resources if you have to. Don't accept that kind of treatment from anybody, especially in your work environment!
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