Problems at work and could use some advice

Gina T. asks from Canton, MA
16 answers

I have been with the same company for 2 years now.
It is a small, family owned fitness company.
I have loved working here - the people are great and I have a lot of flexibility to take care of my family.
However in the last few months the company has gone through a series of changes.
They have completely re-done their facility. It has been a huge under taking and has put many of us under stress.
There have been no reviews, raises, or new hires during this time. As a matter a fact, there have been some pay cuts, people have been asked to step down, even I have taken a pay cut.
A few long time employees have left because morale has just changed.
Then low and behold they hire a new woman - or 22 year old girl should I say in my department who just got out of college a month ago who has NO experience, gave her a DIRECTOR title, gave her a salaried position (I'm hourly) and I know she is making $12,000 more a year than I am.
She is making more money than my former boss did (she is one of the people who recently left). She has NO experience (she was a waitress before this and JUST graduated a month ago). I've been in the fitness industry for over 12 years.
This is a huge kick in the face to me.
I am beside myself. I am so angry.
Anytime this company has asked me to work overtime, switch my schedule, work on a weekend, I have done it. I have taken over the work from my boss who left and from the 2 others who were asked to step down and have done a damn good job.
I took the pay cut!
I am obviously looking for a new job, and the part that makes me sad it I LOVE the people I work with. The management here clearly sucks and I will tell them so in my exit interview. I am just sad to leave a company I love.
I did go and talk to my current manager, and he wasn't too helpful. He was sympathetic, and said he didn't blame me for being angry, but that he didn't hire her, the owners did and he was just as perplexed as I was about what was going on. He too does not like the direction of the company these days. I want to go talk to one of the owners for my own piece of mind, and to stick of for myself, but then part of me is like what for?
I just can't believe they made people step down, take pay cuts and then hired someone with NO experience and gave her a Director title and a fat salary. I just don't get it.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone! I will NOT go to the owners. I have already sent out a bunch of resumes. It is good to know that my manager was on my side. That's enough. As for the me making the young girl look bad - absolutely NOT my intention, this is not her fault. BUT I'm twice her age, what about the company making an older woman look bad? They people they gave pay cuts to and asked to step down - all over 40. A little sketchy if you ask me. But as you all said, time for me to move on. Hopefully I hold onto some of the dear friends I made there. It just sucks I won't see them every day anymore.

16 Answers



answers from Wood Dale on

I see things like that happen a lot in businesses...sadly oftentimes if you do a little research this person is the cousin of so and so's best friend from college, or someone's boyfriend's daughter or aunt or you get the drift. Life is not fair and I have had to leave a couple of jobs where there were wonderful people almost like a family. I can acknowledge to you that it really isn't fair and I understand how betrayed you must feel. But I will also wish you the best of luck in finding and getting another wonderful job. And as oftentimes happens in these situations these people don't always work out and you will probably hear that one down the line. Good luck to you!


Margie G.

answers from Portland on

I read the responses - I agree, it sucks, but just move on, don't make a fuss, and find something that works better for you at this point in time. Things have changed.

I find small, family owned companies are either wonderful to work for (can be wonderful ways to learn multiple positions, learn from experts who are willing to share their knowledge and happy to assign work so you can grow etc.) or they will show favoritism (kind of expected) and then pull stunts that don't make sense like this, to the average employee. You don't know what their reasons were. Perhaps this is a family connection - this may be someone they are doing a favor for. Who knows. They don't really owe you an explanation.

I would just chalk this up to having been a great experience, you made great friends, and take those skills and now move on to the next good experience that is waiting for you. Don't burn bridges. Honestly, this happens to all of us at some point.

It's an opportunity in the long run. View it like that. Go and look for the next better fit. Good luck and keep us posted. You are in a better position to find the next best thing :) (and more great friends - you can keep the ones you have, just arrange monthly get-togethers or more frequent if you want, but think of the new pals you will make too).

1 mom found this helpful

TF Plano/Allen

answers from Plano on

I am tuning in late here and I am glad, per your SWH that you are not going to the owners.

You do not know the details, you do not know if this young new college grad has experience or what he degree may be which could very well place her in the position. I KNOW it sucks but the new college grads do have a lot of good insight as to building and expanding businesses, social media, advertising etc.

I am NOT SAYING you are not important in your job at all and I DO understand feeling like you got the short end of the stick.

I DO believe the owners could have done a better job integrating a younger, new employee in a grad level position.

I am glad you are not burning bridges and you are choosing to move on to a place where you will feel more appreciated and better compensated.

It sucks getting older and realizing that some of the younger kids do have great ideas and insights. Life is not fair.

5 moms found this helpful

Natalie K.

answers from Miami Beach on

People in my company were also mad that they weren't getting the raises they wanted, were asked to work overtime without extra pay, and some had salaries lower than some of the younger employees who had less experience. They waited it out to see if things changed and when they didn't, they ended up leaving and finding a new job elsewhere with better pay. At the same time, we have sometimes gotten management personnel with zero experience, completely clueless, yet making a great salary. Eventually, everyone realized they were all talk and could not perform their duties, and were let go. You have two options here, therefore: wait to see if the girl ends up being unable to measure up to the needed skills for the job and ends up being fired (though that still doesn't solve the pay cut issue or low morale issue) OR apply elsewhere and find a more stable company to work for. Can some of the prior employees that you enjoyed working with provide you with some company leads? Maybe their employer has openings and you could go join them. I'm sorry, wish there were better options, but I think they are not appreciating you and you now have to decide what you want to do about that.

2 moms found this helpful

Diane D.

answers from Norwood on

Keep that piece of your mind that you were planning on giving to the owners. Trust me on this because you'll just look like a jealous and whining about change. Don't get me wrong you are entitled to feel however you feel but vent to family and friends.

Find something else asap because you've already given this job more than they deserve. If you stay you'll continue to be asked to pitch in with n compensation. The owners will figure out soon enough their the direction they've taken is a dead end road

6 moms found this helpful

Suz t.

answers from Sharpsburg on

it is a huge kick in the face.

i'd be super pissed off too.

i think it was fine to take your grievance to your manager, and it sounds as if he largely agrees with you.

but that's really as far as it should go.

yeah, it's time to move on. clearly this is no longer a healthy wholesome professional atmosphere. having taken a pay cut and accommodated them in every way you could, and not being recognized for it, you're not in a place where loyalty and sacrifice are valued. go find somewhere that your work ethic will be valued.

but don't blast them at your exit interview. it will feel awesome for ten minutes, but it won't change anything and it will render them unusable as a good reference.

chalk it up to experience and making living well your best revenge.

3 moms found this helpful

Doris Day ..

answers from Miami on

Look, the owners will figure this out eventually. This new hire of theirs will fall on her butt because none of the employees will help her. They are all upset and word travels. No matter what the reason - cronyism, inappropriate relationships, or sheer stupidity, she will not help the business. They will have to see that, and losing a lot of good employees will be a huge burden on them. Find another job as quickly as you can and walk away. Let them learn the hard way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Menasha on

Do not under any circumstances 'give them a piece of you mind'. Do not talk about the reasons you are dissatisfied with your job at interviews. Simply say I am unhappy with changes that have been made and I have decided to change jobs.

I worked for a small family owned company before I got my current job. Part of our job was to go out and canvass in residential neighborhoods to get more leads. The area I live in requires solicitors permits, this is expensive for the company. If you simply leave door hangers and do not knock on the doors and talk to people you do not need a permit. However we were knocking on the doors and talking to homeowners. The company had company cars with logos on them and some of my co-workers got caught. The police officer told them he would let them off with a warning but if he caught them again it was a $300.00/ person. So instead of getting the permits, the company created permits in the office. They set up their employees to be felons - forgery - counterfeiting a Gov. document - fraud against the customer and the city and conspiracy. I received an email asking me to interview for my current job and thankfully got the job. When I gave notice I simply told the company I had been offered a new job with more pay and benefits.

When I left the company on my last day I reported to the police department what they were doing and that they forced the employees to comply. I did not want my former co-workers to be arrested, I wanted to police to know we were forced.

Thankfully the company I now work for is a great company to work for and I love my job.

9 moms found this helpful

Tracy M.

answers from Tampa on

You had a job there that worked for you and your life...things have changed and that's no longer the case. I would be mad as hell too, but that's not going to get you anywhere. The best you can do is find a new job and leave this one with as much class and dignity as possible. No good can come out of you giving the owner a piece of your will look like you are nothing but a bunch of sour grapes. They had their reasons for the decisions...they might be stupid decisions that will bite them later, but they have to answer for those decisions...not you.

It sounds like you have outgrown this job and it's just time for you to move on.

9 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

It's frustrating when the corporate culture changes. You can't possibly know all the reasons why this has happened. Maybe the reasons are stupid and the company will fail. Hard to know.

What surely will NOT work (as much as we might hope it would) is going in to the owners or higher-ups and saying, "You guys are screwing up big time." No one wants to hear that, and there's no way to make it sound nice or helpful. You will be seen as an ungrateful meddler in their eyes, and you need to have as pleasant a working experience as possible until you can find another job. You may also need some of these people for references.

So, I think you have to be very careful because you have already talked to one manager and your disapproval is now "on record." You can't keep talking about it. You have to keep a positive outlook for your own benefit so that you go into interviews very upbeat rather than (understandably) resentful.

Re the young woman - you have to leave that alone. Women have long been put down or dismissed because they are "too young' or "too new" or "too inexperienced." We don't know whether she's a whiz at her job or whether she has talent. You didn't interview her or supervise her at an internship, you don't know what she has going for her - and you really shouldn't do to her what's been done to other women. Maybe they see her as a career-oriented go-getter. They shouldn't discriminate against you because you have a family, but they may not see you as being as company-focused as you say you are. Again, focus on your and your own skills and what you've done for the company (increasing productivity, increasing profits, streamlining procedures, whatever it is). It's okay to say the company is going in a different direction but you have to focus on all the good they have done you (including the amazing flexibility that so many workers yearn for) and just get into the mindset of (time for a new opportunity).

The more the negative thinking dominates your brain, the more it will (despite your best efforts) spill over into your interviews and even your cover letters. It is time to take care of YOU since the company is doing other things and looking for skill sets other than yours.

6 moms found this helpful

Annette D.

answers from Saint Paul on

Could she be a relative to one of the owners? Or perhaps just someone they see as more "moldable" because she is younger and inexperienced? Did they just create a new position and hire her without posting it for current employees to apply, interview, and be considered as well? I don't blame you for being upset if they did that. I'm not sure it's worth giving the owners a piece of our mind (as in an angry approach) but you can stand up for yourself and send a message. Just give them your notice as soon as you have something else lined up, (sooner if you are financially secure without the job). If they ASK why you decided to leave I would tell them that I would have liked the opportunity to be considered for Ms. Director's job, you weren't clear on what direction the fitness center was going, and although you will miss the people, you decided it was time for you to move on in your career. Honest, respectful, dignified. That's the way I would go out.

3 moms found this helpful

Wild Woman

answers from Reston on


You are not valued at this company. That is obvious. Talking to the owners isn't going to change anything.

Continue to look for a job, when you give your 2 weeks notice, just tell them that the atmosphere changed, and being asked to take a pay cut was a bit much to handle.

DO NOT go into the young girl issue.
DO NOT go into any of the other issues. They might listen to you - but they aren't going to change or capitulate to your problems. They don't see the problem. They won't until their business drops and they might be forced to close their doors after their huge renovation.

When you are looking for a new job and getting interviews? You just tell them that the company's morale has changed and you were asked to take a pay cut and you have a family to take care of. Keep it simple. DO NOT air your dirty laundry.

Good luck!

8 moms found this helpful

J C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I understand why you are tempted to talk to the owners but questioning their judgement will gain you nothing. Don’t burn bridges. Find a new job and leave. That will speak volumes. Best of luck!

6 moms found this helpful

amanda w.

answers from Kalamazoo on

does she have a degree in the fitness field? If so, that could be why

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orinda on

The fitness industry seems to go through a LOT of changes on a regular basis, especially the franchises and smaller gyms and facilities. I guess it's a move to stay relevant and current, and let's face it, people get bored with their workouts and are always looking for something new and different, hence the hiring of a new young "face." Are there larger more established gyms in your area where this is less likely to be an issue? I know it sucks to leave a place where you really like the people but it sounds like you know it's time.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chesapeake on

It's hard when the company you love changes.
It's no longer a place where you'd want to stay.
That being said - the people you want to vent at might very well not be the people responsible for the changes.
While it might give you a fleeting feeling of satisfaction to tell them off in your exit interview it's not wise to burn your bridges.
Life isn't fair - the work place doubly so.

If you're not happy, then work to rule - stop working any overtime that you don't have to.
Look for a new job and when you are ready to leave then thank them for the experience and the happy years you had and be as gracious as you can be.
The company might change again and in future you might want to come back.
Try to keep up some casual contact with friends that will stay on - they are good for references.
A little job hopping can be a good thing for your career in the long run.

I worked for a company where we busted our behinds doing the best we could and were proud of our work.
We were surprised when we posted a loss.
Turns out another branch of the company was doing very well - so the company needed a tax write off - and they did it by structuring a loss on our end.
Corporate logic is often not logical - whole company branches/subsidiaries are pawns in a much larger game.
It's just the way it is.

7 moms found this helpful
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