A few years ago, I got a great opportunity at a time when I was really turning my life around at 20 years old. It was a new job, where I was given an opportunity to prove myself by the greatest manager who ever lived-Erin. She told me not to steal anything or do anything crazy, to which I agreed, and taught me everything about how to do my job well. I became an excellent employee with job skills and work ethic that would take me to better places in the future. Eventually, even after she left, I made my way up to basically Assistant Manager, and after almost a year and a half, left on my own, remaining friends with Erin and friendly with a couple of the other GM’s I worked under during that time. I had done a very good job-and had witnesses.
More than three years later, I decided I wanted a temporary job during the holiday season at the mall, a short walk from home. I found out Teavana was hiring, and as I had enjoyed working there and loved the product, I applied. I went in and had a brief discussion with the very friendly manager, who asked if my previous managers would vouch for me. “Yes, definitely.” “Okay great, fill out an application online.” I went home, did so, and about an hour later, she called me.
The gist of the conversation was “You’re hired! When can you start?” I didn’t even have to interview. It was the easiest job acquisition ever. We had a nice, pleasant, excited conversation, and at the end she told me that all we needed next was for me to fill out the form for a background check. Well, I explained, “I can’t pass a background check.” I explained that as a teenager I had gotten myself into drugs and trouble, but had long since turned things around and had a great resume and extensive references to prove it. She seemed understanding and accepting-it had been 6 ½ years, I’d worked there since, and she had just gotten “a rave review” from a previous manager whom she knew personally. We had a longer discussion, during which she convinced me she would do her best. But she told me that Teavana was a very different place than when I had worked there-in the time I was gone, they’d been acquired by Starbucks and she didn’t know if that would be okay anymore. She told me she’d get back to me in two days after talking to her boss.
I was left in suspense. During that time, I did a little research and found other stories even less fair than mine such as this one http://starbucksunion.org/news/starbucks-barista-discriminated-against-and-fired-prior. Due to this research, I was worried, despite everyone I knew reassuring me it couldn’t possibly be a problem.
When she called me back, it turned out there was nothing she could do. And yes, I believe she tried and am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt based on the conversation we had.
I’m pretty upset, and it’s a loss to myself, the manager and the company. It didn’t make sense for them to not hire me back on this basis, having already worked there before and with an even greater passage of time on my side. This was thoughtless discrimination when an exception should have been made.