Integrity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Most students make their way through high school working a part-time job and I am no exception. My experience with work, however, is probably a little different from most.

When I was hired at Hollywood Video, I expected the environment to be professional, like any place of business should be. It didn't take me long to discover that this was unlike any job I had had. Most of the employees were in high school or recent graduates, which helped us bond and have fun as we did our jobs. I had never met the store director, though, and when I asked about her, the employees were less than flattering. I didn't think anything about it, assuming it was typical for employees to have a strained relationship with their boss.

A few months later I realized exactly how unprofessional my boss was. Often she would force the assistant manager to cover her shifts on extremely short notice. She would rarely even have an excuse, but we knew it was because she'd had a little too much to drink the night before. There were also times when she wouldn't even bother to find a replacement. With the shortage of people, the work sometimes couldn't get done. When she discovered this, we were blamed and punished, which, of course, made us angry.

Everyone put up with our boss's irresponsible behavior for six months before we decided something needed to be done. The only problem was, we had no one to tell. The district manager, who was one step above the store director, knew about the behavior but didn't believe us! I couldn't believe that such incompetent authority had this position in a successful corporation. We thought our cause was hopeless. Then one day I saw her do something shocking.

I was organizing some movies while she was working on a drawer. When I turned to ask her a question, I saw her take money and stick it in her pocket. Not knowing what to do, I continued working. Later, when I told the other employees, they were not surprised. I found that everyone had seen her do this at some point.

This time, instead of going to the useless district manager, we called the anonymous tip-line and contacted Loss Prevention. We told them everything we'd seen and they came and confiscated some security tapes, unfortunately not the right ones. When my boss found out they had visited the store, she destroyed the tapes that incriminated her. That same day she terminated herself out of our system. Soon after, three other employees also quit. The store is now in a state of chaos, which is making the remaining employees' lives difficult.

What it all comes down to is integrity. The store would still be in good shape and my boss would still have her job had she not done something as stupid as stealing. What she did was not only very dumb but selfish, too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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