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Andrea Harner
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June 19, 2006

American Apparel Resignation Letter

WOAH. I love it. Here it is:

***

From: Laurelle Miciak
To: Dov Charney; Iris Alonzo; Dan Abenhaim; Tasha Dunn; Joana devCastro; Mariekim Pelchat; Osama Afify; CDN Store; AA Store Ottawa; AA Store Church; AA Store Bloor; AA Store Church; AA Store College; Store Managers; AA Montreal; AA Store Ottawa; AAEurope; KI1 Store; Emily Green; Lee Poulin; Shannon Nadj; Emmy Ha; Ellie Vitello; Geoff Stevens; Sarah Macdonald; Danielle Raquiza; Abigail Lawson; Sara Cadeau; Nick McIsaac; VA1 Store; Marty Bailey; Christina Klisanin; Stacey Haberkorn; Patricia Pawlukiewicz; [ed: email addresses redacted]
Sent: Sat 3/26/2005 11:47 PM

Letter of Resignation
March 2005

I will start by saying that I am personally moved to write this; that nobody has encouraged me to condense my feelings into this letter. No, it was only me and many of the things that have been eating away at me for a while now, things that have gained tremendous momentum. This is why I am leaving your company today. This is it.

I began working at the first American Apparel store in Canada in November 2003, one of the original locations in North America. A flagship store. I have seen the company grow and shift from phase to phase: from the time it was awkwardly moving from the wholesale market into the world of retail with its ethics strongly in check, to a time when I began to learn of its major flaws. A time when its discrepancies regarding its treatment of employees has paralleled the disorganization of its stock and product situation-which is as random as the company's absent (but much needed) human resources department. Without knowing or caring much about how operations run on the other side of the border (Borders? Plural?), things are beginning to crumble here in Canada, where it all began. Where your seeds were planted.

I am extremely saddened and affected by the recent departures of certain key members of the Montreal team over the past months. Drastic changes in all facets of management are not "progressive" or "youth driven" or cutting edge: they are a cause for concern and stress for all employees who have to deal with it. Working under a non-system which is missing structure is not only unproductive and inefficient-its fucking anarchy. Not to say that there isn't a pecking order, though: there are plenty of girls in this company who are being compensated for whatever it is that they do well, whenever it is that they do it, I guess. Yes indeed! Not all of us are created equally at American Apparel, but God forbid we stray from the universal dream-the "new paradigm" that we are all a part of. The amount of people who have been promoted then demoted/fired/forced to quit because they were prematurely moved up or wrongfully chosen is simply astonishing. Perhaps this is part of AA's 'Socialist-Capitalist' fusion. Because Socialism suits the company just fine, until a personnel issue arises, which is when it reverts to the 'you win some you lose some, you know?' mentality. Whatever. AA is all about the grey areas.

I was recently told that perhaps in 2-3 years, when the company has "stabilized", that I could probably be compensated for my time properly. That maybe, by that time, working between 60-80 hours a week would mean making more money than just enough to cover my rent and the bills that I have to pay. In short, I was told that I was lucky to have what I do with American Apparel right now. That running a store (small warehouses, really), managing and disciplining an entire staff, and everything in between is essentially a priviledge granted, not a position that has been earned. How's that for motivation? Trial periods vary between 2 weeks to 6 months, based loosely upon how much time they want you to spend "proving yourself" before they have to pay you at a higher rate.

The amount of dedication that this company expects from anybody in a management position is hugely disproportionate to the amount of money that they are forced to accept.

And then there are store openings! How exciting! The sheer fact that I have not been properly compensated (after asking and trying to fairly negotiate several times) financially, for my involvement during these openings is absurd. Not being appreciated after leaving my life behind for weeks at a time, as well as my other job (at which I made more money) to find, hire, assemble, teach (indoctrinate), purge, fire, promote, negotiate and guide an entire staff, an entirely new team and new page in the company book, is not only despicable- its completely stupid. Don't you think that it would be wise to keep senior employees happy? Don't you think that it would be fruitful to keep a good rapport with those people? After all, one of us is worth a lot more than our hourly wage. There are hundreds of little things that make us valuable, believe it or not. Countless experiences that help stores run more efficiently and successfully- ways to help you make more money. Because that's what its all about right? The profits!

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Comments

Where to begin? There are so many points raised in the post...

Okay, no one ever said (nor should they expect) that life is fair. And clearly the Western world is primarily capitalist driven (although there are a number of other influences). These being the causes, use the employer like they use the employee; sponge as much off of the employer in experience, skills, talent - and then jettison them. As much as they are about profit, so too should we be – personal profit and growth.

You get the benefit of making yourself more marketable, while they get the products of your labor (in the short-term). You just need to KNOW the quit point that works for you - on your terms (aka – the tricky part). Not very altruist, I admit, but they'd do the same to you, if the situation was reversed.

In the end, always remember who you are. This remembrance may just be the only constant in your life while starting and maintaining your career. Windging gets nobody…anywhere.

Posted by: |mr|Darcy at June 22, 2006 11:32 PM
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