When Communication is Blocked

How do you Deal with Unmotivated “Bosses” at Work?
7/3/08

Today’s Horoscope:

Someone you are working with needs to learn some flexibility skills — they are being too rigid, and their stubbornness could be giving you a bad reputation within the larger group. So like it or not, you’re going to have to turn on the charm and do a little extra work smoothing over the tension that your partner is creating. Be careful not to be too disloyal to this person — even if they are making things difficult, they are still someone you need to respect. 

We do not have a manager or assistant manager at the job I was just hired at and things could not be more chaotic.  I have been told by the man who visited from corporate, who hired me, to listen to Nate.  Nate is aiming for management, but has no passion for the upkeep of the store.
We have been getting into some major trouble from corporate. Nate is who I’m supposed to look up to, who is supposed to be teaching me the ropes, and my first night I worked with him we counted the register and came out with a cash overage.   “Oh well”, he said as he stuffed it in the deposit bag.  The next night he did it again. The next night I closed with stoner Andrew. When Andrew counted down the register he counted over like 40 dollars, I double checked his counting and found the same; we didn’t know what to do. We knew that it couldn’t be good, and something should be done about it, but instead we just did as we were taught: apprehensively shrugged our shoulders and stuffed the deposit bag.

The next day we show up to chaos and stress. obviously the pattern of overages were looking bad on us, and the forty dollars the night before really raised a red flag to corporate. Andrew and I should have done something, but what? How does that even happen, I thought to myself. If we start out with the same amount everyday, and we exchange money with customers just as we should…how is the money count coming out wrong? How does that even happen? Especially how do we have forty dollars more than we should!? But all my superiors in the store would ignore my questions, not even giving me the time of day.

The past couple of nights Nate and I have been staying at work until an hour past closing every night attempting to figure it out. I watch as he struggles “I don’t know” he will say, and I see him getting more and more frustrated. Finally night before last we were over a certain amount and finally I took the receipts for the cash versus the credit cards and found three issues. One was a credit card charge that somehow magically made it on the final list but was no where in any other form of record.  I found a phantom charge. Then a lady that paid half in credit and half in cash, had the entire number in credit on the final report but had only been charged what was asked. So Nate calls our DM, and after I explain all that I have found to him, turns to tell Kandice “I don’t know what happened.” I wanted to bang my head against the counter and cry  work with this lady!   He offered her none of the information we had found. I was really getting frustrated, like just tell her what found so she can gain more insight and help us figure out how to fix it. Then yesterday he called corporate to clear it up and told me, “Ya, they found that it was the inconsistencies in the reports compared to the actual documents that we had.”…I just looked at him “well ya we already knew that?!”

The last straw was when this girl wanted to buy a necklace to go with her outfit. Nate and I worked together to find the perfect one, but then the necklace she picked had no price on it. Lacy hadn’t taken the time to price the items that she had put up, nor had she left behind any documentation that would tell us what the price should be. So I tried to find it in our collections, or our (un-updated) merchandise newsletters. I looked through the system and found nothing, so I turned to Nate for help. In this very uncaring method he hands me our cheapest necklace/earring set and says, “Just scan this one.”  No where near what the price would be for the set this girl was trying to purchase. “Really?” I ask giving him an uncertain look. When the girl leaves I say “we really need to find the price for that.”

“No we don’t. That’s not my job,” he says (one of his favorite mantras).

I stay quiet, he is one of those guys you don’t really know how to approach, your just constantly amazed with the jaw dropping face of ‘what did you just say? Well then what is our job? And more importantly, whose job is it exactly if not the employees of the store?’

So when the store is dead I decide to bring it up. I kindly state, “Have you been printing out the weekly newsletter?”  I notice that the newsletter binder has not been updated since our corporate trainer left.  Nate’s response, “They haven’t sent us one since that one.” I think to myself…well what does weekly mean exactly?  I act like that dumb trainee the staff and corporate overlords treat me like, “Well I thought they were supposed to be sent weekly. At least that is what I read in the training manual.” After being met with yet another shrug to this I lose control of myself.  Instantly my mind went off, I am the only sales associate that has not been trusted with a key, I am the only one that is never given a substantial amount of hours, and I am the only one without a voice.  I am the only one who is left in the dust, not updated, and ignored.  Work as a team, I try to reason with myself, this is a team. But then it just came out, “perhaps I should apply to be manager, I mean I care a whole heck of a lot more than anyone else that works here.”

“I care,” he protested.

“You never act like it or show it. All I hear from you is ‘I don’t care’. Every time I come into work you don’t have the spots on, you don’t have the music on. No one here prints out the updates. I am the only one that seems to care about having things priced. I care. I care about this store, and I care about my job. I care.”

He got quiet, then made up excuses blaming the music on Andrew somehow, talking about how he is too busy to worry about spots because he is always on the phone with corporate. I just roll my eyes, all pitiful excuses. If someone would tell me the email and password that actually knew it I would sign in a print of the newsletters.  If someone would give me the keys to the sound closet I would play the music. But I’m a lowly sales assoc. and not worth a damned.

Customers come in so I walk off with smile to offer kind greetings. It’s always nice to talk to the customers, they truly make my job worthwhile.

When I come back to the registers I see Nate checking the email and printing out all the weekly newsletters for the past month. I smile but I dare not say a word. I walk back into the back and let out the rest of my frustrations by unloading our new bamboo vases in the back and organizing. When I am done I have a pile of boxes, “what do I do with empty boxes?”

“Break them down,” but then he walks in…”oh”, he says after seeing the large pile I have unloaded. “Just leave them for Andrew in the morning.” This habit frustrated me too. If you aren’t going to finish a job then don’t start it. And if you want to be a leader, leave your work for other people. So I start cleaning it anyway. He returns to urge me out, “let’s go home.”

“If we go home I am coming back up here in the morning when we open and cleaning these up.”

“You can’t”

“Well I can’t just leave a mess from someone else, that’s not the way a team works.”

So reluctantly he helps me load things in the dumpster and we conclude our day with pricing information, a balanced cash register, and a clean back room.

One thought on “When Communication is Blocked

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s