I'm probably going to lose my job

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I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:56 am

I've had the same retail job since 2004. It's been mostly good to me, we don't work psychotic Thanksgiving hours and I've been there long enough to get 4 weeks of vacation. It's had its problems, but I've stuck it out, mostly out of fear of things being worse if I change.

Earlier this year we started a "test" where our particular store was supposed to be more "customer focused." What this meant in reality was that they cut our staffing, and badgered us to harass customers instead of standing behind the registers, and frequently left stations unmanned entirely, leaving customers to stand waiting at empty registers waiting for someone to show up. This resulted in enraged customers who had been waiting several minutes at unmanned registers screaming at us every day. Under the new system only the managers were supposed to set up displays, which they haven't been keeping up with. This means if the computer says a book is on a new release table, who knows if it's actually there or not. We can't find the things people ask us for, customers yell at us because they can't find anyone on the floor, and the new radio system we have, which was supposed to be used to help us communicate so we can more effectively find things, is being used by management to yell at us every hour that we haven't signed up enough people for our rewards card.

We were supposed to give feedback to corporate, but I don't thing any of it actually got back to them. The last time anyone from corporate was out, our store manager told them that there had been "zero customer complaints" which if you've ever worked in retail, is obviously a lie, because no matter what you do there is always some customer who will complain about it.

So about a month ago I got called into the manager's office because of a customer complaint on facebook. The customer was complaining about how he couldn't find anyone to help him. My part was only a small part of his rant, where he said he told me that and I "shrugged and was icy to him." After 6 months of being yelled at every single day for a lack of staffing I can't control I'm not sure what I was supposed to say. I honestly don't think it even happened, because I remembered his face and don't remember him saying that. I think he was just padding out his complaint because he was upset.

I've had a follow up, a negative annual performance review, and follow up to my review since. I'm frustrated because now they're dragging up things that they never said anything about at the time, but are suddenly a big deal. I was told that two months ago they were watching me for a "selling" shift and that I wasn't approaching customers the way we're now supposed to. I looked back at my schedule, and the day in question was only my 3rd time ever doing this new role, and had never received any formal training in how they want me to do it. I don't know why they waited this long if it was a problem, it seems petty to me to sit in the back room watching the security cameras to catch employees fumbling through a task they've received no training, not tell them at the time, use it as an excuse not to give someone a raise, then get surprised when they get defensive.

I'm not sure what to do. I've never received a formal write-up for any of this, but I'm being treated like I'm on a 30 day probation and that they're expecting to fire me. I've been called on the carpet 4 times in less than a month, and yesterday I was told I need to come up with a plan to fix things. I told them to tell me what I was doing wrong, but the manager couldn't come up with anything concrete.
Last edited by miwako on Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby Melody » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:36 am

Update your resume asap and get it up on Indeed.com (free) and think about who you could use as references. You have a nice LONG stint workwise, so that speaks for itself. Also search Indeed.com for other opportunities and sign up for relevant alerts.

Also put together a LinkedIn profile, if you don't already have one (brief is fine and put up a nice picture - it doesn't have to be corporate, but something somewhat professional), and do search your local ads and tell everyone who is not your employer you may be looking.

Even if you keep the job, it sounds like you've been ready to move on to bigger and better things for quite some time. When you are asked "Why are you leaving/looking?" There was "a change in management philosophy and you are looking for a growth opportunity" or something else positive to that nature. Try not to stress, this could be the biggest blessing.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:53 am

I know you're right. I've just felt so beaten down and depressed by life as a whole that I don't know what I could possibly successfully interview for. Plus t's been so long since I applied for jobs, everything is online now and I'm not sure how to do it any more.

I'm going to start though, I'll request a replacement copy of my HS diploma, since I know I don't have that here, and I want to be prepared in case anyone asks for it.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby bsfighter1 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:30 am

Miwako so sorry. I can relate, I've been in more toxic work environments than I'd like to admit to and it always starts from the top down with dysfunctional management (at least in my experiences). Not to say there aren't nasty coworkers out there, but usually management sets the tone of the environment. What it seems that a lot of people in these management positions fail to understand is that the number one skill needed to do the job properly is people skills. To be a leader your utmost duty is being a support to your staff, bringing your team together, and providing the tools they need to achieve success in their job and be the best they can. It just logical to me.

This not only boosts staff morale but makes most people a heck of a lot more productive because they are happy to do the work. Punitive action is only a very small part of the job if you're actually doing your job as a manager correctly. You would think this would be a no brainer, but when you hear comments like this from dimwits (excuse the label but just so frustrating) like this describing their philosophy of being a manager, "my job is to make people's lives hard," you can see why there are so many dysfunctional workplaces out there.

It can be scary to look for a new job and the unknown. It seems like it's gotten to a point for you though where that environment is toxic. Is it really worth staying at a place where the management seems so belligerent towards you? I'm sure you have developed lots of skills in your time there and it's just about focusing on your confidence now and knowing you do have solid skills. Don't let them feel like you don't. Making people question their worth is a key sign of bullying behaviour.

I agree with Melody, post your resume online, or even better yet, start sending it out. Sounds like you have a lot of experience in retail. Oh, just about INDEED, I know they are still a popular site but they lack transparency on their company reviews. Employers are able to cherry pick which reviews they want up there. With my last place, the amount of bad reviews on INDEED was significant, trying to warn others about the inner workings of the organization so at least they had some sense of what they were getting into. Then a short time after that ALL negative reviews were erased and only the fake ones were left (I have good reason to believe they wrote fake reviews to make the organization sound nothing less than stellar). Just be aware. When I contacted INDEED about it, no one responded.

'Glass door' might be a job site that's more honest since part of their promotion is ensuring that their is fair representation of reviews. Sure, there might be the odd troll out there who just want to post something negative, but my line of thinking is that if the management is actually good they won't have to worry about removing and fabricating reviews because the amount of positive feedback they'll naturally get will speak for itself. Good luck!
"I've learned that with narcs, absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart grow free."
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:00 am

After talking to two of the other managers I'm feeling a little better, and maybe less like they're just gunning for me because I've been here too long and make too much money. The manager who reviewed me is currently on vacation (for the second time in this process) and will come back the day she needs to do my weekly evaluation. The store manager is also out for several days. The good thing about that is that the three managers who I like and aren't jerks are here, and I can try to get them to write notes about my improvement.

Even if they don't fire me though, I'm going to have to start thinking about what else I want to do. I realized that selling things and keeping customers happy is not my job. My job is to do whatever cockamamie nonsense corporate tells us to do. Corporate thinks what they're doing is helping, but the middle management is preventing them from getting any feedback from people who are actually interacting with customers. The road they've decided to go down is the same road that other bankrupt and out of business chains have gone down. No one likes to go into a store and feel like they're being shaken down. No one likes it when they can't find someone to check them out. This is what's making us lose customers, and panicking and cutting hours and shaking them down more is not the solution. I don't think we're going to last 3 more years.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby PutMILinherplace » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:56 am

If you do get fired, don't worry, you can get unemployment benefits while you are looking for a new , & better, job.

I was once threatened with termination from a job while in college over something that was not my fault. The real problem was one of the supervisor's didn't like me because I wouldn't go along with her racist views. When they did the whole, you better shape up stuff or I would be without a job , I calmly looked them in the eye and said, "Look, if this company is willing to loose a honest & hardworking employee over something they had no control over, then it is this company's loss. I promise you there are plenty of companies that would love to have someone like me work for them, including your competition." They were so stunned that they couldn't bully me they didn't know what to say except meeting over. Now some would say I was being arrogant. I was not. I am a hardworking employee, you tell me what to do I do it. I am a fast learning. I am also honest to a fault. I have gone back into Walmart before because the cashier missed charging something that was in the bottom of the buggy. It wasn't long before I left that job and found something so much better.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby WatchingMyBack » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:04 pm

Miwako, this made me so sad for you. I have a feeling I know what retailer you're speaking about. DH and I were in that store a few weeks ago for the first time in a long time and I was really appalled at how much it has changed. There were enough empty racks that I was almost wondering if the store was closing. Half the lights in the place were shut off, so it was dark and hard to see (in the middle of a Sunday afternoon). As we were browsing, we were aggressively approached by floor walkers asking if they could be of assistance. It was annoying to the point that I felt they were stalking me like I was going to shop lift or something. How many times do I have to say "I'm just browsing." ? DH was taking a lot longer than I was, so I was just standing around looking very bored after a while. The SAME floor walker approached me at least 4 times to see if I "needed assistance". When DH finally finished, we made our way through a labyrinth of impulse purchase items to stand in line. It was a funnel of claustrophobia. There were 5 people in line and 1 cashier. One very, very slow cashier who was in no hurry and honestly couldn't have cared less about how many people were in line (maybe she couldn't see them for all the gift junk piled up). It was painful. I told DH "Now you see why I go to the library?"

Poor middle management will be the death of our economy (actually, I think it already is). My only advice is that even though you think you might be okay for now, I'd still start putting out some feelers for another opportunity. A person with a job is always more attractive to employers than someone who is unemployed, regardless of skills.

DH has sold our business and I will be moving to our new home later next month in another state. I'll still be doing some work for the company (I'm the one who knows the software program and I can do it from anywhere as long as I have the internet), but I want to find something else once I move. I'm thinking with a hospital or medical provider (so I can get paid medical benefits), or with an airline (so I can get travel benefits).

I'm not sure the high school diploma copy will be necessary if it has been more than 10 years since you graduated. I was reading something about how employers these days just scan through resumes or applications for pertinent skills and experience.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:21 pm

WMB- The sad thing is that if it was my company, there were probably a stack of boxes to the ceiling in the receiving room that the person bugging you wasn't allowed to work on putting away!

They actually told me that I cashier too fast. I'm not spending enough time pushing the rewards card and I don’t highlight the cafe coupon that comes with the receipt that no one cares about.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby Bella07 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:26 am

I'm sorry, Miwako. That's stressful and frustrating. I can understand your point of view. I work retail as well and the company I work for is introducing changes, some of which simply aren't feasible. But we are somehow supposed to adjust to their ideas even though in practice they don't work. The only thing I would suggest is that you may be able to go to corporate (perhaps annonymously) with your assement of the changes and how they aren't working.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:14 am

That's so infuriating Bella! Especially when a manager tells you to do two contradictory things in the same breath with a straight face!

I'm thinking about sending an anonymous note to corporate. Several of us have been talking about it. Our last manager got transferred because several people wrote to corporate, so maybe things will improve.

I have a follow-up today, wish me luck!
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:13 am

I thought I was okay, but now I think it's over. I was originally told the problem was my lack of customer engagement and not my rewards card numbers, which had been improving. So I focused on what they told me they wanted me to do, but my card signups suffered because I was depressed and anxious about whether or not I was going to still have a job at the end of my 30 day period. Well, 53 days after my 30 day review period started, I finally got some feedback. Now my customer interactions are fine, but my card numbers haven't improved, so I have two weeks to improve or I'm getting written up, and the only reason I have two weeks is because the manager doing my review didn't bother following up with me at all. She made a big deal about how she was going to bat for me and that the store manager just wanted to write me up then. Oh, and that "review" I got 53 days ago? It was actually a write up. If I don't improve my numbers within two weeks, I get another write up, which puts me on a final 30 day improvement plan, and if my numbers don't improve by then, I'll be terminated.

You know what's convenient though about this extra two week period? If they didn't give it to me, they'd cut me loose December 19th. But with it they get to keep me through Christmas and New Years Day. Are they really doing me a favor here?
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby WatchingMyBack » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:49 am

It is just awful how they have treated you. Mismanagement is rampant these days. My son loved his analytics job at Uber in SF, but couldn't stand the same kind of skewed negativity towards his performance. His performance was outstanding; it was the management that didn't want to acknowledge it or even understand what his actual job was. He was reprimanded for not doing something that wasn't even HIS job. He helped on a project once to help them streamline the data reporting, and when the actual team didn't follow through, he was the one who was blamed. It was insanity. And that bogus reprimand caused him to not get his bonus, which is actually part of his negotiated salary. The whole thing was beyond absurd and the worst management culture possible. It was a hard decision, but he was hired by another company that knew his work right away and moved back to the east. He makes more, is infinitely happy in his new job and his cost of living dropped dramatically.

Change can be hard, but these people are kicking you like a an old tin can. Can you quit and collect unemployment at least? I'd find another job and tell them to go take a flying F*** during the busy Christmas season.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:48 am

miwako wrote:You know what's convenient though about this extra two week period? If they didn't give it to me, they'd cut me loose December 19th. But with it they get to keep me through Christmas and New Years Day. Are they really doing me a favor here?
No they are not. It is totally for their own convenience.

I think I'd save as much money as I could in the next few weeks. I think I'd schedule the flu for about two weeks, starting Dec 19th*, and then show up and let them fire me in January. I'd take my pink slip and file for unemployment, giving me the time to find a better job. I promise there are better jobs out there. You might be surprised how many the unemployment office may suggest.

When asked why you were fired, you can refer to the fact that your previous employer didn't like you having the flu during the holidays. Not untrue.

*Go dark on social media for the time period. Use the time to create a resume, listing your strengths and experience. Learn one good skill, like how to use Quickbooks. Use the time to let go and heal and enjoy the holidays, for once.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:56 am

I can't get unemployment if I quit, only if they let me go for something that's not egregious. So getting fired for not meeting sales numbers would qualify me for unemployment.

It is so tempting to put in my notice now, or wait until it's just too late to hire anyone seasonally but still early enough that they'll be down people. Unfortunately that's only going to screw over my coworkers, because it's not like management does anything other than walk around the store looking at a clipboard and bitch.

At this point I'm just trying to let go. I'm working on my numbers so I can maybe have some more time to find something, and if I make it I'm taking all my remaining vacation in January to look for another job. If not they'll still have to pay me out for time accrued, I can get unemployment and I'll have time to look for something better.

I don't want to stay here anymore. The only reason I'm still here is the vacation time, which is bad if you think about it, that I'm staying at a miserable job just for the 4 weeks a year I don't have to be there. Yesterday the manager who is responsible for my "improvement plan" threatened to write up a different employee for talking to other employees over the radio! (The threat was over the radio, not that she was using it too much) That is so wildly inappropriate. Management is desperate and lashing out. We didn't make our sales goals for Black Friday or Saturday. They think yelling at us will save them. I guess that's easier than unpacking the ceiling high boxes of product that have been sitting there god knows how long, or re-alphabetizing shelves so people can find things.

We've been told "customers will have to get used to" all the awful changes we've made. No they don't. Customers can shop elsewhere. If they can't find anywhere to check out, what else are they going to do?
Last edited by miwako on Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I'm probably going to lose my job

Postby miwako » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:29 am

For this interim period at least, I've found a way to motivate myself through spite. I want to see if I pass the bar they set last time (getting more than 2% on card sign-ups) if they'll come up with some new bullshit just to keep the chain of write-ups going. I have enough so far this week that even if I don't sell any more the next two shifts I'll still be at 5% for the week. If I sell a normal number I'll be at 8%. Suck on that, bookstore!
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