That Fork In The Road.

I just realized something at my job today. I was having a conversation with a coworker and my boss was there too.  My coworker is probably going to another store to get some more learning experience so that she can move up in the company.  Pretty standard yea?  Well she’s moving to a store that will at some point have a position that is my job, but one step up.  We were talking about how that store is a lot different from ours.  There is SO MUCH STRUCTURE.  It is literally a no bullshit store.  So I jokingly said, “Yea when that Inventory Assistant Manager spot opens up, let me know!” Sounds like I’d be perfect for it right?  Wrong.  Then my freaking boss says, “Well if you want that, you know what you have to work on right?”  [Insert eye roll here.]

And that’s when I realized it.  I would never get that job.  Would you like to know why I wouldn’t get that job?  Because I’m not all sunshine and rainbows every day.  Because when the store is closed and fixtures fall on me and injure me or things are executed by corporate poorly I swear about it.  Because I refuse to drink that bullshit retail koolaid that all upper management drinks.  That’s why.

Earlier this year the state changed the laws and rules about renewing your cosmetology license. Now you are no longer required to actually work in the field, you just need to take continuing education hours (2 – 4 hour classes every 3 years) to be eligible to renew your license.  So now that I don’t HAVE to work as a waxer or a stylist I can consider other options without letting my cosmo license go to waste.  I had briefly considered throwing all my eggs in the full-time job basket.

BUT that is the fucked up part about it.  It doesn’t matter that I’m the best and most seasoned Inventory Manager in the district.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been doing this for the last 11 years of my life at both this job and my previous one. Because I won’t conform, I’m ineligible.  My boss would never sign off on me being Inventory Assistant Manager.  I jokingly asked another manager today if she thought our boss would make her Inventory Manager when I quit and if she’d be mad at me if I did that to her.  She told me that she didn’t know and that I’m not allowed to quit because I’m the best at my job.  I appreciated the compliment (as you know I rarely get compliments at my job since I just sit in the back all day).  However at the end of the day what am I supposed to do?  Where do I go next?

I don’t think I can stay where I’m at.  I never really wanted to leave until recently, maybe the last couple years.  There is no structure at our store and it kills me.  Our associates don’t even like their jobs.  I mean half the time when you tell them to assist a customer they get upset about it.  They give you an, “oh, I guess I can help them.”  GUESS WHAT!? THAT IS WHAT WE PAY YOU TO DO, SO FUCKING DO IT!  If you don’t want to help ungrateful customers, I get it.  That also means you need to find another job then. There are aspects of my “glorious” job in the back that I don’t like to do but I still do them because that is what I am PAID to DO.  It’s really starting to wear on me.  What is the point in staying with a company if there are zero opportunities for advancement unless you change who you are as a person?  Unlike Sisyphus, I will NOT be bound to this hell.  Newsflash, I’ve been this way for too long.  I’m in my early thirties, no changing this bitch.  Nor should I have to.

I already feel isolated because I’m in the back all the time (which, don’t get me wrong I love it) but I also don’t feel like I’m a manager.  I’m not on the floor with most of the associates so they don’t even see me as a leader.  Most of them sure as hell don’t treat me as a leader.  I feel like the only loyalty I see is from my team, most of whom only work 1 day a week during our weekly shipment.  I definitely don’t see any loyalty from Ms. Millennial and she’s with me most of the other time I’m here so. *sigh*

The store runs contests and stuff.  But it’s all focused around selling on the salesfloor.  My team never actually sees any customers so even though they “put us on a team” even if your team “wins” you don’t get anything unless you get a call out in our online survey.  None of us ever help customers so we never get a call out.  Therefore we are on a winning team but win nothing.  I get it.  It makes sense that you only get something if you are on the winning team and have someone mention you.  BUT if that’s the case, take us off the fucking team.  It’s damn near insulting at this point.  It sucks because regardless of what anyone says if it wasn’t for us keeping that floor stocked and cleaned and fixing all the broken shit, you probably wouldn’t get many call outs because all of the shit would still be in boxes or just sitting in the back unorganized.

Alas, I’m not bitter, I’m really not.  I don’t need incentives to do my job like the rest of our associates do but what I’m getting at is that we are slowly disappearing because no one really sees what we do.  They don’t know how much sweat goes in to putting away 100+ boxes filled with product every week.  Like, literal sweat because we have to do it when there is no A/C in the store so it’s fucking sweltering in there.  Every now and then boss will put up a sign that says some shit like, “THANKS INVENTORY TEAM FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!” or she’ll order us pizza or throw some candy on the table for us to get a sugar high on to make it through the night.

The hard truth is that I don’t know what she could do to make us feel more appreciated. How do you make a team feel appreciated when they aren’t part of the “daily team?”  When a whole group of employees is pretty much isolated and nothing they do involves physically helping customers how do you make them feel appreciated?  When their work doesn’t directly affect your selling numbers (even though it does affect that, you just can’t measure it because we aren’t physically selling it) how do you let them know they’re doing a great job?  Especially if that team doesn’t give a shit that you TELL them they’re doing great?  Seriously, we don’t need a pat on the back because we aren’t millennials that need a fucking participation trophy.  We KNOW that we do a good job (because I tell them that.  The person that actually SEES THEM do the work, not the person that comes in afterwards the next morning).  But what do you do to make their hard work feel appreciated?  I really don’t know.

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