I'd really like to like this job
August 18, 2012 3:25 PM Subscribe
I have a job that I like (or at least I like sometimes) with a boss who alternately micromanages and is totally hands-off. Morale at the store is really low, particularly lately, as we've had several big tasks to juggle. I need advice on how to deal with it. Snowflake details inside.
posted by Harry Potter and the Puppet of Sock to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The job is one I like; it's a bookselling gig, and I love books and talking to people about them. It's dealing with the boss(es), who are also the store's owner(s), that's hard.
So there's one boss, mostly, and she's the store owner, but her partner is in the store a lot and so we sort of report to both of them. Her teenage son also works at the store; he has made several *major* mistakes recently (including deleting a ton of special orders and leaving the doors open overnight); this is part of my frustration with working there, since I don't feel like any of the rest of us would ever get away with that kind of shit. There is one manager and a couple of shift managers; I'm technically a shift manager sometimes, I think, but there is no formal managerial positions or much of a hierarchy.
The boss/owner suffers from chronic physical illness(es) which have been keeping her away from the store more and more. Communication with her has to be done via phone and email when she's sick. We get task lists occasionally by email, and tone is sort of hard to decypher there but she frequently sounds sort of pissed off at us. Requests (such as for better chairs, since we sit on stools that make all of our backs hurt) go over badly; the better stools request got a response (sent to all the employees) that was a 800+ word tirade about all the stuff we've been doing wrong. I at once point attempted to make a suggestion about stuff to add to a section I know she knows nothing about and got an email back berating me for wasting time on a section where nothing sells (which was upsetting on two levels: the being berated one, and the one where she thinks we should ignore sections where nothing sells, since if they're doing that poorly we probably need to fix something).
We never get positive feedback on what we're doing.
The most recent crisis has been a rearranging of about 1/4 or 1/5 of the store. We were sent instructions on how to do this and have been following them as closely as possible (her emails are often hard to decipher, partially because translating words to physical space is hard and partially because she's long-winded and unclear). This morning we were warned by her partner that she'd been in this morning and was rearranging stuff and was really upset at our failure to follow instructions (we'd been following them, painstakingly, to the letter). Her emails to us didn't have a pissed off tone as expected, but the warning really colored the day, and all of us were pretty miserable. (We have the store open while we're doing this, so we're constantly interrupted from our tasks to man the registers and help customers. No extra employees have been brought in for extra hours while this is going on.)
I know this is a really long list of complaints, so let me just state: I love books, I love getting advanced readers, I love talking to people about books. The bookstore is beautiful; there are a lot of book-related stuff that the boss(es) are great at; it's the managerial stuff that totally sucks.
So I need advice, basically. I'm considering talking to the boss, or writing her (I'd rather write her, since I can control my tone and emotion better that way). I'm looking for other jobs and can probably find something tolerable if I definitely need it (IE if I get fired). How do I do this? What do I say? Should I say anything at all? I'm so stressed out and emotionally messed up that I'm having a hard time thinking about this in a way that's useful.