Can't find a job where I don't feel like ripping my hair out?
September 24, 2014 10:12 AM   Subscribe

I recently left a job where I was verbally abused by my bosses; very intimidating people who lacked the ability to approach people about issues in the office in a professional way. I was offered a job by a former coworker in retail but it is proving to be even more disastrous. I'm not sure what to do about it all?

I posted not too long ago about my last job where I was continually intimidated and humiliated by my bosses. I could not do it anymore and it was slowly chipping away at my self-worth. It just was not the way I had expected a typical office/medical environment to work. There was all sorts of questionable activity.

My issue is, I had a great job back about 6 months ago that I was at for 3 years. I fit right in, I had built relationships with coworkers, I knew everything like the back of my hand and truly enjoyed my job. What I didn't like was a boss who demanded me to give up my pto time twice (the second time after rescheduling) after I worked a grueling holiday season at 50 hours a week while juggling school. I didn't like how she insulted me and other workers simply to make herself feel superior. I left that job because it got to be too much. Though there were things that kept me there for a long time.

I can't seem to find that right fit like I could with that job.

So I got this job lead from someone who used to work with me to come to this company. I wanted anything at this point to get me out of the constant walking-on-eggshells that was working as a medical receptionist. I had the experience they wanted and I was interviewed one time and then offered the position as a store manager two days later. Just two. I was trained to be a manager and expected to operate a store by myself in just three days. Then my trainer disappeared off the face of the earth and seemed agitated when I called to ask her how to do the simplest of things (in her eyes).

Apparently this is not unusual. The other managers had plenty to say about the lack of training given to not just me, but countless other new store managers. The other managers invited me out and seem to thrive off of vicious gossip about anybody (even those sitting at the table). I don't think I can trust them. They asked to seem my cell phone and one girl said "oh do you have a boyfriend?" after reading my texts over my shoulder.

I have been given little resources for help. There are no guidebooks. I have messed up so many things because I am doing them thinking I can just "figure it out." My associates are agitated because they have to teach their own boss the ropes. The other managers around to contact don't seem to want to help much either. I know they are busy. I just feel like I am drowning in questions with nobody to help and I have no staff practically and they are all angry and ready to quit. One of them already has. I am receiving pressure from upper management to hire in a city where I know next to no one.

I work by myself often and I am not allowed to leave and the idea is that you don't get a break. So I don't take them. By the end of the day my feet are screaming. I'm stressed and don't know who to turn to. I don't have any people to schedule and nobody who genuinely wants to help. I have been downing anything with caffeine in sight and come home and pass out in my work garb because I'm so exhausted. I feel like I'm complaining. I really do, but I am so exhausted already. I don't know where to go from here...
posted by Chelsaroo650 to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The world is full of bad jobs and bad managers. If they're not going to train you, make your own rules for how to run the place, drawing on the knowledge of the other employees when you're uncertain about something that seems important. Maybe befriend managers in other retail shops. Certainly stop trying to do a perfect job in an impossible situation. If you really feel you can't leave the store, at least get off your feet during the day.

Pro tip: some of the best (easiest, best paying, least stressful) office jobs are at universities.
posted by Scram at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you need to make the best of a bad situation here's some things I would do.

1. Have a staff meeting with everyone there (or as many people as possible) and set some norms for your team. How do we want to treat one another? How should we handle breaks? How should we handle scheduling and covering for other people when something comes up? If an issue comes up what are our norms for resolving this? If norms are set by the group they are more likely to be kept and it's easier for you to hold people accountable to adhering to them.

2. Work out a schedule that doesn't leave you all alone all day long. That's not reasonable and doesn't seem safe from a loss prevention standpoint either. You should have at least one other person in the store for some portion of the day. That would give you time to go sit down and relax for 30 minutes.

3. Get an employee handbook. If this is a large retailer, they must have something. Read it, have other employees read it. Those are the rules you must follow.

4. Do not participate in gossip culture. You can be friendly and when people try to engage you simply say something like, "oh that's not really something I pay much attention to, so can't really comment." Better to always assume best intentions.

5. Get to know your manager. Be proactive. Ask if you can have a regular check-in on the phone or in person, just 30 minutes every other week. It's a chance for you to ask questions and trouble shoot.

6. Whenever you're having a problem, come up with a proposed solution before taking it to your boss or other employees. Be solutions oriented.

7. Bring your lunch and take 30 minutes every day in the backroom/office/stockroom to eat and get off your feet. A quick sandwich and some fruit or veggies will help you feel better. Keep some trail mix in the office if you need a quick snack/protein/energy boost.
posted by brookeb at 10:36 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's what I'd suggest, stop jumping from one thing to another out of fear.

Did you look for a new job, really searching for something that would be a good fit for your skills in an environment that you'd enjoy, or did you grab the very first thing that came along to get the hell out of that awful place?

You can make this work, but you're going to have to actually work at it.

1. Schedule a one-on-one with your manager weekly.

2. Save up your questions and make one phone call and ask them all at one time.

3. No one can see what you're doing on your phone if it's in your locker. Turn it off when you're at work.

4. If you need to hire someone, put a Now Hiring sign in the window of the store, post the position on Craigslist and make sure there's a posting for the job on the corporate website. Ask the other associates if they know anyone who's looking for a job. Then interview and hire someone. While networking is great, you can't expect to use it for every opening you have. So what you don't know anyone. You'll hire in someone good. Also, find out what the procedure is for hiring new employees.

5. It's not your job to know everything about how your subordinates do their jobs, it's your job to manage them. So if you're asked how to do X, and you have no idea, cop to it, "Gosh Sylvia, I honestly don't know. Let's check out the Intranet and find out together.

6. Troll your intranet. See if there are Computer Based Training, or You Tubes or any online resources. Be resourceful!

7. Expect to work like a fiend until you're up to speed. Here's what I say about learning about new things. The first time it takes 2 days to do. The second time it takes two hours to do. From there on in, it takes 2 minutes to do.

8. Delegate what you can. Make someone the 'store trainer'. Praise this person's people-skills, explain that you think he/she is the bees knees at this. Let her come up with a plan, curriculum.

9. Find someone who is interested in the merchandising part of thing and have that person do floor changes and displays. Again, praise early and often!

10. Do quick one-on-ones with your employees weekly. Find out what's going on with them, what do they like to do, what do they hate, do they have any ideas for improving things? People are resources, use them!

You don't have to do everything on your own. Give the other folks there an opportunity to shine.

First rate people hire first rate people, second rate people hire third rate people.

Stop reacting and start planning.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Scram: I used to agree about universities, until I ended up in a stressful job at one. My suggestion is to try to find some job that doesn't involve waiting on the public. Or dealing with money. Both of those just bring out the crazy abuse and ridiculous standards that employees can't possibly make.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:33 PM on September 24, 2014

Low-skill jobs generally suck. Get training or education to get into a better career field where you don't have to deal with this bullshit.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:53 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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