Author Topic: I'm not bossy, you're not working!  (Read 4588 times)

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Seraphia

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I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« on: August 10, 2010, 01:38:26 PM »
    I am at the end of my rope with my new co-workers, and I'm not really sure what to do about it. I'm hoping you guys can give me a: some perspective, and b: a way to respectfully bring my concerns to my boss.

    Ok, background first. I work in a very small retail store. We have one manager, one gal at forty hours, one at thirty hours (me), and two who work 5-15 hours a week. The two co-workers in question, "Mindy" and "Linda," are new hires with the part-time hours. Linda has been there a couple months, Mindy, about three weeks. My manager, while a very nice woman, tends to hire people she likes on sight, rather than going through any actual interviewing process. Thus, we have had rather a low retention rate, and I train people a lot.

    Since I have the most overall experience (I worked a year at another store also), my boss often asks me to show/explain to new hires how things work. This has not gone well. I will tell someone: "oh, don't forget X needs to get done," or "When you fill out paperwork, please do Y," only to have my boss "mention" that "someone" has complained I'm "Too bossy." She's also written notes for everyone to sign that will say something about how we're all equal and no-one is to boss anyone else around. Ironically, she still tells me she would "totally make [me] assistant manager, but [she] doesn't have the hours."

    So, this week, the forty-hour gal went on vacation. It was me, Manager, Mindy and Linda. Currently, the store is preparing for inventory, so there's a lot to be done. Manager was off this weekend, so only Mindy, Linda and I were working. This is how my weekend went:

On Friday, Linda came in for her closing shift. She clocked in, then went next door for fifteen minutes to talk to her Mom, who is also working. When she returned, she checked shelves for 45 minutes, said she didn't feel well, but section one is done, called Manager and went home. I closed alone.
    Saturday morning, Manager asked me what is done, and I tell her honestly that Linda said she finished a section, but I don't think it was physically possible to do that much in 45 minutes, especially if she wasn't feeling well. Manager agrees with me, but when Linda says how much she finished yesterday, Manager says nothing.
    Saturday, Sunday and Monday, not much got done. Both gals are good at waiting on customers, but either haven't noticed or don't care that there's more to do than that. She and Mindy have been taking cigarette breaks every 45 minutes to sit outside and chat. When I asked them (twice) to please tell me when they were going outside, so I could stay up front, they told me to chill out, and that they could just snub out their cigarettes and follow any customers back in to wait on them. I don't feel this is acceptable at all, but since I'm not friends with the girls next door like they are, I think it came off as jealousy.
    But, the question is, how do I bring this up? I already told Manager that I don't think she should schedule the two of them together, as they're more interested in chatting with each other and the girls next door. But what else do I bring up? The breaks? Linda greeting me with "Hey Bratface!" when she came in? The amount of inventory prep that could have gotten done?

I don't want to tattle (They were MEAAAANN!!), or get labeled as 'bossy' again, but I want some help! Suggestions?

(Sidenote: we don't have an HR dept we can call, other than for things like harassment. This is probably going to have to be handled in-store.)
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Marleigh

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 02:29:13 PM »
Are you hearing the "bossy" comment from more employees than just the 2 current part-timers?  If so, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this could be an issue of your tone.  For example, instead of saying, "oh, don't forget X needs to get done," maybe you could say, "Before we go home we need to do X." And instead of saying, "When you fill out paperwork, please do Y," you could say, "Oh, when we fill out paperwork, Manager wants us to do Y." 

This way, you are simply one coworker passing on Manager's instructions to another coworker.  You're not telling them what to do, you're reminding them what you *all* have to get done, together.

Shoo

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 02:34:54 PM »
Here's what you do.  You do the things you are responsible for and say absolutely NOTHING to the other two.  Don't guide them, instruct them, or make suggestions to them. 

Let them fall flat on their faces.

When boss asks what got done, you tell her what YOU did and nothing else.  Let her figure out for herself what's going on.

Hopefully, it won't take long.


Elfmama

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 02:36:31 PM »
Quote
they could just snub out their cigarettes and follow any customers back in to wait on them.

You might point out to the Manager that this kind of attitude and actions will probably lose them customers.  I can't be the  only person who would rather not walk through a cloud of noxious fumes to enter your store, and when employees are more interested in smoking and visiting with each other than working, I take my money and go elsewhere.  Customers are not an interruption, they are the reason for your job.
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Animala

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 02:40:23 PM »
If the manager wants to relay something through you ask her to write it down and just give them the note.  That way it isn't from you, it is from manager.  

It sounds like you have a higher expectation than your manager does and if so you will continue to be frustrated.  

whatsanenigma

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 03:09:59 PM »
It seems to me that your manager wants you to act as manager but isn't giving you the authority to do it.

And I wonder if an honest conversation about this topic with her would do you good.

You could express how much you want to meet her expectations, by keeping other employees on task, etc., if that is what she would like you to do, but you have no authority to enforce this, and therefore your efforts only breed resentment.

At least you can clarify exactly what she expects of you and go from there.

Alternatively, you could express your problem in terms only of how it is YOUR problem. How you have a lot of work and you cannot always get it done, you don't know exactly how to prioritize things, when this and that isn't getting done and you have too much work for your time slot.

Then, either she will ask "why isn't this and that getting done" and you can say "I don't know, I just know that so and so never seems to be able to do it" or something similar, or she will let you know exactly what she expects from you, in whatever role she wants you to play.

Good luck either way. That situation sounds difficult.

DangerMouth

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 03:20:23 PM »
It seems to me that your manager wants you to act as manager but isn't giving you the authority to do it.

And I wonder if an honest conversation about this topic with her would do you good.

You could express how much you want to meet her expectations, by keeping other employees on task, etc., if that is what she would like you to do, but you have no authority to enforce this, and therefore your efforts only breed resentment.

At least you can clarify exactly what she expects of you and go from there.

Alternatively, you could express your problem in terms only of how it is YOUR problem. How you have a lot of work and you cannot always get it done, you don't know exactly how to prioritize things, when this and that isn't getting done and you have too much work for your time slot.

Then, either she will ask "why isn't this and that getting done" and you can say "I don't know, I just know that so and so never seems to be able to do it" or something similar, or she will let you know exactly what she expects from you, in whatever role she wants you to play.

Good luck either way. That situation sounds difficult.

I was just going to post something similar, but you've said it all so well.

Seraphia

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 03:25:00 PM »
If the manager wants to relay something through you ask her to write it down and just give them the note.  That way it isn't from you, it is from manager.  

It sounds like you have a higher expectation than your manager does and if so you will continue to be frustrated.  

Well, the notes thing is another point where communication breaks down in the store. There is note up right now about how Manager needs a Dr.'s note for illness-related absence, and that requests for time off cannot be for longer than five days. But even though I've sat there, signed the paperwork in front of them and said, hey we all need to sign these, the paperwork doesn't get signed. And then I get asked "Did So-and-So sign the paperwork? Make sure you remind her to."  ::)

ETA: And yes, you're right, I am frustrated. I don't feel like there's really any authority at all, as Manager doesn't like to confront people directly, except for really egregious stuff. Everything else is notes and verbal relays.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 03:28:36 PM by Seraphia »
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Dindrane

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2010, 03:28:26 PM »
It seems to me that your manager wants you to act as manager but isn't giving you the authority to do it.

Not to mention, you're not getting the paycheck.

I agree with the rest of whatsanenigma's post, too.

Ultimately, I think you should present your issues as problems you expect your manager to solve.  Not in a demanding way, but in an, "Of course she'll fix this -- she's the manager!" type of way.


hobish

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 03:44:55 PM »

What would happen if you stopped telling your co-workers to complete their work and get their paperwork signed? I have to admit, if I was regularly being told to sign reminders that we were all equal and then had one of my “equals” telling me how and when to do my job I’d be pretty non-plussed. I understand your manager has made it as if you should do those things;but it apparently isn’t working and it isn’t what you’re being paid to do … so what would happen if you stopped?

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Seraphia

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 03:50:43 PM »

What would happen if you stopped telling your co-workers to complete their work and get their paperwork signed? I have to admit, if I was regularly being told to sign reminders that we were all equal and then had one of my “equals” telling me how and when to do my job I’d be pretty non-plussed. I understand your manager has made it as if you should do those things;but it apparently isn’t working and it isn’t what you’re being paid to do … so what would happen if you stopped?




What would happen is what has happened. I swore off asking them for help, telling them what was to be done etc, when I got the "we're all equals" note several months ago.  Now, I'm doing everything that I feel I would like to accomplish, and they're reading Twilight in the backroom, or smoking out front, or next door visiting their friends.

I guess I should stop working so hard, so that more things do get left undone.
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Queen of Clubs

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2010, 03:53:01 PM »
If the manager wants to relay something through you ask her to write it down and just give them the note.  That way it isn't from you, it is from manager.  

It sounds like you have a higher expectation than your manager does and if so you will continue to be frustrated.  

Well, the notes thing is another point where communication breaks down in the store. There is note up right now about how Manager needs a Dr.'s note for illness-related absence, and that requests for time off cannot be for longer than five days. But even though I've sat there, signed the paperwork in front of them and said, hey we all need to sign these, the paperwork doesn't get signed. And then I get asked "Did So-and-So sign the paperwork? Make sure you remind her to."  ::)

ETA: And yes, you're right, I am frustrated. I don't feel like there's really any authority at all, as Manager doesn't like to confront people directly, except for really egregious stuff. Everything else is notes and verbal relays.

I agree with a PP: phrase everything as coming from your manager.  The bit about "did so-and-so sign the paperwork?"  Phrase it as, "Manager asked me to remind you to sign that paperwork."

They don't do their jobs?  Not your problem - turn it all over to your manager.  She's the one getting paid to deal with it.  Document what you do, what you're supposed to do, and leave the rest up to them.

Really though, I'd go looking for another job.  Since your manager doesn't want to do her job, it sounds like you'll end up doing all the work while your coworkers slack off.  That's not fair on you.

hobish

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2010, 03:54:14 PM »

What would happen if you stopped telling your co-workers to complete their work and get their paperwork signed? I have to admit, if I was regularly being told to sign reminders that we were all equal and then had one of my “equals” telling me how and when to do my job I’d be pretty non-plussed. I understand your manager has made it as if you should do those things;but it apparently isn’t working and it isn’t what you’re being paid to do … so what would happen if you stopped?




What would happen is what has happened. I swore off asking them for help, telling them what was to be done etc, when I got the "we're all equals" note several months ago.  Now, I'm doing everything that I feel I would like to accomplish, and they're reading Twilight in the backroom, or smoking out front, or next door visiting their friends.

I guess I should stop working so hard, so that more things do get left undone.

Sorry, i missed that bit. Hmmm. Need to think on it.

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DangerMouth

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2010, 03:58:55 PM »
If the manager wants to relay something through you ask her to write it down and just give them the note.  That way it isn't from you, it is from manager.  

It sounds like you have a higher expectation than your manager does and if so you will continue to be frustrated.  

Well, the notes thing is another point where communication breaks down in the store. There is note up right now about how Manager needs a Dr.'s note for illness-related absence, and that requests for time off cannot be for longer than five days. But even though I've sat there, signed the paperwork in front of them and said, hey we all need to sign these, the paperwork doesn't get signed. And then I get asked "Did So-and-So sign the paperwork? Make sure you remind her to."  ::)

ETA: And yes, you're right, I am frustrated. I don't feel like there's really any authority at all, as Manager doesn't like to confront people directly, except for really egregious stuff. Everything else is notes and verbal relays.

I agree with a PP: phrase everything as coming from your manager.  The bit about "did so-and-so sign the paperwork?"  Phrase it as, "Manager asked me to remind you to sign that paperwork."

They don't do their jobs?  Not your problem - turn it all over to your manager.  She's the one getting paid to deal with it.  Document what you do, what you're supposed to do, and leave the rest up to them.

Really though, I'd go looking for another job.  Since your manager doesn't want to do her job, it sounds like you'll end up doing all the work while your coworkers slack off.  That's not fair on you.



ITA. Everything that is frustrating to you about this job would make you a really desirable, on-the-ball manager elsewhere. And while it's a pretty slow economy right now, you are never more attractive to an employer than when you are already employed elsewhere. Wouldn't hurt to look, KWIM?

ETA: no nevermind, I'm not going to suggest that your current manager should have an unfortunate accident. But seriously, you mentioned a HR dept, if this is a chain maybe you could apply within the company for a mgr position elsewhere?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 04:01:30 PM by DangerMouth »

Animala

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Re: I'm not bossy, you're not working!
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2010, 04:04:07 PM »
Are you busting your butt to get all the work done?  If you are then your manager doesn't have a problem.  Everything is getting done and she doesn't have to confront anyone.  You need to make it her problem.