Friday, May 15, 2009


So much for the new job - I've been doing my best but my performance hasn't been up-to-par so my hours were reduced from 33.5 to 10. I've been taken off the management track I was on and am now classified as lowly cashier. The store manager and I had a long chat when I inquired about my reduced hours. I totally agree with him that I have not caught on that quickly. They will be training another new employee now for the "front-end lead" spot I was hired for. The manager said I am about a month behind in the training schedule they had hoped for.

How have I taken this news? The best I can. I've considered quitting but I am not a quitter and we need the money. As they want me to fill in for people calling off their shifts, I am able to recover some of my lost hours. It is frustrating to want to do a good job but not remembering all the details going along with the training. For example, the stuff I'm doing wrong include not removing the sensor scanner from a $750.00 vacuum cleaner. (A horrible alarm was set off when the poor couple left the store and managers came running out of no where!) Or forgetting how to ring up a certain type of coupon that has only come in once before.

I did explain to the manager that people have different types of learning styles and I need to have hands-on training in order to remember a procedure. Their training so far mostly involves my looking over the shoulder of an experienced cashier, who quickly does the transaction. I am then supposed to remember how to do it but I don't. I also told the manager that I've asked repeatedly for just 5-10 minutes of one-on-one time but apparently that is too much time to take to train someone individually at this super busy store. The manager was nice and said they'd try and work with me. He acknowledged my lack of retail experience and even referred to me as a "fish out of water." He also conceded that it is a challenge to go back to work after being out of the work force awhile.

Some of this too involves my life as an only parent (with a lot on her mind as well, in regard to the foreclosure/bankruptcy). I only get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night and sometimes I'm drained when I go into work - not exactly the most conducive circumstances for starting and learning a new job. It doesn't help that I haven't worked in retail since college and the younger people at this place seem to catch on much more quickly and understand what is going on more easily. Some of them have worked at Old Navy, The Gap, Carson's, Linens & Things, etc.

So there is a fair amount stacked up against me - my being middle-aged (I don't think as fast as I once did); the challenges of being an only parent; returning to the job market after a break of a few years. In fact, I haven't worked full-time in 13 years! Since I got my master's degree I've only held part-time positions. Just the fact that I made it through two 30+ hours a week is pretty good for me! My feet ached from standing eight hour shifts and were covered in blisters. But I did make it through.

Now there is the question of what I do from here. And I have decided to take the lead of my oldest. At our Mother's Day dinner we talked about my "demotion" and he got such a kick out of it - laughing up a storm and exclaiming, "How can they demote you from a cashier? Are you in the stockroom now?" His sense of humor was contagious and I've decided to try and lighten up about all of this. Ringing up the wrong coupon may seem like a big deal to management and maybe even the customer but I know that it pales in comparison to the really big stuff. So I guess I'm going to smile my way through my mishaps and apologize if necessary - but then I'm going to take off the work apron when the day is done, go home and FORGET ABOUT IT. In the meantime, I can weigh my options - keep looking for a job in my field (a counseling agency is still interested in me), maybe take a few classes, work at this place until they fire me (or maybe I will start getting the hang of it eventually).

Today I am grateful:

1. For my son's wisdom, humor and support. He did a lot to lift my mood on Mother's Day.
2. For not having had to use the Food Pantry again - working is bringing in grocery money.
3. For sticking it out and not quitting when it might have been easier (on my feet for sure) to have thrown in the towel.
4. For having the courage to try a job outside my field.
5. For having the strength to take a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Well done you for sticking it out. I am sure it will get easier and less stressful as you get the hands-on practice.

    And what a wonderful, well-grounded son you have. He is a credit to you.

    J xx