Thursday, July 7, 2011

"I Will Tear Your Head Off The Next Time You Do That! Oh, And Thanks For Coming In Early To Work!"

     One of the biggest apprehensions I have before going into work each day is, “What kind of moods are the managers in today?”  Now, my first big apprehension is, “Am I going to have to deal with customer issues today?” but manager moods run a close second.  Do you ever work at a place where it seems like the managers are suffering from multiple personalities or some severe emotional imbalance?  How fun is that?
     It’s not like there are several insane managers running around my store, there isn’t.  It just feels that way because of the amount of time spent around them.  The crazy people tend to stand out from the calm, fun managers that are at my store.  They can go from pleasant to axe-wielding maniac on the same shift.  The phrase "walking on eggshells" was probably invented because some crazy grocery store manager went berserk one day and threw eggs all over their store.
     One moment the manager will act like he or she is your best friend and the next moment they’ll tear you a new asshole for coming to them with a question.  What’s really frustrating about these managers is when they seem normal for a good month or two, making you think you can get along with them, and then they return to their bitchy attitude.  For the longest time I couldn’t stand one of our head managers when (s)he first began because every interaction was a combative situation.  Everyone (and I do mean everyone) despised having to work with her/him.  (S)he’s been there now for over a year and it is just now that I’m starting to not feel as apprehensive about working around that person.  Yet, I know that given the right circumstances that could change in an instant.  Not that I feel like we’re buds or anything – I still walk in with the same level of unease as I did before – but I don’t dread every interaction.
     When I worked in the grocery retail world, I remember most of the managers being in better moods than the managers at electronic stores.  That kind of strikes me as unusual since, per day, grocery stores tend to see more customers than electronic stores, and there are more employees at grocery stores than electronic stores.  How come management at grocery stores can keep more of a level head than management at electronic stores?  Is there some sort of training they’re going to that we can export to the electronics world?  If so, let’s get on this!  Or is it because customer issues in the electronics world tend to feel like larger headaches than at grocery stores?  I’m probably leaning toward that being the case than anything else.
     Do I expect every manager to be my best friend? No.  I do, however, expect them to not treat me like their five-year-old child and fly off the handle whenever they don’t like something I’ve done or didn’t do.  If every training video or coaching seminar I’ve ever went to for this job expects me to act like everything is all sunshine and rainbows in the world, the same should be expected of our managers.  We’re supposed to give every customer the royal treatment but apparently there is no training video telling managers to give their employees the royal treatment.
     If the frustrations of being a manager are too much for someone, then they shouldn’t be a manager.  If having to deal with customers bitching at you, corporate eyeballing you, and employees coming to you with every little issue is too much for you – then you shouldn’t be a manager.  That’s why I’ve never tried to move up in the retail world.  I know that I’d be like the bitchy managers I’m describing here.  I also don’t expect managers to shoot rainbows out of their eyes and toss candy to all the employees as they walk by, but you can be upset without being insane.  That’s something a few of my managers haven’t learned just yet.
     For all of the nice managers out there, you’ll get your own post, don’t worry.  I think I speak for all retail workers everywhere when we say that you’re presence at our stores make a world of difference.  Never let anyone take whatever place you draw your levelheaded and fun attitudes from away from you.  As hourly employees, we need you there all the more because even though your numbers might be larger than the psycho managers, their presence makes it feel like there are more of them than there are of you.
     More soon from the frontlines...