Check out my wares: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Bookhoarding
I’ve mentioned before that I’m selling my family’s books online (yes, the “hoarding” part of my chosen moniker isn’t entirely exaggeration), but now I’m really expanding into my Etsy shop and plan to start a self-managed photography business around January.
So here are the links:
- Beeblebroxalot books on Amazon
- Bookhoarding cutesy crafts for sale
- My web resume for info on my film(s)
From the interview, though training, and into today’s conversation I have noticed that the bosses really stress the idea that anyone could continue rising through the ranks at the company. You get fed stories about employees who started as holiday temps and quickly made it to management. Looking around the sales team, knowing how long some of the people have worked the same job, I know that it isn’t true for everyone (and it couldn’t be with as few management jobs as there are available).
In the interview the woman interviewing me stressed how far she had come with the company. During training the leader really encouraged us to do our best because look at her, she started in our shoes and now she’s management.
And today the same. I asked what my last day would be because I’d like to know when to start looking for jobs, when I can say my first day of availability is and when I can visit my father for an extended period of time.
Instead of an answer I got a great speech about doing a good job to stay on. Did I know that they kept on some of the holiday employees? Did I know that I had had nothing but good reviews so far? If I kept it up and worked on thus and thus things I MIGHT be asked to stay, and I didn’t need to be reminded of the many benefits of that! But it was really stressed that I DO MY BEST for the rest of my holiday season.
So my question is where in the manager’s training do they tell people to push this idea of potential pay-offs? There has to be a psychology behind it. Tell your temp employees from day one that they could make it to a “really good position” and they do a better job? I mean, it makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to do a better job if they had first hand accounts of it paying off?
But for me I question it all because the numbers don’t match up. At some of my other jobs my bosses only ever hinted once or twice in the years I worked there that I could move up, and only when they knew that the person directly above me may leave. They never tried to foster this sense of promotions that just did not exist. I mean, when you have a staff of 20 and you only have three positions above that you don’t expect to promote every one of those 20 people, do you?
Also, I still don’t know my last day. I think I’ll call the corporate offices to get a concrete date because I really don’t think I’ll get one from the staff.
I just got a call from my supervisor about coming in earlier than my on-call shift. Instead of coming in at 3 p.m. I was asked to come in at 11 a.m.. It was 9:30 when they called and I was in the midst of cleaning for my guest.
I asked them if I would leave early if I started early. No, they said, I would have to work until 7:45 p.m. as usual.
I said no, I needed time to clean the house for my guest.
They said, in that case, I could come in at 11:45 a.m.
I said no. That really wasn’t enough time for me to do what I needed before my guest came.
This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a call the day of to come in for a shift I was not scheduled for. Last Sunday I had no been scheduled at all (no on-calls) and I got a call around 10 a.m. asking if I could come in. When I asked what time I was told, “As soon as possible.” I told her I couldn’t because I already had plans and was kind of given the runaround like today (she asked when I would be done, if I could do it later, etc.).
It’s interesting to me because of the tone of the interactions, as if I’m the one in the wrong for not being able to make a last minute shift change. I’m pretty sure they said we had to have three-days notice before a shift, and lately, between the last-minute calls and late release of the schedule, I don’t think they’re following that guideline.
Oh snap, I’m going there. These are merely my observations, along with some examples of incidents. The dialogue of such incidents may not be 100% accurate due to human error and lack of recording device (or right to use such device).
I have noticed a distinct difference in how the male supervisors handle employees when compared to the female supervisors.
The male supervisors are more likely to praise and educate.
Example: My second ever use of the registers I was with a male supervisor. He had walked me through one transaction and then stood beside me to watch me do another. When the customer left he said, “Great, you did everything perfectly, except what?”
I paused. “Oh shit! I forgot (insert promotion here)!”
“You did, but that’s ok. Remember it for next time. You did everything else perfectly.”
Compare this to my first ever use of the register with a female supervisor.
“Can you watch me do my first transaction?” I asked.
“Sure, I’ll be over here if you need me,” she says as she walks off to do “go-backs.”
The difference in the two interactions is key because the first time I try a new skill I am met with resistance to my request for assistance. I had admitted at the start of my shift that I was uncomfortable with the registers as I had never used them before and in my first attempt my concerns were essentially ignored. With my male supervisor I felt comfort knowing that he listened to my concerns and created a learning moment out of his observations, making my register training more thorough. (In saying “thorough” I mean he was close enough to observe if I was doing everything correctly on screen and off, rather than walking away entirely.)
Another difference is how the two handle visits from higher-ups. I’ve observed all four supervisors react to visits from superiors on multiple occasions and each time I have noticed the same responses. When on the floor during inspection the male supervisors tend to lean toward positive reinforcement with the sales team. The female supervisors participate in corrective interactions with the sales team when in front of their superiors.
Example: Visit One
I was on the floor helping a customer with a question about denim jackets. As I raised my arm to point out where the jackets were located the supervisors and their superior were just coming to my section and paying close attention to the interaction. Without waiting for me to finish my explanation to the customer my female supervisor interrupts and tells the customer that we don’t have the product she is looking for, but have something similar in a place opposite from where I was about to direct her.
I walked the customer over to where the female supervisor had pointed out the product would be located. I was fully aware that the information my supervisor had given was inaccurate, but being watched by her I followed through with her directions. The customer asked (again) if there were any other locations for denim jackets. I told took her to the place I originally pointed out, before being “corrected” by my female supervisor, and found multiple styles of the item she was looking for.
My male supervisor did not make any attempt to correct my behaviors, or any other sales staff that I observed. (I am indicating that I did not observe the entire interaction.)
Example: Visit Two
I am replacing items from the dressing room to their place on the floor. We are having another big visit from the superiors. A male and female supervisor are on the floor while the superior is there. My male supervisor stops me and asks me to (please) recover (i.e. tidy up) a messy table before returning to my assignment. He follows up by saying he wished I worked again the next day because I was so on top of things.
My female supervisor stops me while attempting to complete my shift-long assignment and tells me what I should be doing instead, despite her telling me to do that very assignment in the first place. Though my male supervisors have lavished positive comments upon the sales staff all shift I did not hear one positive comment from either female staffers. I only hear corrective comments, sometimes I feel they are unneeded.
This brings me to a concluding thought. I have heard in classroom discussion of studies and statistics that women in power often feel they must exert that power in ways men do not (and do not feel they have to). I have never before encountered such a distinct dichotomy. I love women in power, I think it rocks and I’ve been lucky enough to have two strong female bosses that I am still very close to.
My theory is that the female supervisors partake in corrective commentary because it is a sign of power, they have the status and education to determine when others are not doing an operation correctly and tell them to change behaviors. The male supervisors more often turn to positive comments before bringing up incorrect behaviors. They nestle the corrective comment between positive statements.
This is a topic I wish to elaborate on continuously throughout the holidays. I find it fascinating that between the four supervisors (two female, two male) there is a very predictable pattern of behaviors.
I’m essentially going to be posting ethnographic notes on my experience working in retail. In order to feel at ease with such an ethnographic experiment I should lay out what may become (or be perceived) as biases within the study:
- This is my first retail job.
- I am only doing it to pass my free time and save money for a camera kit.
- As soon as I have said money for camera kit I will put in my two weeks notice.
- I do not want to continue working in retail.
- I have a low tolerance for bullshit.
- I have issues with asshats of privilege who assume that retail/food service employees are somehow lesser beings.
- My dad has always worked in food service.
I may add to this upon further self examination.