Grown Ups Go To Work

Children go to school. Children go to a baby-sitter. Adults pay bills. Grown ups go to work.

So why do I suddenly feel like a child at the baby-sitter while I’m at work? Never have I been so micromanaged. I am good at my job. Good enough in fact, that my employer made me manager. Rational, logical thinking would lead one to believe that I am a trusted, capable adult.

The company I work for has always emphasized empowering their employees, and giving them the ability to make decisions.

The actions of my employer would say otherwise.

Over the last few years, the culture of my workplace has shifted.

In five years, I have had four different personnel leaders, and two different direct leaders.

Both direct leaders I’ve had were great. The first, was a long time company employee. She started in the same position I did, worked her way to the top of store food chain, and had many years under her belt by the time I came along. She was confident and decisive. She had unrealistic expectations, but she was clear on what she wanted. The second also started in the same position I did, and she was promoted to replace the previous leader of my store. There were some bumps in the road at first. She was learning as she went after all. Things have smoothed out. She found her groove. And she is a really good leader.

I have had one REALLY great personnel leader. He understood the ins and outs of the company, but also understood that we are human. We have personal lives, with personal problems. And that because we are human, errors are inevitable. He would listen to the reasoning that led you to make the decision you made, and then explain to you what you should do next time. He was both a leader, and a teacher.

One of my personnel leaders was experienced, and comfortable in his role, but he wasn’t exceptionally great. He wasn’t bad though either.

One of the leaders was young, but confident. He did things very by the book. Everything was cut and dry. Right or wrong. He hadn’t quite learned to adapt to human error. Everything in his world was ‘rainbows and butterflies’ and he didn’t tolerate anything other. Our problems were his inconvenience.

My current personnel leader is fresh out of college. She is okay on a daily level. But she is afraid of confrontation. She is flippy floppy on her expectations. She is very, very young and inexperienced. She is all about the numbers, and how the business appears on paper, rather than how the business actually runs. She has the capability to be a good leader, but she doesn’t have the experience. She often seems very, “deer in headlights” to me.

Times are changing. Out with the old, and in with the new.

I have seen two veteran employees (10-15 years of employment) leave in the last month. Not necessarily by choice, but because they have felt they didn’t have any other options.

Today, a co-worker of mine was forced to resign. She has given six years to this company. She was the only person at my store that was there when I got hired five and a half years ago.

**I have worked side by side with this woman for five and a half years. She helped train me for the position I have now. We have watched each others children grow up. She is more than my former co-worker. She is my friend.**

That’s the way this company works. When they’ve decided that they no longer need you, but don’t really have any reason to fire you, they will present you with two options. One being an offer to change locations. Usually to a store that is at least an hour away, sometimes more. It is always an outlandish option that they are pretty sure you won’t agree to. Option two is always to voluntarily resign. I think they do it not only so that they can get rid of you, but so that they’ve done it in a way that has no consequences for them. They don’t have to pay unemployment, and you don’t have a leg to stand on as far as filing an HR complaint.

They have a habit of promoting people who are not yet ready for the position. Especially men. On a store level, this company is ran by mostly women. It’s just how it is. Not everyone is cut out to work in such a fast paced, high stress environment, and most men that get hired, don’t stick around for very long. The ones that do, seem to get promoted very quickly. Even when they are not qualified, or ready for the job. Probably to keep the diversity.

I’m not sure if the end game is to “clean house” and start fresh, or if getting rid of veteran employees is to lower payroll. Either way, I fear for my job.

I am good at my job. I don’t always like it, but I am damn good at it. I never thought I’d see the day that I was afraid of going to work tomorrow for fear of losing my job, or being given crazy ultimatums.

I never thought I would feel like a child at work. Like I am constantly being watched, or babysat. In constant fear that the slightest error could be just the fuel they need to get rid of me.

I have given this company more than five years. I have put this job first so many times. I have missed milestones for my kids, and extracurricular activities. I have missed things that I can never get back. I have put in countless hours, and traveled hundreds of miles for this company. I’m not saying that I’m entitled to anything, but I am saying that I should be able to count on my job. I am good at it.

I don’t know where this company is headed, but I do know that I think it’s unfair. I do know that I don’t agree with it, and that I don’t like it.

A job is just a job. This company is not MY company. It is not my life.
Maybe it’s time to find a new job. Maybe I should start my own company. (kidding).

Maybe it’s time.

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