Be advised, this is a workplace rant. Proceed at your own risk.
On Tuesday, I had to start training a new employee for my department. Last week was his predecessor’s last day, and 2 weeks before that, the predecessor put in his 2 weeks’ notice. So, naturally, the replacement didn’t get hired until those 2 weeks were up. Because….that’s just how they do things. Be given ample warning that something will happen, and squander that before finally getting around to attending to the issue. Retail 101? Probably not, but that’s how things work at my job.
Anyway, I arrive for my shift at 7 am, and he’s waiting for me in the break room. Apparently, he was informed that his shift was to coincide with mine, and whoever was doing the scheduling didn’t bother to look at MY shift, they just scheduled him at 6:30, thinking I’d be there to greet him. To his credit, he went back to my department, encountered the department manager, who (as usual) didn’t want to deal with a new employee, and just sent him back to the break room to wait for me.
First impressions are usually a good indicator of how things are going to go. Too, small talk does tend to give one a clue about the background of someone new. Our new employee most recently worked at a gas station, his impetus for going to a new job was mostly to get out of the weather. Blue-collar jobs all make the same wage (for the most part) to begin with, somewhere around minimum wage, which in my state is $14.20/hour. I started him out with information that he was going to need on the days I wasn’t going to be there to work with him; then we made out way back to the department to get going with things. Along the way, I noticed he had a habit of shuffling his feet, which in and of itself means nothing, other than it might indicate long term that he wasn’t going to be the speediest traveler over the course of 8 hours.
Initially, he seemed to be understanding what I was telling him, though we had an issue in the department that started late last week with malfunctioning equipment. This has caused a backlog in getting product out to the floor, and attempting to train someone new in the equipment we have left, is destined to cause more of a backlog, which I didn’t have a ready solution for. Which became moot within about 20 minutes, as ‘Carl’ announced that he needed to go to the bathroom. Apparently, he has an ulcer, and it was bothering him already. He returned a few minutes later, I asked him if he was ok, and he said ‘For Now’. Little did I know this was foreshadowing.
Over the course of the next 2 hours, he returned to the bathroom 4 times, stated he threw up twice, and eventually he ‘just wasn’t going to make the whole shift’. I called the Assistant Store Manager and we talked about what was going on, and that it wasn’t panning out for the day. I commented that he was scheduled to have the next 2 days off, and he was supposed to be back on Thursday to work with me once more. She warned him that if he continued to have these issues, it was more than likely he’d be terminated for cause because quite honestly we need people to be reliable. Just because it’s a low-level position doesn’t mean you don’t have to be able to show up AND be able to do the work.
So he left. He did happen to mention that he didn’t want to be viewed as wasting anyone’s time, and I reassured him that no one was making any judgments based on 2 hours of work. Though that wasn’t 100% accurate. The Assistant Store Manager had asked me on the side if I would recommend ‘cutting him loose’ and I had already made a judgment based on what I had already seen. Carl wasn’t going to cut it long-term. I finished out my work for the rest of the day, (which admittedly wasn’t easy since I had already lost 2 hours), and went home to have the following 2 days off. Of course, being me I spent part of those 2 days worrying about what I was going to be walking into, on Thursday.
I needn’t have bothered. Carl quit Thursday morning.
Here’s the meat of the rant, as it were. As I said to the ASM; the hiring person needs to have more in-depth conversations with the people that she’s hiring. Instead of just ‘assigning’ people into departments without having any inkling whether or not they’re going to work out. It’s all well and good for her to put square pegs into holes, but if we’re going to be wasting our time training them only to have them either quit or not work out, then it’s time wasted that we don’t have in abundance. Considering 2 years ago I went through 13 people before we found someone that was going to work out (though this person ended up being heavily flawed and stubborn in many cases, someone I repeatedly butted heads with, and if we had a pipeline of ready-made hirelings, he would have been long gone a long time ago). I despise training. But if we’re going to be profitable, we have to have the people to do the work. We’re short-handed right now, and missing a key piece of equipment. While I’m doing one thing, that empty space could be filled with someone competent, that would be assisting me, not a vacant spot. Vacancies don’t do much work.
Anyway, I shudder to think who’s going to be next.