I've been a retail store manager for 5 years now (at the same store), in a college town, so I manage a staff of an about 4-5 college kids. Working with college kids usually means 2 things:
1. It's hard enough to schedule them to work when they already have a class schedule/other obligations,ie: Greek stuff or whatever pertains to their major, such as a theater major being in plays (don't get me wrong, I'm totally their bitch when it comes to working around THEIR time)
2. some are from out of town, so they ask to be off for days at a time to "go home." (I've even allowed this during stupid "blackout" periods during Christmas/back to school time, when asking off isn't allowed...ya, I'm WAY too nice)
I used to always feel "comfortable" working for this company for so long & always try to look at the bright side, but lately, this has really been chapping my ass off... this happens a lot, but we'll use this week, as the example:
Every Monday, managers are scheduled to start their 8 hour shift in the mornings to get things ready for the week & all (shift is usually 8:30a-5p before store opens at 10a). I get a call from one of my employees, at a reasonable time, saying she has an over 100 fever & cannot come to work her shift. I sympathize (I've barfed in the store's trash can in front of customers) & ask if she could try to get her shift covered, "any time they can come in works, even if you're scheduled to come in at 3:30 p & they can't come in until 5p because I'm here until then," I say. She said she'll keep me updated on what she finds out, great.
Not too long after, she texts me back: "I tried calling Person A, but can't get a hold of them. Person B can't work because she's babysitting her sister (um...she was scheduled On Call to work at 5:30p that day, just in case something like this happens. I don't believe in On Call shifts myself, I just post them for show, to keep my District Manager (MY boss) happy. I don't even make them "call 1 hour before your scheduled" shit. I've been there, I know it sucks.) and Person C has an exam (my assistant manager)."
I text her back that we'll try to keep contacting Person A & consider "back ups." (ie: employees have the option to "borrow" other stores' employees within the district & 1 person even expressed interest in covering any shift I need because they work at the same store 45 minutes away, but go to college in my town) I call 2 employees from another store that's only a 30 minute drive away from us, no luck. Called the person that went to college here/works 45 minutes away, no answer. I tried Person A again, she answered she had a mid term exam 6:30-8:30p that night (by the way: NONE of my employees talked about midterms before. You would think they'd want guaranteed time off to study or whatever. I really was staying within their "availability" guidelines), but was willing to come in after. Better than nothing, so I said, "Thanks & come in whenever you can!"
Fever Person overly apologizes & is willing to trade a Friday/Saturday shift with me because that'll be the time she gets better. BUZZ! WRONG! My District Manager says "if Store Managers need to cut their shifts & not go over their 40 hour week, to cut on any day(s) except Fridays/Saturdays" because, as we all know, Retail Managers rarely get weekends off like regular 9 to 5's.
7:30p rolled around (2 hours before I was originally scheduled to be off, that's a 10 hour shift for the day) & I wonder if Person A is being held hostage at her mid term (ya, you can stay the whole time to take a test, but I was going nuts). 8:30p, 30 minutes before we're scheduled to close at 9p, & I'm like, "fuck it. I shouldn't ask her to come in for less than an hour just to do the paperwork/closing procedures, even though she was nice enough to volunteer."
Tuesday, my day off, Person A (the one that was supposed to relieve me the night before after her midterm) texts me and says, "I'm scheduled tomorrow (Wednesday) 4:30-9:30p, but I have a midterm 5:45-7:45p. I asked Person B, C, & Fever Person and none of them can cover for me, and I really don't want you to have to work a 12 hour (I'm scheduled 9:30a-5:30p that day)..."
REALLY?!?!? The best I've gotten, so far, is getting Person B to come in at least for 7:30-9:30p (she TOLD Person A that's what she could do, but I was obviously told otherwise).
I may be almost 30 & have no life outside of work (really: no kids to take care of, no social life, just my fiancee & 2 dogs), but COME ON! In my 5 years here, do you KNOW how many kids I've had do this shit to me (as "disposable" as retail employees are, let's be real) & not be able to reciprocate for me, no matter how many times they say, "Oh, thankyou thankyou thankyou for being the only person to work an additional 4 hours after working your 8 today or coming in on your day off at the last minute! I tried to get it covered, but nobody can & I don't get that you can't go over your 40 hours a week because the company is so fucking cheap. I'm SO sorry & if you need me to cover for you in the future, let me know so I can tell you that I can't because I have class or whatever excuse I can come up with!"
I also admit that it's what I get for posting said schedule at the last minute because I was WAITING for Theater Major Employee to give me a fucking piece of paper that shows me her new work availability for a show she's rehearsing. Seems like Alanis Morrisette's hidden lyric in her "Ironic" song is: "It's like the manager posting a schedule/then employees see it & say, 'Oooh, I can't work that day, even though I didn't tell you beforehand...'"
I get that not everyone's gonna be sitting around with their thumb up their ass to pick up a shift, but does that mean I should be when I'm already working full time? It's totally my fault that I decided to be the manager that understood that On Call shifts & blackout periods are stupid & because she's worked for the company so long that she could try to make it cool & fair for everyone. It's also my fault that instead of me "toughening up" (like everyone has & will say I should do), I'm just gonna secretly look for ANY other job out there where I'm simply treated fairly & not like this.
Really, anything. I don't HAVE to be the manager. In fact, I'd 110% give the responsibilities to someone else because people above Store Managers can also be a bitch. (right?)
My recurring daydream, now, is how goddamn hilarious it would be to just be like Peter from Office Space & not show up to work. My parting words to my District Manager being: "Good luck finding someone to cover all my shifts because college bitches are in class! They're YOUR problem, now!"