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Toxic Managers: Advice For A Rock And A Hard Place Situation


Carolanne naughty 3My first attempt at a submission to RHU.

I suppose a good name for me now would be Desk Jockey. I finally escaped the hell of retail and food service after about 15 years. I've been a reader here for a long time, and decided it's time to share a few of my stories from my retail days.

I'd like to talk about the horrible management set up for a particular discount store, a "Big" store known for "Lots" of sales. I spent two years working in their furniture department.

My direct manager was awesome, and I have no complaints about him. Easy to get along with, laid back, amusingly sarcastic sense of humor. The problem was the way the whole management worked at this company. Furniture is it's own section, we shared a location, but as far as management goes, I was only supposed to answer to the Furniture manager, the general store management had only marginal authority over our department, and we were supposed to be left to do our own thing. I'm sure you see how "marginal authority" could cause problems.

The general store manager figured out pretty quick that if the furniture manager wasn't in, he could pull the furniture employees out to do duties for the regular store. He didn't want to send one of his cashiers out to get carts, he'd made me do it. He had seasonal or holiday signs he needed to put up, get a furniture guy to do it. We normally only had 1 person in the furniture department at any given time, and most days our manager set tasks he needed done and left us a list when he went home for the day.

New delivery needs organized in the back, or a floor model needs put together, or the section needs dusted/reorganized, we'd have a list of things that we needed accomplished by end of day. So, the whole system puts you in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Store manager calls me out to hang those ridiculous ceiling hanging signs over the whole store, then I'm set to get written up in the morning for not getting the three new floor models put together. If I tell the general manager I can't hang the signs up, I get written up for insubordination.

What the hell are you supposed to do in a situation like that?

--Desk Jockey



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Take the 'insubordination' and stand by the fact that Furniture > General. You are hired at Furniture, you are paid for Furniture work and not General work, so the Furniture stuff will always have priority. Now, if you got everything on the Furniture To-Do list done for the day, THEN maybe you will have the time to help the General store guy.

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