On The Job

by Zamounde the Footstepper

I sometimes find myself in the position of a fool; by no fault of my own, but by the ignorance of the situation. I try on a daily basis to be aware of my surroundings at all times, but I am only human. We have to deal with people's of different walks, ideology, and all of the below in our life circle. Do we have to allow ourselves in order to maintain a certain position in life lower our values and beliefs? No. We can be ourselves even if it means not fitting in with the sociable crowd. Even though we do not partake in the under dealings of life we should still be aware of the game that is being played, and build up a defense against the attack.

People these days and yesterday are more and more involved in "soap opera" fantasies; changing simple situations into complex and unnecessary drama's. Where do I fit into the script? I'm that extra or stand-in for the main plot it seems.

One day while taking out the garbage I heard two people conversing in the breakroom. I wasn't planning on listening to them until I heard my name mentioned. I pulled up against the wall and placed the bags on the ground. They were deep into some scheme to get me fired because I was preventing one of them from getting the next assistant manager spot because I was impressing the boss so much with my hard work and good attitude with the customers all day.

I recognized one of the voices as the this arrogant bastard who thinks his crap doesn't stank, but doesn't do a damn thang all day but perpetrate. The other voice was from someone from the next shift. They went on forever it seems about how I thought that I was better than anyone else and stuff like that. I only wanted to do my best at whatever I did in order to better my life. I didn't have much growing up, and now that I can buy what I like and get my own place to live; I'd be a fool not to work my hardest to get to where I want to be. I see people all the time with fancy clothes and cars and don't have a dime a couple of days after getting paid. Although it is sometimes an inconvenience I like to ride my bike to work and save a little money on gas and bus fare alike.

"I'm going to tell Mr. Hedricks that he's been stealing from the registers!" I heard one of them say in a kind of justified voice continued towards the back of the building.

All right we'll see about that! I said in my head as I opened the back door to take out the trash.

Later that day he came up to my register attempting to take a "pull". I said to him that I wanted someone else to witness him taking money from my drawer. His face turned a shade of red I only see on those old holiday specials.

He said in a shocked and confused voice "why?" and I told him that I do not trust anyone by themselves with money with my name on it. He continued to silently protest with his eyes as I called one the ladies over from the station to witness. He then said never mind, and that he'll get it later. I told him that it don't matter to me, and that I will cover my back.

As he looked back at me I gave him an acknowledging look to let him know that I was on guard against his feeble attacks on my livelihood. Why should I play the fool? I should knock him across his knuckle head, but then again it is better in the long run to throw the game back on them so that they shall feel the wrath of the errors of their ways.

Later on during the summer I was promoted to assistant manager and then later was transferred to a new store and promoted to manager. I thought that it would get better, but now the other managers are threatened by me because I still work out on the floor when it gets busy and all they want to do is walk around harassing people and complaining about the slow moving lines. I'd noticed that there were three registers not open one busy night and I asked a couple of the department managers to assist me by opening the other two registers. The next day I was called into a staff meeting with the district manager. All the department managers were throwing complaints about procedures and that I was not being a good manager by working on the floor too. I told them that managing only was about 20% percent of our 8 hour day and that the rest of the time we spent just browsing around interfering with the assistant managers' duties and causing conflict. I said that we ought to help during the peak times instead of making the workers miss their breaks etc.... while we drink coffee and sodas, smoke and BS.

Everyone got louder in their complaints, but a couple of people began to voice similar ideas and ways that they would like to improve the job, but didn't want to cause the other managers to complain or shun them. We went on for awhile back and forth. I finally said that all I was doing was my job. The district manager said that she would get back with us on a decision. That was a long week of bickering and childish games, and the workers were getting tired of being harassed about nothing. I called a floor meeting one day before the shift change and told everyone to fill out a form that I'd passed around. I asked for their number one complaint about the job. Once I'd received them I placed them in a sealed envelope and said that I will give it to the district manager.

The holidays rolled around and tensions were high, and to top it off some fool robbed the place in my section. I asked the cashier how much money did he take but he was unsure and was obviously kind of pissed about the situation. One of the other cashiers called me over to her register and whispered that she knew who the guy was. I told her to meet me in the audio/video section in five minutes. I went over to one of the cameras and placed a tape in it and right before she arrived pushed record. The young lady said that she didn't want to get in any trouble but that the guy who robbed us was one of the managers' brother. I was overwhelmed by the news and asked her to explain a little more, and once I had received enough information I placed the tape in my locker after everyone from the shift had gone home.

The next week the district manager came to visit and was a little distraught that we were robbed, but voiced her concerns that no one was hurt. We all met in the breakroom (the managers) for a follow up meeting. The same old complaints were being voiced and tensions were still high, and who do you know was the main contributor to the noise, but the manager whose brother had robbed the store. I told the district manager (DM) that I had obtained a list of complaints from the employee's concerning the job, and that I also have a video tape of the person who robbed the store plus some information on his identity. The DM reviewed the complaints and the video tapes in the main office and returned to make a decision. He said that the employees complaints were justifiable and from now on floor managers will assist in aiding cashiers on busy days when possible.

She then called the manager whose brother had robbed the store into the office and closed the door. Everyone was quiet and discreetly trying to hear what was going on. I went back out on to the floor. I felt relieved to have that situation over and at the same time I couldn't help but to wonder why all the drama over nothing. If people will just do what their supposed to do it wouldn't have to be this hard. My tires were slashed in the employee parking lot and guess who did. A fool I am by life situations, not by choice.

On The Job by Zamounde the Footstepper

© Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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