I worked for a “large retail store” and avoided my boss like the plague.
I’d come in every morning, say “hi,” and get grief in response.
She’d say, “Why is the store a mess? The reports haven’t been cleared. There’s damaged goods left undone.”
There’d be no greeting in return. Just complaints – like a horrible guttural reaction.
It’s 7AM, for crying out loud. Can’t I settle into work before the complaining begins?
It wasn’t like these were real concerns either – just stuff at the top of her head, imaginary complaints. And not even my responsibility.
I always did good work. She’d complain about other people’s issues and throw it on my plate.
Frankly, I’m not sure “hello” was in her vocabulary.
Quiet – Stop
Eventually, I stopped saying hi.
I’d walk in, see her down the hall, and I’d run the other way. Like literally run.
If I talked to her for a half second, it would ruin my day. She had nothing positive to say. Ever.
Some days, I’d manage an entire shift without ever seeing her. 8 full hours. It was an epic feat of boss-avoidance.
What made it fun, was she wore a giant carabineer around her belt with 30 keys. She jingled so loudly down the aisle it sounded like Santa was coming to town.
Sometimes I’d hear my name over the intercom, as they’d be looking for me. I always responded, and was proactive, giving an update or my position.
But if was face-to-face with her, I wouldn’t utter a word or initiate a conversation. It’d be like poking a bear and she’d utter more useless non-sense.
It was best to keep quiet.
Quiet – Wrong
At first, I did my job wrong, and the complaining had merit.
I admit I messed up, because I was busy helping customers.
That was wrong on so many levels. The customers were last on anyone’s priority list.
They’d be shopping for an item, and needed help, so I’d help them – obviously what customer service should be.
The problem was, I’d get in trouble for my area being a mess – like the products on the shelf wouldn’t be lined up with military precision.
And every time it wasn’t my fault – it’d be other irritating coworkers who I had to follow behind, who would mess up the store.
Inevitably, I just focused on cleaning the store, and avoiding customers at all costs.
Anytime a customer came near, I would hide around the next aisle, so they wouldn’t bother me, and I could get back to cleaning the store – and Corporate America wonders why some of these stores are going out of business? It’s because of horrible training like that.
So, all day, every day, I’d go to work, organize shelves for 8 hours, and avoid customers and my boss.
Bizarrely, that was the path to success.
Our regional manager came to the store to grade us. He looked at my section of the store and marveled at how every row was packed tight and clean and all the products were displayed without gaps or holes.
They tracked me down later, to inform me of my heroic feat.
They wanted to know how I had done it, so I could spread my organizing ways to the rest of the store.
All I could say was, “I spend a lot of time there,” with a smile.
How could I possibly explain I kept my section neat by avoiding both my boss and the customers? There was no way.
I had to keep quiet, and hopefully they’d go away.