More Of The Same

So I got back to work on Sunday and quickly found that nothing really changed nor will change any time soon.  I was extremely frustrated that within about five minutes of being open, things were a disaster as usual.  OK, maybe disaster is a bit of a strong word, but the fact is things were not going as I wanted them to be going.  I spent an entire week working on developing myself as a leader, someone who is able to delegate tasks and oversee that the work is done right, but instead, I found myself in my usual position of running around baby-sitting the crew members, picking up after them as I always have on Sundays.  While I didn’t expect instant results, it’s incredibly frustrating to go into the store and feel like the burden of every responsibility is on my shoulders.  Yes, we run a good store and we excel where other stores fail, but part of the reason for that is the management has to take up too much of the burden of responsibility.  This is entirely due to the fact the owner takes on too many of the responsibilities himself.  In no other store have I seen the owner passing a mop over the floor during the lunch rush, but here is my boss, mopping the floor, wiping the windows, changing the garbage.  Now don’t get me wrong, on one hand I admire him for being so involved n his business.  He wants his place to be spotless, and that’s great, but that’s what you hire good employees for.  His job should not be to jump behind the cash register and take orders as soon as the line is two people deep, but that’s what he does constantly.  He is so hands on, it not only frustrates me as a manager, but it prevents me from ever really being the manager I want to be.  I have begged him time and time again to cut the strings and let me do my job, but he insists on being there six days a week.  I simply cannot grow as a manager if he will never hand over the bulk of the responsibilities to me.  As manager I want to see that the crew is properly trained to deal with the busy situations, rather than simply expect one of the managers will bail them out.  I struggle so much on Sunday because the crew is so adapted to relying on the manager to do all the important things, they don’t know enough to breathe in and out without being told.  Were there proper training in place, training that didn’t show the owner wiping the tables in the lobby, the crew would know their roles and know what needed to be done, especially on Sunday when we typically have less crew scheduled and therefore need to work a little harder.  I have been struggling to organize Sunday’s for years now and I had hoped I would be able to do something upon my return from Chicago, but it simply became overwhelming in a matter of minutes.  I have gone to my boss several times regarding Sunday’s and he simply feels I should be working hard as a manager and if I have to do a little more work, that’s part of my job.  Now don’t misunderstand.  I have always been a hard worker and I have always respected those who also work hard.  I do not shun the responsibility, but one lesson I learned a long time ago is that I should work smarter, not harder, and this is really the mantra of a good manager.  I should be able to place my employees in positions where I know the work will get done, and even if I have to work a little harder, I should know and trust that they will offer good support.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen.  Again, it’s not entirely their fault.  The crew have been shown by example that the leaders are there to do the hard work while all they have to do is take a few customers and stock some things.  Now, like I said, I work in a good store with good employees, but none of them will stay there forever.  There is going to come a time when simply picking up the slack for them will become too difficult and I am going to see the store slowly begin to fall apart.  I already see it happening now in certain areas, but I am basically powerless to do anything about it.  My boss insists on doing much more than he should, and eventually it will overtake him.  I have tried to make him see that but he is oblivious and doesn’t see the need to adapt.  If it’s not broken, don’t fix it seems to be his motto, which will only take you so far, as slowly things are beginning to break.

I spent a week learning how to be a better leader and I want to put those skills into practice, and if I can’t do it with my current boss, I will have to move on, and I told him this.  I want a future beyond this store and he has to understand that.  I have promised him I will at the very least finish out the year with him, but beyond that, I am going to have to look for other opportunities, and yes, those opportunities most certainly are going to be searched out in Spain.  I have told Veronica I will be in Spain by April and I am going to make good on my promise whether I have a job or not.  Hopefully, with my current qualifications, I will have something lined up before getting off the plane.

It’s sad that after so many years of working for my boss, our relationship is not better.  In a lot of ways I feel as if our relationship has become more and more strained as I have become more confident in my abilities and more outspoken about my desires for more.  I think he preferred when I simply nodded my head and did as I was told, but now that I have the confidence to stand up for myself and not allow him to push me around excessively, he and I don’t always see eye to eye.  I know I do a good job and I now have the confidence to see I am capable of much more and in some ways that scares him, as he does not want to lose me as an employee, however my answer to that is that he should have had a plan in place for my successor once he knew I was going to Chicago.  That really isn’t my fault or even my concern.  While I care about the success of the business, I have to look out for myself first from now on.

The next few months may be difficult, although I would prefer they not be.  I have to be a good employee and show that I can handle any responsibility and also get along with my boss, but in the meantime, I also have to put together a resume if I am going to try to find work in Spain.  I have a few other tricks up my sleeve as well, but I’ll have to save those ideas for another time, as it is almost time for me to head in for my shift.  It’s a beautiful day and I hope to have a good night, but who knows what may be in store for me this evening.  I’ll just go in with a positive attitude and see how it all goes.  Talk to you soon.

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~ by James on July 22, 2015.

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