Supervisor of some description

D. comes to work slightly before 8am so he can eat some breakfast. As he waits for me to make him a hot chocolate, he asks:

– Who is a supervisor today? A short “non of your business” woman? Or “I don’t know what to do” woman? Or is it “Go to the till!!!” woman?

Three sentences, three perfect descriptions of our three supervisors. Nail hit on the head.

Supervisor first is L. She always has a word sparring with D. and it always finishes with None of your business or Shut up your mouth. D. loves it. He must love it because he always provokes her.

Supervisor second is M. who tries so hard, but just can’t make it. She wants to do everything at the same time. This way nothing gets done. She is the nice one.

Supervisor three is R. R. is simply rude. Her tone of voice, her way of speaking. She doesn’t ask, she orders. You have to always – and I mean always – say Please when you ask her for something, otherwise she will give you a lecture on good manners. Hearing Please from her lips – rare occurrence.

Professio(a)nal

It is Friday, early morning, 6.30 am to be exact. Alarm wakes me up so I can call off sick, as I’m not feeling well. I wait few minutes to be fully awake and then I try to call. No one answers. I wait two minutes and phone again. Still nothing. It’s already 6.45am. But… third time lucky, they say. I call again. So called “Supervisor: J. picks up, in the background I can hear energetic African music – means she just came and still plays it on her phone. She’s always late.

I tell her all I have to say. Procedure is that she has to ask what is the reason for my absence, what is wrong with me.

I have a flu. I have been feeling unwell for the last few days and today is just too much… – I say. And it’s the truth.

Now she should inform me – even though I know that, but it is the procedure – that I should call before 2pm if I am coming on monday or no. As it was a weekend coming up, I could also call on Sunday. But instead “supervisor” J. says:

Yeah, whatever – and hangs up the phone.

Communication, communication, communication…

Yesterday morning I called off sick because I’ve pulled some muscle in my lower back and I’m in pain. I can’t even sit… Our procedure is that we need to call again later in the day to let them know if we are coming the next day or not. We should call before 2pm. So I did. Twice. No one picked up the phone so I thought that when they see that I called twice, they would call me back. No one did.

Today I supposed to start at 11.30am and exactly at this time supervisor M. called me to ask if I am coming. I explained to her I called twice yesterday, no one picked up, no one got back to me. She wasn’t happy.

Looks like supervisor R. couldn’t be bothered to find out yesterday if there is enough staff for today. I understand that sometimes it is very busy and chaotic in my place, and there might be no time to pick up phones. But that’s why I thought R. would call me back when she sees the miscall – to check if I am coming back. This time – 2pm – is early enough for them to find a cover for the absent person. But it only works if you pick up the phone – or at least call back to find out. But I think R. didn’t do that because today’s late shift (starting at 11.30) is not her shift. It is M.’s shift – it is M.’s problem.

There is a big print on the glass in the office that says we always need to call them if we can not come to work. I am going to write on it – in my hand-writing – that they should pick up the phone! Or call back. If I didn’t call I would be in trouble. If they don’t communicate between each other – it is normal. Team work, ha? Communication? Nah… What for? Not my shift – not my problem.

Attention!

It is the first time I see you sitting – said one of my customers, British lady in her fifties. She is one of few Brits I like, unlike most of them, she is honest (or at least seems honest). We met and started talking when I was working in our mobile coffee shop downstairs, near the reception. She would always stop and talk to me, and it was a proper conversation, not just usual British Hallo, how are you asked without waiting for an answer.

And it is true. I spend exactly 7.5 hours standing. There is no relief.

I stand when I work on the till, where the only moves I make are small step back when the till’s money drawer opens and when I give customer a change with my left hand – position of the till doesn’t really allow to do it with the right hand, but this isn’t a big problem for me, I am pretty much both handed. So this is how the moves go: I quickly scan items or tap the buttons on the screen with my right hand, then I take money from the customer with my left one, when till opens I take half a step back, put the money in the till, close the drawer with my hip and hand the change to the customer again with my left hand. Done. Repeat. Keep repeating for 4 hrs, some days for 7.5 hrs. Pain may start in my left shoulder or neck, spreading to my head. Usually it hurts a lot in the lower back. Both knees are hurting me, and heels. If it happens that I work on the till through the whole day all these places join together, whole back of my body hurts.

I stand when I do a barista job, but this at least allows more moves, both arms are engaged and I can do small steps on my feet.

I stand when I serve food from the counter – a bit more flexibility allowed, more walking moving, kneeling etc.

I stand on the jacket potatoes counter.

The whole Europe is sitting, all cashiers in Tescos, Morissons’ Asdas, Sainsbury’s’, Marks&Spencers etc. RLH stands at attention. Front to the customer. Canteen itself is so small (especially comparing to the size of the building it is in) that there is no sense to even dream about any chairs at tills, there is hardly enough space to stand. When I work as a barista and one of the bigger ladies is a cashier, I have a problem to get out of there, to pass next to her, even though I am thin…

He won’t step on me

For the last two weeks I serve lunch over the counter. New management love me there, I keep getting a positive feedback on my work, that I smile much more, I interact with customers better, I generally display more energy. All of these managers told me that. Even Felipe.

And I am wandering now… Our last 1 – 2 – 1 convesation… He said he got a ngegative feedback about my work from a top manager, Sharon after I worked with her for about half an our serving food. It was very busy so she jumped in to help me. So, if my work there was so bad, why am I still behind that counter? Why I keep getting good feedback and thank you? Why the other day the same Felipe told me I did a good job? Maybe beccuse the new manager, Indian guy, told him to do so? Neither me, nor anyone else, ever, got a positive words from Felipe!

He just loves keeping people under his shoe, to try and undermine their confidence and morale, he loves pushing them down. Or should I say pulling them down to where he already is?

I won!

Fresh news! When it was delivered I could see a relief and a restrained smiles on people’s faces – just slightly lifted lips’ corners. Don’t roll your eyes like that – said Ludie to me when she saw me hardly stopping my laughter. I am happy how things turned out! My bully of a manager has resigned. We will have to look at him only till the end of July. All complaints, meetings with HR, mine and Bovaly’s mostly, have paid off. Someone had finally listened!

I am also almost sure that he resigned because he had to make a choice: either resignation or being sacked. I think so because, first, why would he give up on a managerial position in a big organisation, that is also part of NHS? Such place gives you a lot of opportunities to progress, to have a good career. Second, on our last big meeting with HR everybody were complaining about him, his behaviour, the way he talks to people, making them cry. This crusade goes almost since he started. Me and Bov started complaining very early, before anyone else. It helped a little bit for a short time, after that everything came to as it was. I wish I thought about stating this blog earlier – there was a lot to write about.

I now see my last conversation with him in a different light. About two weeks ago, on friday, he took me to his office to tell me that he doesn’t like my attitude, that I look like I don’t care about the job, that my morale is low. How the hell could it be high in an atmosphere like this?! He said that he keeps getting a negative feedback about me from other people, managers… That sometimes I do a good job, and sometimes I’m like this.

I must admit I was a bit down that day, I could do some multitasking, but then sometimes I get so confused… We try to do things, but there is so many supervisors and managers that each time you start something they stop you and send you to a different task so I decided to don’t do anything without being told. I was waiting for customers to serve and instead of cleaning or organizing something, I was just standing and staring at space. Besides, I know his game. The other day he told Bovaly that the managers didn’t like something she has done. He told her this 5 minutes after they told her they liked the way she works with customers etc. He never gave anyone a positive feedback, any feedback we get from him is always negative one.

That day he also said: This new company is here to stay. I won’t be here forever but these people will. They will stay here forever ever ever. And you will be here forever. I didn’t get upset, I know his game. He just tried to play on my deepest fear, on my worst nightmare, which would be working there till the end of my life. Now I think there is something more to it. He said he wouldn’t be there forever to make his resignation look like it was his independent decision! Not like he was put under the wall.

I wonder how he feels now. How such person as him feels knowing that everybody is happy of him leaving, that no one is going to miss him, no one will think it was nice working for him. I would be feeling a bit sorry if anyone else was leaving, anyone. Every person has their faults, but they are not bad and he is a bad person. Sad miserable man who thought he could keep people under his shoe and demand to be respected because he is a manager.

I am sorry too, because I had a vision of me giving him my resignation and then on my last day at work telling him a few bitter words of truth. But he resigned first, was forced to resign, partly thanks to me and this is partly my victory.

Douchebag vs Doris

This manager of an Indian Punjabi descent has an incredible talent to piss people off. He doesn’t like to waste time on greetings and other such time wasters and goes straight to the point: You have to take your earings off. There is no jewellery allowed. You have to also take your wedding ring off. Look, I am not wearing mine. – he said to Doris. When she told me that she was all shaking angrily, Doris, the statue of peace, reason and calmness and joy. She obviously kept her wedding ring, there is no such law that would forbid catering staff to wear plain wedding band, it is allowed. And about him not wearing his ring – I knew one man like that, there is this certain type of men who don’t wear their rings, for reason that most of us, women, can guess. Most of us – including me – experienced that sometime in the past when we were young and naive, or just lonely. There is nothing to be proud of, put your wedding ring on!!!

PS. All girls had to take their earings and other jewellery of – after working there for many years, when it didn’t bother anyone before.