How To Manage The Manager

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2018

(I work in a supermarket deli and bakery combo that is extremely understaffed and has no manager, so when we are told they have hired one, we are very excited. We even go so far as to buy her a welcome bouquet. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that we were better off without her. Not only is she lazy, often ducking out for hours and leaving early, including leaving the entire back area looking like a bomb went off and with all her work left for evening shift, she’s also a condescending liar and a gossip. I learn, for instance, about the litigious family troubles another coworker is having when the manager is complaining about how inconvenient they are for her because it meant she has to take over one of the opening shifts and she hates getting up early. I tell her, flat-out, that if my coworker wanted me to know these personal things, she probably would have told me herself, and the manager rolls her eyes at me and walks away. Another time, during a terrible storm, the deli opener receives a call from her daughter who has gone into labour and is having some seriously scary complications, crying and begging for her mother to come to the hospital. When we call the manager about it, she initially says she will come in, but then later calls saying she “decided she needs a day off,” leaving me alone to open both departments for several hours. This is on top of things like saying one thing to us and then immediately denying it — to the point where everyone knows never to speak to her without someone else around — trying to bribe other department managers to do her paperwork, complaining unprompted to customers about how hard she has it because we, her “assistants,” can’t be trusted to do anything on our own and leave all our work for her. It’s insane. Everyone complains about her, but we are told the company is in a hiring freeze and they can’t let her go.  Anyway, I think she hates me more than anyone else there, because I am fortunate enough to be in a financial situation, thanks to my husband’s job, where I can just walk out if I want until I find something else. I am thus willing and able to stand up to her both on my own behalf and on the behalf of the other people in the department. The customers all love me, as does essentially everyone else in the store, and the owner knows I am a hard worker, so in addition to having everyone else back me up, she can’t really intimidate me. If I left, she would have to take over my five am bakery shift… something she is SUPPOSED to have trained for, since she is in charge of deli and bakery, but never actually bothered to do because she “doesn’t like mornings.” In the end, I am frustrated enough after making multiple formal complaints that I give my two-week’s notice and take another job elsewhere. All this brings us to a phone call that I get almost six months after leaving. I miss the initial call, and am surprised to hear my former manager very pompously telling me to call her back immediately.)

Ex-Manager: *without saying hello when she answers, sounding irritated* “Why didn’t you answer when I called?”

Me: *not bothering to be polite if she’s going to start out being rude* “Because I don’t work for you anymore, and I was doing something else.”

Ex-Manager: *as if I hadn’t spoken* “One of the new girls we hired isn’t working out, so I told [Store Manager] you would come in and handle some shifts for us until we got it sorted.”

Me: *amused* “Oh, did you? Well, unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. I have my own work, but mostly, I’m just not interested in coming back.”

Ex-Manager: *smugly* “Well, I already told him you would do it!”

Me: *laughing now* Wow, I guess if you told him, you really have me over a barrel, huh? If only I didn’t work for you anymore and thus aren’t at your beck and call!*hangs up*

(She kept calling and leaving messages, initially angry and threatening about how it “wouldn’t look good for me to back out of this” — you know, “this” being something I didn’t offer to do at a store I no longer worked at — and then outright begging. The funny thing is, had she just asked me earnestly, politely, and humbly, I might have been willing to help, but after discovering that she really hadn’t changed at all, the only thing I felt was relief that I’m out of all that stress and mess.)

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