Jobs Are For Working. Who Knew?

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

I work in the parts department of a [Brand #1] car dealership. We have a small crew with only three employees, plus a manager. We recently had one of our coworkers quit to move on to new opportunities, and as you do, our manager hired a new employee. We hired a guy who previously worked at a [Brand #2] car dealership. He seems a little shy and quiet when he shows up, but I think nothing of it. I’d be more uneasy if he was loud, boisterous, and buddy-buddy on the first day.

We get to training, and we ask the usual first-day questions. All his answers are short and curt. No follow-up. No back and forth. No questions. Quiet guy, still all good in my brain.

Being the most senior employee, training falls in my realm of responsibilities. I start training him. I know I can be a bit fast in explaining things, and there are a lot of acronyms and odd three-letter commands to use our software. Sometimes I feel like Robin Williams bellowing out acronyms like in that one scene in “Good Morning Vietnam”. I make sure to stop myself regularly to ask, “Am I going too fast?”, “Does this make sense?”, “Any questions?” Again, his answers are short and curt, and he seems to be following along.

After coming back from lunch, we hop back to it. A parts request comes through the computer: something simple, like an oil change. Even on day one, it’s pretty easy stuff, and he said he’s used our software before.

New Hire:  “What do I do again?”  

I slowly realize he’s not retained much from the morning.

Me: “Click on [Software].”

He clicks on the wrong tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [software]”

He clicks on the web browser.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [Software]. The green one.”

He clicks on a red tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

My optimist brain thinks, “Okay, he could be colourblind maybe. My bad.” So I point.

Me: “This one.”

New Hire: “Okay.” *Clicks* “What do I do again?” 

Conversations like this happen again and again all afternoon, with both me and my other veteran coworker. I do my best to keep my patience, to stay positive, and overall, to be courteous. I do not just show him how to do it; I make him do it — on the job training. Alas, there’s not much improvement by day’s end.

I’m a bit torn. The pessimist in my brain says, “Not the best hire we’ve had in a while.” The optimist asks, “Could just be day-one jitters. Were you a rockstar on day one?” No, I was not, but I was better than that. Tomorrow, we shall train anew. New day, new opportunities!

I have the early shift, starting at 7:30 am, my veteran coworker starts at 8:00, and the new hire is due to start at 8:30. But 9:00 am rolls around and no new hire. Car troubles? Sick? Slept in? Happens to the best of us, even on your second day. Hope he’s okay. Thanks, optimist brain.

Then, my manager strolls on by.

Manager: “What happened with the new guy yesterday?”

Me: “What?” 

Coworker: “Uhh, [My Name] trained him?”  

Manager: “Well, he just called and said he quit.”

Me: “Wait! What? Why?”

Manager: “That’s why I’m here. He called in and said he wasn’t coming back in. I asked him why he wasn’t coming back, and his answer was just, ‘Ask your employees,’ and he hung up. What did you guys do?”

Me: “I made him work?”

My manager just shrugged and gave us a look that said, “Not your problem, his. We’re good.” [New Hire] still comes up in conversation from time to time, and to this day, we are still trying to figure out what we did to offend him so much. Did he expect his first day to be a lazy orientation? Fill out paperwork, go play on the swings, watch some TV, nap, and then go home early? Did he really not expect to work on his first day?

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