Manual Is An Automatic Fail

| Working | March 28, 2014

(My district manager has a tendency to dismiss much of what I say to her, only to come back to me later with the same information/idea as though she had thought of it or was discussing it for the first time. I’ve recently been promoted to assistant manager. As part of my training she has given me a store procedures manual to study from and has informed me I will be given a series of six tests based on the manual. Within 10 minutes of opening the book I realize it is severely outdated and of little practical use to me. I approach her about this.)

Me: “Hey, [Manager]. I have an issue with this manual you’ve given me. It is very outdated and I don’t feel confident using it as a study guide for the position. Is there a more recent—”

Manager: “That manual is fine. That’s the manual you use.”

Me: “Are you sure? I mean, this book is filled with old, invalid information that no longer applies to the job. And there is no information on any of the new procedures that have been implemented over the past five years. The majority of what I’m reading is irrelevant to the job.”

Manager: “This is the manual we train from. Just read it and we’ll do the tests when you’re ready.”

Me: “You’re not hearing me, [Manager], I can’t study from this book because it’s too old! The information is out dated or no longer valid. It has a ton of info on how to process paper gift certificates in the nightly deposits and how to document and send them to head office. We haven’t had paper gift certificates in more than five years. Yet there is nothing about the new electronic gift cards we introduced two years ago.”

Manager: “Well, don’t read that part. And there should be a pamphlet in there about the cards, anyway. Just read the manual and we’ll test you when you’re ready. The tests are based on the manual.”

Me: “Okay… So, what about this information about how to process credit card payments on the nightly deposit, something I will never do since we haven’t accepted credit cards as payment in nearly six years?”

Manager: “Wait, what? Where are you even getting this from?!”

Me: “From the manual you gave me! Didn’t you even read it?”

Manager: “Look, just don’t read the information that is out of date or that is invalid. Only read what is correct.”

Me: “But I’m learning most of this for the first time. I knew these things were outdated because I already had information on them. A lot of this is new to me. How am I supposed to know what is out of date if I don’t already know the current information?”

Manager: *sigh* “Look, just read the manual. Let [Store Manager] know when you’re ready for the tests and we’ll get you tested. Okay?”

Me: “Fine.”

(I go to my store manager and tell her about the conversation and we have a good laugh about it. Fast forward three months. Our store manager has quit and I am temporarily managing the store. I’ve been getting a lot of grief for doing things incorrectly and have been struggling with things I was never trained for, all thanks to this manual. We have an incident in which a customer has been hurt and I fill out and fax an incident report. I get a phone call from our district manager two days later.)

Manager: “May I ask why you sent that incident report to head office before sending it to me for review? Now I’ve got all sorts of problems to deal with from head office. They’re asking me questions I can’t answer because I only just read the report and haven’t had a chance to investigate. You’ve made me look incompetent! You know you are NEVER to send anything to head office without my approval. Why have you done this? Now I have an inspector coming to your store; I don’t need this right now!”

Me: “I’m sorry but I was under the impression that all incident reports were to be faxed immediately to head office as well the district manager and the hard copy sent to head office by mail.”

Manager: “NO! Absolutely not, you send nothing by mail and everything goes through me. All the information you needed was written on the back of the incident report pad. Why would you think you had to send it to head office?”

Me: “Well, that’s what it said to do it the manual.”

Manager: “What manual?”

Me: “The one you gave me and told me to read and memorize.”

Manager: “What, that old thing?! We don’t use that anymore. Are you kidding me?”

Me:Excuse me?

Manager: *laughing* “No! My God, that thing is so outdated. We had a meeting about this months ago. It’s completely invalid and is of no practical use for training. We don’t bother with that any more. What were you thinking?!”

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