Some Managers Need More Training On Being Human

, , , , | Working | June 9, 2020

After graduating from college in the vet field, I am hired at a twenty-four-hour vet clinic as a receptionist in the next city over. Because I rely on public transportation, the travel is a nightmare, to say the least; I have to leave three hours before my shifts to make all my connections and as it’s almost winter at this time, the weather is miserable. I suck it up, as it’s a full-time position with a good wage and benefits.

I tell the managers who interview me that this will be my first clinic job and as such, I will need to be trained properly to make up for my lack of experience. They tell me this won’t be an issue and say, “You’re exactly what we’re looking for.”

Little did I know how wrong that was.

On my first day:

Manager #1: “We’re going to start your training today. You have to go to [Website] and watch the videos that [Manager #2] sent you in an email. Here is all your login information. You also have to read our policies and procedures and sign off when you’re done.”

She leaves and I start reading. A little while later, [Manager #2] comes in and sits at the opposite desk. She’s looking over my shoulder a bit but I don’t say anything and just continue what I’m doing. It gets a bit awkward, as I don’t have headphones to watch the videos and she keeps commenting on things as I’m going through them. In the end, I do six hours of this and only finish half of the first module of training.

Me: “Do you want me to do more at home? I only got this much done.”

Manager #2: *Waves me off* “Don’t worry about that; you’ll be able to finish the rest of it this week. See you tomorrow!”

I come in the next day to find out I’m not doing more training, but being placed on the front desk with [Manager #1]. I’m a little nervous, as I haven’t even touched the vet software before, but I decide I’ll do my best. Throughout the day, it’s clear that [Manager #1] wants me to get as familiar as possible to the front desk so I can work by myself or with another receptionist. I’m asked to answer phones, make appointments, and answer client questions: all things I haven’t been trained on yet.

Basically, the day goes like this:

Manager #1: “Okay, this client wants to buy [Brand] food. Let’s ring them up.”

I search the food catalogue to find that there are twenty [Brand] items to pick from.

Me: “Okay, so that’s one [Brand] item, at [weight], correct?”

Manager #1: “No, it’s under [Another Name that isn’t the brand], see? You have to search by the other name to find it.”

Me: “Can I ask why is it under a completely different name?”

Manager #1: “That’s just how the system is; you have to search our products by term, not by name. So, if you need renal food, search ‘renal,’ or ‘kidney,’ and scroll until you find it.”

Me: “I understand, but that seems confusing to me. If I just search that, I’ll get results for other products that aren’t food, which makes me look through more things.”

Manager #1: “Don’t worry; you’ll get used to it. Just remember to use terms, not names.”

I struggle with the system and I also have some issues with the other staff. Our veterinarians, vet techs, and vet assistants all stay in the back room to do their tasks; however, they seem very annoyed that I am asking questions. Every time I ask for clarification, they look at me like I have three heads and then very condescendingly give me an answer, like I’m a child. Or they just don’t help me at all and say, “Figure it out.”

I’m a rather shy person and I don’t like to just start talking to people without saying, “Excuse me,” and the like, which apparently makes it worse, resulting in me awkwardly waiting until people are finished their conversations. Example:

I’m patiently waiting until the technician is done speaking to another coworker.

The tech stops talking and notices me, then says abruptly:

Tech: “What is it?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to butt in. I was wondering if I could ask you a question if you have a moment?”

Tech: *Sighs* “What do you need?”

I’m starting to feel embarrassed.

Me: “I’m on the phone with a client who wants to bring her dog in for a booster vaccine, and your schedule is getting pretty full. The next opening I have is right before you do rounds for the hospitalized patients, so I wanted to ask if I could—”

Tech: *Interrupting* “Yeah, put her in. You don’t have to ask me that.”

Me: *Taken aback* “Okay, I just wanted to clarify before scheduling her in—”

The tech goes back to talking to someone else.

Every. Time.

I do this a few more times with the same results, and then decide to not ask before changing it to see if they say anything. True enough, the next time I schedule a tech appointment, I get chastised for not confirming with them. Seeing as I can’t win either way, I continue to ask them whenever I make a schedule change.

This goes on for about a month and my motivation is quickly depleting. I never do get back to training. I get talked down to and yelled at for incredibly small things, such as not putting whiteboard markers back in the exact same place when someone needs them even if there are multiple available.

On top of this, my shifts are also changing from morning to night, which I initially didn’t have an issue with, but now I’ve been exclusively working 4:00 pm to 12:00 am and it’s wearing down on me. It’s made travel a lot harder; I live with my parents, so thankfully, my dad agrees to drive me home at twelve since no buses run that late, but he’s getting fed up with it. It’s worthy to note that I do have problems with anxiety and this job is making it skyrocket. When I’m approaching thirty days of employment, my managers ask to meet with me for an evaluation.

Manager #1: “This is your thirty-day evaluation. We’re just going to talk about your performance and ask a couple of questions, okay?”

Manager #2: “Can you tell us your thoughts on how you think you’re doing?”

Me: “Well… to be honest, I am struggling with a few things. I’m getting used to the system and routine of things, but I find the technicians and vets are not very nice to me. I admit that sounds childish, but it feels like I’m bothering them when asking questions. The only reason I talk to them so much is to make sure I’m doing things correctly and so I won’t have to ask next time. I know I’m supposed to help them as much as possible to make things easier for them, but I need to ask questions in order to do so. I am talked down to and chastised constantly and I can’t seem to do anything right for them.”

Manager #1: “Well, you know, when there’s a lot of women working in one place—”

We’re all female excluding one male vet.

Manager #1: “—we can get kind of catty. They may seem like that, but they’re really nice and caring people when you get to know them.”

I’m a little shocked by this, as I don’t think it’s right to say that in order to excuse their behaviour, but I don’t press it.

Manager #2: “We’ve noticed you are having a hard time with some of the day-to-day duties. The other receptionists say you don’t pull your weight.”

Me: *Shocked* “I— What? I don’t understand. I don’t have any issues with that! I take out the garbage, mop and sweep, clean the exam rooms—”

Manager #2: “Well, the girls feel that you don’t help out as much as they would like. They shouldn’t have to tell you to do these things.”

Me: “I’m not sure I follow. I offer to do tasks when it’s slow and I check in with them to see if there are other things that need to be done, if that’s what you mean? I just wanted to be sure we’re all on the same page with what we’re doing.”

Manager #2: “We’re also thinking about the next couple of months ahead. You take the bus here, so what will happen during winter when the weather is bad? We need to know you’ll have a way to get here. We are remodeling for the next year and it’s going to get even busier and we’re concerned you won’t be able to keep up.”

Me: “I’m concerned, as well, since I haven’t finished my training yet. I’ve asked both of you when I can resume that but it never happened. I really think I need to finish the training.”

Manager #2: “We don’t think it will help you improve at this point.”

Manager #1: “We’re concerned with your performance. We need you to be up to standards that everyone else is at. If you can’t do that, you need to rethink your position here.”

I almost have a panic attack right then and there, but I manage to keep it in until the meeting is over and have an attack in the bathroom. This is also near the beginning of my shift, so I have a miserable time the rest of the day and night trying to keep it together.

I’m sure I’m going to be fired soon, so I go home and talk to my parents. They’re not much help and just say, “Keep your head up and do your work,” but in my mind, I’ve already been fired and let everyone down. I barely sleep that night and do my next two eight-hour shifts over the weekend, but I feel I’m doing so poorly that I want to walk out.

On my next day off, I seriously consider what I want to do. I haven’t been sleeping at all and when I do, I dream of being at work. I think about work when I’m off and when I’m hanging out with people. I’m obsessing over it and the fact that I’m not doing well, and it’s making my anxiety go out of control. I finally decide that, for the sake of my mental health, I have to quit. I walk into the clinic the next day with my company shirt and name tag.

Me: “[Manager #1], I’ve been considering what we’ve discussed and I’ve decided that at this time, this position is not right for me. I’d like to resign.”

She doesn’t look the least bit surprised and just takes my things and walks out. [Manager #2] walks in.

Manager #2: “So, you’re leaving us?”

Me: “Yes. I don’t think this is the best place for me right now.”

Manager #2: *Shrugs* “Well, it’s understandable. This is a really busy clinic and not everyone is suited to it.”

I wanted to scream “I don’t care that it’s busy! This is about you not doing your job to help me succeed!” but I bit my lip and left for good.

I heard an interesting story about the clinic later: apparently, I was hired after a previous receptionist left for another job, but once I started, she asked for her job back and returned to her normal hours. I’m pretty sure this was their way of slowly pushing me to quit because they either couldn’t afford another new receptionist or they didn’t need me. Maybe both.

My thoughts were confirmed when I saw they never relisted the position on job sites. Now I have no reference for the time I was there and it’s a huge eyesore on my resume. It’s making me reconsider if I even want to stay in the field.

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