Was thrilled to have a sales job as Dillard’s. After five days, managment told me I was not a good fit for Dillard’s. In the literary world, publish a “how to” book and the author becomes an “expert.” One rule is to write about what you know. I’m the expert at job loss. Following is how to get fired from a desparately needed job while on probation , in only five easy steps.
1. Ignore the work schedule provided and report to work two hours early.
Remember, I have brain damage from the Ramsey Hunt Syndrome and encephalitis and stroke in 2003. Believed I was cured when in fact, I’m only breathing. The “duh” factor was worse than I imagined. I’m still smart and funny, just not at the right time. I was confused and so afraid I would be late for work. But two hours early? This error wasn’t realized until five days later. Geez.
2. Wear the wrong shoes.
I have freakishly skinny feet. I cannot wear close toed and closed back shoes. But management insisted this is the dress code. I TRIED to comply.
3. Don’t work in area you were told.
Reported to Ladies Dresses. The territorial, foreign, heavily accented sales clerk informed me that she was going to be over that department very soon and didn’t need me. I’ll deal with her later. Didn’t want to stand there for two hours doing nothing and not learning, I decided to make wiser use of time. Unfazed, I was asked by another sales associate to learn mark-downs. I knew she saw a sucker and just wanted someone to do her dirty work; however, eager to learn, I complied. Note to shoppers: Please buy items at full price. It’s easier on everyone. Don’t buy items when they go on sale, because that is enabling the store to markdown merchandise which is a very labor intensive task. Many, many steps and rough on a bad back. I didn’t complain, I just got through it. No manager came to find me to set that woman straight and get me into the right department. Now I know why I’m so difficult to work with. I am clueless.
3. Demand that Dillard’s replace your broken lock.
Go to lunch, discover someone else’s lock on “my” locker. During training, the Asst. Manager in Training (AMIT) told us to use any empty locker without a lock, which I had done. A note on my locker read, “This is my assigned (assigned?) locker, and I had your lock cut off (sorry about that), your purse is in Customer Service (CS).” Thoughts racing, I imagine identity theft, stolen credit cards, checks, house keys, car keys, you get the idea. I freak, asked security guard what’s going on. Security reviewed the tapes while I was at lunch, and saw the employee cutting my lock, removing my purse and returning it to customer service. With horrible foot pain (not knowing I had a blister yet), I have to walk across the store, up the escalator and double back to customer service offices. Caveat: The sign over customer service area reads “Gift Wrap.” Isn’t that hysterical? Demand employees provide the utmost customer service, then hide yourselves from the customers. You should try to find bathrooms in that area. It’s a maze of turns. You have to stop every two feet to ask where the bathroon is. I digress.
Talked to the AMIT after lunch. All I got were excuses: “Three years ago, Dillard’s had assigned lockers, but no longer. Poor thing, she has worked for Dillard’s fifteen years and has cut locks four other times. Four other times? I said, “Dillard’s encourages theft of employee property? Why didn’t she have her name or other identifier on the outside that communicated it was assigned? She should have hung her lock on the outside so that no one would ever attempt to use it. I saw nothing inside; the locker is not at eye level. AMIT said, “When she pulled your purse, her lock fell out.” Are you kidding me? Recommended Dillard’s have all locks hanging from the outside of the lockers and locked so that no one else makes my mistake. Why was her lock obviously pushed at the very back of the locker? Why did Dillard’s allow this to happen twice, much less five times? I told AMIT that this employee owes me a new lock. Cosmetic manager flashed a Dillard’s credit card at me and said Dillard’s was buying me a new lock that day. I was told she was getting the lock every day, but didn’t.
4. Ask to leave at 4 pm instead of 6 pm.
Remember I arrived two hours early? My schedule was noon til 6 pm. At 4 pm, having already worked six hours, I sat down to check my foot pain. Even then, I believed I had reported to work at the right time. The blister was angry, red and oozing blood. I could not walk. Being diabetic, I have to be careful with foot sores. Limped to customer service and asked to go home. I could not feel my feet until I awakened around 3 am to go to bathroom that night. Anyone knows it takes several days to become accustomed to standing eight hours a day.
5. Don’t meet dress code
I’m an adult sometimes and I am accustomed to taking care of myself; making decisions for myself. Pain is not enjoyable and is addressed immediately. My open-backed tennis shoes were the best short-term solution. I THOUGHT (again, my mistake) it was a win/win. Arrived as per schedule and Manager, Ladies Dresses sent me home because I did not meet dress code. I took a shower and put on makeup for this?
In training, we were told no open-backed or opened toed shoes. That is all I can wear. I would prefer a root canal, scaling, and all my teeth pulled rather than shopping for shoes. I have avoided buying SAS shoes (shoes for squares), the “I will never wear the old lady shoes my 78-year- old mother wears.” They cost $123 per pair. Keith is currently unemployed and the last thing I needed was to buy new shoes. I drove to four different stores, limping, to find shoes. (I ended up buying two pair/$222 for both.)
5. “Called out”
Calling out is retail-speak for “calling to say you are not coming to work.” There is a specific number to call and leave a voicemail. I had to make a tough choice and chose taking care of my foot. Calling out is equal to having an affair with the boss and showing up at his house to confront the wife while wearing open-backed shoes. Although I was on probation and therefore not considered a full-time employee, I must have cut the store managers’ bonuses for lost time injuries. I was advised I should have known what shoes to wear. I guess so. I reported to work both Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.
Only five steps. See how easy?
Reported to work Monday, summoned to Store Manager’s office with the Women’s manager and AMIT.
That morning, every department employee who normally greeted me with a grin and enthusiastic “Good Morning” would not make eye contact with me. I may have brain damage, but am extremely intuitive. I recalled none of my managers addressed me on any work day to ask how things were going, ensure that I was in the right department. It was all adding up. I was right. The message delivered, “you’re not the right fit for Dillard’s. You have received many complaints. Don’t managers address complaints immediately? Don’t you get counseled? About what? Calling out for one, reported to work at 9:50, but didn’t explain what that meant. All of the other infractions listed above were what I recalled. The looks on the Department Manager’s and AMIT’s faces and tone in their voices sounded as if I had intentionally hurt them personally. I was more confused, didn’t get upset, and left gracefully with a smile on my face and song in my heart. After sleeping on it, I realized the series of actions that led up to their decision. I called Tuesday, asking for my lock and at 2 pm, I picked it up in CS/Gift Wrap. When spoken to, I said hello, I’m doing just great with a huge grin (as huge as I am physically capable, that is).
When you are training, why aren’t you allowed to make mistakes? Every instruction received was through another sales associate. You would think I had swine flu. And so friends, I have performed a valuable service here. Hope you have gleaned some wisdom. If any section is unclear, I welcome questions and feedback. I can deal.