Posted by: Gregoryno6 | September 25, 2011

Kicked upstairs… and so much for that.

Ah, well. It was worth a try.

For those who came in late…

As enthusiastic as I was, and keen to succeed, I began work at 8 am last Monday feeling distinctly apprehensive. Two weeks didn’t seem a long enough training period; the lady working with me was unfailingly helpful and patient, and encouraging. But she wasn’t a trainer. She was another staff member with her own work to do and feeling some pressure because that work wasn’t getting done.

I wasn’t sure I was ready to work alone and unsupervised. By 10 am I knew for certain that I wasn’t.

I sent The Man In Charge an email and we had a talk. He was understanding, agreed that I’d need help for a while longer, but also recognised that the deal might not work out. Give it time, he said, buy if you still feel you can’t manage, all I ask is fair warning.

Later in the day a couple of people took me aside in the kitchen. They said, in essence, everyone here knows you’ve been thrown in at the deep end. I really appreciated their kindness, and went on with the task feeling a whole lot better.

But as the week wore on I didn’t feel that anything was really coming together for me. I knew I needed supervision for a couple of months, not weeks. Without that I’d never find my way out of the woods. I was equally certain that I wasn’t going to get that support. I only had to look at the desk beside mine to see the facts of the matter: the lady who sat there had been absent more days than she’d been in since I started, and the pile of paperwork on her desk had only grown larger. Nobody was asked to attack it and do anything that could be done, and there sure as hell weren’t any volunteers.

There were inadequacies on my side too. My keyboard skills were not sufficient for the task; my hands, in fact, seemed determined to find the wrong key on every second stroke. All around me I heard taptaptaptaptaptaptap and the best I could manage was plunk… plunk… plunk… And the time required to spend at the printer didn’t help. Fifteen years ago I worked in the office supplies industry. DVDs were just coming on to the market and the magic phrase in every conversation was The Paperless Office. HA! In the three weeks I’ve been there I must have chewed up a couple of acres worth of forest just by myself. Hard copies. Copies of copies. Scan the copies. FFS, if I wanted that intimate a relationship with a printer I’d buy shares in Canon.

I had indeed been thrown in the deep end, and the lifesavers were all at the bar. Friday morning I went straight to The Man In Charge and handed him the envelope.

I don’t know if he’d been expecting it but when he read my resignation his first words were, ‘I like honesty.’ We agreed that the experiment had failed. I’d been hoping to move to something new; he’d thought that my experience on the selling side of the business would be an advantage. Whatever problems I had there, I couldn’t lay any of them on The Man In Charge. He’s been the sort of boss most employees will only get to dream about, and if the office is understaffed it’s because those above him are making that decision. For the sake of the few who are working long hours there I hope my exit will provoke a rethink of that situation.

More from courtesy than from any belief that I could help I offered to stay until next Friday – the end of the month. And what after that for your humble correspondent? Company policy states that transfers are not finalised for three months, so technically, I was entitled to have my old job back. However, I doubted that would be a comfortable situation. Aid came from an unexpected quarter, namely, another former staff member at the old branch who now manages a small division behind the offices. I went around on Friday to say, basically, hello and goodbye. I laid out the full story for him, and he was sympathetic. He also said that he was looking for another storeman himself.

It’s probably the least glamorous division in the company but the job has a few prospects. I won’t get the tasty pay rise I was hoping for – that wasn’t going to kick in until the trial period was done anyhow.

And I won’t be struggling with a task I can’t manage. Some jobs fit like a glove to a hand. This one fit me like a speculum to a goldfish.


  1. worth a try, I guess….good luck with the goldfish đŸ˜‰

    • Unrealistic expectations on both sides, I think.

  2. Can’t in any way question your choice, my good friend across the larger pond..BUT don’t sell yourself short.

    Extricating one’s self from a sure to bring ulcers situation (long damn way to say, what the “man” said) honesty, takes bal..umm courage.

    Don’t look back, re-focus, move forward.

    • Thanks, I think I’ll spend some time until the new year considering the options.
      In the end the reasons that I tried the move haven’t changed. The way our economic climate is now I can probably expect to still be working when I’m 75 – even if only to 65 or 70, that’s still a good slice of years. Warehouse work won’t be fun at that age.

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