We're all fine here

This past week we had a visit from our Regional Vice President. Some companies call that position Regional Manager, but we're, apparently, a bit more pretentious. Two weeks before Christmas is not usually the time companies decide to pop in for a visit, as we're crazy busy and don't really have the time to turn the store upside down, inside out, and backwards for a visit. There is a lot of minutiae that is seen and cleaned and buffed and polished and moved and thrown out and scrubbed within an inch of its life for a visit of this magnitude.

Now, I'm all about having a "good" visit. I want the Regional Person to leave my store thinking that I know what I'm doing, that we're doing well overall, and generally (thanks to my Type A personality) want to get the equivalent of a good grade during a visit. I do! For all of my - pardong the language - bitching and moaning, I do actually want to do a good job at my job. Hey, if you're going to pay me to do something, I'd like to do it well.

However, I am also of the idea that I want to have an honest visit. I want my Regional Lady In Power to come to my store and get a realistic view of what it's like to work in that store on a daily basis. I want her to see that, because of her decisions, we are incredibly understaffed, many of our employees haven't received raises in years, and there are a lot of problems that can't really be solved at the store level. I want to ask her why I'm supposed to hire 20 seasonal associates, only to have my budget slashed to bits weeks before the holidays, leaving me with about a dozen employees who aren't getting any hours at all.

But...That's not what happens with these kinds of visits...

What happens is that my boss goes nuts and schedules a week of late night/early morning shifts to get the store looking cleaner than it ever has, the back room more organized than it ever can look, and makes sure that we generally portray an image of "Everything is Fine".

Everything is fine...

I kind of have a problem with this. Not just at work, but in general. We don't get what we need if we portray the image that everything is fine. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in a pagan group gathering and seen someone nodding along, acting like they understand everything that everyone's saying. Except, they're not getting it. They don't understand who the authors are that are referenced in conversation or the terms used or historical events mentioned.

Nobody every improves, nothing ever gets better if you just slap some paint on it, nod along, or overall play a game of make believe as though everything is okay. But, there's a taboo in admitting you need help. At work, I was given strict instructions not to mention any of the little things we need...it might reflect poorly on my boss! Yikes! We don't want to ask what seem to be fairly obvious questions of our pagan brothers and sisters, because we might seem stupid.

I was sent an email this week, thanking me for my previous post on the difference between ignorant and stupid. I'd like to reiterate, there's nothing wrong with being ignorant. There can be no fault for a lack of knowledge. The problem is when you know you need more or better information, and you actively pretend like everything is okay...like it's all fine here.

So... ASK QUESTIONS! Get answers! Don't settle for 'fine'.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte



  1. I know exactly what you mean. My mother works as a nurse, and they do the same thing. One place actually hired people temporarily so as not to appear understaffed. I think one of the problems is that some managerial people don't want to hear about problems. If a store is having problems, it's not because it's understaffed, it's because the workers are lazy... something like that mentality. Some people would rather work people to death with ridiculous hours than hire on another employee.

    I agree 100% with your last paragraph. Willful ignorance is a very bad thing.

  2. I went through this exact same thing as a pet store manager. I want my store to look as good as we can make it anytime a big suit decides to drop by. I refused to panic when they announced a visit telling my coworkers this was already our best, we didn't need to kill ourselves trying to do more if they weren't going to raise our budget.


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