Venting, Work

Skeleton Crew

So much for my attempt at working on a part-time basis. I will admit to not being a fan of the “group interview” process this company makes all potential new hires go through. This event doesn’t happen in a private room, free from distractions. Instead, it’s held in the training room where other associates are free to waltz in, interrupt the manager running the interview, and associates are constantly coming in and out for various reasons. There were a few key points that should have been mentioned and some questions/concerns I wish I had brought up, but the whole thing felt so rushed and unorganized.

For example, the job description of the person working a 5am-1:30pm shift and what duties it includes, what is expected to be done during that shift. The same goes for the 3:30pm-10pm shift and those respective duties. The only thing mentioned was those were the hours that department needed to fill, nothing more was mentioned. I was in the process of telling the manager that I have prior experience and I was interrupted and found myself trailing off as I typically do in those situations. We never came back to where I left off and we proceeded to engage in another group activity.


I did get hired on, full-time and my first two shifts included ZERO training or guidance from management. Luckily for them, I have prior experience and had an idea as to what needed to be done. My issue was that I didn’t know where most things were located or what their policies were for certain things.  So, I did the best that I could until a manager introduced themselves and showed me how to use their oven. I was promised to be shown many things, which never happened. I let that manager know that I have lifting/mobility restrictions due to my scoliosis and she seemed to think that it wouldn’t be an issue. There are plenty of associates that work in the back area and asking them for help with heavy items shouldn’t be a problem.

I brought in a copy of my “Fitness Assessment” from two years ago as proof that I do in fact have limitations, and I’m not just being lazy or insubordinate. Granted the form was dated 2016 and I expected that I would be asked for an updated one, which I was and will get tomorrow. I was able to hand that off to my manager (the same that ran the group interview) and he said he’ll get back to me about that. That was three days ago and he’s on vacation starting tomorrow.

I was able to catch him before I left this afternoon, to find out about the shift I couldn’t work, yet somehow I was scheduled and I wanted to make sure he knew I wasn’t going to make it and not consider it as a ” No Call No Show” situation. I also wanted to hear what he had to say about my mobility limitations. I was vocal to everyone I encountered during my first four shifts: to which they all had the same reaction, that it shouldn’t be a problem if I need help or ask for assistance.

My manager doesn’t share that point of view. He asked why I didn’t bring that up during the hiring process. I stated that I didn’t have a chance, there were many interruptions and that I handed in my old form as soon as I saw him because I knew I didn’t have the chance to bring it to his attention sooner. He claimed that he explained the duties and that moving skids and stocking was part of the job and I should have mentioned my concerns then. I let him know that I agree to disagree because that conversation didn’t take place. I knew he had several interviews and he was probably confusing my session with another group. I didn’t call him on that, just chose to keep it to myself and not come across as argumentative.

I can understand how this situation may appear, and I have tried to state my case and let him know that while the form is outdated and the prognosis appeared to be temporary, the limitations are permanent. If I push myself too hard and continue to reinjure my back, then I risk doing serious damage. Yes, I can bake and package items and not put myself at risk of blowing my back out. I did that for years and there wasn’t an issue. The issue started when I was forced to take stocking shifts as a means of being a “well rounded” employee and everyone should be able to do all duties in that department.

I warned my former manager that I will do my best and don’t mind stocking in a pinch, but I can’t do this day after day because I know how my back would respond. That didn’t go over very well. What I got was, “I hear your concern, but do it anyway.” Being the team player that I am, I did it anyway for two more shifts until I had to call in because I physically could not get out of bed the next morning. I also called in the next day because I wasn’t better and I was asked for a doctor’s note. My husband made a few phone calls and found a great chiropractor that was able to see me right away. I was charged a hefty fee for their assessment and note that was requested.

I handed in the note only to be told that I now needed to have the doctor fill out their company “Fitness Assessment” form and return it. Even after handing that in stating my limitation in mobility and it stating specifically that I am unable to STOCK SHELVES and LIFT more than 10 pounds (5kg), I was asked to return to my stocking duties. My manager insisted and another associate bullied me to do what I had just proved I could not. I still was not fully recovered and moving /walking very slowly. It was very obvious that I was in pain and not moving as quickly as they were used to seeing. I felt that management wasn’t taking my health concerns seriously, there was no attempt to accommodate my duties, no option for shorter shifts, nothing except attitude and dirty looks for the three weeks I was on light duty. Even after the three weeks, I still wasn’t 100% and I was asked to stock again. I refused because I felt unsafe, I continued to decorate cakes as a means of being productive during my shift. Clearly, something needed to change and my manager wasn’t going to budge. I felt my only option was to quit, so that is what I did.

While the note stated my condition (pain/limitations), I was expected to make a full recovery after three weeks as long as I returned to my normal duties (baking/cake decorating); it would be almost two years before I realized that the damage done was in fact permanent. I can perform baking/decorating duties as long as the items in the freezer are accessible and not too heavy to lift and place on a cart. I may have to make more frequent (smaller) trips, but I can get it done.

I expect that this new form (same blank form from 2 years ago) will state the same information I have already shared. My new manager doesn’t seem pleased and hinted that if that is the case then I might be let go within my probation period. He also made it clear that if I had known that I couldn’t do the job as the description stated, that I should not have applied. The job description is very general much of which includes many “May Include” statements, and again the duties vary from store to store. Some locations have a set morning baker and they take care of all baked in-store products, some locations have a set stocker and that is all they do stock the shelves with product from the walk-in freezer, and a closing person will bake a little and prep/clean for the morning baker. This is what I was used to, but again it was never discussed as to what was expected. Actually, those details still have yet to be discussed. I will add that if the hours he was looking to fill was just 5am-1:30pm (morning baker) and 3:30-10pm (closing) why am I being scheduled for 10am-6:30pm and 7am-3:30pm which are STOCKING shifts? Yes, you can bet that I have made my concerns known about those shifts.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how this situation plays out. It’s just convenient that my manager will be on vacation starting tomorrow. I will continue to show up and do the best that I can for as long as I can handle it.

Gonna try to enjoy my two days off. ~ Hannah



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