Friday, September 9, 2011

The Stuff I'm Learning at Work

I REALLY tried to make this into something coherent and more focused than random thoughts dealing with the subject of working at Target that I've been jotting down for the last week. And then I just sorta decided to go to bed instead. Bad me. I feel appropriately shamed about it, and all the other things and people I'm kinda avoiding because I'm just super lame and tired these days. Sorry world.

It's been a good while since I've been in a formal work environment in general, and I have never worked for a big corporation (or for that matter, with any notable quantity of male coworkers) before in my life.

And it's been an interesting experience.

"Living the nightmare" is occasionally bantered around as a joke, along with stats over which upper management level people (who, of course, have spiffy team Target titles, but I don't happen to be any good at actually keeping inane acronyms straight and therefore cannot tell you what, exactly, they are, which is probably for the better with keeping me out of trouble for writing all this) rank the highest on the micro managing control freak score.

(Dear Target personal who eventually figure out that I've been writing this stuff about the corporation, instead of getting mad at me for this, could you just give me a raise and possibly a promotion to something like "social media and public image boss-like person who gets an office and personal supply of pastel post-it notes" instead? That'd be pretty awesome. Thanks.)

Although I'm still pretty happy just to have a job at all, and most of the time genuinely enjoy being at Target (really, who doesn't?), I do see how having the common negative view of a singular source can help make you feel included in the masses and add a nice topic to polite conversation with people you don't know very well besides the weather.

(Apparently some people don't necessarily like me sharing the exploding poop stories as much as you all do.)

And last week I overheard an interesting conversation between some of the lower to mid management people (they are called Team Leaders, and I could potentially be one if I'm willing to work at Target for the next 5 years and manage to stop single-handedly crashing my team's scores), where from what I gathered through eves dropping as I am still far too lowly on the chain to be personal briefed on these matters, there had been a dramatic dispute over some of the store staging between a few of the uppers, and a team leader said "It's like when mommy and daddy fight, and somehow it's all your fault". I find this intriguing, and makes me wish I had more gossip-prone friends (or even like, non-gossip-prone friends that just happened to be well informed) to give me the 411 on what actually happened.

(Also, I'd really like to know whether my hunch that the micro managing control freak manager was one of the parties involved is correct.)

The scores are VERY important, apparently, and when they start talking lots of slight decimal shifts in numbers I start to feel like I'm in calculus again. I don't know where these numbers come from, exactly, or why they matter beyond the inherent "going down is bad" aspect. I kinda thought they were from the surveys people fill out online, but then I somehow managed to seriously screw my teams' scores over (all by myself, even!) a couple weeks back, so now I really have no idea where these mystical-but-still-all-important numbers come from. I didn't understand the reason for anything going on in advanced math class either. 

Despite more than half the employees being male, gossip still flies fairly rampant through the store, which adds to my occasional feeling that working at Target isn't substantially different than being back in high school.

(I'm sure the calculus class flashbacks also add to this, along with the occasional seriously questionable nutrition lunch choice.)

This is also the first job I've ever had for both a big bureaucratic system (since apparently "military wife" doesn't actually count as a job) AND that wasn't at least 98% female employees, so there has been a few learning curves on navigating the system which I haven't encountered before. Like, learning that what I do isn't actually important. Sure, they want me to show up when I'm scheduled and to be doing my job while I'm there, but you had better believe they want me G-O-N-E if I'm about to hit overtime for the week and that daily call ins are simply accepted as part of the deal.

And then there's the whole sexual harassment in the workplace thing, where I've actually had male coworkers who were chatting it up stop mid-story/joke when I came by because telling (the female) me would qualify for it. Then they feel bad and say to me "sorry, it's not personal, it's just against Target policy to tell you while we're at work." Damn. They do take all that stuff in the orientation video seriously around here. Which, I suppose is ultimately preferable to the alternative, but still makes for some awkwardness I'm not used to experiencing in a co-ed group of people in their 20s.

Yep, it's definitely been a new experience, full of all sorts of learning (I think they even trained me on some formal "job" stuff too!) and useful life lessons.

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