Cashier Making Mistakes

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors by an employee who is distressed over mistakes and is and waiting for them to fire me.

I keep making mistakes and waiting for them to fire me, not making sure customers get all their grocery bags, giving back gift certificates when I should keep them, checking a customer out before I finish the last transaction, what do I do?

Signed, Mistaken

Dear Mistaken:

You are mistaken. You are learning in spite of making mistakes and because of making them. Of course my saying that doesn’t take away your shame for making mistakes or worry about being fired. The hopeful fact is that we learn best from facing up to what we do wrong.

Sooo soak up what you have learned already and say, “Good going” when you don’t make that same kind of mistake the next time. Have you ever taken dance lessons? Those of us who have make lots of missteps. I was green and if all of us quit or were kicked out for our missteps, the dance class would be empty. Rather than see your self as a misfit and loser, see your self as a guy/gal that needs a job and who is there to help customers. And just for fun, pretend you own the place and are there to see how many ways your store could cut wasted supplies, wasted time, and wasted money.

Or pretend you are a cheerleader; one who applauds coworkers and who cheers up weary customers. Or pretend you are a sponge that is soaking up what it takes to be a good boss. Go to school on the place. I have a former student who worked his whole life in a supermarket. He liked the business and became a manager.

I don’t know you career goals, but I know if you go to school on the business, not by complaining about how hard it is and the mistakes you make, but by allowing your coworkers and store manager to teach you, you can take that know-how to many kinds of workplaces. If you do, I predict that years from now you will be able to tell your family about what you learned at this humbling job; one in which you made so many mistakes that you wrote to Ask The Workplace Doctors!

Have you clicked on the name of my associate Workplace Doctor, Tina Lewis Rowe? If not, I recommend that you do and read just a few of her articles. They make sense and inspire. Right now I have the impression that you are short on aspiration. I once taught at Berry College, a place that required all students to work two days a week. Some students worked in the cafeteria. Some in the college bookstore. For some, their job was cleaning the cow barns. Martha Berry, the founder of Berry had spires put on top of the cow barns. She was fond of saying that when you had to clean the manure in a cow barn that it made sense to look up and breath the fresh air.

No honest job is unimportant no matter how dirty. You have a much more pleasant working conditions than a cow barn. You are doing important work–handling money. Money is dirty; it has germs, so wash your hands. Don’t lick your fingers. You are a cashier. Be proud of what you do. My sermon’s almost over. I hope these few thoughts help you learn from you mistakes. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Think about how you might help everyone with whom you work to have big WEGOS. That should take your mind off of mistakes.

William Gorden