I recently got dismissed from my job as a retail sales representative. I was only there for 2 weeks. I was doing a distribution audit at a grocery store. I walked in and didn’t see any management around, so I proceeded to the section I needed to audit. The section was messy and I couldn’t tell what was on the shelf so I started to take some product off the shelf and I moved a couple of items and the labels. Before I could finish, someone approached me from the store. I assumed he was a manager.

He asked me what I was doing. I explained but he seemed angry, and I felt very nervous so I kept on straightening the shelf. He then asked me if I moved anything. Without thinking I said no. He pointed to the two items I had moved. I replied, “Oh, I did. ” He then started calling me a liar. I tried to tell him that I wasn’t finished, but he continued to talk over me. Yelling. He asked me how would I like it if he went to my house and moved my furniture. I didn’t answer I just said I’m sorry I’ll move it back. He continued with the same question over and over while I tried to clean up. Finally I asked him to stop yelling at me and to be quiet. He was making a scene on the sales floor, so busy chewing me out that he didn’t even notice customers wanted his help. I tried to get him to calm down but his constant yelling made me so nervous I was actually shaking.

I told him again will you just stop, and I almost started to cry, but I held it in. He asked me again about the moving the furniture. I said if he wants to he could move my furniture. He seemed to think that I was being sarcastic. I just felt I answered his question. Then he asked for my business card and said he was going to tell my boss about my attitude and for me to leave the store. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t find my cards.

I handed him the card, and I left as he requested. He followed me to the door, making a couple of comments, but I just blocked him out of my head. When I got home, I called my supervisor and explained what happened on voice mail. I then got a voice mail telling me to go to the corporate office on Monday at 10 to pick up my pager. So I called in Monday about my route changes, and when I got to the office, the regional supervisor asked me what happened. I explained the best I could. I got upset because when the manager of that store called, he lied about everything. He said I cussed at him and made a scene when he was the one. He twisted the story to his favor. I was so upset I started to cry. Then my boss said a few things, and said she was firing me for not controlling my temper. I told her I never got out of control at the store. I’m showing more of my frustration now, but I didn’t at the store. She at first she was on my side until I started to cry; then she changed her mind which in my opinion is a crock. She already had made up her mind. She told me a story about when she was doing my job, she had a manager follow her around the whole store making comments until she left. I would think that’s harassment, but she put up with it and told me between 7 am and 3:30 I had to put up with it also. The customer is always right, but the store is not the customer, the manufacture is our client. That’s whom we represent, and I understand we need to get along with the stores. But why do we have to accept being treated rudely? I really got upset.

I already gave notice at my part time job that I loved, but had to take this one because my family needed more money. I have been struggling to pay my bills and owe my father money for some court proceedings that I had to pay. I just couldn’t believe I got fired

I’m so mad at myself for not following my gut. I didn’t want to take the job. I didn’t even apply for it. They found my resume on a job board and called me. When I asked around about the company I didn’t here good things, but I took it just because it was full time. So now I have to move on. What do I say to potential employers? I have been working in my field for 17 years and have met some rude managers, but this was the first time I felt scared. I keep asking myself what happened? Everything just happened so fast. Now I’m nervous what if he transfers, and I run into him again? I am giving myself a headache worrying about all this crazy stuff. Thanks




Dear Unemployed:

You hurt and that is understandable in light of what you have experienced as a retail rep doing a grocery store audit. The store manager was angry and rude. Your boss was not supportive. You were fired and now need to find another job because you have bills to pay.

You should put this behind you. Keep this account of it that you have written to us. Someday years from now when you are a senior citizen, you can retell it. However your lengthy description indicates that this unhappy experience is videotape that can run and rerun and rerun in your mind and in conversations with others. And that is not something that will help you or others. Prepare a short list of the things you have learned from this experience, and then don’t obsess any more about it or retell it again and again. Unfortunately, our working lives are not always pleasant or fair. A few bosses, coworkers and customers all too often are self-absorbed, rude, and short tempered, but most aren’t.

You are a mature person with work experience other than this recent one; so start that job hunt. Ready your resume. I don’t think you have to mention this recent one; after all it was only two weeks. Apply several places. Carefully research the places you apply. Do informational interviews. Dress appropriately for interviews. Hold your head high and hum to yourself a cheerful tune. Use this time of unemployment to improve skills that help you cope with the business of living, your social life, and/or job capabilities, such as singing in a choir, working on a hobby, taking a short course at a community college.

Thinking about your self is natural and necessary. Thinking in behalf of others is saintly. Combining them; self-interest and concern for others is what we call WEGO mindedness. After a few weeks, feel free to write again.

William Gorden