Not Getting Truth About My So-Called Mistakes

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about performance: Recently I was pulled aside and spoken to by the “lead” cashier. She claimed that the management was saying I was making ” too many mistakes”.

I have been working for 4 months as a cashier in a retail company. Recently I was pulled aside and spoken to by the “lead” cashier. She claimed that the management was saying I was making ” too many mistakes”. I was stunned, since none of the managers have ever said a word to me and I was given the impression that everything was wonderful.When I questioned her about what kind of mistakes I was supposedly making she couldn’t give me examples. All she said was that I had a week to correct the situation or else my job was in jeopardy! How can I correct something I have no idea about?

Later that day I spoke to one of the managers about what had been said and she, too, was surprised. She told me not to worry about it and said she’d talk to the “big” boss about it. I feel like I’m being set up. I am confident that I do good work and am a conscientious employee. Any advice?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

This is one of those times when calm and communication will accomplish more than assuming the worst. First, if you work for store of any size at all, there is a process they go through before they fire someone–and the conversation you had is not likely to be part of such a process! Second, who is more likely to know your status with managers, another cashier or your manager? Third, if you were making mistakes, doesn’t it seem logical you would have been questioned about them at some point?

It sounds to me like blah-blah talk. That’s what I call talk without substance. If the conversation was a sit down counseling session, it might have been a sincere effort by the lead cashier to provide feedback. But it certainly wasn’t helpful if you don’t know the mistakes you are making.

But if it was just conversation and buzz talk between the two of you, it has no meaning at all beyond, maybe, one person wanting to stir up another person.You’ve asked your manager about this once, but follow up with something in writing if you feel comfortable doing that. Say that you’re very concerned based on what Mary Williams (the lead cashier) told you, and you want to make sure your work is going well. If you don’t want to put it in writing, ask again about it to make sure you are doing OK. And when you ask, ask definitely: “Jan, I’ve worried about this all weekend and I just have to find out if there are problems I’m not being told about. Have you checked on it yet?” And add, “Why do you think Mary told me that if it isn’t true? Is there something going on that I need to know?”

If the lead cashier has a supervisory role over you, go to her again, and ask her to go with you to the manager so you can find out for sure what mistakes you are making. You don’t need to let her know you doubt her statements, because the truth is you DO want to get it out in the open.If there is something going on behind the scenes you certainly need to know about it and the only way is to find out what mistakes you are making, then find out how you can correct them. Or, in this case, find out the lead cashier is not to be trusted!On the other hand, if you find out the lead cashier is correct and the manager was misleading you, you’ll know that person can’t be trusted!

Either way, you will at least be taking a bit of control over the situation. While it’s going on, keep focused on your good work. Be a strong part of the team and support others too. Many people may be feeling what you are feeling. Don’t gossip and don’t speculate–just be a good work friend and do your best work all the time. But, as with all things, communication really is the key to this. Get it out in the open between your manager, the lead cashier and you about your true status right now.Best wishes with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens!

Tina Lewis Rowe