Fishing lessons

(burnt-sounding post ahead, and revised from original post)

At the risk of sounding like a privileged jerk, the employee population at my store has been underserved in years past.  That’s not their fault, and I’ve been working to remedy that by making the information accessible in visible handouts, through training sessions, though visits to the departments, through my door being open, etc.  My team members are from all over the world, with varying levels of English, writing, and computer literacy– I have found that in general terms, they don’t know a whole hell of a lot about things they should know (and should have been informed about), like their benefits, their discounts & perks, and how to move from one store to another, much less the basics of how payroll works.  The overwhelming ignorance, coupled with information from more-informed colleagues, in-store and out-, that confirms that my predecessor just couldn’t be bothered to take the time, is something it’s going to take me a while to cure.

As a result, I feel guilty shoving them off and telling them no, I don’t have the time to help them at any given moment, even though the fact is, yes.  I am ALWAYS busy.  Especially when the problem is complex (insurance choices?  labyrinthine, but I still have to look at the state health connector on their own time, I’m can only tell them what ours is about and if they do the research and bring it in to me, highlight to contrasts) and I do feel like there is a lot of caretaking and trustbuilding I still want to make sure is on a firmer foundation– but man, it’s exhausting.  Six months in to this location, I’m feeling more than a little bit burnt.

There are also a bunch of special flowers who are capable of doing things on their own, but don’t want to and just want attention, and those I need to find a firm and not unkind way of saying they need to prove that they’ve failed, first, because it’s all about being a grownup.  My position isn’t called Adult Resources, but it should be.  Prove you’re an adult, then we’ll look at resources.

Coming into the store & trying to be a resource & open, available, has been like unleashing the floodgates on myself, because I do want to help– but at the same time, because too many of them are really ignorant, it’s hard to sort out the lazy from the in-need-of-education, and when there are 300 of them, it’s, shall we say, a bit fucking much.  Especially since a lot of them signed disclosures and can read and are adults and yet they’re now complaining they didn’t know.  (On my crankiest days, my inner monologue keeps saying “Tough fucking shit”, but I can’t say that, and won’t.)  Instead, I try to just repeat in a less all caps voice, that I’m sorry, but they need to READ THE STUFF THEY’RE SIGNING.  GOOD DAY.

So– before I snap at someone and say something that takes the humane out of human resources, I’ve got to take the rampaging whiny needy bulls by the horns and start doing classes, because it’s the only defensible way to start refusing to give the objectively capable people very time consuming & in the end, pretty ridiculous 1:1 help.  It’s one thing if the person is special needs or is really ESL, and I do have about 3 dozen or so of those folks in my store– it’s another if they’re just being clingy because they want some attention.

Orientations into how to log on to various benefits’ providers websites’ make sense.  Links and shortcuts on public access computers in the store do as well, but I have to publicize those.  I don’t have a half hour to drop what I’m working on every time someone can’t be fucked to read their damned medical bill (once I’ve taught them what our company’s Explanations of Benefits mean), or because they don’t want to learn how to navigate the 401(k) website.  Sorry, kids, it’s 2014.  Basic computer literacy is a job requirement, period.

Open office hours in the conference rooms a few times a month make sense as well– drop in hours to ask whatever you want– and then otherwise, you need an appointment, because sorry– I’ve got people to hire, acute problems for real issues to fix rather than people avoiding adulthood a while longer by trying to dump their outside-of-work problem in my lap (nope, doing your income taxes is not my job, sorry, here’s the list of free local tax volunteers, no, really, sorry, it’s not my job, here’s the list of free local tax volunteers, now excuse me, I have someone coming in for an appointment, why yes, I do take appointments, it says so right on my door along with my posted hours, why yes, I’ve posted my hours since I started working here six months ago, see you later, have a great afternoon.  *Cue internal screaming as I close the door behind them.*).

I’ve got to teach my team members to fish, so my temptation to just go & cut bait settles down.

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