Archived Should I explore other opportunities?

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Mar 10, 2012
(The format of this story is not what I intended. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

This is the story of how I became to ha.....feel unpleasant about Target.

I have been working for Target close to 2 years. At first it was a wonderful experience. I was shocked at how professional it was. I was just moving to a new city and only looking for a job to get by a short while. After seeing how unlike other retailers Target was, I quickly saw an opportunity to have a lasting career.
I got the job and was placed in Market. Our store is just a general store; we are not even a p-fresh. We have some groceries, but not much. It’s a small town in the mid-west. In market, most days my tasks were to consult my calendar and make sure all expired consumables were QMOS. Just the yogurt section can take a very long time. I also began to help the TL of the department with her sales planners and even began to talk to the vendors directly.
Now, I happen to believe I was in the right place at the right time. Some TL’s and ETL’s were leaving or moving up, talk began of maybe myself applying for TL position. “No way” I thought, “I have only been here 6 months, and in market, I don’t know much else.” That was all in my head. As for Target’s POV, everyone loved me. I was constantly responding for back-up, call buttons, you name it. I did it. I won awards and most of all, I was super fast, fun and friendly.
Looking back, that’s probably why I got the position. I was a worker; I was great at muscling tasks. Little did I know how much paper work was involved in being a TL. But the then current STL took a liking to me and that initial liking followed through with our new STL. Not long after he came to our store, I began my interviews.
My TL at the time, I believe, really wanted out of market. She was grooming me to be her replacement. In short, I got the job and was now a hard lines team lead over Market and another department that doesn’t have much weight in our story.
I won’t lie. At the exact same time this was happening I also had a very back break up with a girl I was going to marry. I know for a fact this affected my performance for a while. But I still did my work and was as fast, fun and friendly as could be. The problem was… I was now a TL…and I didn’t know much past the daily tasks I was doing. Training was attempted at best. Everyone’s workloads always got in the way. I understand that completely. Guest are the first priority, so it’s hard to get stuff done when most team members are back up cashiering the better part of the day. So most of the time I would come in, attempt to work on sales planners, get all my out-of-dates off the floor, maybe train a few new team members how to zone, and back up cashier. Things went on like this for a while.
After about 2-3 months I was called into the new STL’s office. They asked if I was interested in taking over Food Ave. which at our store included Pizza Hut and Starbucks. I was confused why they were asking me. I guess the TL over those areas went on a medical leave. It sounded like a demotion to me. They assured me it was not and that, since I had a background in food (waiting tables mind you) that perhaps I would fit better there. Also my former TL was now the Sr. TL over the entire front end and since we had a good partnering relationship in market it may work out better. I understood all this and agreed with it. I still however felt like a demotion when he said, “We just don’t want to get 6 months down the line with you in hard lines, and then run into performance issues.” So…. I went to Food Ave.
Now if I may side track for a moment. During the entire duration of this story I became pretty good friends with one of the ETLs. I won’t say any names, so for the sake of not referring to him as “That one ETL I became friends with” and to respect his anonymity, let’s call him…..Jack. Jack was cool, he had a reputation with a lot team members as being “mean” and I always pictured it as that one teacher in school everybody always prayed didn’t end up on their schedule. But for me, Jack was awesome. Nights that we closed he would go outside and smoke with me and talk. Not just professional bull$h!T small talk. We would talk about, life, movies, video games, etc. It was nice being able to finally be real with a higher up. Not that I don’t understand being professional, but I firmly believe our new STL and HR were WAY too professional, perhaps a result of their young age and ability to move up in the company ladder. If that’s the case. Good for them.
But even Jack, he told me the same thing. He said, “It’s all about politics, as long as I’ve been here. They are almost…too professional.” Apparently Jack almost had his own store, but for personal reasons didn’t have his head in the interviews and he told me, “Once you piss the wrong people off, you’re pretty much done.” He also told me he did not believe I spent enough time in hard lines to fully blossom and that moving me was a mistake, but if I ever told anyone he said that then he would deny it. lol.
So jumping back into our story, I moved to Food Ave. It was a mess. I went to some out-of-store training to learn how to make everything; after all I was only a waiter at previous food jobs. I came back and saw that we had NO product. So I ordered a lot. This went on for a few weeks. Trying to get a grasp on the ordering system. What we sell out of a lot. What we don’t. What expires faster than others? What lasts for a year. How much Diet Dr. Pepper is sold over Diet Coke. How napkins and lids for cups come on TIPP and how to maneuver through that. This lead to at first being totally desolate on product to quickly becoming ENTIRELY overstocked with product. Jack was the ETL in the back and always tried to help me “dwindle it down” and advise on to properly write down inventory so we could get handle on it again. I’ll never forget that. As much as I had our freezer stuffed with months supplies of pasta noodles, he always…just tried to help. He never talked to me condescending at all. It was always, “Hey xxBatmanxChristianBalexx….you seen the freezer right? Yeah… need to get back there and do some inventory. You doing alright? Don’t be afraid to toss some of this stuff if we have to, because we HAVE to have room for the truck tomorrow. Let me know if you need anything.” Jack is no longer with the company.
The problem was my friends. There was never time to go back to do inventory. This is REALLY where the story begins. I can’t leave the area. We have a guest come to Pizza Hut every….5 seconds? Even if it’s just for a drink. It’s a small town, but Target is new and about 3 years old. When the people get out, Target is a big deal. IMO. Not to mention you have to discard a pizza every 20 min, so you really just need to be on top tasks all day, so whoever comes in to close, or will open the next day, is not bombarded with dishes, or trying to get hot dogs cooking, or making pizzas, etc etc. You want to set your team for success, especially being a new TL in the department. You have 1 person back there all day. So you’re cooking and taking orders. There is RARELY anyone who can do a mid shift since our store is so adamant on cutting hours. And that’s the thing that started it all.
“Hey xxBatmanxChristianBalexx when are you going to get insertvariouspaperworkformhere done and turned in?”
“Uh…well… as soon as I get out of Food Ave.”
“When will that be?”
“Well the next person doesn’t come in till 4:30, but I am suppose to leave at 4:30”
“Well you just need to make sure you get it done.”
“What about hours?”
“You can’t go over. So just make sure you get it done.”
(The structure I started typing this story at is probably going to be lost, as now I am just going to rant. It’s also my day off and began to listen to music. Please bare with me and we’ll get through this together.)
So the next logical step is to partner with other TL’s. Harkening back to the training earlier, it’s hard to partner with them, but most of the time, they are in the exact same boat. SO MUCH to do, and not enough resources.
“Hey I have to get this paperwork done, do you think you can cover for me a few mins?”
“Seriously? Man….I have like 1 cashier and I have to do that form too.”
And that’s the way it works when trying to partner with people. Everybody has someone else on their ass to get something done that it makes everyone more concerned about themselves than the team. Whereas my fault, I think my weakness is, I can’t do that…I just can’t. I still want to….I don’t know, be the hero I guess. I always try to help out in cases like that and it leads to be normally putting off tasks to make sure we get what the team needs done finished. But that doesn’t look good when you have to speak to it.
“So xxBatmanxChristianBalexx why didn’t you get that form completed?”
“Well I was helping Hermione with some stuff and maybe if we had someone come in for a mid on just the weekends when it’s the busiest so there would be some coverage for me to go to the office and work on stuff.”
Most common response from STL? “Yes well….perhaps in a perfect world.” What? Only in a perfect world, a ****ing magical utopia would it ever be possible to have someone work Pizza Hut a few hours for me to complete a contribution form in time for the meeting????? wtf!?
My second favorite STL quote? This after asking your opinion on something and you finally feel like your voice is getting heard. “Well…..then it’s a good thing this isn’t xxBatmanxChristianBalexx’s Target!” Why even ask me, if you’re just going to basically say go F*** yourself? lol. Now granted, he did say the same thing about himself once (good thing this isn’t whoever’s Target) when he thought a task should be handled differently than best practice. But still.
Also, just for the record, taking all the condiment packages “every hour on the hour” and going through them to stand them straight up is stupid. I have pizzas and other food that need to be prepared every 20 mins, I don’t have time to perfectly stand all the ketchup packages up just for some kid to walk by and grab a handful, INSTANTLY screwing up everything you just worked on.
I began to see how much the front end was different than the sales floor. The opinions of other TL’s at the front was about the same as mine as well. It was almost as if they stuck the ones they didn’t like up there to sink. It was a different breed entirely. It was Château d'If, and I was Edmond Dantes. I was sinking. Any attempt to discuss problems that I felt was holding back, resulted in some comment like, “Team Lead Accountability, or Rejecting Feedback.” and was anything but, what I was trying to accomplish.
About the time I had FINALLY got the ordering back on track, the TL came back from her medical leave. No one was sure she was coming back and rumor had it they had been trying to get rid of her for so long and she just would never quit. Even to go so far as to say to certain team members, “We’re going to talk to her today, so just be ready to cover Starbucks, in case she quits.” But she never would.
Yet other team members were of course leaving the department ALL the time. No call no shows. Call ins. Just quitting. You name it. And our Sr. TL making the schedule would still put team members on them that no longer even worked there!!!! and then give it to me.
“You’re aware that Jill is no longer with us right?”
“Here it’s right here. (points to paper)
“Yeah….you terminated her last week.”
“Yeah yeah.”
“Do we….”
“Well, you’ll just have to shuffle the schedule around and make it work.”
“Okay thanks.”
So I would go and shuffle the schedule around but it was literally IMPOSSIBLE.
“So can we take some of the cashiers that know Food Ave to replace her shifts.”
“No GSTL needs them”
“So…can we schedule them over 40 hours and split up some days?”
“Absolutely not.”
“So, I don’t know what to do. There is no one in the store that knows Food Ave. I called 2 other stores to see if they had anyone. They don’t.”
“Well you’ll just have to make it work.”

Turns out as that week went on, and it got to the last moment to make the schedule and I was freaking out and having to talk to other LODs, the only way to get everything covered was for that Sr. TL I was talking to, to help cover shifts.
So I stayed back there a while, but we all knew there could only be 1 TL in the department. Fast forward a lot. One day after I left, they fired the girl for some reasons, I don’t really know, but I personally think it was uncalled for. So the GSTL at the time and I decided to switch departments, since by that time, I grew so much frustration trying to do my job in Food Ave, and she the same at the front. So we switched.
I was now GSTL xxBatmanxChristianBalexx. And things were better. Of course you couldn’t leave, so paperwork issue still occurred but I was more happy already. I haven’t been to a TL meeting in months because of this, and any huddle for that matter. But a new and different problem started to occur. I’m the new GSTL, there was a girl, we’ll call her….Scully. Scully was always rude and mean. It wasn’t just me. I heard lots of Team Members talking about it. She was just very strong and outspoken perhaps, but it was obvious to everyone. The problem was she was friends with all the ETL’s. It was always cute nick names and Facebooks posts, etc. It made me sick. So it was hard to talk to her about anything.
So one day she is working Guest Service, and in just a very, short and shrill voice I hear, “GSA come to Guest Service.” Okay, first of all I’m a GSTL. Second, I wanted to be cool, I didn’t want to performance document her, I didn’t want to be THAT boss. I wanted to be like how Jack was to me. Understanding. So I go up to her, and I say, “Hey Scully, is there something the matter?”
“Are you sure?”
“Then why are you barking at me buddy? (Playful tone and a pat on the shoulder.)
I expected her to say something along the lines of, “Oh I’m not trying to, I’m sorry I’m just having a bad day, this is what I needed done, blah blah blah.” She is ALWAYS fighting with her boyfriend and is in just crap moods. Instead this is what I got.
“I’m not barking at you!! I’m not a dog!”
“Well that’s not what I meant. I just meant you sounded a bit frustrated over the walkie”
“No I didn’t.”
“Well you did, and another TL heard it as well.”
“Rebecca.” (The TL that switched over to Food Ave.)
“Well then I’ll just have to go have a talk with Rebecca then.”
In my head I’m thinking. DUDE! We are you’re bosses!!!!!! You can’t do this! But judging from past experience similar to this with her, I just walk away.
So I’m directing guest at the front a very short while later and Scully’s favorite ETL comes up. I say, “Hey you doing alright?”
“Yes the question is are YOU doing alright?”
“…I’m just fine lol what’s up?”
“Well you may want to lay off of Scully.”
“You may want to lay off of her.”
I get mad. I won’t lie. This is my team member. This is a team I was put in charge of running. And now because one of them didn’t like me trying to even just TALK to them, they can go to an ETL and I will be told to “lay off”. How am I suppose to be a leader?
“So..she can just talk to me like that?”
“Well that’s the thing. I was here to witness it. So you’ll just be sure you talk to her like an adult and not a child and saying that she’s “Barking” at you, insinuating that she is a dog”
“That’s not what I meant. I told her that. She was talking to me very….poorly.” (I’m struggling to choose the correct words though my anger.)
“Yeah…well….you just may want to lay off of her.”
“Okay, Whatever.”
I walk off.
I talk to other ETLs about it. I talk to Jack about it. There’s really nothing to be done about how she talked to me. I got a coaching for saying barking. Which in the meetings I still say I understand and it was a poor choice of words, let it go and tried to move on. She continued to act like this. I at this point was afraid to even talk to her for fear of getting into trouble. I couldn’t ask her to do ANYTHING without a glare.
Similar instances occurred. I won’t get into all of them. This is long enough and I have stuff to do today. Since I started I’ve been saying the world “girls”, mainly to older ladies as it makes them giggle and turn to each other say, “Did you hear that! He called us girls, thanks for the compliment.” I learned while waiting tables. So one day I’m working, doing something for a guest and our guest service team members walkied me.
“GSTL xxBatmanxChristianBalexx we need you at the service desk.”
“Thank you. I’m on my way girls.”
This has NEVER been an issue before. But that day I got called to our new HR’s office and coached that I shouldn’t say girls. It insinuates that “I am trying to be their daddy and babysit them.” You got to be joking????
So many instances like this still happen. I finally went to Jack and the new HR about Scully, and was basically so frustrated I almost left. I said, “I just can’t do this anymore.” Then of course everyone was like,
“What’s wrong? omg omg.”
So they talked to her and she is nothing but awesome now. But now Jack is gone. and I keep thinking about what he said, “It’s all about politics.”
I get in trouble almost every day. Some ETL’s more than others. Some get me in trouble if I call for back up and IM not already on a lane. Others if I am on a lane because of course I am needed in other places. When I try and talk about the lack of communication it’s always some Target excuse, “Well just going forward…” and something that doesn’t answer who I should be listening to and best practice for a task.
I hear other team members and team leads say things to LODs that I KNOW if I said I would be in trouble. It’s not just paranoia or me being sensitive. It’s happening. And I’m almost hesitant to say this, because of how it will obviously sound. But I think it may be because there are almost no men in the entire store.
We have had at least 3 Team Leads quit within the last month. No joke. At our team lead meetings when I get to go, it’s Me….then about 12 ladies ( I try not to say girls anymore, as I don’t want to be any of their daddy).
I’m not sexist. I respect women, all of that stuff. Hell, I’m not the most manly of men. But I can’t help but think it has something to do with it. Our STL is a man, but I don’t count that. But I can’t say anything like this, because I’m not an idiot and I know I would get in trouble.
But let’s say, the time I waited outside for about 29 minutes to be let inside before we opened. I was suppose to be there at 7:30, got there at like 7:27, didn’t get inside till 7:56. This is something they are notorious for. I get it, They are working. But everyday you have a crowd of team members outside complain about their LODS and all I can say is, “Guys let’s not talk about other target team members that way.” because heck, I agree with them. BUT, I was coached the previous day for being 5 mins late, so I didn’t want this LOD to think I might have been late and just tried to sneak in with the crowd, so when she finally opened the door I said, “Hey, morning, I was here.” and she went off on me man!
“Hey I was working! I don’t need your attitude!”
“I’m not giving you attitude….” (looking around at the other team members all now starring.)
“Yes you are and I just don’t need it!!!!!”
“I’m not giving you attitude I was late yesterday!!!!!!!” (of course I get mad now, and eventually coached for it)
The funny thing? She was pregnant and having spouse problems. Which I get. And was hoping so much for her to come and tell me that, so we could be like, “It’s cool man!” But she didn’t, so I went to an LOD to talk about it first, and of course I got in trouble for it. When I tried to bring maybe she was feeling emotional with the pregnancy, they looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “that was not it.” Yet, I hear them saying weeks later that this particular LOD is not in a good mood today because of the exact reasons I mentioned. So wtf???
I’m really tired of it. I want to quit. It’s such a terrible feeling dreading going into work EVERY SINGLE DAY because you know, how matter how polite you are, how hard you work to make sure guest and LODS are happy with your performance, that you are going to get into trouble. And every day I tell myself, not today. It happens. I really think they hate me.
I just moved into a new apartment. I have a few months rent paid for already. I think if I move to another job making half what I make now, I could still survive, but it scares me. And of course my family saying how stupid I would be for leaving such a high paying job, and that “everybody hates there job and it’s the same everywhere”. But I have worked a few jobs, and I never got in trouble for the stuff I get in trouble for at Target.
Should I explore other opportunities? Should I stay and just suck it up??? I won’t get better, but the one for sure thing is, Target is always changing, so maybe it would change for the better?? I just do not know what to do. I do not think I am a martyr of any kind. I’m just frustrated feel that I do a very good job and do not know what to do. I wonder if Jack is more happy wherever he is, along with the other 3 Team Leads that quit this month.
I’ll leave with one, VERY recent finally example of my frustration. And although Scully has been awesome, it does involve her.
We get backed up. I decide to hop on a lane since, like normal, everyone on the floor is already on a lane or covering a department like the fitting rooms. So even though we have no available backups in the store, I still know I will get into trouble if I don’t dwindle down this crowd. I get in. I call for back up.
“Target team may we please have an additional cashier to the front lanes please? (I got coached for how I use to say that too, which was the exact same just take out the world please. Most people are just like, “BACK UP! WHO IS RESPONDING!)
A team member jumps on.
“Thanks for jumping on!”
An ETL calls for back up again.
I look at the crowd and say, “Frodo just jumped on, we should be okay now. Thanks.”
And without even acknowledging my statement. She comes back over the walkie, this time more demanding than before.
“Target team. WE NEEED a back up at the front lanes.” (Almost trying to say, “Don’t listen to that guy”)
So a girl comes from the back room. Of course she gets up there and just looks around because………we were fine.
Scully comes to give me my break. I give her the keys. A few guests come up. I try and learn from my mistakes. I tell her,
“Hey you may want to call for some more back up.”
“Nah, it’s okay, they don’t get onto me for stuff like that.”
You're not crazy, anyone that they want to either test or mess with gets pushed to the front. (Food ave, GSTL, Carts, Guest services)

If there is that much stress and tension before you even get through the door, then it's not worth it. The STL and ETL-HR can make or break your whole store. I suggest you either request to transfer or quit. Unfortunately you can't change a whole team if you have no one backing you up.
My immediate thought was that you should request a transfer as well. You probably have made a lot of friends, but maybe its time to let them go and time to move on to a different Target store where you can have a fresh start with management since it sounds like you are doing a good job.
My immediate thought on this post is to not take sides with the information given... I have seen some shady ETLs and STLs in the company who just go out of their way to get TLs and push them out the door... At the same time I have seen some annoying TLs who do nothing but paint a picture of their store where they are the victim and everyone is out to get them... I don't know the OPer and if I did (and their leadership team) I would take a side on how I saw the situation, but without actually being there I can't make the call based off of the post...
Rock Lobster. Absolutely. While writing that it felt like a sob story, that's the last thing I wanted to convey. I really just don't know what approach to take moving forward. I won't say that anyone is "shady." it's not like that at all. I don't ever worry about being talked about behind someone's back sort of thing. And I do think in a way they are trying to help my development, so that's always a plus. It just seems like everyone has SO MUCH on their plate that no real training or at least time enough to communicate on plans can be worked out, save maybe 5mins at the end of the day, or what we can get across on e-mail. So it's STL making sure the ETL does a task, which goes down to the Sr. TL and then comes down to me, the TL, which is hard to do when you're literally quite busy all day doing what needs to be done to have a smooth operation up front. I appreciate the comments from everyone. Can one delete a thread? lol.
Also, if you can't resolve any of your problems by communicating with your leadership, I would look into transfer opportunities. Remember, you are all a team and everyone has to be on the same page in order for your store to run well.
I read the suggestion once or twice that he consider transferring. Not that leadership at his current store has to be in an agreement with such a decision, which from what I read, seems highly unlikely. Sad but true. There are instances however where a store will take you anyway. I've had a TL friend in a similiar situation. He approached the other stores HR and explained current circumstances, and the HR in turn explained to the STL and they agreed on the transfer anyway,even though not approved by the original store. So anything is possible. Things could get better in your current store or they may not. Weigh your options and make the decision you think is best for you. I was with the company for 10 1/2 years before I decided I had had enough (left as a Sr. TL). Best decision I ever made.
Rock Lobster. Absolutely. While writing that it felt like a sob story, that's the last thing I wanted to convey. I really just don't know what approach to take moving forward. I won't say that anyone is "shady." it's not like that at all. I don't ever worry about being talked about behind someone's back sort of thing. And I do think in a way they are trying to help my development, so that's always a plus. It just seems like everyone has SO MUCH on their plate that no real training or at least time enough to communicate on plans can be worked out, save maybe 5mins at the end of the day, or what we can get across on e-mail. So it's STL making sure the ETL does a task, which goes down to the Sr. TL and then comes down to me, the TL, which is hard to do when you're literally quite busy all day doing what needs to be done to have a smooth operation up front. I appreciate the comments from everyone. Can one delete a thread? lol.

The best thing I have learned to do is to build relationships with the ETL staff and the STL! It sounds cheesy I'm sure, but go out of your way and ask them for feedback on your performance BEFORE they ever even try and come to you! Tell them you want to improve and need help and their buy in to do it, and would like their opinion when it comes to how to better manage your time (to get off stage work done) and how to better communicate effectively by tailoring your message to the audience (like with your run ins with the GS person)... In all honesty, this method kills two birds with one stone! First, you will get their opinions out in the open so you can do EXACTLY what they want and what they want a TL to look like... Second, it strokes their ego a bit and puts them in a position where they feel like, "Wow, Batman came up to me today and asked how to perform better without me having to start the conversation and he took what I said to heart!" ... It sounds sucky, but being able to swallow your pride and get those relationships built will mean you have their support down the road... and your job is SO much easier with the ETL staff's support and it allows you to take your area in directions that you want (versus now, it sounds like you guys are just stuck)...
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