I went from 6.6% to 1.5% to 18.1% above minimum wage.

Oh yes, it’s a job rant! And you know who that means! If you don’t want to hear about her, go away!

If you know my story you might not believe me, but I managed to wrangle a raise out of my boss. Instead of doing yearly reviews, they’re now doing quarterly ones so that you get three extra chances to hear how much you suck based on metrics you have zero control over. She delivered my scheduled emotional abuse herself. This is what my previous review was like.  

Reviews go this way—she reads the script, asks me the prescribed questions, I make excuses, change the subject, and we go back to talking about the daily business. This time, however, I was afforded a good opportunity to ask about money because I had noticed that someone was making more than I do—someone who, well, shouldn’t. 

I asked her, “Don’t you think it’s a little silly that after nearly ten years, and half of them in this office, I make twenty cents above minimum wage?”

“Well—I don’t know why they do that.” 

Hello, I’m thinking, you’re the “they.” But I keep going. 

“There’re people here who make more than me who’ve been here less time and have far less responsibility than I do. Or don’t you think my responsibilities are worth more than twenty cents above minimum wage?”

“Well—I don’t know what people make.” 

You do now.  

“I just feel like I do quite a bit of work around here and it doesn’t seem quite fair that I make less than people who’ve been here barely a year.” All of this is said in a syrupy tone laced with menace.

“Well—I’ll ask them—but I don’t know if they’ll say yes.” 

They said yes and I got a satisfactory amount of money. But let’s not get too excited—we are, after all, speaking of one of the cheapest companies on the entire globe. 

Yes, friends, this is an achievement, a double-digit percentage above minimum wage. Welcome to retail. Abandon all hope of ever paying your loans and bills, ye who enter here.

Shortly after this, she hired yet another new manager for me (her predecessor stayed two weeks), a wonderfully decent woman, fun, hardworking, COMPETENT. We hit it off right away. She even bought me a bouquet of flowers.

Then, a former colleague calls me to chat and I mentioned her name, and to my great shock, surprise, dismay, she tells me that my boss and my new manager are “besties.” 

That’s her word, not mine (I would never use that word)—besties. 

Who, on God’s green earth, would want to be her best friend? How?! And such a seemingly good woman at that! I can’t get past this at all. We must have been on the phone for an hour and I don’t know how many times I asked her to explain how someone would be her friend.  

My former colleague: “I mowed the lawn this morning.” 

Me: “I don’t understand—why would anyone be friends with her?” 

Twenty minutes later: 

My former colleague: “How’s your fiancé?” 

Me: “But what does she see in her?” 

Curiously, she never gave me an answer. 

I was assured that my new manager will keep her in line. I will say that suddenly my boss has expressed to me several times that she appreciates all the work I do and how I run the store all by myself. The truth is that she HATES looking bad in front of people (which is too bad because she’s excellent at it).

Of course, the friendship seems to be unraveling as my new manager has only worked here for two weeks and already she’s pissed at my boss for screwing something up because she was too impatient to wait five minutes for the new one to get the answer and then blamed her for the resulting catastrophe. 

Not everyone is as lucky as I am. Our store struggles because we’re a crap store with poor staffing, low foot traffic, and few resources. Facing a huge sales goal designed to set us up to fail, our cosmetics manager motivated her team to win and we were one of only three stores in the entire region who beat 2019’s numbers, a real success. Our boss’s response? “Why weren’t you number one?”  

This manager literally cries, and let me say, it’s a mighty pathetic sight to see a 5’8 rock of a woman shrunken down into a ten-year-old girl who has internalized every blame she’s ever gotten in her life. A skinny ten-year-old girl with pigtails. Not sure why that might be the case but anyway. She doesn’t understand that she will never get the boss’s approval. She could invent a pill that would instantly make the boss lose eighty pounds and she’d still criticize you that it didn’t make her lose eighty-one. It doesn’t matter what you do. Nothing is ever good enough and the sooner a person accepts that the boss is an idiot, the sooner their sanity is restored.  

It may not seem like a big deal, and one might say, “Oh get over it,” but it’s the daily accretion of these events that wears a person down. How were the canyons formed? Not overnight.

I’m not a manager, have never been a manager, and hope never to be a manager, but I have enough sense to know that you don’t motivate people by belittling them. Obviously you can always do more, no matter how much you’ve achieved. But it’s all in how you frame that. You can tell people, you’ve done a great job, let’s keep going, let’s make a plan and build on this to be number one next time because we got this, OR you can tell them it’s not enough, you weren’t number one, you failed to do X, Y, and Z, and so-and-so on your team is deadwood and needs to be fired. Which approach makes you want to get out of bed and come to work?  

Well, neither approach works with me because I don’t want to go to work in general, but you get the point.

33 thoughts on “I went from 6.6% to 1.5% to 18.1% above minimum wage.

  1. What? Not 20% above subsistence level?

    We’ve been re-org’d. I’ve now got a new team manager above me, half my age, who loves fiddly, busy work. Yeah, not gonna happen, I tell him. Yeah, I think it is, he says. We’ll see. So far I’ve avoided direct confrontation. I’ll prolly have to dial it back, I’ve got one helluva reputation for strong opinions, and he knows it. He was warned, he tells me. Oh, good. A challenge, I think. Good thing he has no idea how to do my job.

    Anybody there at your work a prankster? Maybe you could become one… That might keep you sane, at least. Getting out of bed in the morning wondering about vulnerable victims.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh how I dread the day I have a younger boss. It’s inevitable. Wait him out, he wants to exercise his pitiful power.
      I do my fair share of pranking people. 🤔 Actually this wasn’t a prank, but the cosmetics manager had to go get a covid test when I got sick and they told her she was having a heart attack and she had to spend her birthday evening hooked up to an EKG. But I do pick on people for fun. I’m a second child so once I fixate on a target, that’s it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on the pay rise. I know it is long overdue and not great. But, well done for negotiating it.

    The new manager is besties with the Boss. And the new manager is not pissed off with the boss. Oh dear – are they still besties.

    What a soap opera!

    Again congrats on the pay rise, and congrats for having humour in the chaos of retail in the worst store the world has ever known. Well done.

    And great to see you write weekly.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. No I wasn’t being sarcastic! You got what I meant. I’m sorry if the identities are confusing–the store manager is the main boss, and then I have a direct manager whom I answer to, who answers to her. But I still have to deal with her all day.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I get a bit confused sometime.. lol.. old age.
            Oh you have so many managers/bosses – ahhhh. So has their bestiesness become a bit ..eeeky! are you facing that?
            Best thing is you go a rise.

            I noticed I had a typo in my initial response to this post I wanted to say “now” instead of Not (And the new manager is not pissed off with the boss. Oh dear – are they still besties.)

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Haha. Nah it’s usually a very good predictor of someone being Scottish, although rarely appears alone in the absence of other Scottish idioms (as it did with you). So yeah, just a random thing you picked up :). Only the Scottish would use it frequently, however.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol I feel the same about motivating your employees. I mean, it’s hard to motivate me unless it’s something I really want to do, so no matter what managers do (especially if it’s of the cheesy ‘let’s do this!’ variety), I find it very hard to follow their vision. If they lead by example though, then that’s a different story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve observed that one of the biggest motivators, at least at this level in the working world, is if you feel cared about. People will work very hard for a leader that they know cares about them as individuals.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Nothing is ever good enough.”

    Yeah, we all know those types. They demand and demand and give nothing in return. If the minimum wage was a measly five dollars an hour, they’d try to whittle you down to four, and if you took four, the next time round they’d go for three.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mr. Catman is new around here so he doesn’t know my legendary boss. She doesn’t give “nothing in return.” She gives agita, headaches, nausea, rage, angst, cancer…..


      1. It would be kinda funny if she found your blog then. I know another blogger (male) who wrote about his lust for preteen (14, 15 yrs old) girls and got caught out by his boss and in trouble for it. I guess we take a little risk to make a little progress, huh?

        The Mr. Catman Blog


        1. Silly Mr. Catman, I could print it out and leave a copy on her desk and she wouldn’t realize it’s about her.

          That’s a terrible thing your friend did. We all need to be careful of whom we hang out with.


  5. I always thought it was a shame that whatever the criteria used to determine fitness for management, it never includes kindness and compassion, or an ability to inspire and lead people. If you get any of these traits, it’s just a fluke. And the more “numbers driven” a company is, the worse it gets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see you, Roy. I think if you get promoted with those traits, it’s a fluke! Then again, I’ve known some good managers. So I shouldn’t besmirch them. Although once you get to the level of management that’s above the stores and beyond, good luck finding a decent human being. They are some nasty bastards.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, when you talk about retail you remind me of the “CLOUD 9” series where obviously the only thought is falling in love, fucking the boss, or having a child for him, having a good time with colleagues. Nothing more false of course. Furthermore, the boss is never competent and never rewards the right people, in reality I mean. Usually stupid people and those who don’t know how to do anything make a career. However intrigues and secrets of people who work in the stores I learned a lot. They are places of stress and acute depression. No wonder you are sick. A less competitive and more creative environment would be better for you, don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Fairy Queen, thanks for reading and commenting. No, no falling in love or wanting to fuck the boss in my store! Oh God what a thought! But yes this place just emanates stress and depression. People have even talked about how the atmosphere changes when they walk in. I’m okay right now, somehow. It’ll get worse as the season wears on towards the holiday so I’m saving the angst for later. I would be much happier in a slower, more peaceful environment. I don’t know if I can handle too much creativity because I get jealous of other people.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing and well done on getting the raise which it sounds like is the least you deserve. I wondered if I could re-post this to share on my blog, with a link and credit to you? I write and, also, share stories about anxiety and sensitivity.

    Liked by 1 person

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