Technically I got fired four days ago, but I needed to process a few things. What have I processed so far? Pathetically little, if I’m being honest.
Just over a month ago I stepped away from a retail job I enjoyed to try something else—essentially another retail job, but working for commission. It was retail, but not quite. Looking back now, I don’t think I fully registered that it was more of a salesperson position. I was given extensive training in selling, and some training in the products as well. Overall, it felt very legitimate, and I really needed the chance of a pay raise.
Some of my coworkers were kind, some standoffish. I didn’t understand this at first, but I’d eventually get there. There was an order system in place to avoid infighting or customer-theft. So, if I was third in line, the third customer to walk in was “mine.” It was my job to sell them and if they didn’t buy anything it was my fault. Now, I’m aware that competition can be a good thing but this birthed such a weird vibe within the workplace, ya’ll… (which is probably best saved as a story for another day)
I was in “training” for about two weeks before I technically started taking customers. Quotations because training was for six weeks, including training pay—a little bump on the paycheck until your commissions started rolling in. For the most part, it went okay. I saw other coworkers frequently go to our manager for information, advice, and typically even turning over the sale to her to help them make it. So I did this as well. Looking back on my last week there—literally last week—perhaps I did this too much. I honestly don’t know.
This workplace had particular steps set up to ensure a sale was made. No, really, I was told over and over that if I followed these steps exactly I would sell every time. I didn’t. But the weird thing was that a lot of my coworkers didn’t exactly follow the steps either, even with the manager present. But they still sold? I tried so hard to observe them and figure out what they did differently…what was the secret?
And maybe the fact that I never understood proves that I wasn’t right for the job. Heck, I really don’t know. A week and a half before my last week, my district manager and my manager sat me down. I wasn’t selling as much as they thought I should be. I had an okay week and a crap week of selling so far. So this meeting came at a time when I did not feel super confident. Any request for help understanding or critique was met with: do the steps and you’ll sell. But I wasn’t, not really.
So, my district manager set a goal for me: sell 10,000 dollars in two weeks. We ended up having the follow-up meeting about four days early but whatever. I sold about 7,250 dollars each week. Each week. Taking into account the specific day we had the meeting—in the middle of the week—my numbers ended up coming to a little over 11,000. I was let go anyway.
There are several questions I’m left with, obviously.
For two weeks I was left in this weird limbo where I was never told what the average selling point was. I never really got feedback on what I was doing wrong, or what I could do better. Let me be clear, I won’t blame others for this, because at the end of the day if I suck, I suck. It just feels so weird to me that not even coworkers could tell me what an average selling amount a week was, and that I was given a goal that still wasn’t good enough.
Hell, I don’t feel like I had much control over how much I sold in those weeks anyway, but it still kind of salts the wound a bit. A thing stressed on the job was to “sell through teamwork” and to always be pulling coworkers into the sell—long story short it makes the vibe friendlier so someone’ll be more likely to buy. But feedback before my firing was that I relied too heavily on others and so most of the deals I closed were actually because of someone else. Which creates, for me, I kind of weird gaslighting thing where I can’t tell if I made sales or not? Because I thought I was doing what I was supposed to? And if I wasn’t, why wasn’t I made aware so that I could correct?
And then in the meeting the only reason my district manager asked for my numbers was because I brought them up. So I was going to be let go, regardless. And the manager acted as though she wasn’t sure of my numbers, either. So in the end I suppose they dropped the axe. But the whole thing just felt weird. Like maybe it was decided I didn’t fit?
It weighs heavier because in speaking with a few coworkers, I was frequently told not to worry. “You’re still new here!” “You’re learning!” “It takes awhile to get the hang of it!”
I can’t tell if I was getting the hang of it or not, but it sure as hell felt like I was getting better. Just slowly. But maybe I was wrong. I’ll never really know, I guess. And maybe I’m a little mad.
But mostly I suppose I didn’t expect to hit bottom again, to be looking for a job again—at the end of the day I’d like to like my job while making a living wage.
oh, and p.s. Because stuff is starting to really dawn on me now, as the moment felt so surreal when it happened. In my first meeting I was asked, “Do you want to be making money? How are surviving?” But I was in my third or fourth week of training pay—I had still had a boost on my paycheck so that I could live. I still had that support, if I was supposed to be good enough to not need it, why was it still available to me? And when I was let go, I was told I didn’t have a drive to make money. And I don’t think it was meant as an insult, yet I can not figure out why it pisses me off so much!
Thanks for reading about
my most recent embarrassment.
Will I ever not have work blunders to blog about?
Some pity or comradery in the comments
would be nice, to be honest.
Hope anyone reading this has a lovely life
and never gets fired!
♥ Becca N.