The phone call we have all been waiting extremely anxiously for arrived just after midday friday: the company have secured investment and so our jobs are safe. For now.
Mind you, that phone call was preceeded by another to inform us they could not afford to pay the four weekly staff more than a certain percentage of their wages this week! And that after assurances from our boss monday that this would most definitely not be a problem.
I’m not sure I can articulate accurately how I feel but let’s try.
The lies that have been fed us this year are astounding. They have rolled off the tongues of senior management like honey. Do they think that we haven’t noticed? That’s of course when they have actually said something. Most of the time we have been left in the dark with no true contact from our board of directors.
This lack of leadership leaves you wondering how on earth they got the job in the first place. Why don’t executives have to pass compulsory leadership training before stepping over the threshold of the boardroom?
And how do they think we feel being the constant bearers of bad news to our staff? It does not make for a happy working environment I can tell you. Alongside all this, all stores have been having to condense their shops down to smaller and smaller sales areas, in the vain hope that customers don’t notice the complete lack of stock.
It is utterly demoralising to arrive at work every morning, to see a great gaping space on the shop floor where fixtures use to be bulging with clothing and shelves packed high with homewares.
If I had had a £1 for every customer that asked “you aren’t closing are you?” in the last two weeks, I could have taken the month off work and enjoyed the free time, without all the stress.
Even that has been demoralising because people are essentially very selfish: “oh no, where will I shop?” has been the common cry. No thought to gosh what are you lovely people going to do for work if you lose your jobs.
Two of my staff have already left, a third is on her way and I strongly expect a fourth to follow fairly soon. That leaves me only 3 staff plus me to run the shop. Not that there is much to do at the moment for sure, except spread the already sparse goods out a little further so it doesn’t look so empty.
One might think that I would receive the news of this investment with excitement. I don’t. In my humble opinion this is merely a sticking plaster. I strongly suspect that in January we will reach groundhog day, as the income from brick and mortar retail dries up in the first quarter of the year. It will be back to robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I’ve never worked for a company like this. In the few short months I have been manager I’ve had to deal with High Court Enforcement Officers begin to list my stock as the rent hadn’t been paid (again), tell my staff repeatedly that they won’t be paid in full or on time, not be paid in full or on time myself more than anyone should be, listen to the misinformation from HO on a weekly basis including categorical denials of something that was true.
To say they treat their staff appallingly is an understatement.
So tomorrow I shall be giving my CV a workout and a polish. At least this investment means I don’t have to rush around looking for any job to pay the bills, I can take my time to find one where we are mutually suited.