Okay, so I just started my very first job ever. So I don't know what to expect from any of this. I'm a stocker/sales associate at a super market. We're currently preparing to open so we're stocking up the new store since they relocated last week.

My first day the manager told me what to do and ask for help whenever needed. Then I will quickly finish the task and not know what to do or where to find a manager and I'm not one to bother someone while they're working, I'll feel downright rude. the first day was pretty simple since they kept an eye on me. (Somewhat) But today was odd. She just told me to finish stocking up an aisle then she clocked out. Once I finished I had no clue what to do and the other employees kept giving me stink eye. One came up to me and told me finish getting rid of the boxes in the middle or the aisle, so I tried doing that but later on she came over and looked at me like I was stupid. I was doing everything right, I was stocking according to the plannogram. And she came over and told me to stock a certain way but it didn't look correct. Whenever I try doing things on my own everyone looked at me like I'm some monster or something. I only worked on the empty aisles so it's not like I was taking anyone's work. Besides the never really gave any good explanation or anything to me. No show around the store or nothing it was very "just do this" Plus the doors don't work so I need to ask a manager to unlock them so I can go on break but due to me never finding them, I haven't been taking breaks needed. I don't even know where to go to put my stuff so I haven't been bringing anything necessary like a jacket or my wallet. I'm just so new, I'm used to having people to tell me what to do. Then when I try to find something to myself, they get irritated or suspicious over me. So I would like some advice or anything if this might relate to anyone else.

  • If I resume right : they don't give you enough work, you can't contact them once you finished, and if you do something by yourself they don't like it since you don't know how to do it properly. One thing is sure, a normal manager that assign you your works want to know that you finish in order to assign you a new one if he can there is nothing rude about that. – Walfrat Oct 4 '17 at 7:26
  • Never said there was anything rude about being assigned a task. Just the fact that people are staring at me for trying to finish up things. I'm also doing everything correctly, they just won't let me finish. It was the other employee stocking incorrectly according to the plannogram, not me. It's like they don't want me doing anything unless im told but then the manager ends up leaving so I don't have any options. So I'm just left there doing nothing for awhile like an idiot. – whisperer Oct 4 '17 at 7:34
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    No you was saying you though it wold be rude to disturb your manager to tell him you finish the task(s) he assigned to you. Since it's his rolge to assign you your tasks there is nothing rude to tell him you finish. – Walfrat Oct 4 '17 at 9:23
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    As someone who's worked in a supermarket, it sounds like you're working too hard.... or working too 'well' maybe a better way of putting it. ;) – djsmiley2k TMW Oct 4 '17 at 10:06
  • In Germany we have a proverb that goes "Ein alter Hund lernt keine neuen Tricks." ( "An old dog won't learn new tricks." ) If your co-worker has been filling racks the way she does for 30 years, she won't approve of any other way regardless of if it's better or worse. Some of the frowning may be based in that. – Fildor Oct 4 '17 at 11:19

This should be pretty straight-forward.

1) Ask your manager
2) If your manager isn't around when you're done with your tasks, ask your co-workers how you can help them out. Do what they say.

When your manager re-appears, tell him/her what you've done and then move on to whatever he/she tells you to do next.

Ask about door access (you may need a security card or a pass-code), and ask where you can store your personal items.

In short - Ask.

  • I'd add 3) if your manager does not reappear and your coworkers are out of ideas, and you can't figure out anything else to do--> go home – user32882 Jan 15 '19 at 10:50

In addition to Snarks answer.

If there is no one in authority to ask or someone to assist, in similar situations, I just grabbed a broom or cloth and tidied up. Almost everyone appreciates a cleaner workspace, those who look askance at it will look down on anything.

I still advise my workers to do the same and lead by example.

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    Cleanliness has always been highly valued in retail. Hopefully sooner or later the manager echoes this strategy for using spare time. – Todd Wilcox Oct 4 '17 at 11:43
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    Great comment... but it is not an answer – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 4 '17 at 15:01
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings Looks fine to me, feel free though to downvote, flag, petition for deletion etc,. – Kilisi Oct 4 '17 at 22:24

As you become more acclimatised to your role, you'll have a better idea of how long certain tasks will take. If your manager is an intermittent presence, ask for a small list of tasks next time you see her (at least enough to keep yourself busy for a couple of hours).

There will never be a shortage of tasks in a supermarket and at some point you will be expected to work without direct supervision. But if you're truly stuck for ideas, ask someone, anyone. "Everything is quiet in my usual department, is there anything I can help with here?" That's all it takes (I've been there myself!).

If your manager is absent while you are at work, you should find out as soon as possible who you should report to instead. If you are given unusual instructions by a different manager, there is no harm later in approaching your own at the next opportunity and say "Manager Y said I do the thing this way, rather than the way you showed me. Can I just confirm with you?" As you're the new start, this should not be a problem for your own boss.

As for not getting your breaks. It may vary depending on the country, but you will surely be legally entitled to a break at work (it may even say so on your contract). I would say if your break normally starts at 12 for instance, keep an eye out for your manager in the fifteen minutes before and after. Explain that you still can't open the doors and will need to go on your break soon. Are you the only one this is affecting just now?

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