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I have been working in a liquor store for the past several months, though my previous jobs have been office oriented so I may be going about this wrong. In general things have been going well and I like the work. Last week I got a new shift and learned a new task. I have been counting inventory on the shelves and comparing the number to what we have in the database. This is all done by hand with paper (I know some places use a bar code scanner but we just look at the product name and right down the number we count).

My boss has complained I take too long to complete the task. I have tried my hardest to go my fastest and am using the most efficient method I can think of doing. So I do not know what else I can do to go faster. Whenever someone tells me I’m taking to long to do something, I ask how long it should take. My boss said 2 hours, though I’m surprised as it has been taking me between 2-2.5 hours. Should I mention to him that by my timing it is taking about 2 hours?

I asked him if he has any tips for me to get it done faster and he explained to me what he does is start in a certain section, get it all done, then move on to the next. I asked him how that’s different from what I’m already doing and he said he doesn’t know what I’m doing. This seems to be the same method I use. He said it takes him 2 hours, but as I said it seems to take me about that long. Also since he’s been doing it for 10 years I’d expect him to be faster than someone who’s just starting. I'm definitely getting better and faster at the task but I think my boss is expecting to see a sudden jump in performance.

I don’t mean to argue with my boss, if he perceives there’s a problem then there is a problem. Since everything is done by hand, I notice it does take awhile flipping through the pages to find the product listed, if this was done with a computer or barcode scanner this wouldn’t be an issue but we don’t have this.

I noticed today when I was finished I didn’t inform my boss immediately because he was having a long conversation with a wine rep. Maybe this caused him to think I took longer than I did?

Also, I get fatigued with the task. We are supposed to get it done as fast as possible because if someone buys something before we are finished counting it, this messes up the count. I get quit hungry towards lunch time and would think I would be able to get the task done more accurately if I took a break, and then I would not have to go through things a second time to fix mistakes. (considering there are hundreds of items I think it’s inevitable to get it perfect on the first iteration so I go back and fix mistakes).

In a past job, my manager complained during a meeting I took to long to do things. I didn’t find I had enough specifics to fix the problem as he just said “you take a long time to do things” so I asked if he had anything in particular in mind. He gave one very specific example about how I took a long time to migrate someone’s email client. After the meeting I gave it some thought and realized I had to wait for the person to come back on vacation so she could enter her password and this had delayed the process. This experience greatly influenced my thinking. Should I speak up to my boss and say “you said it should take 2 hours and by my count it is. What makes you say I’m taking too long?” or “I am already doing this as fast as I can without any further advice”.

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Should I speak up to my boss and say “you said it should take 2 hours and by my count it is. What makes you say I’m taking too long?”

Yes. Tell him you are close to the time he would need to complete the task, but you do not know the catalogue of you products very well so you simply need a little more time to find the right numbers.

Also report immediately to him when you have finished the task. When he is busy, write down when you finished the task and what task you started next so he sees you didn't just sit around.

“I am already doing this as fast as I can without any further advice”.

Do not tell him this. Might stop him from giving you actual advice on another task because this sentence leaves a very bad impression.

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