Have you ever worked in a place where the other employees didn’t really pull their weight? Probably. Who hasn’t? It’s extremely frustrating, to say the least. I’m definitely not saying that everyone I work with does this, or that the person who does is like that all the time, because that’s not true. All of us are guilty of it sometimes (unless you’re perfect, and in that case, congratulations), but there are always those who do it more than others. In my workplace, there’s a few. In retail, rather than, say, an office environment, this behavior is especially irritating because, usually, retail workers are part of a team. This team works together a lot more closely and depends on each other more than in a place where everyone has a desk and a task and doesn’t work with customers. If everyone is a team player, the whole team is happy, which makes customers happy, which makes our bank accounts happy. Much happy. So teamwork. Wow.

But when someone is not a team player, bad things happen. Obviously. Suppose there is enough coverage for one person to be in each section of the apparel department, with everyone helping each other with recovery and customer assistance as needed. I’m in Men’s and in charge of fitting rooms. Coworker B is in charge of Women’s and is covering fitting rooms during my hour-long lunch break. If said coworker decides to let people into rooms and then go back to “recovery” (i.e. standing around talking), ignoring the growing pile of clothes on the fitting room rack, that is not being a team player. Customers feel like they are in a dirty, disorganized, ill-staffed store when the rack where they are supposed to hang their unwanted items is overflowing with things and there is no employee there working on it. And then I come back from my lunch and have to spend extra time putting away everything my coworker was supposed to take care of while I was gone (that’s kind of what covering means. I mean, who else was going to do it?), which cuts into my time recovering Men’s.

And then the store has been closed for 15 minutes and we want to leave in another 15, but I am still finishing making Men’s look perfect because I spent so much time on fitting room go-backs AND recovering parts of Women’s that had been overlooked my entire shift, because SOMEONE had to do it. I pride myself on being an extremely hard worker, if I’m being paid to do something. I mean, that just makes sense to me. Common sense! If you do your job well, you have a better chance of keeping it for as long as you need it. If you don’t do a job well when you are perfectly capable of working hard, then I have to assume you don’t need this job very badly. Work ethic means a great deal to me. You are being paid to provide a service to the customer and the company. Do your job and everyone will be happy, including you. Don’t do your job, and, well, I’ll see you later, I guess.


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