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Inexperience Is Bringing Me Down

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    The other week, I finally managed to get my first paid job at a chippy which has just opened. I have practically no experience, except for when I did one trial shift in another chippy, before they said they couldn't fit me on to their rota. I made this clear enough to my employer.

    So far, I've done three 4 hour shifts - one shift a week. My employer said that I was doing alright after the first and second weeks, but that I needed to be a bit quicker when it came to serving people. Also, I had had a bit of trouble coping with two very busy occasions, so she said to me to go in on a quieter day for my third shift, so that I could try to increase my confidence.

    So my third shift was last Thursday and I thought I was doing alright. Seeing as it was quiet, she said to me to clean and wash up when nobody was in. After the first time she told me that, I did it myself afterwards. I mucked up a couple of orders, mainly when people were ordering things that nobody had ever ordered during my shifts before, like squid. But still, I think I generally did a better job than the week before.

    At the end of the shift, I was ready to ask for a few more shifts a week, but then, my employer said that she didn't think I was coping with it well enough. She explained how another girl had been in on a busy night and had managed to do everything brilliantly on her first shift, without needing any help. She said that she didn't feel like she was able to "leave me to it", which is what she could do with the other girl.

    I'm going back in on Thursday for what might be my last shift in there and she wants to see a "huge improvement". From what she had been saying all night, I'm guessing that that means not making any mistakes at all, being quick, using my initiative and asking questions as soon as I'm not sure of something. (even though that is what I did with the more uncommon orders that ended up going slightly wrong, and she had said that that had been simple enough to work out)

    When I go in, I'm going to confirm what she wants me to improve on and make sure that I try my best to do it, but I have a feeling that no matter what, she'll simply get fed up with me and just tell me that this other girl, who most probably has more experience than me, is coping with things better than I am. The thing is that I can't go to future interviews, telling potential employers that I was let go from a job in a chippy because I didn't have the experience that the other employees had, and as a result, I couldn't do the job as well. That will obviously get me absolutely nowhere in life. But then, if nobody gives me the chance to gain experience, how am I ever supposed to get any?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.
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    All you can do is try your best. Everybody has their own pace for intaking work experience. If you no longer have any further shifts after Thursday - apply for another job. Take the whole experience as a learning one. Your colleague who is more experienced than you, was in the same position as you at some point.

    Dont worry about it too much, everybody has to start from somewhere. Atleast you have some experience of a working environment compared to the millions of young people who are neither in education or employment.
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    The thing is that I can't go to future interviews, telling potential employers that I was let go from a job in a chippy because I didn't have the experience that the other employees had, and as a result, I couldn't do the job as well. That will obviously get me absolutely nowhere in life.

    Why would you tell a future employer you got let go from the chip shop? The chip shop owner is trying out 2 people and you might not be the person they choose. That's not being fired, it's not passing the practical test, which you don't need to describe at all.

    You should think about what experience you can transfer from other activities in life, sports, interests, clubs, societies etc. Focus on what you can do, and not on what you can't do, because that's the only way you will sell yourself to an employer.
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    The other week, I finally managed to get my first paid job at a chippy which has just opened. I have practically no experience, except for when I did one trial shift in another chippy, before they said they couldn't fit me on to their rota. I made this clear enough to my employer.

    So far, I've done three 4 hour shifts - one shift a week. My employer said that I was doing alright after the first and second weeks, but that I needed to be a bit quicker when it came to serving people. Also, I had had a bit of trouble coping with two very busy occasions, so she said to me to go in on a quieter day for my third shift, so that I could try to increase my confidence.

    So my third shift was last Thursday and I thought I was doing alright. Seeing as it was quiet, she said to me to clean and wash up when nobody was in. After the first time she told me that, I did it myself afterwards. I mucked up a couple of orders, mainly when people were ordering things that nobody had ever ordered during my shifts before, like squid. But still, I think I generally did a better job than the week before.

    At the end of the shift, I was ready to ask for a few more shifts a week, but then, my employer said that she didn't think I was coping with it well enough. She explained how another girl had been in on a busy night and had managed to do everything brilliantly on her first shift, without needing any help. She said that she didn't feel like she was able to "leave me to it", which is what she could do with the other girl.

    I'm going back in on Thursday for what might be my last shift in there and she wants to see a "huge improvement". From what she had been saying all night, I'm guessing that that means not making any mistakes at all, being quick, using my initiative and asking questions as soon as I'm not sure of something. (even though that is what I did with the more uncommon orders that ended up going slightly wrong, and she had said that that had been simple enough to work out)

    When I go in, I'm going to confirm what she wants me to improve on and make sure that I try my best to do it, but I have a feeling that no matter what, she'll simply get fed up with me and just tell me that this other girl, who most probably has more experience than me, is coping with things better than I am. The thing is that I can't go to future interviews, telling potential employers that I was let go from a job in a chippy because I didn't have the experience that the other employees had, and as a result, I couldn't do the job as well. That will obviously get me absolutely nowhere in life. But then, if nobody gives me the chance to gain experience, how am I ever supposed to get any?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.
    Hey, its a shame this has happened.

    I had exactly the same experience once when I had a job working as an early morning cleaner for a local company who had the contract to clean supermarkets. I tried my best but really I was never fast enough for the supervisor and the more I knew that the worse it got really. She hated me in the end... and I felt like an idiot. It wasn't even my first job but it was the first job I failed at. It happens. It doesn't mean you won't be brilliant at the next one, though I know how hard it is to get jobs and how depressing it is to be looking for another one already.

    There's a couple of things to do. First try to leave on good terms if it comes to that at the next shift. She hasn't said she didn't think you were trying or anything. Hopefully she knows you really did put your best effort in. However she's just impatient and has found someone for whom chip shops are just the thing. Its easier for her to go with that. She might actually even know this girl or her family... that happens too sometimes though she won't admit it if something like this is true. However forgetting all that. If she lets you go you should ask if she would be willing to write you a reference in future. Have a word with her and say you're really sorry you didn't pick it up as fast as needed but you hope she could see you were a good worker and time keeper and would she be willing to write you a reference in future. Tell her you're going to try for slightly different work where its not so important to be so quick.

    If she is nice she will agree and if she isn't a nice person (like my b***h of a superviser) and you get the idea she might not give you a good reference you'll know not to put her name down in future.
    As the person above says you could even just forget this whole bit.

    Next thing is to realise that just because a fast serving food environment didn't work out it doesn't mean the next thing won't. I actually managed to get out of cleaning and into shop work which I really enjoyed because although I had to work hard and keep on top of things I also got to talk more to customers and help them choose things and the place was slower. I was great at it.

    Don't think you're not gaining some experience too. I know its been a bad one this time but you'd be surprised how much you probably have picked up that will help you with the next thing... dealing with the funny boss... that's a good one to have got under your belt. It happens to everyone at least once. To be honest the way you have described how you approached all this and are thinking what to ask her when you go in etc and tried to work out what wasn't working all suggests to me that you're a great worker and someone is going to be very happy to discover that in future.

    How bad is it for work around you and what are you looking for? Part time, full time? What would be your ideal thing if you could wave a magic wand?

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice!

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    You should think about what experience you can transfer from other activities in life, sports, interests, clubs, societies etc. Focus on what you can do, and not on what you can't do, because that's the only way you will sell yourself to an employer.
    Hmm... I play piano, go to dancing classes and generally love music...

    I was thinking about teaching very easy piano, up until a certain point, but I'm not sure if I could explain it all correctly, especially when it comes to complete beginners. I already find that when I'm listening to my sister playing stuff, (she's 9) I say things like, "That note is an F, not an E", or, "You're playing the wrong notes because your hand should be here, not there". I don't know what she thinks, but they sound like pretty crap explanations to me. Also, I have no idea whether you need some sort of official qualification to teach it at the early grades or not, as I know that you don't need any official qualifications to tutor people in school subjects. (apart from a good grade in the chosen subject)

    As for dancing, some of the girls at my dancing do teach the very young ones, but at their age, (around 2-5 years) it's more about getting them to actually move about, rather than getting exact steps and things. It would probably be harder to get a little dance class arranged as well.

    (Original post by catoswyn)
    First try to leave on good terms if it comes to that at the next shift. She hasn't said she didn't think you were trying or anything. Hopefully she knows you really did put your best effort in. However she's just impatient and has found someone for whom chip shops are just the thing. Its easier for her to go with that.
    Yeah, she certainly doesn't seem like the type of person who can put up with having to train someone like me for too long, if at all. She said to me that she didn't really know what else she could do to help me, other than telling me to be confident.

    If she lets you go you should ask if she would be willing to write you a reference in future. Have a word with her and say you're really sorry you didn't pick it up as fast as needed but you hope she could see you were a good worker and time keeper and would she be willing to write you a reference in future. Tell her you're going to try for slightly different work where its not so important to be so quick.
    That's a good idea, although to be honest, I can't think of anywhere where I wouldn't have to be quick. It seems like you have to be quick at just about everything these days, especially when it comes to dealing with customers.

    To be honest the way you have described how you approached all this and are thinking what to ask her when you go in etc and tried to work out what wasn't working all suggests to me that you're a great worker and someone is going to be very happy to discover that in future.
    Thanks, I hope so!

    How bad is it for work around you and what are you looking for? Part time, full time? What would be your ideal thing if you could wave a magic wand?
    I'm at college for 2 and a half days a week, so just a part time job. I don't even spend an awful lot, so I'm needing a job for the experience more than for the money. Anything that gives me some sort of useful skill or some good experience is fine. As I mentioned earlier on, I may have a couple of opportunities to teach children easy piano or easy dancing, but it would just be a case of how easy it would be to sort out.

    I live in a pretty quiet area of Glasgow, but not close enough to the city centre, (about 20 minutes away) so I only really have my area and the surrounding areas. They're not tiny, but there are no big shopping centres or anything like that nearby.
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    Thanks to everyone for the advice!



    Hmm... I play piano, go to dancing classes and generally love music...

    I was thinking about teaching very easy piano, up until a certain point, but I'm not sure if I could explain it all correctly, especially when it comes to complete beginners. I already find that when I'm listening to my sister playing stuff, (she's 9) I say things like, "That note is an F, not an E", or, "You're playing the wrong notes because your hand should be here, not there". I don't know what she thinks, but they sound like pretty crap explanations to me. Also, I have no idea whether you need some sort of official qualification to teach it at the early grades or not, as I know that you don't need any official qualifications to tutor people in school subjects. (apart from a good grade in the chosen subject)

    As for dancing, some of the girls at my dancing do teach the very young ones, but at their age, (around 2-5 years) it's more about getting them to actually move about, rather than getting exact steps and things. It would probably be harder to get a little dance class arranged as well.

    That's not what I mean. You make a list of 4-6 skills the employer will be looking for and then you work out how you can prove you have those skills, using the experience you have of doing other things in life. So an employer might want to see initiative, which you don't have in a work context, but you draw on your YE experience, or DofE examples etc. They might want to see hard work, which you might be able to demonstrate from your weekends on a car boot stall or whatever.
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    Oh, I see, I get it now. Thanks.
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    It's an experience for sure. Firstly, learning how to take criticism. Secondly, how to respond to a challenge. Instead of resigning to the fact you may be fired, you should be determined to prove her wrong. It's nerves and perhaps a slight lack of confidence which is slowing you down, maybe you don't naturally work well under pressure. But this can be learnt and Thursday or whenever you're next in is the perfect opportunity to practice. This is your chance to gain experience so don't give up.

    As a tip, try not to ask too many questions or employers will think you don't take enough initiative and will not be confident 'leaving you to it'. Respond to challenges positively or you will struggle later on.
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    (Original post by Nomes89)
    It's an experience for sure. Firstly, learning how to take criticism. Secondly, how to respond to a challenge. Instead of resigning to the fact you may be fired, you should be determined to prove her wrong. It's nerves and perhaps a slight lack of confidence which is slowing you down, maybe you don't naturally work well under pressure. But this can be learnt and Thursday or whenever you're next in is the perfect opportunity to practice. This is your chance to gain experience so don't give up.

    As a tip, try not to ask too many questions or employers will think you don't take enough initiative and will not be confident 'leaving you to it'. Respond to challenges positively or you will struggle later on.
    My problem is definitely a lack of confidence - it's the same with college. I'm just scared to do things in case I'm doing them wrong.

    Would you say it's better to try to find something out by myself and get it wrong at first, or ask about it and get it right first time? She has said that I need to make no mistakes, but that I need to ask questions if I'm not sure...
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    Working with food is stressful! My friend worked in a chippy and I'm in McDonalds it's all the same. It's easier working in a clothes shop or convenience store
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    My problem is definitely a lack of confidence - it's the same with college. I'm just scared to do things in case I'm doing them wrong.

    Would you say it's better to try to find something out by myself and get it wrong at first, or ask about it and get it right first time? She has said that I need to make no mistakes, but that I need to ask questions if I'm not sure...
    She seems to be telling you two different things - to ask questions if you're not sure then saying things like 'you could've worked that out yourself'. Another life lesson, people often time don't mean what they say. From her attitude as you've described, she gets irritated/loses patience when you seek guidance which is her failing as manager - she should really be training you but then again it is a chip shop. Try to figure it out, even if you're afraid you may get it wrong. If she tries to have a go for getting something wrong then remind her of what she told you an explain you were using your own initiative. Can I ask what kind of things you're unsure about on the job?
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    Oh, I see, I get it now. Thanks.
    Re: being quick. There IS a real difference between working in time limited work like food and anything else. Being quick is really relative between industries. You could be considered Speedy Gonzalas in a non-food environment!

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    (Original post by Nomes89)
    She seems to be telling you two different things - to ask questions if you're not sure then saying things like 'you could've worked that out yourself'. Another life lesson, people often time don't mean what they say. From her attitude as you've described, she gets irritated/loses patience when you seek guidance which is her failing as manager - she should really be training you but then again it is a chip shop. Try to figure it out, even if you're afraid you may get it wrong. If she tries to have a go for getting something wrong then remind her of what she told you an explain you were using your own initiative. Can I ask what kind of things you're unsure about on the job?
    It's fine when people order common things, like a simple fish supper or bag of chips, as I've served enough of those things now. However, when they order things like salad, skewers or squid, I don't know where the correct containers are, and up until last week, I didn't know how to put it all through the till. I don't eat stuff like that, either, so although it may seem like common sense, I have never actually seen how stuff like that gets served because when I go to chip shops, I stick to getting either a sausage, scampi or fish with chips.

    (Original post by catoswyn)
    Re: being quick. There IS a real difference between working in time limited work like food and anything else. Being quick is really relative between industries. You could be considered Speedy Gonzalas in a non-food environment!
    (Original post by AJ Smiley)
    Working with food is stressful! My friend worked in a chippy and I'm in McDonalds it's all the same. It's easier working in a clothes shop or convenience store
    Is it really? Is that because you can only keep the food sitting around for a certain amount of time or something?
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    It's fine when people order common things, like a simple fish supper or bag of chips, as I've served enough of those things now. However, when they order things like salad, skewers or squid, I don't know where the correct containers are, and up until last week, I didn't know how to put it all through the till. I don't eat stuff like that, either, so although it may seem like common sense, I have never actually seen how stuff like that gets served because when I go to chip shops, I stick to getting either a sausage, scampi or fish with chips.





    Is it really? Is that because you can only keep the food sitting around for a certain amount of time or something?
    Yes precisely and particularly hot food. Also the whole take away industry relies for profit on processing through as many people as possible in a short a time as possible.It isn't just hot food but that is probably THE most pressured for time job going.

    There are people in factories who get paid per job they do and they work very fast. People on tills at the big supermarkets can also be under time pressure because they are expected to get through a certain number of people in a certain time and try to never have a big queue. This is because the supermarket gets a bad name if there are big queues and also because they've worked out how much profit they need to make and how many people they need to serve every day to make that profit. However a clothes shop for instance, though there are things that have to be done, is not so pressured for time. There is even time to talk to and advise customers. Smaller shops are usually less pressured altogether etc.

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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    It's fine when people order common things, like a simple fish supper or bag of chips, as I've served enough of those things now. However, when they order things like salad, skewers or squid, I don't know where the correct containers are, and up until last week, I didn't know how to put it all through the till. I don't eat stuff like that, either, so although it may seem like common sense, I have never actually seen how stuff like that gets served because when I go to chip shops, I stick to getting either a sausage, scampi or fish with chips.
    Maybe try going in a bit early and familiarise yourself with where everything is and play about on the till to find out where stuff is. I remember when I started working at a pub. Was shown the bar then basically told to start pulling pints with zero training. It's not a nice feeling not to know what you're doing but at least pretend you do
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    (Original post by Christina1993)
    It's fine when people order common things, like a simple fish supper or bag of chips, as I've served enough of those things now. However, when they order things like salad, skewers or squid, I don't know where the correct containers are, and up until last week, I didn't know how to put it all through the till. I don't eat stuff like that, either, so although it may seem like common sense, I have never actually seen how stuff like that gets served because when I go to chip shops, I stick to getting either a sausage, scampi or fish with chips.





    Is it really? Is that because you can only keep the food sitting around for a certain amount of time or something?

    Yeah and people are fussy, and they don't like to wait long for it otherwise they'd have cooked it! Everyone goes through stuff like struggling with those random orders that nobody's even heard of, it's part of the job and you'll get used to it.

    Working in a clothes shop is easier as it's not like you can prep it wrong, or put the wrong sauce on or let it get cold, a jumper's a jumper. Simple.

    Smile and keep your chin up It gets easier over time. Relax. :cool:
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    Just so that you all know what happened last night, she said that although I wasn't brilliant, I was improving, and that I had a chance of being ready to do a weekend night after a bit more practice. So I'm going to do a couple more Thursday nights and see how they go.

    She agreed that I coped with the busiest moment of the night better than I would have done a couple of weeks ago, even though she said that it gets a lot busier than that. (there were about 4 orders in at once) Also, she said that I was more assertive.

    And this was all while it was even hotter than usual because of the sun, so I will hopefully do an even better job next week, especially with college being off for Easter as well.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice and support!

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