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    Hello all,

    Please keep as anonymous, it's not exactly a private matter but I'd rather remain incognito. Also, forgive the massiveness. Have spoilered it to reduce page space should you have landed here and decide not to bother - and given the length of it, I don't blame you.

    Chunk o'text ahoi!

    Well... let me begin. I have recently begun to wonder whether I am intelligent. Not because I can't do maths, or English, or anything that is normally regarded as indicating intelligence.

    I work in a small shop selling wine and cigars. There's only this other girl, Deborah, and John, the manager. I've worked there for two months now, and whilst in general I get on fine, I make fundamentally stupid mistakes that make me question why I went to university.

    The first was not taking any other form of ID when taking a swipe-card credit card (not a PIN card) for a payment. All good and well, you might think, but I didn't check the signature, and I didn't note down any other form of ID should the payment bounce. The payment was for £199, a very expensive whisky. It didn't turn out too bad because it ended up checking in anyway; but John the manager had a go at me, understandably because it appeared I had left common sense behind and left us as a company at the mercy of one person's bank account, for a large sum of money.

    Right. The second fundamentally massive mistake I made was that I let someone who said they had a chambers account (I work near the chambers in London) walk out with £10 quid's worth of guiness today. No biggie, you might think. Thing is, only certain people from select chambers can take things on account, and even then they have to sign for it. I checked that the chambers had an account (they did), but I cannot justify how I let him walk out of the shop with the alcohol without signing for it; I had a mindblank, and got *******ed for it, which is fair enough indeed.

    Those are all quite major episodes. Another major episode was when I argued back against John, who essentially was telling me that I had not done two things he had asked me to do the day before (take four bottles of wine from certain boxes in preperation for the next day's delivery). He was blaming me for not remembering to do this. I told him, quite truthfully, that I had no recollection of him having told me this, and he responded that I was calling him a liar. It didn't help that I, being the self-depreciating person that I am, was trying to include a version of events where I had taken the four bottles not from the box, but from the shelf (to simplify it), and work in throughout the whole argument that I had remembered to do what he had asked of me - it sounds bizarre, but I was wondering whether I truly *had* forgotton something he had told me, and was trying to make up for it.

    Now, I pride myself on my memory - it rarely fails me. Yet John, my manager, often accuses me of a bad memory, and has conceded that whilst it might not be that, it might be because I don't listen, which given the amount of times my memory has 'failed' me, might be the case. He got very angry, called me wilful, and threatened to sack me - in front of my colleague Deborah, who I'll come to in a second - which is embarassing and humilating enough as it is, so I immediately went into "concede" mode and tried to placate him, at which I succeeded by biting the bullet, as I wanted to keep my job and quite enjoy working there.

    My boss is very much of the opinion that, as a manager, he holds authoritarian sway and that I'm not paid to take responsibility or indeed disagree with him. He also accuses me of being disrespectful, especially as I occasionally work at crosswords and soduko from the paper when I'm listening to him - not because I'm disrespecting him, but because I can multitask (I'm a guy btw), but I haven't put this forward to him because he'd just launch into another tirade against me. You, the reader, might think that he has a point, and he does, but occasionally he goes on and on and ON (and at this point I have to mention that he is a closet racist and has rather questionable views, which I have learned not to argue back against because I know he'll just have a go at me for being inflaming, and I can't be arsed arguing against someone as entrenched as he is in his views, as he's 68 years old), and because he goes on I tried to give him a hint that I've had enough of him.

    Deborah, might I add, is wonderful and superb and has taken to the job like a duck to water since starting one month ago, a month after me. It also hasn't helped that I have developed an infatuation for her, and want to do well in front of her, but she is unfortunately in a relationship and whilst I know I can't do anything about it - and it's not the biggest problem I have - it does make me quite sad. It has not of yet impaired my ability to work, however.

    All of these major episodes go hand in hand with some early teething problems I had with the job, such as not being able to find certain wines and taking a while to get to know the tobacco stand (when someone asks you for an obscure tobacco and you don't know where it is, John got very impatient as you went looking for it). He was milder towards me because I was studying for exams at that time too and realised I was under quite some pressure. John, as a person, has admitted to me that he is a very impatient person who likes people to do things as he likes them, but that still doesn't excuse my mistakes. One thing I do have to have a moan about though - if the rest isn't moany enough - I once gave a person a pound too much in change, realising as they walked out of the door that I had done so. I proceeded, being a person who likes to rectify his mistakes immediately and without troubling others, put a pound from my own pocket into the till to balance it out, as it was my mistake and I should pay for it. I like to think that anybody else might have done the same. I got a massive *******ing for this ("should have checked the change you ****ing idiot!" etc) , and it was utterly unfair.

    I have finished my degree exams now, and am still making minor mistakes in the shop. John has concluded that the reason I make these massive and to a lesser extent minor mistakes (let people out without signing for it, taking signatures on good faith, forgetting the difference between Camel and Camel Light etc) is because I am a) inexperienced and b) due to my great goodwill in other people, am naive and lack common sense. I can see his point of view here, and to be honest, I have no defence. My ineptitude in the retail sector is unexcuseable, and I have begun wondering if I am not quite as clever as I think I am. It really gets to me, as I consider myself endowed with common sense and can utilize my intelligence in the "real world", as it were, but evidently I cannot. I have done some analysis and come to the conclusion that I make these mistakes because I have a fundamental belief in the goodness and honour of other people - which is laudable anywhere else but not good in the money-making wine trade. I cannot get into my head, to paraphrase Scrub's Dr Cox, that people are "******* filled *******s with a ******* covered coating".

    I might mention that I do the vast majority of my job to good standards. I do heavy deliveries, can work the till, am pleasant to customers (a lot more than John, who is often downright rude to them, but he excuses this in the name of knowing which costumers are wasting his time and which are serious, through experience - which I don't, as I am of the opinion that one needs to be polite to the customer at all times, but he's the manager and I'm the worker bee, so not much I can do about that).

    I apologise for the length of this, but to be clichéd, I needed to get it off my chest, and also to ask whether anyone else has ever been in a position like this. I don't feel as though I merit my AAAA A-level grades and potential 2.1 degree, and that I'm a failure when it comes to working in a job. Even working a minimum-wage retail job is apparently proving too much for me - not mentally, it's a rote job with many boring moments - and I fear that I'll be similarly inept if/when I ever land a proper graduate job. John knows that I'm intelligent - he's noted this whenever I playfully debate with Deborah about certain topics, as I enjoy playing devil's advocate; and my vocabulary spans further than both theirs do - which is less a reflection on their knowledge and more on mine (to be utterly frank). He's also blamed my inepitude on the fact that I read whilst sitting waiting for customers - currently "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene, which explains quantum physics, which might seem a tad pretentious but is something that massively interests me, especially as it's not my degree field - and the fact that I sink too deep into reading. I also read The Times in the morning, and I occasionally think that the reason John *******s me so much is, as a Sun reader and self-admitted non-reader, he needs to assert his authority in the workplace, and as he cannot do so intellectually he does so through his experience, but I know that this smacks of my own excuses and doesn't hold much weight


    I might be making mistakes because I'm bored, or stupid, or simply inept, and given that I don't think it's the first two, it must be the latter. Please... anybody been in a similar boat?
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    Think you just need to concentrate a bit more, once you get a proper job I'm sure you'll do find
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    To be honest, i don't think many people will read that. I read the 1st line of the spoiler thing, scrolled down and lost the will to live somewhere in between

    Can you not shorten it down?
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    In all honesty, I think your issues are due to a severe lack of confidence. Dude, look at your achievements! Why do you even consider taking the opinions your boss seriously? Judging from the way you write you are literally wasting your potential in a wine shop.
    This job is way too boring and undemanding for you, that's why you have the occasional slip. Also, you probably do not really give a damn about it anyway.
    And what the issue with "Debora" concerns: get over it. Probably you see ten to twenty women a day that not only look better than her but also have a great personality.
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    Like me, you just seem to lack a bit of common sense

    There is different kinds of intelligence, it seems like you are academically intelligent
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    (Original post by Wendy*)
    To be honest, i don't think many people will read that. I read the 1st line of the spoiler thing, scrolled down and lost the will to live somewhere in between

    Can you not shorten it down?
    Short version: questioning my intelligence, I know I'm not,; making basic mistakes in retail trade, threatened with being fired, spoke back to boss, made more basic mistakes, wondering if I'm up to the task. That's the short version.

    To the others: I do suffer from confidence issues sometimes, but isn't that understandable when you have the nation's top barristers and solictors coming in to buy wine off you every day, and a very overbearing boss, not to mention an infatuation with the girl you work with?
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    Hmm I can't read the spoiler...its just a white rectangle, no "spoiler" box
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    It's expected that staff will make mistakes from time to time. Your boss sounds like a ****, everybody makes errors at work, I certainly do.

    Don't question yourself too much,
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    Ooooooh.
    Retail requires no intelligence :¬/ That's why a lot of people go straight from school with no GSCE's straight into retail jobs (I'm not at all saying most people in retail are stupid however)
    it might just not be your thing, maybe you're a computer kinda person?
    or maybe you keep forgetting because your manager is a di*khead and keeps putting too much pressure on you. I'd (and a hell of a lot of people) give anything for your kinda grades so don't for a moment think you're stupid
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    It sounds as if you're not stupid at all, but instead rather too intelligent for this job. I know it's an interim measure or whatever, but assuming it's not really what you want to do with your life, maybe you're just under-stimulated. And there's a difference between intelligence and common sense!

    By the way, it's "******* coated *******s with ******* filling". And it was Dr. Kelso, not Cox. I'm not sad. Nooo. :ninja:
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    (Original post by Wendy*)
    Ooooooh.
    Retail requires no intelligence :¬/ That's why a lot of people go straight from school with no GSCE's straight into retail jobs (I'm not at all saying most people in retail are stupid however)
    it might just not be your thing, maybe you're a computer kinda person?
    or maybe you keep forgetting because your manager is a di*khead and keeps putting too much pressure on you. I'd (and a hell of a lot of people) give anything for your kinda grades so don't for a moment think you're stupid
    Retail does require a type of intelligence, maybe not the sort that exams give you. But still an intelligence.
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    (Original post by Ed.)
    Retail does require a type of intelligence, maybe not the sort that exams give you. But still an intelligence.
    I personally don't think so, you just have to follow instructions as far as i can see.
    But i don't work in retail, so what would i know really
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    My boss is very much of the opinion that, as a manager, he holds authoritarian sway and that I'm not paid to take responsibility or indeed disagree with him. He also accuses me of being disrespectful, especially as I occasionally work at crosswords and soduko from the paper when I'm listening to him - not because I'm disrespecting him, but because I can multitask (I'm a guy btw), but I haven't put this forward to him because he'd just launch into another tirade against me. You, the reader, might think that he has a point, and he does, but occasionally he goes on and on and ON (and at this point I have to mention that he is a closet racist and has rather questionable views, which I have learned not to argue back against because I know he'll just have a go at me for being inflaming, and I can't be arsed arguing against someone as entrenched as he is in his views, as he's 68 years old), and because he goes on I tried to give him a hint that I've had enough of him.
    Sorry, but surely that is disrespectful (I certainly would find it so).

    And having read through your whole post I think that that is part of the reason why you are making mistakes, through boredom and perhaps subconsciously (or otherwise) thinking that the job is somehow beneath you.
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    Thanks for the answers so far, I wasn't expecting so many people to survive being critted by a wall of text.

    Of course it's a lot more complicated that I make it out to be, so I won't bore you even more than I already have. I do regard it very much as an interim job, and I don't want to be doing it for the rest of my life. I am going to be studying Law come September, hopefully (I've already had a comment from John about "if I'm going to study law I'm going to have to concentrate a damn sight more than you are doing!").

    To Wendy - I never meant to imply that working in retail means you're stupid. As Yours Truly demonstrates above, even so-called intelligent people fail at it.

    Might I also point out that I personally have a very dim view of A-levels too. I worked hard for them but know that they're not a be-all measure of intelligence - if that really was the case, I'd tell my boss to pipe down; hence why I'm questioning it.

    Thanks for the replies people.
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    Yes. You are stupid.
    Stupid to think anyone was going to read all of that. You have too much time on your hands.
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    (Original post by Wendy*)
    I personally don't think so, you just have to follow instructions as far as i can see.
    But i don't work in retail, so what would i know really
    No, retail is not simply about following a process. Would a customer like to be served by a robot ? Of course not.

    At least in semi-reputable places customer service and product knowledge is more important than following till processes or instructions on shelf stacking. Plus what happens when things go wrong, and an ability to think on ones feet is vital. I may have a warped version of retail, I like my job, but then I have other responsibilities during the day..
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    Sorry, but surely that is disrespectful (I certainly would find it so).

    And having read through your whole post I think that that is part of the reason why you are making mistakes, through boredom and perhaps subconsciously (or otherwise) thinking that the job is somehow beneath you.
    Yes, I thought as much, and it is one of my problems. I have bigger plans than working in a small wine shop all my life, so I guess I am guilty of paying attention to other things rather than the present. How do you get rid of a manager who has nothing better to do for an hour than talk at you though...?

    However, I plead guilty to all charges. I am planning as of next week to do an experiment: to actually concentrate, and prove John wrong, even if it means greater boredom. If I fail at this, I guess I'm just a fool, and to be honest, I don't want to be a fool.
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    (Original post by beautifullybroken)
    Yes. You are stupid.
    Stupid to think anyone was going to read all of that. You have too much time on your hands.
    Many people write whole books on fictional people's problems, and others read whole books about said fictional people's problems.

    Why not read a few paragraphs of a non-fictional person's problems, and give them advice? This is TSR's H&R, a long post is as much asking for advice as it is a chance to get things off your chest...
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    You need a job with more responsiblilty.

    I bet if you have more pressure, more urgency, your skills will be put to use properly and you'll stop making these silly mistakes.
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    Don't worry so much! I've recently started a job in retail and I'm still making little mistakes, we have to make milkshakes and stuff and mine sometimes look a bit naff and i feel bad giving them out so i have to do them again :P You certainly don't sound stupid, just like you're just finding your feet. Retail can be boring and repetitive and maybe you do lose concentration every now and again and that's why you make these little mistakes? The best way you can get his respect (if you don't feel you have it) is to be really on the ball and do better, maybe even try and go out of your way to use your initiative and do things that aren't asked of you if possible to show him you are up to the task.
 
 
 
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