Friday, February 9, 2007

Blood From A Turnip

It seems that every year my company goes through some kind of disruptive realignment. This year has proven to be no exception.

This particular realignment didn't result in any job loss or job creation, so far as has been reported. It did, however, involve the shuffling around of many District areas that resulted in the breaking up of many multi-store teams that have worked well together for years. Supposedly for operational and geographic considerations, many of the Indiana locations of my company are now in a District with several stores in Ohio rather than Chicago. This means that many of us also have new leaders as well as new team mates.

In addition, I'm growing increasingly concerned that my company might be making itself ripe for acquisition. Many cost-cutting measures that have been implemented (and I've mentioned here before) are just the type of measures a company implements when an acquisition is on the horizon. That, coupled with a new frequency of store visits from "shareholders" (none in my market yet) is potential cause for concern.

I said all of that to say this: you can't get blood from a turnip. Payroll has been greatly reduced for the month of February (130 hours less for the month in my location), causing me to cut my full time employees down to the bare minimum required to remain benefits-eligible as well as eliminate two part timers from the schedule completely.

I've been watching the payroll closely all week, and we were doing pretty well. We were actually underspent for the week by six hours going into yesterday. But after a terribly light sales day (compared to last year) we are now overspent by 13 hours. And my new District Manager, predictably, is calling for me to cut more hours.

I have nowhere else to cut! If I cut any more full time employees, I'm in danger of making them eligible for partial unemployment benefits and ineligible for many of their other benefits. If I cut a part time person I'll save hours, but be understaffed for the heavier weekend selling period.

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. There's not much I can do but sit back and prepare for the inevitable discussion that will follow after overspending payroll this week.

But it felt good to get that off my chest.

By the way, is anybody out there looking for an experienced Retail Manager? I'd just like to keep my options open.


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