In the Workplace

 Our jobs play an important place in our lives, and just like with other areas have particular concerns that we like to see addressed. Our ‘In the Workplace’ page is just the place we feel to address those issues and concerns.


 

The People Behind the Grocery Aisles.
By Ahmad Jenkins

 

I recently applied and got hired with Chamber Bay Whole Foods Market. Prior to this I knew very little about the company apart from the similarity it has to Trader Joe’s, and other organic food stores.

As I’ve said so often concerning job searching, it’s best to take out the time to learn as much as you can about a company prior to even filling out an application or turning in a resume for the position. For me Whole Foods was no exception, and in preparation for the interview I learned not only what my skills and experience could bring to the job I was going for, but also to see if I fit in with the company environment.

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My time working at Safeway as a helper clerk, helped me to grow an appreciation for the role that job plays. Apart from constantly ‘getting in the way’ of customers as we bring out product to replenish and stock  the sales floor shelves, assist customers, and keep the store looking nice and full; there’s also something few people take the time to realize as they are browsing around the grocery store.

A Helper Clerk, or stock person can be a shopper’s greatest asset along with coupons, and advertisement papers. We have an inside look at products stores have currently, or may have in the future; along with what brands of a similar product may be to the customer’s liking (especially if you have a favorite store). We love (most of us anyway) love to be asked for help, or to help a customer find something (s) on their list. As a shopper myself I take the time out to see who’s around me in that area, if there’s something specific I want or need the answer (or at least a good starting point) is my friendly neighborhood helper clerk.

I’ll give you an example, after my interview; just to test the environment I’d be working in. I window shopped until I found something that caught my interest and raised a question about finding something similar, but at a cheaper price in the store. I picked some great smelling organic soap. I soon found a great cashier who took the time out to leave his post, and help me not only find what I was looking for, but also at the price (or close to what) I was looking for.

Prior to ever having worked in a grocery store I remember an interesting and recurring dream, I through some good fortune (it always plays out as me winning the lottery- like that will ever happen) I am able to run my own grocery store, and one element that always sticks out in every dream is that it is always much more than a business that  provides food and other goods to customers, rather it’s a place that fosters a community, helps the less fortunate, and makes every visit like a second home.

I take that feeling with me as much as I can to any job, but for some reason it fits better in this one. So the next time you are out shopping, and you see a stocker / helper clerk  hard at work, or taking the initiative to help a fellow shopper take the time out to show your appreciation to them. It’s pretty hard job that gives back little for the work such a person does and sometimes it doesn’t pay all that well – for some it’s not about the pay, but the good feeling of helping others.

 


 

Dealing with the Workplace ‘Bully’.

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  I recently started working for Safeway as a Helper clerk, ‘throwing freight’ and stocking the shelves at night. I enjoy the job and the opportunity it gives me to help people who come to shop at Safeway. There’s just one little issue that makes the experience bitter sweet.

For the first couple of weeks there have been incidents where one of the employees that initially trained me has yelled and cursed at me and another employee. While I’m not an extremely sensitive person, and don’t easily succumb to anger. I also feel though (Like I’m sure all of us feel), that this type of behavior has a negative impact on employees, as well as the company itself; especially when this type of behavior is carried out in front of customers and clients.

The question is what do you do in such an instance? How do you handle being yelled and cursed at, and what if the issue (God forbid) becomes worse; such as physical threats, and non verbal forms of abuse in the workplace? My situation may not seem all that serious, I was simply yelled at, I assume for moving too slow or not doing my job in the way that person thought was correct.

Bullying: It’s no longer a problem just for High School.

Workplace bullying has been defined as repeated health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators. It now stands that workplace is receiving increasing attention due to the extensive media coverage of children bullying each other in school. It appears bullying is no longer a thing of the past for many adults who encounter it almost everyday in the workplace. Often times belittling, swearing, and intimidating employees may go overlook, or go unreported. This affects the company’s image, as well as increasing turnover rates and low employee morale which costs the company in the long run.

“It’ll get back to management!”, that was the reply of my coworker that yelled at me after he found out I complained to the other coworker that was a victim to his tantrums. To be honest, I personally don’t want it to come to that, and have yet to mention it to my supervisor or any other member of management. It’s not that the person isn’t a good worker, or is completely a bad person. They just lack professional communication skills for the workplace.

Workplace Taekwondo.

I’ve always been a small person (skinny), and at times during middle school and High school I ran into a few bullies. To even the odds, and out of personal interest I started studying Taekwondo (and other martial arts) to learn self-defense, and increase my own self esteem. Likewise, in instances where bullying in the work place occurs, victims have to develop a form of self-defense to counter act the negative impact of workplace bullying.

• Address the situation. First, whether the bully is a fellow coworker or a manager, attempt to discuss the problem in a professional way. This does not mean launching a war of words or escalating the confrontation. Employees should explain that the situation is having a negative effect and they will notify a supervisor if it continues.

• Document the situation. When people are distressed, it can be easy to inflate a situation or just forget what exactly was said. Employees should document what has occurred and who has witnessed it.

• Reference the employee handbook. If the company handbook includes an internal grievance system, harassment policy, anti-violence policy, code of conduct or ethics hotline, employees should follow the procedures outlined in these policies.

• Talk with Human Resources. Employees should be encouraged to bring the problem to HR if the attempt to talk over the situation with the bully doesn’t help.

While victims of some form of workplace bullying — just like with the bullying that may have occurred in school — may not want to cause tension with other coworkers. They should feel empowered that bullying of any form doesn’t have to be tolerated. We aren’t children, but professional adults. Regardless of where you work, or what you do having a professional demeanor, and communication skills is an important aspect of the workplace.


 

 



 



 

 

 

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