my new store manager is mismanaging our schedule

A reader writes:

I work in fast food, and I’ve worked at this branch for nearly a year and a half, totalling five years. We have a new manager who’s been here since September/October and she’s in charge of the schedule for the week which has to be done on a weekly basis. Recently (within the last 2 months) the schedule has been done late, and when I say late, I mean its posted online on a Sunday sometime in the evening. I don’t work weekends, only Monday to Friday, with some of my requests for days off being ignored. We have a book to request days off, and it isn’t being used by this new manager.

This is becoming an inconvenience, stressful and makes me not want to turn up to work, especially on Mondays because it’s so last minute. My absent list will be long due to not working shifts I should not have been scheduled for. I want to leave because instead of having the knowledge of what days I’m working before I relax on my weekend, I’m too busy worrying about what time I have to get up on Monday to get to work and Sunday becomes the weekly “I don’t want to go work tomorrow.”

More recently, the manager went on holiday for a week and did not delegate her task of the schedule to the most senior manager. Who asked about the schedule during the week, to which the manager replied that she’d do it on Saturday. But why when there’s someone who’s quite capable?

I know that publishing the schedule can sometimes be last-minute if things get hectic, but it’s been weeks now with no improvement. Should I tackle my manager on her lack of consideration and failure to notice requests? And if so what’s the best way to go about it?

Your manager sucks.

I’d start by talking to her directly and explaining the problem: “Jane, is it possible to have the schedule completed no later than Friday? Traditionally, it’s always been done by then, and I need to be able to plan my schedule for the coming week. When it’s not posted until Sunday night, I often have no idea until the night before whether I’ll need to be at work, or what time off I’ll have in the coming week.”

You should also address the fact that she’s not using the book where days off are requested: “Is there a different way you’d like us to request days off? I’ve been putting them in the days-off book, but I’m not sure that’s still being consulted. What’s the best way for me to let you know about those requests, so that I don’t end up being scheduled on a day I’m not available?”

If that doesn’t change anything, then you can consider escalating it to your regional manager or whoever her manager is. A good manager will want to know that this is going on so that she can intervene and get it fixed. However, if her manager is not a good manager, then this might not accomplish anything.

Based on my understanding of how fast food often works, none of this might get you results. But it’s certainly the professional way to approach it. If it doesn’t work, then at that point you’d need to decide whether you want to keep the job under these terms, or go somewhere else.

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