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I started working at a coffee house about a month ago.

This was a big step for me, because in the past, I have taken physically exhausting, back breaking labor over the emotional drain that dealing with the public would cause.

With medication however, I can be a very good conversationalist, and am somewhat likeable. Just looking inward, I feel very proud of the fact that I have taken this step, since most jobs require dealing with people in some shape or form, so I felt this is a fear that I must overcome. I feel I have done very well for my first few weeks. I smile (sometimes forced, but at least I do it), I make fluid small talk with customers, and have many laughing at my corny jokes or anecdotes, a lot are as nice as can be, and I seem to get more positive feedback than negative. Some customers are rude and some have gotten very upset with me for messing up a drink, but I ussually shrug it off, and try focusing on the the positive experiences.

The problem is, my manager doesn't look at me as someone with social anxiety tackling a difficult situation and doing well under the circumstances. He looks at me as a new worker that needs to fall in line and be more bubbly. I would never tell a place I work at that I have social anxiety or that I was so agoraphobic 2 years ago, that I couldn't even leave my house. Me having the courage to take on a job like this is an accomplishment to me. I don't expect them to understand or care about this, as this is not their problem, but mine.

I thought I was doing well, but the manager called me into his office on Friday, and told me that I'm not doing well, and that other coworkers have been complaining about the fact that I'm a difficult person to read. They say I'm unapproachable and he doesn't think I'm at the level of service they want at this store. Some of these people I haven't even worked the same shifts with, so I don't understand the complaints. The people who I work with, I always introduce myself, tell them my name, and tell them that I'm kind of new to the job. From there various small talk ussually happens. I don't really have a problem talking with people one on one, and am not intimidated by anyone.

My manger, however is constantly correcting me and judging me when I'm making a drink. There always seems to be something wrong.

I don't really have a problem with this in general, but it really begins to take a toll on me after a while, and I feel myself breaking down a bit. I try not to take it personally, but I don't see him being as critical towards some of the people working there. Personally, I think anyone who is female and attractive there gets a pass, because he seems like somewhat of a horndog.

I'm more worried about losing this job than anything else. I've put a lot into this, and while I make minimum wage, I actually like the job, spend a lot of time outside of work trying to memorize how to make the drinks and do it quicker, look forward to coming into work, and try and have fun with it.

I find it disheartening that I'm still being judged as being incapable of doing this job when I really feel I have done well and I feel like I've tried to learn from the criticism, rather than let it get to me and hurt me emotionally.

I don't know what to do to change though. I feel like I'm doing the best I can. I don't complain, I never call in sick, I do the job, I smile and am polite to the customers, I make small talk better than most of the others, but because a few coworkers don't like my personality, I was taken to the manager's office and told that I need to correct my behavior.

Has anyone had similar problems at a job, and found ways to rectify it?

Also, how do you deal with criticism in a positive way? I don't have a problem with justifiable criticism. For instance, if I were to show up late, and got yelled at for that, I would see no problem with that, as there's real no good excuse for that. But sometimes I feel like my manager is looking for things to criticize at times, which can make me nervous, and cause me to screw up more. I ussually just nod my head, and say sorry, meekly, but I don't know if it really helps me become better at my job.
 

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I think you need to give yourself some credit. It sounds like to me based on what you are saying that you are making an honest effort with this job. Just the fact that you were agoraphobic 2 years ago and now have this job is HUGE. Your manager is being a little vague on what he expects from you. I would go into his office and ask him specifically what it is that you need to correct so that your job performance is up to par.
 

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First off, congratulations on your progress so far, you are doing great and can only get better.

It sounds like your manager is indeed a prick and is looking for something to criticize. If he's really bugging you, as hard as it is, you need to talk to him about it. Sometimes it helps the situation greatly and it's worth a shot.

Best of luck.
 

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I can understand how you're feeling.

2 years ago, I started a job at KFC, and I had the most temperamental and irritable manager. She intimidated me, and she would yell at me a lot. However, I was doing a really bad job at customer service. My SA was really bad back then, so I think that's what caused me to be so bad at customer service. Everytime I came home from work, I would be so stressed out from her sniping at my back during work. Nonetheless, I was fired after working there for 3 months, and now I have reservations and cautions about working at fast food places like KFC and Mcdonald's.

I work at a pizza store right now, and I like it-because I work day shifts, and I have no managerial supervision! It's also a lot less fast paced than other fast food restaurants. I enjoy it because I am still able to interact with customers, and there's no need to put on those fake "have a nice day" scripts that they require you to say at Mcdonald's.

Well, it seems as though your manager is extremely demanding. I say just find another job if you can't deal with this guy.
 

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You wrote:

"I'm more worried about losing this job than anything else. I've put a lot into this, and while I make minimum wage, I actually like the job, spend a lot of time outside of work trying to memorize how to make the drinks and do it quicker, look forward to coming into work, and try and have fun with it. "

I would ask to meet with your boss and tell him this. It's very impressive. Though he does sound like a dick for meeting with you simply because some of your co-workers think you're "hard to read". That's really ridiculous. If you had gotten customer complaints about rudeness or something, then sure, but "hard to read"???? Since when does that qualify as a reason to get a talking to???

I worked in retail for 5 years and while I didn't know that "SA" had a name, I knew I was terrible at certain things. I was not good at working the sales floor, and my boss knew that, and instead of always criticizing (of course it came up at review time), she focused on what I was best at -- doing the registers, stocking, organzing the store, training new employees -- and had me do these things instead. Your boss should be focusing on your good qualities unless your "bad" qualities are interfering in how you do your job, and it sounds like they're NOT.

Good luck with this!! And congrats on all your progress!
 
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