Dear Crabby, 

I’m the controller / credit manager / accountant and all around cleaner upper at our very small beer and wine distribution company. We import very specialized craft beers and wines from all the world and have hundreds of customers throughout the country, such as high-end restaurants and beverage wholesalers. Over the decades, we’ve built up a very nice niche and reputation. 

With that said, our warehouse and inventory management staff have always been on a revolving door. We’ll get them hired and trained, but then they just won’t stay with us. Since I have been there so long and have done almost all the jobs, the president will suddenly say to me, “Could you go out to the loading dock and unload that shipment?” It’s hard for me to say “no,” especially since my feeling of wanting to “get it done,” takes hold of me. 

Recently however, a big problem occurred. I was in the middle of evaluating a new credit application when I was asked to unload a truck which took about 20 minutes of my time. When I got back to my desk, the distraction inadvertently caused me to approve a credit limit for a new restaurant customer at about ten times what I should have. Two weeks later with a new inventory manager in the warehouse, the order went out and sadly, devolved into a non-payment issue. Now, I’m getting blamed for this and honestly, I don’t feel it’s my fault. 

How can I change this abnormal situation? 

Signed: Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

Honestly, I don’t know any other credit manager who holds the honor of being able to drive a forklift. Although I applaud your desire to wear many hats and “get it done,” there are problems between the lines of what you wrote that I would like to address.

The first problem of concern is that you need to get to the bottom of what is causing your warehouse staff to not stay in their jobs on a long-term basis. You may have to hire an HR consultant to help you formulate an employee interviewing, onboarding, and management policy that will support your company’s employment goals. Without getting this issue resolved, I don’t see how you and your company can operate effectively.

I kind of disagree with your desire to “get it done.” Yes, in a rare pinch we must step up and pitch in where we can. Again, I’m impressed that you can jump on a forklift and unload a truck. However, if you have been doing this for years, you have also been enabling the warehouse staffing problem from getting resolved. I’m not sure if this is related to a desire “to please” as much as a feeling to “get it done.” Either way, I think you may need to think about why you let this problem go on for so long. 

In addition to doing the warehousing job at times, I think you may also be doing too many jobs in general. I’m not sure how overloaded or overwhelmed you are being the all-around cleaner upper, but perhaps you may want to think in terms of focusing on the jobs you can manage well and hiring those individuals who will take over all the other tasks, especially in the cleaner upper category. 

I hope the above is helpful. Please let me know how things work out. 


Dear Crabby is a credit collection and human resources advice column by Nancy Seiverd President CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts and comments ( are most welcome! All Rights Reserved

Sign Up for Our Free Monthly Newsletter – COLLECTION CONNECTION!

    Share This

    Share this post with your friends!