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America’s Got Overtime

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: nothingbeast | August 16, 2021

I was employed at a small market radio station for many years a while back. I loved the actual work, but the people there were just terrible, particularly the manager in this story. She spent seven years pretending we were friends, working up from sales to sales manager and eventually station manager. And then, one day, she decided to make my job a completely miserable experience. She held station meetings without me, created recording sessions without putting them on my schedule, ignored my reports of tech issues so things never got fixed… It was ridiculous how little managing she actually did.

Since we were a small staff, and I was the employee with the most years, I had a lot of responsibilities. I did everything except sell ads. Every day had the same main responsibilities, but minor changes kept each day different. I punched in at 8:00 am and co-hosted the final hour of the morning show, answered phones and the door all day, recorded ads and clients, edited shows, did the afternoon broadcast from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, and prerecorded the evening news block to air after I left for the day.

One day, the morning show host decided we needed to talk about “America’s Got Talent,” but by the time he had this great idea, auditions were already three shows in. I had never watched the show before because I absolutely hated reality TV. But I thought, “What could it hurt?” and I went home that night to watch the week four episode. While it was entertaining, it was also an overly padded waste of time. But I did my “homework” and did the show the next morning and hyped it up like it was the greatest thing ever.

The next week, I forgot to watch. I went into work and the morning show host asked what I thought. I panicked for a second before telling him I didn’t see it. Since I had about twenty minutes of morning news before I was live, I ran to my office and checked online for a highlight reel. And there it was! An hour-long TV show whittled down to a fifteen-minute video! Perfect! When it was done, I moved to the broadcast studio and did a great recap of last night’s episode. Even the host, who watched the entire show, thought I did a great job keeping up with him.

The sixth episode came around, and this time, I remembered it was on, but since I knew the TV station was going to post the highlights for me the next day, I opted to spend my free time on something that I actually wanted to do. The next morning, I went straight to the highlight reel and got caught up on every act that was important enough to talk about. Again, the show host thought I did a great job.

But my manager didn’t think it was good enough. She called me into her office.

Manager: “Why are you purposely ignoring requests to watch America’s Got Talent?”

Me: “What difference does it make whether I watch the hour-long broadcast — full of commercials and long-winded filler to stretch the run time — or the highlight reel that has every high point and does the same job in fifteen minutes.”

Manager: “It makes a difference!”

She did not elaborate. She was always pulling that “I’m right and I don’t have to tell you why” crap.

Manager: “Next week is when the judges will begin cutting acts, and there are going to be episodes every Tuesday and Wednesday for the rest of the broadcast. Watching them is mandatory!

Me: “How long are these episodes?”

Manager: “They’re an hour each.”

And that’s when I decided to put an end to this bulls*** once and for all.

Me: “So, that’s two hours of show prep each week. Do I mark that down on my timesheet as overtime, or am I expected to cut out at 3:00 pm on Fridays so I don’t go over my scheduled forty hours?”

My manager’s eyes bugged out as if she had never once expected me to demand payment for dictating how I spend my time outside of the office. I just stood there, waiting to see if I was going to be making extra money or getting an early start to the weekend.

Suddenly, the fifteen-minute highlight reel during regular paid office hours was “good enough”. Funny how that works, eh?

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