Can’t Stand Any More

, , , , | Working | November 3, 2014

(I work as a security guard at a major museum. We are not allowed to sit down while on duty because it might make us look inattentive. I’ve just had a small surgical procedure, resulting in a very deep hole on the underside of my foot, and per doctor’s orders I shouldn’t stand for extended times. I have notified all three managers ahead of time that I can only take four-hour shifts this week, yet I have been scheduled for a nine-hour exhibition opening.)

Me: “Excuse me, [Manager], there must have been a mistake with the roster. I can’t cover such a long shift this week.”

Manager: “Oh,, but we really need you for that opening evening. It’s a big deal.”

Me: “I know and I’m sorry, but I really can’t do it. If I stand for that long, the wound on my foot could open up again and even get infected. Please find someone else.”

Manager: “But, [My Name], I really need you for this. You absolutely have to take that shift.” *pause* “You could go home early. Those events never take as long as scheduled.”

(This is true. However, in such a case only about half of the guards get to go home early.)

Me: *reluctantly* “Well, I guess if it’s really that important that I come in, I’ll do my best. But I need your promise that I will be the first to go home once you reduce the number of guards.”

Manager: “Of course. No problem.”

(At the evening of the opening, as I start my shift, I remind all managers and shift supervisors that because of my foot I need to be the first to go home. The hours tick by. I’m in severe pain and can feel my foot bleeding. Several of the remaining visitors ask me if I need help and even approach my supervisor to send me home, but nothing happens. Finally my shift ends. By now I can barely walk. As I go to put my name on the sign-out sheet I see that most guards have already signed out hours ago.)

Me: “Excuse me, [Manager]. What happened here? I was assured I could go home first because of my foot and now I see that lots of people left early while you left me to cover the full shift!”

Manager: “Oh, well, we can’t remember every detail of what’s going on with each individual employee. It’s your own fault for not reminding someone.”

Me: “What? I reminded all of you, more than once! I reminded you today!”

Manager: “Don’t make such a big deal out of nothing! Go home.”

Me: “Okay, I will. Before I do that, please cancel all my shifts for the rest of the week.”

Manager: “What? No, I can’t do that! We need you here.”

Me: “Thanks to your forgetting that I couldn’t stand for prolonged times the wound on my foot has opened again. I won’t be able to stand even for a short shift the coming days.”

(At this I take off my shoe and turn it upside down. Blood is dripping on the floor. Manager turns pale, then red.)

Manager: “How should I have known that you have a wound on your foot?! This is your own fault and I don’t appreciate the tone you’re taking with me! You’re just a guard and easily replaced! Do you think we actually need you here? You can leave now and I’ll cancel your shifts for this week. Others will be glad to have them!”

Me: “You know what? I’ve changed my mind.”

(At this she starts to look smug.)

Me: “Please cancel all of my scheduled shifts. I quit.”

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