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Going Out With A Bang (Two… Three… Four…)

, , , , , , , | Working | February 16, 2023

I work in a factory that produces revolving doors, access gates, turnstiles, etc. I was put there through a temp agency, although there isn’t really an end date, and they can definitely use all help available on the factory floor for the time being. I certainly can use the work as another job just ended and I need the money.

I spend most of my day cutting aluminum and steel profiles to lengths and angles, cutting sheet aluminum and steel, and supplying the CNC machine with material to work on. It is fun working there, the colleagues are great, they have nice benefits, the work itself is enjoyable and challenging enough, and they put on nice radio stations — a huge perk, in my opinion.

Then, I start getting called into the office by [Manager] every few days where I’m given “warnings” wrapped in “helpful advice” wrapping paper.

Manager: “I see you’ve filled up your waste bin already. You might want to try and plan your profile cuts better so we don’t throw away as much.”

All the profiles and cuts are calculated by the computer so there is as little waste as possible. I also have proposed to colleagues to set aside profiles long enough that they can still be used in future products and can still be handled by the machine. The advice isn’t applicable, and I’ve amicably let [Manager] know. It’s been disregarded.

Manager: *Urgently* “You might want to work faster. I see that the painting and coating department regularly has to wait for your work to arrive before they can continue working.”

They’ve had to wait because the machines regularly break or clog while one or more of my carts with profiles is waiting for them to be worked on. The advice isn’t applicable and I’ve plainly let him know. It’s been disregarded.

Manager: *Irritably* “You take too many breaks during the day. Where are you going all this time?”

When I started the job, I informed [Manager] that I have irritable bowels and need to use the restroom more often on some days, and I always let colleagues know where I am, so I explain it to him again. The “helpful advice” wrapping is starting to tear and the manager starts to huff.

Manager: “Well, do something about it, or we might have a problem.”

This all takes place within the same week, and I am getting annoyed. I have a hunch that they are looking for a reason to let me go. There aren’t as many orders coming in anymore.

Finally, the wrapping paper comes off.

Manager: “I’ve had you in my office three times this week already. Can you explain yourself?”

Me: “I think I already have. I’ve taken in the advice, but I’ve already explained that I can’t really do anything about what you’ve spoken to me about. And as far as I know, there haven’t been any warnings or write-ups, so if I’m in trouble, I would like to know what for, and I would prefer to have it in writing so I can discuss it with my temp agency.”

Manager: “You’re trying to be much too smart about this, and you need to do as you’re told. If you don’t want to be a team player in this, you might want to find different employment.”

For the record, my team is great, compliments me regularly, and values my suggestions and improvements, and we’ve regularly had a great laugh together.

Me: “I understand what you’re saying. Is there anything else?”

Manager: “No, just get back to work.”

It takes him less than half a day to call me back in.

Manager: “I’ve decided to discontinue your contract. You were contracted to work here until [two months later], but your attitude toward me and the work is sub-par, and that is grounds for dismissal.”

While a temp contract gives some protection, it isn’t binding and it can be dissolved without the reasons you’d normally need for an employment termination. It makes the whole matter more ridiculous because [Manager] was looking for reasons to fire me, didn’t find any, made some up, and didn’t even bother formalizing them, while all that wasn’t even necessary. He could just have said, “That’s all, folks,” and let me go on Friday.

Manager: “You can finish your week by working today and tomorrow, and then you can turn in your stuff.”

I am pissed. I have a temp job, which is a liability, so I’ve been doing my best, and I’m still getting fired. I would’ve easily forgiven a company for letting go of temps when orders plummeted, but making excuses and blaming me is actually hurtful, and it doesn’t help the state I’m in.

I decide to turn it around; I might as well leave on a high note. I’m a professional drummer (but don’t make enough income from that). I always joke about the concrete factory hall and how it would make an amazing reverbing room to drum in and that I’ve put doing that on my bucket list.

So, on the last day of my employment, I go on my break, but I skip the cafeteria, go to my car, back it into the bay, take out my drums, which are already set up for the most part, set them up on the factory floor, and start banging the h*** out of them. Of course, I play a musical solo, but I don’t exactly hold back, and the room just comes alive. It’s like a tremendous arena, and the floor quickly fills up with colleagues who obviously heard the ruckus sitting in the cafeteria.

My teammates start clapping and headbanging, grab sticks from my stick bag, and join in. [Manager] stands in front, trying his best to use his stern “you are in so much trouble” expression. But I see a twinkle in his eyes, and he can’t resist a slight smirk. I don’t think he ever expected this to happen.

I end on a flourish with sticks flying in the air and applause from my colleagues. They help me carry the drums back to my car and ask whether I have any gigs coming up. [Manager] comes up to me with the same stern-ish expression.

Manager: “It might be best if you went home for the day. That all right with you?”

I didn’t mind losing half a day of pay, and I was done with the place anyway, so I agreed and went home after shaking some hands and saying goodbye.

Payday came and no money was shorted, and as [Manager] was directly responsible for checking my hours — which I’d submitted half a day short — it told me that he probably wasn’t really the one to blame for having to let me go and he didn’t mind my little stunt.

Some colleagues dropped by one of my gigs a week after and told me they’d even put up a picture of me going nuts on the drums in the cafeteria. I’m just happy that that’s the part of me that stuck from that job.

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