I Am The Night… Shift Worker

| The Netherlands | Working | July 27, 2017

(There’s a new manager at the sandwich place where I work, who is also responsible for the timetables. He’s also a sucker for rules and an ass-kisser to his boss, so he is not particularly liked by the floor staff, as he always demands unrealistic new rules and recipes. Because of a loophole regarding my contract, he manages to schedule me for twelve night-shifts in three weeks. I decide to make the best of it, as I need the money. However, once I arrive at my first shift, I am surprised to see said manager waiting for me.)

Manager: “Hi, [My Name], [Coworker] called in sick so I’m filling in for her. You’ve got most experience with night-shifts, so I’ll just follow you. What’s your plan?”

(I’m suspicious and not happy to be thrust into the role of leader without any warning, but decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.)

Me: “Okay, so we have a lot of preparations to do for the morning, some sandwich toppings we need to prepare, we have to prep the dough and juice-bar, and serve any customer that comes in. I want to finish all toppings before our 2 am break, as well as the dough—”

Manager: *interrupting* “No, no, no. We can’t do the dough before the break. It will rise too much and the morning will have no use for it. Let’s do that after the break.”

Me: “After the break, we need to be ready to start the shift. We won’t have time to make the dough then and it will not be ready in time for the morning.”

(He insists we do it his way and I let it slide, hoping it’d be the only issue. Later…)

Me: “[Manager], could you go get ice for the sandwich bar and juice bar? We need to get that done before two.”

Manager: “No, if we do it now, the ice will melt too soon and the morning won’t have enough ice. Let’s do it after the break.”

Me: “Both dough and ice are major tasks, [Manager]. if we do both after the break, we either won’t get it done or we won’t be able to help any customers.”

Manager: “Yeah, yeah. I’m not going to get ice now. I’ll do it later.”

(Since I’m the only one on till, I can’t leave. This goes on all night. Whenever I suggest a task, he argues with me until I give in. He is extremely slow, leaving me not only to pick up after him, but also to help any customer who comes in and check if he did his tasks correctly. We end up staying more than an hour late, even though I have three more nights coming up. The kicker? When I came in to work next night…)

Manager: *yawns* “Wow, I’m really spent. I had no idea night shifts had this much effect on you. Good thing this is my last one.”

(It took a lot not to start shouting at him. Thankfully, I haven’t had any night-shifts with him again.)

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  • Kitty

    S***. I was hoping this would lead to the manager realizing that ‘his way’ is just synonymous with ‘wrong way’ and he’d learn something…

    • Katrin Schirmer

      you expect too much from a manager on NAW, then.

  • clemdane

    I was predicting that the dough and the ice wouldn’t be ready and the manager would blame OP for it.

    I guess by this point I should no longer be surprised by people with no experience who think they know better than people with experience. But it gets me every time.

    • Misstell

      Had one of these pencil pushers tell a whole workforce of 15 people how we were supposed to do something. We insisted on doing it our was and after being proven wrong he actually had the decency to admit that he as a paper turner (actually called himself that) really shouldn’t tell people how to do things they already know how to do after having done it a thousand times before.

      • clemdane

        That was big of him!

      • Misstell

        Reading this five hours later I’m actually surprised people seem to get what I’m saying.

        • TheBigBadWolf

          We’ve had practice with all the NAx stories. 😛

  • kiden

    So call him an idiot, and tell him that if he pulls the same bs tonight, you’re going to punch out and going home

    • Difdi

      Or better yet, write him up. It might not be official, but if the owner/district manager signs off on it, it will become official.

  • Fenn

    Hope you reported and recorded his stuff

  • Justin Salvati

    What does “a sucker for rules” mean? What “rules” were enforced? It appears to me that this “manager” thought he knew better, and was wrong. I like rules, does that make me a sucker?

    • EricKei

      I think OP meant *stickler* for rules.

      • Justin Salvati

        My comment still applies. Which “rules” was the manager trying to enforce?

        • I’d say his own made up rules. Because I sure as heck don’t seem him following anyone else’s.

          • Justin Salvati

            I just don’t understand the rationale for mentioning the “rules”. Was doing particular tasks before a certain time a rule? Was the ice all melted? OP does not mention that the reason they had to stay late had anything to do with these tasks. Considering the rest of the story, OP could have replaced “sucker for rules” with “Communist” or “Narcoleptic” for all the relevance it had.

          • I agree. In fact, from the rest of the story he seems to be quite the opposite. Either the editors are messing with us or the OP left out some details that are actually relevant.

          • Anne

            I’m guessing that the “official handbook” says that dough and ice need to be done at such and such a time, but that OP has realized that it works better to do at least one ahead of time.

          • I hope that’s the case, because that actually makes sense. One of those “rules” that people have learned to go around because it doesn’t actually work if enforced.

          • AR

            They probably had to stay late to complete the tasks, because the manager wouldn’t allow OP to do them when there was actually time.

          • Justin Salvati

            Or they had to stay late because they were really busy. Kind of my point. OP never tells us. Btw, there is a learning curve in every position. I have read a number of posts where a new employee is berated by a customer, and there are tons of comments along the lines of “give ’em a break, they’re new”. No sympathy because the is a manager who is new on the job?

          • AR

            In this case I don’t have any sympathy. At all. The manager is new, but he is also refusing to take any advise or guidance from the experienced employee – even after saying acknowledging the experience and agreeing to follow OP’s lead. He spent the whole night arguing and bullying OP into doing it his way, even though he was new and didn’t know what worked best.

            Edit: I normally would agree with you about cutting them some slack. But when you have a crappy attitude and think you know it all, the benefit of doubt goes away.

          • Justin Salvati

            But we don’t know if the way OP was doing was the better option because that is never made clear. OP has their preferences, but maybe there are legitimate reasons for not doing it that way. Maybe the manager learned from their mistakes and did things differently the next night. The story ends before it ends. Also I don’t see any bullying. I see disagreements.

            I feel like OP just does not like this manager. Complaining about your schedule? You provided your availability. Asskisser? People pleaser. Sucker for rules? Law-abiding. This is a restaurant. Health Codes are rules, and they are quite important.

          • AR

            What manager said: “Hi, [My Name], [Coworker] called in sick so I’m filling in for her. You’ve got most experience with night-shifts, so I’ll just follow you. What’s your plan?”
            What actually happened: “He insists we do it his way and I let it slide, hoping it’d be the only issue…. This goes on all night. Whenever I suggest a task, he argues with me until I give in.” << Bullying

            When you are training, you follow the lead of the person training you. Which is what manager agreed to do. Once you have a handle on the shift flow and expectations, you tweak from there.

            Even the reason of the ice will melt too much can be solved with a quick top up of ice at the end of shift as opposed to filling it completely at the end and staying late. Most companies these days have a no extra hours rule too.

          • AR

            I’m assuming OP meant he’s the type of manager who will follow the rules to the letter, even if it tells him to jump off a cliff.

          • See and I usually like sticking to the rules, but even I know better than to follow them blindly.

          • AR

            Same. I follow the rules usually too, but sometimes you have to know when to turn a blind eye and ignore them.

    • Eilonwy_has_an_aardvark

      “Sucker for rules” appears to mean that the manager enjoys making up new rules, whether those rules make sense or not.

      Thus the manager insisting that the bread and the ice had to be done after the break.

  • Why. Why do we still let people like this be managers? Oh right, it’s “if they can’t do the work, let them be in charge of the people who can.” SMDH

    • EricKei

      It’s the Dilbert Effect: “Management is Nature’s way of removing morons from the productive flow.”

      • Ahh Dilbert. Good for a laugh, which is better than slamming my head into my desk in frustration. So there’s that…

      • JB

        This manager deserves Alice’s super punch of Death.

    • UrbanDweller64

      I work for a store that promotes on seniority, not on experience. I was hired off the street with 30 years experience but the senior was with the company for 17 years, with no experience in what we are doing. It was a new location and the manager was giving me things to do to help with the set-up. Any suggestion I made was shot down by the senior as I was new and didn’t know anything. Fast forward one year and I’m now the “senior” and the manager comes to me with all her problems. The actual senior is only working part-time and still can’t do most of the processes correctly. But I love the job and the people and so here I stay!

      • I was getting frustrated for you until I got to the end. I’m glad you have a job you love!

  • Amanda Marie Kelly

    Are you sure it was a he? Sounds like my boyfriends boss.

  • Bill Cademy

    Sounds like his attitude and (lack of) actions need to be reported to the GM.

  • Cathrope

    My attack plan for the night? First I’m going to attack you with this knife. Then I’m going to make you sit in a corner, stare at the wall until it’s time to go. I can manage just fine with out you.

    • Alvar Lind

      you do realise that your plan is going to end with you having to clean up the bloody mess in the corner from him bleeding all night right? its better to ask them to step outside with you and go far enough away that the bloody mess when you stab them isn’t your responsibility to clean up.

      • Cathrope

        Well, if I do it in the mop room, I can just use a hose to clean the blood up.

        • Alvar Lind

          nice idea

          • Cathrope

            Thanks.

  • Stephen Schenck

    “Night shifts” does not get hyphenated. There are rules for these sorts of things.

    ETA: Or “juice bar,” for that matter.

    • Mirjan Bouma

      And it may surprise you, but the rules for hyphenating and compound words are very different in Dutch, which makes that part of English a bit tricky to those form the Netherlands.
      OTOH, that’s what the people that are running this site are supposed to catch and edit, so if your comment was directed to them, by all means, carry on.

  • Denton Young

    Report everything he did wrong to the Big Boss and demand he be demoted from manager to floor sweeper.

  • Darth Pseudonym

    They’ve been doing the dough and ice this way for a long time, and it hasn’t ever been an issue, so why do you think it’s suddenly a problem today?

  • Max

    Mate, if you killed him, and I was on the jury, I’d totally argue for justified self-defence.

  • Kay Lee

    Out of all of this, all I can really think about is how ice can possibly be a “major task” lol

  • Graham Farr

    I’m upset at the manager myself but a 24-hour sandwich shop? That’s just weird.

  • AsaeAmpan

    Wha? no, you told me to take lead so you listen to what I say or I contact the higher ups to get you fired, am I clear, now work on the god damned dough