Illegally Rich

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2018

I started my first job when I was fourteen. There are a lot of rules that have to be followed when someone under eighteen works, like how often one can work, time of the day, and stuff like that. I think I broke every single one. However, I was only glad for the money and apparently, it’s the employer who has to make sure the rules are followed, not the employee.

When you’re under fifteen, you need written consent from your parents before you can start working. I never had written consent; however, my manager knew that my parents agreed as my manager kind of knew my mom.

Also, when under fifteen, you can’t work more than two hours a day, and twelve hours a week. I definitely worked more than that.

When under fifteen, it’s not legal to work after 8:00 pm or before 6:00 am. I often worked until 10:00 pm and started work at 4:30 or  5:30 am.

When under eighteen, you’re not allowed to work overtime, so a maximum of nine hours a day, and forty hours a week. I often worked more than nine hours a day, sometimes more than forty hours a week, as well. I got paid for it, so I was happy. As I had near to no expenses, I definitely felt rich when I got paid and didn’t have to pay any bills or anything like that.

I was also entitled to thirty-minute breaks when working four and a half hours or more, and since I didn’t get to leave my workplace, I was supposed to get paid during those thirty minutes. I didn’t get paid, so I often just didn’t take a break. My manager made sure I got paid for thirty minutes extra every day.

There was also the issue with vacation. When under eighteen, if you go to school, you have to have four weeks and one day of vacation each year, and two of the weeks have to be during the summer months. I worked all through the summer, each summer, all of the “red days” — Sundays, Christmas, and Easter — where we get paid 100% overtime.

For the sake of my employer, and myself, I am very glad that the labor inspection never checked us, as my employer would have been in trouble, and I wouldn’t have been able to work all of those hours. Was it legal? Definitely not, but hey, I got paid, and my employer saved money, as I was cheaper than people over the age of 18.

Hampered By Work Culture

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 30, 2018

Back in the 80s, I was new to my career, and one November I started work in the workshop of a fly-by-night company that provided basic computer equipment to the financial sector — little more than glorified monitors, badly designed and cheaply made. The management were as cheap as their product, and were ungenerous and demanding of their staff. However, this was made up for somewhat by the fact that they provided free lunch — toasted sandwiches, etc. — and by the legendary Christmas office party, at which all employees were to receive a lavish hamper, filled with sumptuous seasonal goodies and expensive delicacies such as champagne, caviar, VSOP brandy, cheeses, and the like. I was not getting on too well with my colleagues, some of whom — particularly one supervisor — were a brash and insulting bunch of bullies. No big deal, just a pain to work with.

Come the week of the party, I was taken aside by one of the team seniors and informed that as I had not been at the company long enough — just over a month — I was not entitled to take part in the Christmas party, and I would not be getting a hamper. A little disappointing, I thought, but not far off what I had come to expect from the management there. I shrugged it off, while working on preparing an exit strategy.

Come the week after Christmas, when we were all back at work, the supervisor in question came into the workshop and crowed, “You fell for it, then!” One of the other guys in the office said, “Yeah, we split the contents of the hamper between us. We weren’t wasting it; since you obviously didn’t want it, we all had it.”

Apparently my non-attendance was taken by the higher management as a bit of a slap in the face, and I was not looked upon with favour by the company director — not that I would have had the chance of speaking to him face to face, as one was not encouraged to communicate directly with anyone higher than one’s own direct line manager.

Within a month I had found a new place to work.

A Porsche Choice Of Words

, , , , , | Working | November 29, 2018

(I work for a very small, family-run business. The bosses are amazing, but since they come from money, have money, and do things like go out to ski over a long weekend, they tend to forget how to relate to people who don’t have money.)

Warehouse Guy: “Hey. Can someone give me a jump? My truck died, again.”

Me: *laughing* “Dude, you need to get a new car.”

Warehouse Guy: “Yeah, I have a friend who’s selling a car that I’m buying this month, so it might be sooner.”

(Next day:)

Warehouse Guy: *comes in with a very beat-up, old, four-door car* “Hey, look at my car!”

Me: “Is it going to run?”

Warehouse Guy: “Yeah, they basically replaced just about everything with it, except for the outside, but it was about 150 cheaper than I thought, so I’m good. Plus, it has air!”

Boss: “Huh… You know what is a great car? The Porsche! You should have gotten one of those; they look so sleek.”

([Warehouse Guy] and I exchange looks, because between the both of us, neither one of us would be able to buy one of those outright on either of our salaries.)

Warehouse Guy: “I’ll… keep that in mind.”

(The boss walks off, humming.)

That’s A Negative On The Math Jokes

, , , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2018

(As I man the cut table, the boss and the manager are making pizza and chatting.)

Boss: “I’ve heard it called the Deluxe, the Supreme, and the Garbage pizza, but after fourteen years in the business, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it referred to as an Absolute Pizza.”

Me: “Does that mean it has the same value whether it’s negative or positive?”

Boss: “Definitely.”

Manager: “Look, I love bad math jokes more than most, but that one’s not worth a response.”

Me: “So, I could go to a customer and demand they pay up their negative Absolute Pizza? ‘Thanks for ordering; that’ll be $24.99, and you now owe me a pizza.'”

Manager: *glaring at boss* “You. YOU DID THIS.”

From Zero To Sixty To Zero

, , , , , | Working | November 28, 2018

(I take a bathroom break, and my supervisor tells me I have one minute. Twenty seconds after I get in the stall, another employee enters the bathroom and to use the urinal. Five seconds later, the bathroom door again opens.)

Supervisor: “Forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven…”

(The supervisor leaves.)

Other Employee: *whose voice I recognize as the supervisor of the receiving department* “What was that about?”

Me: “He told me I have a minute.”

(The receiving supervisor leaves, and then I finish up, wash my hands, and head back to the sales floor. The way the store is set up, to go from the employee bathroom to the sales floor you have to pass by the store manager’s office.)

Manager: “[My Name], can I see you for a minute?”

Me: “Sure, what about?”

Manager: “Did [Supervisor] tell you that you only had a minute to use the bathroom?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: “Okay, that’s all I needed to know. Go back to work.”

(I head back out onto the floor, and from there the parking lot to gather carriages. As I walk out the front door of the store, a coworker’s radio crackles to life.)

Manager: “[Supervisor], can I see you in my office?”

(Five minutes later I saw another supervisor, who I know lives around the corner and is supposed to have the day off, get out of her car and head into the store. Ten minutes after that, the first supervisor left the store, gave me a death glare, got in his car, and tore a** out of the parking lot… only to get pulled over by a state trooper for running the red light at the parking lot exit. When I got back inside, I learned he had been fired, and later that year I learned the incident with me was the straw that broke the camel’s back; he had been harassing several employees for the past year, but this was the first time it was witnessed by another supervisor.)

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