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If You’re Not Careful, Someone Might Go Nuclear Here

, , , , , | Working | October 6, 2021

Years ago, I was the supervisor for a field service crew in the nuclear power industry. Nuclear power plants are not typically located in populated areas. My crew and I usually stayed at second-rate motels and ate at local diners. I’ve forgotten exactly how much per-diem we received, but it barely covered our expenses, even for cheap motels and fast food. After each trip, my boss would complain about our expenses and how the company was barely making a profit.

On one trip, I was in the site work trailer late at night with the utilities’ site engineer. He asked if I wanted to see a copy of the contract between his company and my company. Of course, I did. The contract included an hourly pay scale that the utility paid for skilled labor, site supervision (me), and per-diem. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

A few days later, I was back in the office and my boss started his usual fuss about our “high” expenses. I told him I had seen the contract. That’s all it took. He never said anything about our travel expenses after that.

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That’s One Super Supervisor

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2021

I’ve been off work for almost a week with a bad infection. Although I’m back taking calls, I’m still exhausted and I still have a headache, but I’m nervous about having been off so long because it’s my second absence due to one of my disabilities playing up, and I’m only just at my three-month probation review. It’s important to note that we’re all working from home. 

My supervisor calls me to do both the review and my return to work. We’ve discussed my symptoms, what I did to get better, and if I’m ready to return to work.

Supervisor: “Okay, you’ve told me you’re ready to come back, but how are you really feeling? Off the record.”

Me: “Honestly, I’m pretty wiped. My head’s still pretty fuzzy, and I know if you checked my call stats for today they’re not going to be great. This meeting’s been a nice break.”

Supervisor: “What time are you on until?”

Me: “Seven, unfortunately.”

Supervisor: “That’s nonsense. You’re just back from being ill. Give me a second.”

He goes silent for a while and I hear a lot of typing.

Supervisor: “Okay, check your schedule again.”

I refresh the schedule software, and straight after my afternoon tea break, I have forty-five minutes of training and am only on calls again for thirty minutes before my shift ends. 

Me: “What training am I doing?”

Supervisor: “Chilling out. When we were in the office, I used to send people out to fetch stuff and called it ‘helping colleagues.’ Now it’s ‘training.’ Let me know if you’re having a really stressful day and I’ll book a meeting with you or training to give you a break from calls. We all need it sometimes.”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

Supervisor: “Now for your probation review. No suspense: you passed. Your absences are higher than ideal, but you work well when you’re here so I’m not going to punish you for being sick. I know you were worried about it.”

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This Is What Happens When Managers Don’t Manage

, , , , , , , | Working | October 1, 2021

My first job was as a bagger for a local grocery store. I started working there before I was sixteen, and labor laws only allowed kids under sixteen to work until 6:00 pm on weekdays and 8:00 pm on weekends during the school year. Also, we could not exceed four hours a workday during the weekdays and eight hours on weekend days. The store policy allowed a fifteen-minute paid break for every three hours of work and a thirty-minute unpaid break if the workday was seven hours or longer; a seven- to eight-hour day meant two paid fifteen-minute breaks and one unpaid thirty-minute break.

The store manager had a bad habit of scheduling the high school kids to work 2.75 hours a day for weekday shifts. Because we didn’t work three hours, we didn’t get a break. On the weekends, he’d schedule the high school kids 5.75 hours. We’d only get one fifteen-minute paid break and we didn’t work long enough to get a lunch break or the second fifteen-minute paid break.

The store manager also had issues allowing people time off, even if they handed in a written request — per store policy — two weeks in advance. Many times we would be told no or called in to fill in.

Half of the staff were high school kids. Those that were sixteen and older could do other tasks, such as run a cash register, stock shelves, or assist in the deli or bakery. Under sixteen, we were stuck cleaning bathrooms or the back-room break area, doing general cleaning, or bagging groceries for customers.

I worked there for a little over a year, along with half a dozen friends and a few other high school kids. When I turned sixteen, I was moved to a cashier position and got to help stock now and then. I could now work until 10:00 pm on a school night and the same on weekends, and I could be scheduled a full eight hours any day of the week as long as it didn’t interfere with my school hours.

The manager never changed his ways, though. He kept scheduling high schoolers at 2.75-hour shifts or 5.75-hour shifts. My friends and I that worked there were fed up with working shifts long enough to not get a break or only one break in nearly six hours, so we brought up the issue with the store manager. He said he’d take it under consideration, but he never did.

So, we did what any group of kids of the same mindset would do. Ten of us put in our two-week notice. This left only two other high schoolers that didn’t want to join the group still working there. We also passed along the word at school for others not to work there because of the work hours, so the store manager couldn’t find any other kids to come in and work.

After my two-week notice was up, the store was so short-staffed that the management team had to take over all the cashier and bagger positions that were now unmanned, simply because the store manager didn’t want to have a heart and be kind to his high school employees. It took a good three or four months before they started finding people to help fill positions, so for those few months, the manager actually had to get up off his lazy behind and work.

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Now That’s What You Call A Clap-Back

, , , , , | Right | October 1, 2021

Our manager is the owner’s daughter, so she can do more or less whatever she wants. Rather than using it to be a b**** or a bad boss, she uses that power to make sure none of us have to put up with a**hole customers.

I’m putting out some stock and a customer approaches me.

Me: “Hi there, how can I help you?”

Customer: “That stuff over there.” *Gestures to a shelf of figurines* “That was on sale last week.”

The stuff she is pointing at was indeed on sale for a few weeks, but now the sale is over.

Me: “Oh, yeah, the sale ended Sunday. Sorry. We have some items on sale over here.”

I try to lead her to a case where we have some items on sale but the customer glares at me.

Customer: “I wanted that ornament there.” *Jabs her finger at one of the figurines* “But it’s too expensive now.”

Me: “I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do about it. We do have something similar over here. It’s a little smaller but—”

Customer: “I. Want. That. One.”

Me: “Oh, sure, I can get it down.”

Customer: “I want it at the sale price.”

I stop reaching for the figurine.

Me: “I can only give you it at the current price.”

The woman steps closer, getting right in my face.

Customer: “I wasn’t able to come in during the sale. I do shift work. It’s not fair that I missed the sale. I only missed it by a few days. I want the sale price or I’m not buying it.”

Me: “I can’t give you it for the sale price—”

The customer starts to raise her voice and begins clapping with every word she says.

Customer: *Clapping* “Get me your manager. Get me your manager. Get me your manager.”

My manager is already on her way over, eyes locked on the customer. I know that look on her face; it’s the “I’m about to kick you out” look.

Manager: “I’m the manager. What seems to be the problem here?”

Customer: “You had a sale a few days ago, but I was busy. I work nights. I couldn’t come in. I missed the sale. I want that ornament but I’m not paying full price for it. I asked your employee but that idiot wouldn’t—”

Manager: “My employees are not idiots. You either buy this at what it is priced now or you leave. I am not giving you a discount. It’s not our fault you couldn’t find time to come in when we had the sale.”

The woman starts doing her weird clapping thing again.

Customer: *Clapping* “Give me the sale price!”

Manager: *Clapping back* “Get out of my store.”

The customer is shocked to have been clapped back at and shuts up. She stares at my manager, confused.

Customer: “You’re not really the manager. You can’t be.”

Manager: *Clapping* “Get out of my store.”

Customer: “You can’t do this—”

Manager: “You are banned. Get out of the store.”

At first, the customer refused to leave until she got her way, but my manager shut her down by saying if she didn’t leave right now, she would call the police. This seemed to do the trick and the customer left in a hurry, but not before hurling insults at us and threatening to call the head office and the papers.

My manager took genuine complaints seriously, and if we were rude to customers we’d be in trouble. She just had zero tolerance for bulls*** complaints like this.

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There’s “Laid Back” And Then There’s Lazy

, , , , , , | Working | October 1, 2021

It’s the first day of the three-day weekend for the Fourth of July. I’m the closing manager for the night at my local pizza chain location. The general manager and a manager not quite out of training are also on shift, as well as some other assorted staff.

The new manager has a friend stop by and order a pizza. When the order is ready, the manager takes it to their friend’s car and tells the GM that they’re going to hang out for a bit. We’re not particularly busy, so sure, why not.

As the shift progresses, I notice that she still hasn’t returned to the store. Hours go by. Finally, almost four and a half hours later, my GM — who’s very laid back — finally takes her off the clock.

To top it all off, she comes in a bit later complaining that she wasn’t scheduled off for another hour but was clocked out because someone was nagging the GM about wasted labor. Seriously?!

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