It’s Only Good Advice When It Applies To Others

, , , , , , , | | Working | August 8, 2019

(I work as a mechanical engineer in a quite noisy factory; as such, we’re required to wear ear protection when on the shop floor, but not in the enclosed workshop areas where I work. On this particular day, I’ve spent the better part of five hours straightening a stack of steel plates that came in slightly bent due to a mistake in the drawing not specifying they needed to be pretty much flat. I’m overheating, my arm is sore from all the hammering, and despite my ear defenders the noise is really loud and beginning to get to me, but the job needs doing so I’m doing it. Working in the workshop next door is one of the maintenance managers, a grumpy, unpleasant person slightly past middle age — the kind of person that regularly comes out with statements beginning with, “I’m not racist, but—” or, “these f****** [group of people],” so naturally I’ve grown quite a dislike for him over the years. Having had enough of the noise, the grumpy manager storms in.)

Grumpy Manager: “Do you have to do that?”

Me: “If you actually want the job done, yeah.”

Grumpy Manager: “Can’t you do it at [work bench on the shop floor]?”

Me: “Not without pissing off a bunch of machine operators, no.”

Grumpy Manager: “Oh, just tell them to put their earplugs in properly if anyone complains.”

Me: *in an oblivious tone* “So, if someone complains I should just tell them to put their earplugs in?”

Grumpy Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, put your earplugs in.” *puts ear defenders back on and goes back to work*

(Out of the corner of my eye I saw him go an odd shade of red, begin to gesture wildly, and step towards me before he noticed my direct manager — a man I get along with well and who also dislikes the grumpy manager — on the other side of the workshop keeled over with laughter, and decided not to make an idiot of himself any further.)

Carting You Off With The Rest Of The Criminals

, , , , , | | Working | August 7, 2019

(Our store has to look out for people overloading their trolleys with high-value items. It’s known as a “trolley-push,” as they attempt to just go straight to the exit — without paying — with the trolley full of items, hoping that security won’t stop them. I have worked every Tuesday night for four years, and have gotten to know our regular customers. I can tell something is up, as the security guard appears to be following someone and a member of management is watching the security cameras. I wander over to the member of management to see if they need help.)

Me: “Hey, are you following someone?”

Management: “Yeah, he’s got a trolley full of stuff. We reckon he’s hiding some high-value stuff in there and will attempt to walk out the doors.”

Me: “Oh, well, I doubt he’ll walk out the doors since he’s [High-Ranking Manager] from [Our Supermarket Warehouse nearby].”

Management: “Um… What?”

Me: “Yeah, he’s got a big family, so every Tuesday he comes and does a massive food shop. He’s a really nice guy.”

Management: “Oh… Right… You can go back to the customer service desk now.”

(It turns out they thought the guy was really dodgy and wasted about half an hour following him. He told me a few weeks later that he could tell they were watching him, which he found wildly amusing, since he was technically senior to them in the company. He still comes in most Tuesdays to shop and say hello!)

Needs To Requisition A Time-Turner

, , , , | | Working | August 6, 2019

(I work in a call centre. I am good at my job, both volumes and customer service scores, so my manager asks me to take on an additional small piece of work. I still have to complete my full shift on the phone line, so I start coming in about 20 or 30 minutes early each day to get it done. My workplace doesn’t offer overtime, but we can save up extra hours and take time off later on. I take about one day a month off from this extra work but am always careful to request a day when no one else is off. One day my manager comes up to me.)

Manager: “You’re taking too much time off. You need to stop working extra hours.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well, I only come in early to get [piece of work] done, so if you can give me half an hour during the day, I’ll just do it then.”

Manager: “I can’t take you off the phone during your shift; we’re too busy.”

Me: “Okay, so, you want me to stop doing [piece of work], then?”

Manager: “No, it needs doing, and you manage it twice as fast as the last person did. I don’t want to have to give it to someone else; it’ll take too long for them to learn to do it properly!”

Me: “So… when you gave it to me you expected it to take an hour a day and I’m only taking half that, I can’t come in early to complete it, and you won’t give me time during my shift for it. When do you want me to do it?”

Manager: “Just sort it out. You’re building up too many hours!” *walks off*

(I continued as I had been doing. The manager never came and spoke to me about it again.)

And People Wonder Why Millennials Are Becoming Entrepreneurs

, , , , , , , | | Working | August 5, 2019

Starting out, let me explain why there wasn’t a mass walkout and I am the only one that quit despite us basically being terrorized and treated like slaves. The job market was in shambles in my city at that time with something like a 40% unemployment rate. I knew someone with a doctorate degree in theoretical physics working at a local fast food joint as it was literally the only place hiring. To quit any job, no matter how bad, was financial suicide and a guarantee that you would not find a new one.

I always worked customer service, food service, and hospitality. At 24, I decided it was time to find a job with benefits and potential for career advancement, and I took a job with a global monstrosity that started out as a mom and pop store. I felt right at home.

I worked hard and constantly took the worst jobs and the worst days off to make sure I would be there on the weakest staffing days to rub elbows with management. It worked, and ten months in I found myself with an offer to promote to low-level management starting January 1.

Starting the weekend before Thanksgiving, the overnight manager started to under-staff shifts — to preserve his end-of-year bonus — and acted surprised when people called out. He would then bully us into staying over with threats of write-ups for not finishing our “assigned tasks.” Upper management was notorious for just signing off on write-ups without looking into their validity, so each staff being assigned 13+ hours of labor to complete in 6 hours was no defense. Since an employee could only get two of those write-ups in a rolling 13-month period before termination, we all would stay over, as well as skip our breaks and lunches to finish.

But there was a catch: since any approved overtime would count against his $73,000 bonus — approximately $0.11 per approved hour — he would never file the approval forms for the OT. This meant that it was considered unapproved, meaning that we were required to get approval to cut hours off our regular shifts to equal out what we stayed over. He, of course, never approved us to cut those hours.

This was resulting in weekly write-ups, from the same manager, for unapproved overtime on those of us that made it to work every day despite the weather and missed holiday get-togethers with our families. Every week we would get our write-up and he would get praise for getting everything done with less staffing hours then typically allocated.

Thankfully, write-ups for unapproved OT didn’t carry a lot of weight, but for three months they counted against your points for promotion opportunities. This went on until the week before Christmas.

When I got my weekly write-up, I was told by the store manager — who offered me my promotion — I would be suspended for “overtime abuse” the next time my manager submitted a write-up for unapproved overtime hours. Determined to not lose my promotion, I started telling the manager no. The second time I refused to stay over without him signing an “overtime approval form” and giving me a physical signed copy, before I hit overtime, he wrote me up for “abusive actions towards a member of management” and “actions with intent to undermine the integrity of management and store policies.”

This instantly cost me my promotion, which greatly upset me, and then, like the idiot he is, he left me alone in his office to sign the write-ups and the acknowledgement that I was no longer promoting.

Initially, I was going to just accept it and resolve myself to spending the next 13 months working my tail off for minimum wage and go up for promotion as soon as they fell off. When I started reading the acknowledgement form, I found I was not eligible to promote to management until I was “write-up free” for five years. This meant six years and one month before I could even try to get promoted again. All because I followed policy.

So, rather than sign it, I wrote, “F*** OFF,” in sharpie on his brand-new desk — which he got for being such a great manager — walked out of his office, handed him my vest and name tag, shredded the write-ups and tossed them into the air like confetti, and told his no-longer-smug face that it was now my personal mission to get him fired.

He lost his cockiness when it sunk in I’d just quit. I could see little beads of panic sweat forming on his forehead, as he realized that the only person capable of performing certain highly-essential functions for his shift was walking out the door. He shouted after me, telling me that he could talk to the general manager and see if he could get the time frame cut down to three years. He offered to approve all of my overtime the rest of the season, offered me a cut of his bonus, and several other offers I can’t remember. Honestly, if he’d offered to withdraw the write-ups — which was still 100% an option but he never offered — I wouldn’t have accepted it, but I might not have followed through on my threat. I was too angry and too determined, and I didn’t care if I became homeless as long as I never had to work there again.

Now, how did I get him fired? Well, due to certain ADA requirements, I was permitted to carry a voice recorder with me at work so I could record important meetings, announcements, and reminders. When I got written up the first time for unapproved overtime, I started recording his “requests” to both me and coworkers. I never used them to dispute the write-ups, but I never deleted them, either. So, I uploaded all the recordings to my computer — nearly 18 hours of audio — and sent it to the home office, CCing every store manager and compliance officer in the district.

When I went in for my last paycheck, he was long gone. I was offered my promotion back, but I declined and said I wasn’t returning to retail.

After five months of being unemployed, living with my mom, and barely surviving, I moved to another state and got a job working with inmates and am very fulfilled.

Look Up Some Books On Work/Life Balance

, , , , | | Working | August 2, 2019

(I work in a library. My coworker gets invited to an out-of-state wedding and immediately requests that Friday off. It’s January, and the wedding isn’t until August. Three months later, the library announces its annual mandatory staff day training, and it happens to be the same day my coworker has already had approved for vacation. My boss takes my coworker aside.)

Boss: “You’re going to have to cancel your plans. Everyone is required to attend the training day.”

Coworker: “I know this, but I’m not canceling my plans. My vacation has already been approved before the staff day was even on the calendar. You and the deputy director have already signed the paperwork.”

Boss: “This is mandatory; you can’t get out of it.”

Coworker: “I already have my flight and hotel booked. I’m going to my friend’s wedding. You can’t un-approve of anything once the paperwork has already gone through.”

Boss: “I don’t like your attitude. When I was in your position, I worked at the library, held two other jobs, and went to school full time, and I always put the library first.”

Coworker: “That’s… good? But I’m still going to my friend’s wedding.”

Boss: “If you’re not at the training, we’ll write you up.”

Coworker: “I want to speak to a union rep about what they have to say about this.”

(Calls are made back and forth between the boss, union, coworker, deputy director, director, and human resources. The union argues that the already approved paperwork is binding, and that they will take any and all actions if the library denies my coworker her time off. The library very reluctantly relents.)

Boss: “I will have to mark this against you in your review; you’re not much of a team player.”

(The boss and the rest of upper management never let it go. For the rest of the time my coworker was employed by them, they held the fact that she missed a training day on a vacation that was approved even before the training was scheduled over her head.)