Let’s Dive Right Past This One, Shall We?

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2018

(I teach older kids who can already swim, but who want to improve their swimming. I usually have mixed groups, where the oldest are eighteen years old and the youngest eight. I also teach a brother and sister, ten and fourteen years old respectively. One day, only the boy shows up. The group has gathered for roll call.)

Boy: “[Sister] is not coming. She told me I had to say she was sick. But she’s not really sick. She is MEN-STRU-A-TING.”

(The group snickers, but the boy doesn’t understand why.)

Me: “Yeah, that’s understandable, and completely normal. Also, [Boy], I don’t think your sister would have wanted the whole group to know that.”

Boy: “Why not?”

Paying The Price For Not Being Nice

, , , | Right | August 27, 2018

(I work at a children’s swim school as the front desk receptionist. I am on the phone with a customer who has called and wants to sign up his son. After setting up a schedule:)

Me: “Would you like to take a tour before you sign up?”

Caller: “No, I’ve been there before. My girlfriend’s son used to go there.”

Me: “Oh, okay and is [Child] your girlfriend’s son, too?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, what’s the older son’s name? Because he’s been here before and they’re siblings, you don’t have to pay the registration fee.”

Caller: “Oh, no, the older one is not my son.”

Me: “Yes, I understand that, but you said that your girlfriend is the mother to both of the boys, so I can apply the discount—”

Caller: *interrupts me* “I told you that [Older Child] is not my son, d*** it!”

Me: “Okay, sir, I’ll add the $25 back to your total.”

(He paid the fees and I’ve yet to hear from him since.)

I Swim Like A Girl? Thanks!

, , , , , | Right | July 30, 2018

(At the pool where I work, 90% of the staff are women. We have “parent-teacher conferences” twice during our lesson sessions to tell the parents how the kids are doing. The two kids involved in this are brothers, and the oldest is very clearly hydrophobic. After three days, he finally gets in the water, and I consider it a huge victory. The kids are brought to each lesson by their dad.)

Me: “[Student #1] is progressing well, but [Student #2] finally got in and swam a little today, instead of just putting his feet in! I’m very proud of him for working through that so quickly; he—”

Dad: *interrupting* “He wouldn’t have taken so long if he wasn’t such a girl!”

Me: *at a loss for words, considering I’m a woman* “I… That’s not the issue here.”

Dad: “Yes, it is! You need to just throw them in the deep end and let them figure it out! I tried doing that already and he almost s*** himself!”

Me: “Sir, this is a family environment; please don’t swear.”

Dad: “I’ll do whatever I d*** well please! If my kids weren’t such little b****es, this wouldn’t be a problem!”

(At this point, the dad is looming over me, with only the bar of the pool separating us. I’m an almost six-foot-tall woman, but he still has a few inches on me, and I’m starting to feel unsafe. One of my coworkers notices and comes to stand next to me. This coworker is also a woman, but 6’4″, and she was a state champion thrower for our high school track team, and has maintained the arm muscles after graduating.)

Coworker: “You do realize you’re yelling at a state champion swimmer, right? Saying your children swim like ‘girls’ is a compliment around here. See that board?” *points at the school record swimming board on the wall* “See that name that’s on there a half dozen times? That’s your kids’ swimming teacher. Now, lower your voice, or I will remove you myself.”

(My coworker doesn’t wait for an answer and just leaves.)

Dad: *much quieter* “I’m sorry for yelling. What were you saying before I interrupted you?”

(I never had an issue with the dad again, and just recently, my boss from the pool emailed to tell me the eldest son has joined the swimming team, because he wants his name on the board “with his favorite teacher.” Glad to see the kids didn’t get their dad’s s***ty personality!)

Zero-Hour Contracts Are Not Worth The Hours They Grant

, , , | Working | April 25, 2018

(The pool I work at hires a new aquatic supervisor, who hasn’t managed a pool before. We are optimistic at first, but it soon becomes apparent that she doesn’t take ethics into consideration when it comes to scheduling. She starts shortening shifts and not giving people a lot of hours. Quite a few people have quit as a result. She also somehow went over with the aquatics budget, even though we have no idea what she spent it on. To help out during our staff shortage, I’m working every closing shift, since I’m in school during the day, but it’s becoming very tiring. My boss knows this and promises to help me out once she hires more people, while still giving me 15 to 20 hours a week. One day, she comes to me with a question.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], I’m about to interview some people and I just looked at the starting wage for new hires. Is this right?”

(I look at the sheet of paper and confirm that it is correct.)

Boss: *stunned* “Seriously? But you and the other lifeguards make way more than that.”

Me: “Yes, but we’ve been working here a couple of years, and we get a raise with each successful performance review. That’s why we make more.”

Boss: “Hm…”

(She stands there for an awkward moment, deep in thought.)

Me: “Uh… Do you have a lot of people scheduled for interviews?”

Boss: “Oh, yeah. It’s going to be so much better from here on out.”

Me: “Great.”

(The next few weeks go on without a hitch, and we hear about the new hires coming in. We are about to start lessons one day when my boss comes to talk to me.)

Boss: “[My Name], we have a new guard coming in after lessons to shadow you on closing procedures. Afterwards, he’ll be taking over.”

Me: “Oh, nice! Sure, that will be no problem.”

Boss: “Yep, and I’m going to put out the new schedule soon. You’ll see it’ll be a lot easier for you next month.”

(Suddenly, I have a bad feeling about that last comment, a sinking feeling in my stomach. Maybe it’s how she emphasizes that it will be a lot easier that gets me to question further.)

Me: “Uh, how many hours did I get?”

Boss: *looks at me, puzzled* “You wanted some closings taken off, right?”

Me: “Uh, yeah. But I still get 15 to 20 hours, right?”

Boss: “Oh, you can see on the schedule; it goes out later.”

(That did little to calm my nerves, and I spent the rest of lessons dreading it. Sure enough, the boss dropped off the new schedule while I was busy and promptly left the building so I couldn’t talk to her. I looked at the schedule and discovered that I’d been cut down to two hours a week, and so had every senior lifeguard there. All of the shifts were taken up by new guards, and it was obvious that she did this to save money. Her bright idea was to hire new guards and give them all the hours at a lower wage, then cut our hours to save money. It made a lot of people mad and, guess what? It didn’t work! When you give new people a lot of responsibility with little training and no probation period, you get pools that aren’t opened or closed properly, staff that don’t show up for shifts, and many customer complaints for poor programming. I quickly gave my notice and found another job, not caring about the mess she had to clean up.)

Pay Out, Or You’ll Pay In No Staff

, , , , | Working | April 23, 2018

(I work at a well-known non-profit organization as a camp counsellor and lifeguard. When I had just gotten my lifeguarding qualifications, I wanted a job that was flexible and gave me good hours. This place is perfect in that regard, BUT they only pay minimum wage. Lifeguards usually make more because of the training we receive and the responsibility. However, our wage is, at its highest, $11 an hour — and that is only this year. The way it balances out is that we are able to work more hours, and we get our recertifications paid for. Unfortunately, the way lifeguards are treated at this place has gone downhill over the past couple of years. It all starts when we have staff training and we are told we will have a new policy. This is the tail end of the presentation.)

Upper Management: “…so, in conclusion, we have to keep you as part-time employees because if you are full-time, we have to pay more money than what we have in the budget. As a result, nobody can work over 29.5 hours a week.”

(Since a lot of us are still in high school and don’t want that many hours, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I realize how limiting it is when another pool with the same organization desperately needs lifeguards. I decide to try and help out, thinking I can get more hours. They are grateful for the help, until we all learn I can’t work over 29.5 hours between both pools. This means that I can’t help them, even though they really need the help. It also gets worse when I try to work my usual job at a summer camp, and maintain weekend hours at the pool.)

Boss: “I just got word from human resources. You can’t work at the summer camp and get hours for the pool. They are worried you’ll go over and they will have to pay you overtime.”

Me: “What? But the summer camp job is a separate department. Plus, I’m only working 35 hours, and then I have my five-hour shift on Saturday.”

Boss: “They said it doesn’t matter. It’s the same company, so you can’t work for both. Even when I told them I desperately need you on that Saturday shift, they said you would work two extra hours and that’s it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s not worth it for me to come in for two hours.”

Boss: “I figured as much.”

(Things get worse further along when we have another meeting.)

Upper Management: “…due to this change, we can no longer cover your recertification courses 100%. You will have to pay first, and then we will reimburse four hours pay for the course.”

Me: “So, are you increasing our pay?”

Upper Management: “No, pay is fixed at the current rate.”

Me: “How is that fair? Our rate is the way is it because you pay for our recertifications. Now you’re taking that away and not adjusting that?”

Upper Management: “No, you are still getting covered; we are just doing it differently. You pay first and you write in the hours for your course. Then, when it all works out, you’ll still be covered for almost the full amount.”

Me: “It actually doesn’t work out that way. You don’t want us working over 29 hours, nor will you pay us more than four hours. Now a typical lifeguarding recert is $50 to $60. I am making $11 an hour, so I will get paid only $44 for that time served.”

Upper Management: “Well, we did say not 100%, but it’s close—”

Me: “That is not including my standard first-aid I have to recertify, which requires me to run a full course every other year. That can cost almost $200. Or my instructor’s recertification. Furthermore, will you pay us to take more advance lifeguarding courses?”

Upper Management: “We will only do the four hours’ pay for recertifications.”

(Long story short, it didn’t balance out and they never increased our pay. I quit soon after and learned that the organization is having trouble maintaining lifeguards. Gee, I wonder why?)

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