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The Case Of The Missing Manager

, , , , | Working | August 20, 2021

I began working for a temp job agency while going to school, and one of the places I ended up at was a machine parts warehouse. My task was simple: the shift leader would hand me a stack of orders printed on index cards, and I would go through the warehouse and locate the items printed on the card. I would put them in a plastic container, put the containers on a rolling cart, and then roll the filled cart up to a conveyor belt for the assigned shipping staff to box up for shipping. When I ran out of order cards, I would go to the shift leader for a new stack. Simple.

My feelings leaned in the middle about this particular job; the pay wasn’t really that great, and everyone largely ignored me unless there was an error somewhere. One of my peeves was that the shift leader would often go MIA, so I wouldn’t be able to locate him when I needed a new stack of order cards.

After about two weeks, I received a call from the job agency I was with and was informed that the upper management complained that my productivity level was substandard and that their surveillance footage would show me wandering around or sitting and not doing anything. I did explain the issue regarding the shift leader disappearing, but I also made sure to do so in a manner as to not shift blame, promising them to try harder.

A couple of days later, I encountered the same issue with the shift leader being MIA once again, and this time, I made sure to speak with the staff and make it known that I needed to know where he was so I could continue working. That was when someone told me, “Actually, he keeps the order cards over there on that table. I’d say just grab a stack and keep trucking!”

I grabbed a stack and got right back to work. However, about an hour later, I heard a series of loud menacing buzzes and alarms go off near the shipping conveyor belt, which was later followed by a loud voice behind me bellowing, “WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!” I turned to see the shift manager looking like he was ready to blow a fuse. 

He grabbed the stack of cards out of my hand.

Manager: “WHO TOLD YOU TO TAKE A STACK OFF THAT TABLE?!”

I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble or shift blame.

Me: “I apologize. I couldn’t find you, and I really needed to get back to work.”

Manager: “SO, YOU JUST DECIDE TO DO MY JOB AND ASSIGN YOURSELF WHATEVER THE H*** YOU WANT?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”

Me: “I was told that I was not being productive—”

Manager: “SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST TAKE MY PLACE?! YOU’RE THE SHIFT MANAGER NOW?!”

As it turns out, the shift manager has to enter a batch number of each stack to let the main computer know which batch of orders to begin processing. Since the stack hadn’t been processed through, the shipping staff was scanning order cards that were unregistered, which caused a buildup of system errors and ultimately caused a fatal system crash.

The shift manager ordered me to come with him, and he took me to the shipping area.

Manager: *Screaming* “In the ten-plus years you all have been working here, since when has anyone been allowed to make their own assignments? Whose job is it to decide on which batch to work on? Mine! But apparently, we have a new manager on board! I never got the memo!”

I looked over at the jerk who suggested I take a stack, and of course, she avoided eye contact with me.

He took me into his office and shredded me apart while reminding me of his leadership position and repeatedly saying, “Who do you think you are? Seriously, who do you think you are? What gives you the right to come in here and try to take over the place?”. Then, he sent me home for the day. 

The following morning, I predictably got a phone call from my temp job agency gently scolding me for the incident, but surprisingly, I was told they still wanted to have me over there.

UH-UH! I asked for either a new assignment or just a termination. I was moved over to a parcel handling warehouse where I remained for the next three years until I completed my degree.

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