September 2nd, 2009

Ice King, Adventure Time

Why Many of Us Are Upset At Work

This is going to be a long rant about work, so if you don't want to hear some retail drama, then you may want to skip.

Right now on "Haruhi Suzumiya" they are doing the "Sighs" story. Its the story behind the making of the film shown in episode 00, "the Adventures of Mikuru Asahina". I won't go into the plot paticulars, but up until then, Kyon has sort of submitted himself to Haruhi or went along with her hair-brained schemes. During the filming of the show, she becomes more...abusive (the best word I could come up with on short notice) to everyone, mainly Mikuru (they shown her smacking Mikuru with her director's cone) and Kyon, who is essentially the "chore boy" who does all the undesirable tasks that no one wants to do. Her attitude starts becoming more and more abrasive and absurd to the point where Kyon actively "grows a pair" and let's her have it.

Not that I am saying my situation is similar to Kyon's, but I am getting that way where I work at. I am getting more and more aggrivated with some policy changes, and I think its about time that someone called them on their....mess.

List time:

- One major problem are the positions. The new policy is, evidently, only 4 and 8 hour shifts. I have no problem with that, but here is where the problem sets in. We have part time associates, and full time associates. Each set has their own benefits, you know, dental and what not. It has been that way, and a change in status is a change in benefits. My sister, for instance, is full time, so she gets the full timer's package. Now say she needs 35 hours to be full time, on an average monthly scale. Ok, so one week they schedule her just 29 hours. She didn't ask for time off, fewer hours or change her available shift times, but it will now be harder for her to reach the full time quota. Considering that working past your scheduled time is an offense, there isn't much you can do.

This is an example, but most full time workers are getting in that situation where they are, without warning, being changed from full time to part time. These are people with families and mortgages. Some depend on this job for their primary source of income. If you, again without warning or helping them, nearly force them to change their benefits, then I'm sorry, but you deserve scrutiny and complaints the media throws at you.

Rumor is that they are getting rid of full time position outside of management, and this is definately evidence of that. With the people getting cut hours, that means more people can be hired. So now we have more workers, but everyone has fewer hours. People are even willing to change job codes and do whatever it takes to work, but management does not want to help them. This is my definition of unethical, and, in my opinion, should be illegal.

- There is a new system in the works where we are forced to clock out no more than 15 minutes off our scheduled time for a whole week. To give an example, if I were 5 minutes past my time one night, then 3 the next, if I were to be 10 minutes past my schedule the night after, I would get coached or possibly dismissed. This causes unecessary stress for the workers. Some nights customers come in right when you leave, and do you know how many people take "Sorry, I have to clock out. Someone else can help you." well? No one I know of. Now they say that you can make up time by taking a longer lunch, but those of us that are going to get those 4 hour shifts, we don't get lunches, so are we up the peverbial creek without a paddle?

Our tasks are also going to that. "Ok, we need this display up by 7:00 pm". If I get it done more than 15-30 minutes after the deadline, then I will get coached at. Now I am not saying that they will be unreasonable, but considering that I am the buttwipe of all front end jobs, never going a night without casheiring, cart pushing, or people greeting, deadlines are moot.

- Speaking of front end jobs, its not that I am opposed to helping out from time to time, but people seem to abuse my good intentions. I personally hate pushing carts (a rant in and of itself, but the statement alone does it justice considering I think "hate" is a strong word). It doesn't take a graduate, a rocket scientist, or a PHD to do these jobs, yet certain individuals are always the ones who have to bail the front end out. I just think that they abuse this a little much, because everyone has a job and has to finish tasks. Some of us are rarely getting our work done, and it doesn't look good. If I say I am busy, then please find someone else. I don't say that too often, but when I legitimately have to, they ignore it and just make me do what they want. This is not respecting the individual.

- As I mentioned earlier, there are these things called "job codes". There is a primary job code, then there are secondary job codes. For instance, my primary job code is Furniture, but I can have several secondaries. Now in order to get a secondary job code, you have to talk to your assistant manager or the A.M. over the area you want coded for. When you are coded, then you can be scheduled in that area without getting a pay cut or increase.

Now I am sure I'm not the only one, but there are certain jobs out there you couldn't pay me to do. There are jobs and positions that I am vocal about not wanting to do. Now, I think the more humane and ethical thing to do is to be courteous and ask the worker if its fine to change or add job codes to their name. Well, I came in, and lo and behold, I am coded for *insert asinine job title here*, a job I am very vocal about not wanting. Think about this, you work in an office job you tolerate well and enjoy. Suddenly, they want to schedule you to do custodial work in the bathrooms for a while. How would you take that? About as well as I am handling this right now. Its demoralizing, depressing, disgusting, and it makes you think. Is my performance that bad? Am I seen as someone who should be doing *insert asinine job title here* instead of my regular job? Why did they choose me when there are others wanting the position? Why am I not getting the respect I deserve? That is why my overall attitude the past few weeks has been much less than usual. I am not happy, especially when they changed the job code, behind my back, without telling me. If they would have asked, it would be a different story, but they had to be underhanded, and it makes them look bad in the long run. Again, I am not the only one going through this, but I think its ridiculous.

- This has been a gripe for a while. I ask off for Sundays. That should not be a huge deal. I have a responsibility to my fellow members and God, so yes, I want Sundays off. When you either A) Make fun or B) Give me boatloads of grief, then yes, we will have problems. This isn't as bad as the others, but it is a persistant problem.

- There have been cases of people leaving for a vacation or something, then coming back and finding out they don't have a position anymore. There are also people in positions, like department managers, that are finding out that their position are being done away with and all they get are: 1) Find a new part time position, taking a cut in pay 2) leave or 3) do various jobs while again, taking a cut in pay. Now I know some struggling companies, such as car manufacturers or other places have to do that from time to time, but do you seriously think a company as big as the one I work at are really struggling all that bad that they are pushing the long-time associates out for people who will work for less pay? I highly doubt it. This and the first item are why I have lost nearly all respect for the company as a whole. While most of these are no doubt from the head office in Arkansas, some are at the fault of the local management staff as well, and I hope they get accounted for.

- Also, what is with all the dumb secrecy? The manager's know more than they let on, but they don't inform us at all. Every time I come in there seems to be some new policy, but no one tells me until I get talked to about it. Yes, ignorance is an excuse, because you didn't inform me. When did the art of store meetings become outmoded? In a company like this, communication is key, and we seem to suffer from that more than anyone else. Some of these new policies may be justifiable, but just telling us it change "just because" isn't good enough.

There are other problems that persist, but these are small compared to the glaring problem that I seriously think that they are shooting themselves in the foot and will wind up paying for ticking off most of their workforce. This is why there should be a union. Yes, they scare us by saying that we don't need them, but their explanation makes the place sound more like a cult than a good employer.

Now this rant isn't directed at certain people, and I am not angered at most of my coworkers, I am talking about us, the group who are getting this treatment, who have to live off of the paychecks they give us, taking paycuts and lower positions than any of the managers are. We are a group, and while we may not see eye to eye on policy, we can stand together and agree that these things are not right. I am not suggesting that we form a comittee or anything, but lets not fight amongst ourselves. We need to realize that our issues are with a higher authority in the company.

This rant is just the tip of the iceburg, but please know that this is why I have been more bitter, cynical to the point of being jaded, and more or less a person who refuses to talk about work. If you ask me, I will just rant and ramble like this. If you would like to leave a comment or a rant reply yourself, feel free to below.

Please keep my job out of conversations not about my job until furthur notice.

The Allengator