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A Dog Licking The Rod That Beats It ... In The World Of Work
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 6585
Location: Some pub in England

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:53 pm    Post subject: A Dog Licking The Rod That Beats It ... In The World Of Work Reply with quote

"People come up with the most pious lies about work. It's just another form of idolatry, a dog licking the rod that beats it: Work." - from Q, by 'Luther Blissett'

Miramax Offer Unpaid Internship For 'Donation' Of $25,000

So you can guess that this thread comes from a current place of frustration with my job. I sat down to lunch with three co-workers today and we all did the usual complaining about work. Except mine was a little more frustrated (because I have the soul of a poet, or something). But I have no actual idea why I'm spending 4/5ths of my waking life going to, doing, and coming home from a thing I get absolutely no joy from. And I lose sleep worrying over it, too.

Now I am well aware, and furiously jealous, that many people do work they find rewarding and fulfilling. And I am also well aware that my own career path is limited by my wasting a perfectly good education, and also, upon wasting that education, dedicating myself to a dying industry.

And now I spend my one life - my one little life - earning barely enough to pay bills to pay for services I find inadequate, making myself miserable throughout. Seriously, as amazing as I am, I'm only alive once, and I don't want this to be it.

But as we sat eating our Sainsbury's Meal Deal lunches, I harked back to the '80s (actually a horrible time in the UK, and certainly not one most of my colleagues recall) when life was a pit of despair, but with an unquestioned student grant, or dole check, or arts fund bursary at the end of every month. I, a Northerner, professed fond (and no doubt misguided) nostalgia for THATCHER.

I even bounced around hippy ideals: I could run away and join a monastery (no tits, no pizza), a kibbutz (far away, too much falafel), a circus (too little co-ordination on my part).

Have any of you ever felt the same? What did you do? How do you cope? What are your favourite hobo signs?

TL;DR: complain about work here.
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 6585
Location: Some pub in England

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: A Dog Licking The Rod That Beats It ... In The World Of Reply with quote

Mr Gary wrote:
Miramax Offer Unpaid Internship For 'Donation' Of $25,000


I actually have no idea why I posted this article here, it doesn't really fit in with my own present grumpy, self-loathing state.

But it does show how Hollywood sucks, I guess!
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 18259
Location: under the bed

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, it's sort of the ultimate in job-idolatry: paying to get a non-paying job which will probably involve you doing primarily menial tasks, and probably subjected to disrespect and even verbal abuse. so yeah - sorta the job market in hell.

i will admit, i am one of those lucky people who (generally) enjoys my job. it's also something in an area that i had never even considered while in school, using skills that hardly existed at that time (so school couldn't have taught me much about it anyway). and that i pretty much just fell into, when i was so desperate to leave my old job that i was ready to take anything that paid a decent salary that i figured there was even half a chance that i could handle. for that matter, the job has grown far beyond the initial description. so the fact that i found a place where i was happy to work is just sheer luck. which i know doesn't help much.

i was determined to leave my previous job because management was shitty. one did get the occasional compliment, but it was quickly forgotten, while any complaint was held over your head and brought up at regular intervals for _years_ afterwards. and they jerked me around - i would ask for a raise, they would say "oh, but we know you like to do thus-and-so, and if we pay you that much, we can't afford to schedule you for that - in fact, we were going to put you on this thing just next week" and then, of course, at the last minute they would have to pull me out of that thing because reasons. so i didn't get the raise _or_ to do what i had been promised. and since i was usually replaced by people i knew got paid more than me....well, there ended up being a certain, shall we say, lack of trust on my part.

i was once so frustrated i quit on the spot...then went home and cried a couple of hours, realized i had absolutely nothing to survive on, so asked to come back - fortunately, they let me. but i think that was when i started making serious plans to escape - polishing up my resume, searching job listings, going on interviews, the lot. it's why i strongly advise looking for a new job _before_ you leave the old one - no point in adding the stress of potential starvation to the mix. it also gives you the freedom to concentrate on looking for jobs that actually interest you, or that let you do the things you like best. 'sall i can say.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i work at walmart. 'nuff said. ask sam what i think of it!

actually even though 'nuff said i still have more to say on it because i am an overflowing fountain of bile and venom but i actually just got home from work and i'm limping around like i've been shot and i feel like i just got run over by a bus and goddammit i'm gonna go to sleep before i pour a jeremiad about walmart onto sinfest with all the righteous fury of a thousand angry prophets so bye bye
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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Location: Some pub in England

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So that was a bit of a rant I had, above. But it still stands. I think since I was about 19 I have wracked my brains for a way out of working to pay bills I actually don't want to pay. I think some sort of defect in my mind rails against what I'm meant to do - work, buy a house, get a wife, raise a couple of kids, encourage them to work, buy houses, get spouses, raise a couple of kids. Partly it's because I just don't see the point of the 'real life' I'm supposed to have joined fifteen years ago. Partly it's because I'm a lazy arse. I must be amongst the 100% of people who think they're better than whatever shit they've earned in life, I guess.

Which is not to be a downer on anyone working, being married, raising kids, or owning property. I just never understood why in the wild universe that was supposed to by only option.

It's not. I'm just too dumb or too coward, or both, to do something other, and too lazy and wrapped in my own little headspace to make any head way on it if I were minded to.

And it's not as if I've never done work I didn't find enjoyable and rewarding, even across times in my life when I might have had wildly varying ideas of 'rewarding work' (running nightclubs, sleeping with girls and drinking too much; running pubs, being an actual active community member and drinking too much).

Just another guy getting old and whingeing about wasted opportunities, I guess.

TL:DR, anyone got a circus I can join?
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Drooling Fan Grrl



Joined: 02 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One circus, as ordered.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6369
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh

so i work at walmart. i work on the truck team. we unload the trucks, we sort out all the freight, we pull it all out to the sales floor, we stock half of the store, we do various backroom work pulling merchandise out of the backroom, and we occasionally gather up shopping carts from the parking lot. plus we do whatever the hell else management decides to foist upon us. i've carved out a niche for myself in this whole process; each truck comes with a bunch of big cardboard boxes full of mixed up shit, and we have a station full of gray plastic totes where some poor soul gets to sort them all out. i am that poor soul and i am the fucking Aaron Rodgers of that shit. i know what i'm doing back there, i'm focused and disciplined, i get my work done, and as a result i am one of those valuable employees who's never allowed to call out or take a day off. we all make forty cents above minimum wage, except for the guys who have been with the company a long time and managed to get yearly raises. i got a raise in july, but that was because the great state of california raised minimum wage, not because i work in a place that rewards hard work.

everything bad you hear about this company is true. it's a soul-crushing place to work, where there aren't enough of you to get all the shit your unfeeling overbearing micromanaging bosses want done, and since there's nothing they can do about it, they just settle for saddling you with stress and squeezing every drop of productivity out of you until you are nothing but a withered husk with nothing to show for it. i've noticed that the people who have been with walmart the longest all seem to walk with a pronounced limp, which is really just emblematic of how this company operates. it all flows from chronic, systemic understaffing. there are not enough people to cover all the departments of the store, to keep the shelves reasonably organized, to keep the store clean, to work all the freight that comes off the truck, to put away all the overstock, and to deal with the constant ceaseless unrelenting grip of customers. i try to pace myself, i try to keep a reasonable perspective about how much i can get done, i do my level best to give no fucks about what goes on inside those walls, and yet i still come home worn down and stressed out.

i work on the second shift, from 4pm to 1am, 40 hours a week, and the store manager's intention is that the unloader crew's hours are not supposed to change. it sounds like a good deal in a company where lots of other people have to feed their kids on like 16 hours a week, but even that gets ruined. management is constantly fucking around with our hours, scheduling us to leave early and then coming by, begging us to stay, and getting all pissy if we don't. they are constantly coming up with new rules, changing their minds on established policies, and generally laying traps for us. there is no doing anything right in walmart. i was never trained to do my job, i just sort of picked it all up as i went, which means if there are rules i'm supposed to be following, i only find out about them when i break them. they claim that all this information is available on the company intranet, but you're only allowed to access the company intranet on the clock--and when you're on the clock there is always something a manager will have for you to do that's "more important" than whatever you were gonna do on the company intranet. there is no training, there is no hope for training, you just get thrown straight to the wolves and berated for getting bitten. as a result, we can't keep almost any of the new hires we make.

the store manager appears to like us, but he's not around very often. in the meantime, that seems to have engendered extra resentment and scrutiny from the rest of the store. it means we get nasty looks and comments from the rest of the store, particularly the overnighters. the overnighters used to handle stocking for the entire store; now they only do half of it, and as a result there are only half as many, and they appear to hate us for having taken their jobs. that resentment means we have managers actively hindering our work, refusing to allow us to use tools everyone else gets to use, making up new rules for us and only us, scrutinizing us to the detriment of their own crews. we have a fairly efficient and functional backroom process, so that means we have managers looking to climb up the ladder by getting their fingerprints all over our backroom and claiming credit for what we do. our current shift manager is particularly bad about this; she really had nothing substantial to change when she got back here, so instead she harps on meaningless minutiae and generally micromanages everything.

we have too many goddamned managers. i have eight different bosses, bob! eight! that means when i make a mistake, i have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. actually, i have eight different levels of bosses. i am indirectly responsible for the rise of two of them. my first boss here was sexually harassing one of the truck team, so i reported him to the mothership back in arkansas. they got rid of him. we thus commenced two months of a parade of managers trying to come into the backroom and run things their way, and inevitably failing. eventually they made two of us into hourly supervisors, which seems to entail a minor raise and getting generally completely constantly abused by upper management. i was offered one of those positions and declined it, because i don't really want my family history of stroke to catch up with me on the floor of a fucking walmart backroom, and yet i know that's exactly what they would've done to me. the two guys who wound up getting promoted have turned out to be power-hungry assholes and dipshits that have only sort of been recently restrained. and even then, the whole chain of command is usually circumvented at the whims of various salaried managers who wind up short-circuiting everything. our current shift manager, the one with the least respect for this whole chain of command, is a failed store manager and we can see why.

the one motivation i thought i had for doing my job well was to never be the guy who's leaving a bunch of shit for someone else to do that i should've gotten done myself. but any work i don't get done would fall to the overnighters, who hate me, because i'm an unloader who helped steal their jobs. the overnighters, despite having been whittled down, are still clearly favored over my crew. as a result, my crew isn't really treated like it's part of the rest of the store's crew. management doesn't tell us about store-wide initiatives or rules (unless we've already broken them, that is), they don't tell us about things like open enrollment for medicare last year, they don't tell us about resources we might use or need as employees, they don't really let us in on whatever employee appreciation measures the store takes...we just kinda exist outside the universe of the people they consider to be their employees. as a result of all that it feels like there are two sets of rules, one for my crew and the other for the rest of the store. it's as if we're independent contractors or vendors who just come in and run the backroom and go home. yet we're so essential to the way my store operates that things would fall apart if even one of the competent ones left. we are responsible for every single truck, including the ones that go to departments whose associates get paid more than us, as well as stocking half of the store. and so when we have the store manager telling us we kick ass and he'd put us up against any truck team in the market, i have to wonder why the hell we get treated like the problem team. and as a result of all that, it's hard to find the motivation to do much of anything around there.

one source of motivation might be my coworkers on the truck team but lol no. favoritism extends there as well; there are at least three guys who can get away with just being completely worthless jackoffs who wander around the store socializing with other employees instead of working, who don't do shit right when they do work, and who call out whenever the fuck they feel like it, and no one says anything about it. corporate policy allows you to call out three times in a rolling six month period, and i've used all mine up. so while those useless jackoffs can call out as much as they like, i don't get to, because i am one of the best employees on the truck team and therefore i am too useful to be allowed to have privileges or leeway on anything. and as for the rest of the truck team, well, most of 'em are pretty dumb. one of them is basically the answer to the question "what if richard sherman was mexican and good at halo instead of football but thought being good at halo was as prestigious as being good at football and also worked at walmart i guess?" i've gotten very tired of his racist sense of humor and general mouthy, bullying antics, but he seems to treat this place like prison, including the prison-gang mentality, and i know if i ever did anything he considered a betrayal, he'd find some way to retaliate over it. he seems to have some measure of genuine respect for me, which confuses the hell out of me, so all i can really do is just endure him for the time being. so those are the people who would stand to benefit from all my hard work, and as a result it's hard to find any motivation to do anything at all.

so i hate this job. with any luck, i'll be able to quit this job in about a month, but i've said that before and seen my plans fall through and wind up stuck here anyway. in the meantime i just hate all of this. i hate what this job has done to my body, i hate what it's done to my mentality, i hate contributing to such a vile company, i hate the thought that slaving away and breaking my back only serves to enrich the walton family and a bunch of parasites on wall street and achieves absolutely nothing else, i hate that i break my back and slave away for ungrateful people who are out to undermine me, and i hate myself for putting myself in a position where i'd have to work here.

tl;dr my job sucks and i suck and everything sucks
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Ennis



Joined: 09 Jun 2013
Posts: 992
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read that whole thing and holy hell, it sucks just as much as seemingly every other Walmart employee story I've read. While I'm sure there are a lot of people with sucky jobs here down under, we don't really have anything like a Walmart and except for late night shopping and certain exceptions, most stores close at 5-7 every night. Though inconvenient, every time I read something like this I'm glad there are such strict rules about trading hours (not to mention our minimum wage rates). Reminds me of this episode of Leverage, which if you haven't seen the show I highly recommend.
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 18259
Location: under the bed

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow - i really hope you get out ASAP, ShadowCell - that really is grim. it all just reinforces my decision never to set foot in a walmart ever, that company is just so destructive on so many levels.

i really don't understand how companies with managements like that keep from collapsing. you are a valuable employee, so they abuse you. which means a) you have way more motivation than the average employee to leave; b) you are more likely than the average employee to be able to leave; so c) since they have depended so heavily on you (the fact that you never get a break means no one else has experience with your job), when you _do_ leave, things are really going to be in a mess. and i imagine that keeps happening over and over and over again, and yet nothing is learned from it.
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SC, thanks for writing that. I ate up every word. My work situation is very different from yours, but mirrors many of the things you brought up.

Especially, this:

Quote:
there is no training, there is no hope for training, you just get thrown straight to the wolves and berated for getting bitten.


In my own work news, my line manager - whom I unabashedly love as a wonderful man and human being - called in sick today. He's been in to work SIX times since Dec 23rd last year. He goes on vacation for two weeks tomorrow. He retires in May, and really has given any of the fucks he ever intended to give, and will give no more. It's not easy working in my position without the protection of my line manager. And especially not because his boss - in a rare moment of clarity - picked up a fuck tonne of my work on Monday and put it on my line manager's desk, stating loudly and clearly that this was not my work, it was his. Upon calling in sick, all that work has now been put back on MY desk. Though of course now, it's almost a week overdue and I've been assigned other tasks. That's three full days of work I need to complete tomorrow. I've tried staying late, I've tried coming in early, but which ever way I do it I can not cope with the volume of things I'm given to do and am therefore breaking company policy left, right and centre - with my annual review and contract renewal coming up in eight weeks or so, I expect to get shit canned, and see a CV that once read of perfect career progression now read with less sense than a Kit Smart poem.

Actually, the worst thing is the effect this has on my sister. She has worked for the same company, in a very different position to mine, for ten years. She recommended me, and encouraged me to apply for my position. And now when she see's the humourless, bitter husk I've been emptied into she has this look like she wants to say 'sorry'.

AH! Also! I remembered this evening that the evening classes I was meant to enrol at in January began on Tuesday. Did I enrol? No, I was too fucking caught up in the bullshit of earning massive bonuses for other people who just love to swear at me and my colleagues in language that frankly makes even me blush. Still, what's another six months of not furthering your education when you're the wrong side of thirty-something?

Fuck it, it'll be reet.
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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Location: Some pub in England

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drooling Fan Grrl wrote:
One circus, as ordered.


Thank you for that, that actually looks really cool. Smile
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KillAllMen



Joined: 24 Mar 2014
Posts: 553
Location: Thunder Bluff.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought my job was rough, but after reading these stories, I'm never going to complain again. Shocked
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Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A breakthrough of sorts. I had an epiphany at work; there are three of us doing the same job, and my two colleagues seem to be taking everything in their stride, whilst I go quietly (and sometimes loudly) crazy. So I picked up a pen and jotted down some figures. Colleague 1 deals with 505 customers at any one time. Colleague 2 deals with 496 customers at any one time. I'm dealing with ... 1197 customers at any one time.

I'm the lowest paid, and the only one without a contract that extends beyond the spring.

So I mention this to my colleagues. Colleague 1 is shocked, Jesus, really, my God, you're right! Jesus! Colleague 2 says 'well, I used to have to do all of this on my own, so you'll just have to manage'.

So I took it to the big boss, under the guise of 'you have to know that I am failing to meet the expectations you have of me, and here's why'. He was actually receptive, and told me not to lose sleep over it. That between my and my colleagues, and my boss when he returns, we needed to adjust things. He had no concrete suggestions beyond 'yeah but in 12 months it'll even out' though. I pointed out that with my contract renewal is in eight weeks, not 12 months, and he told me again not to worry. So, no fix yet, but at least I can relax on Sunday night and sleep and prepare for the onslaught of next week.

/end vent
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KillAllMen



Joined: 24 Mar 2014
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Location: Thunder Bluff.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Gary wrote:
I'm dealing with ... 1197 customers at any one time.


I'm curious about something. Is this a situation where you made the mistake of being good at what you do so customers go directly to you now rather than work with the others? Because it's been my experience that when you're good at what you are do, people catch wind of it and start to just go directly to you rather than anybody else on the team which causes avalanches of requests\tickets assigned to you.

Or is this more like you're just having everything dumped on you and the others aren't really pulling their weight?

"Both" is also an acceptable answer. Laughing
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Mr Gary



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's neither, to be honest. The three of us were assigned different tasks, but found that if one was absent, their workload didn't get done. So it was decided relatively recently that we would all do the same exact set of tasks, but divided geographically (kinda, I won't bore you with it).

It's very dull, but the plan was sound - we'd all be more accountable, but also more autonomous. But the apportioning of the workload was so arbitrary and had absolutely no thought process. 18 areas, between 3 people? Yeah, 1 person does 5 areas, 1 does 6, and that mug over there can do 7. Oh, and make 3 of his 7 areas the 3 largest out of the 18.

I feel happier now because I thought I was going crazy until I added the numbers up, and my suspicions were confirmed and acknowledged. So when my line manager returns we'll either amend things, or I'll quit.

The clarity feels nice.
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