Why Treat People Like Humans When You Can Treat Them Like Shit?

*please note; I wrote this at some point last week, and haven’t gone through it for continuity, errors, etc*


I love dick head employers.  Seriously.  They’re the absolute best.

When the economy turns around (I say “when” because, sweet baby jesus, it has to turn around at some point), almost every company that is currently employing people are so fucking screwed.

See, right now, companies can get away with treating people like shit because they know that the options for other employment are so limited.  They can pay a non-livable wage, screw with people’s holidays and scheduled time off, tell people at the last minute that their schedule for the day has changed, all of this nonsense that is not any way to treat a human being, and get away with it because most of the time, the only other option we have is unemployment.

Sidebar:  Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when being unemployed seems preferable to being employed?  Think about this; if you have a job, almost any job, you very rarely qualify for state or government assistance.  Even if you’re making eight bucks an hour, you’re making “too much” to receive help.  Let me tell you; unless you’re in high school and you’re just working to make money (which, great, good for you), people can’t live on that kind of money.  Not without constantly sacrificing one bill or another.  If you have to question which utility to pay each month, you’re not making enough.  It’s not about money management at that level of income; it’s about reality.  But because you’re employed, you can’t get financial help.  Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?  I know a lot of people who receive food stamps (some legitimately, others not so much), and it seems that the only cost they consider when applying is if you have children.  If you have kids, you can qualify for extra money.  I could be wrong on this; they may consider electric bills or water bills—I’m not really sure.  But it doesn’t sound like they consider things like rent, or mortgage payments, or old student loans, or credit card bills (which are, often, run up because it’s the only way one can afford to live).  That seems insane to me.  I would think that people who are trying to pay back college loans should be able to qualify for government aid of some form.  It seems ridiculous to me that people who have put out all this money that they didn’t have to begin with who now can’t afford to pay it back because they can’t find a job (or at least a decent paying job) because the economy is so shitty can’t qualify for something like food stamps because the loans they’re desperately trying to pay back aren’t considered as an expense when applying for food stamps.

End Sidebar.

So, asshole employers. 

As most of you know, I’ve stayed fairly silent about my job over the past year or so.  Mostly because bitching, no matter how anonymous, tends to catch up to you at some point.  Even when I’m on Facebook, I don’t mention where I work, or even mention if I’m working or if something about work has pissed me off.  Just easier that way.

But so much shit just builds up and at some point, it’s even vent or explode.

I’m choosing what is hopefully the lesser of two evils.

So, my lovely company has come up with this brilliant idea that, if we have a scheduled holiday that we are permitted to take (and sometimes we have to work the holidays, which is fine if there’s actual work to be done), we then have to work ten hours a day for the rest of the week to “make up” for the holiday.

Take a moment to reread that.

On top of a scheduled 8-hour holiday, we are expected to work 40 hours for the week.  I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before in my life.  We have to “make up” the time they’re giving us off.  How does that make any sort of sense?  Please—someone explain it to me.  It’s like being punished for having a holiday.

This is something completely made up; it’s not in our handbook, and it’s not something that, for the entire year this place has been open, that has been done.  Also, despite what one of the managers from one other buildings has said, this is not common practice at the other buildings.  I know this because people who have worked at those buildings have never had that sort of schedule, unless the work load has been such that was necessary.  And if that’s the case, the holiday is usually worked.

I’ll get to handbook issues in a moment.  Don’t let me forget.

Take, for example, the week of the Fourth of July.  Falls on a Thursday in ’13.  As such, our company, on the schedule they handed out to us, designated July 5th as company holiday so that we could have a long weekend (four days off in a row would be heaven).  Randomly, at the end of last week, the douches decide that, no—not gonna have Friday off.  Can’t do that.  Can’t have a four-day weekend.  What would the customer think?!  Their purchase would be delayed for a whole day?  *GASP* 

(This could bring me to a whole other sidebar about instant gratification taking too long, and how we as an American people have become way too accommodating to the population at large—we’re all guilty of demanding what we want the moment we want it, like stunted three-year-olds.  We are, somehow, afraid to tell people “No,” as if that would crush the spirit of humankind beyond recovery.  But I think I’ll save that for a later entry.)

Just to reiterate; months ago, every employee was handed two copies of our holiday/pay schedule.  One copy was in the form of a flyer, the other is a copy that can attach to our ID badges, so that they are literally always with us. 

A weekish ago, I start asking about our two-day holiday, and am met with blank stares from all of our forms of supervisors, as if I’m making this up.  As if they never once looked at our holiday schedule.  We weren’t told until just this past Friday that were not, in fact, getting Friday off.  Oh no; 10 hours Monday through Wednesday, off Thursday, then come back in for 10 hours on Friday.  What’s the point of having people work extra hours for work that hasn’t accumulated?  Where is the logic in this?  It’s so we “don’t have to work Saturday.”  Bull shit; they’re doing it because they’re assholes and because they can. 

It’s interesting to note that none of the mucky-mucks are here. 

Actually, one is here.  It will actually be interesting to see who’s here on Friday.

But seriously, the blatant disregard for the lives of the people who work here.  People have every right in the world to have made plans for their long weekend because they have been given no indication that their long weekend wouldn’t be a thing.  But believe me when I say that these dicks wouldn’t hesitate to write someone up for not being here on a designated holiday.

To go along with this, I’ve been hearing a whole lot of this “we’re a team” thing, which is a giant bone of contention within my department.  This is because any time some other department needs help, they completely stop our process so we can go help them, which usually puts us behind.  However, when we’re behind, not one other department comes over to help us.  In fact, I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the other departments stroll out the front door early because they ran out of work, while we were left to struggle to catch up.  I wish I were exaggerating about this, but it is the norm.  We’re only a team if one or two certain departments need help.  If my department is struggling, it doesn’t matter.  They make us work the weekend.  99% of the time it’s without a supervisor or manager present, because THEY don’t want to come in on the weekends, though somehow it’s perfectly fine for the peons to give up their lives.

Seems fair, right?

By the way, I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now, thinking I should just suck it up; that’s the way it is everywhere.  While that may be true, that is most definitely NOT something that should be the norm.  The fact that most people go into work EXPECTING to be treated like shit shows that there’s something very wrong with our workforce.

At any rate, this “we’re a team” bullshit is their way of keeping us around longer, simply because they can.  Even though the other department does not actually need assistance at the moment.  Instead of letting people go home “early,” they find busy work to keep people around for 10 hours.  My hand is already twitching at the phone to call HR; the moment I find out they’ve let some other department go home and we’re the only ones sticking around, it’s fucking ON.  Being a team means we’re all supposed to be at there to get the job done, not just a select few who are constantly being shit on.

What kills me is that NO ONE FUCKING QUESTIONS ANY OF THIS SHIT.  One “higher up” person decides that 10 hour work days to compensate for a holiday is a grand idea, and not one manager, supervisor, whomever, fights them on this.  They just nod vapidly and pass on the information.  No one Is willing to fight this sort of bullshit.

I’ve tried.  I’ve contacted HR; they are supremely unhelpful.

Briefly (ish), about my previous interactions with these people…they’re not actually here for us.  They’re here to support the upper management and that’s about it.  If I’m not mistaken, my most recent entry was about the injustices that not only I, but my coworkers face daily.  Well, I finally got fed up and relayed most of that to HR.  At first, my contact seemed helpful and interested in solving my problems; it quickly became apparent that she felt, more or less, that I (and my coworkers, for that matter) should be doing her job.  That we should be confronting our superiors about these problems and handling it for ourselves.  I don’t agree with that; first of all, on several occasions for several issues, I did in fact speak to my managers about various topics with no results.  When that doesn’t work, aren’t we supposed to be able to go to HR?  If we’re not comfortable speaking to a manager (for whatever reason), shouldn’t HR be our option, if nothing else to have someone to help make us comfortable?  This HR chick kept reprimanding me for not going to our highest onsite person; she couldn’t or wouldn’t understand that I didn’t know this woman; aside from knowing her first name, I’d seen her in the building three or four times.  She wasn’t a person I considered an option; from what others had said about her to that point, she didn’t consider us an option, either.  The workers were not someone for her to talk to; that was the job of others.

Anyway, my contact with HR, without my approval, set up a meeting for me to have with this boss person, as well as the HR person who was on the phone.  Among other things, I was told in no uncertain terms that I would NOT be getting the pay increase that I’d been promised last year, and that if I was unhappy with what I was doing, I was welcome to try working in a different department (because THAT would help), and that my opportunities for increased pay would be at our annual reviews (granted, I realize that annual reviews with the possibility of a raise, no matter how small, is not the standard nowadays, so I try to be grateful for that).  But basically, that moment is your only chance to receive a pay increase.  So…what’s the incentive to try harder and distinguish yourself if the only chance you have of being recognized for that is at the same time the rest of the company gets “recognized” as well?  When I mentioned that I’m constantly having more work and responsibility put on my shoulders, I was told that was standard.  Perhaps, but more work and responsibility typically come with an increase in pay.  If someone believes in your ability to handle more than your coworkers, shouldn’t that mean there’s a financial incentive to take on these tasks?  If you do more work for the same pay as people who do less work, what’s the point of doing more work?

This is why communism failed.

Recently, I was speaking with someone in a higher-up department who, it seems, has been here for some time.  Without any prompting from me, this person said, “This place is so fucked up.”  We discussed how they’d been unable to fill a position that’s been open for several months, and I asked why they weren’t promoting from within.  Turns out, I work for a company that does not promote from within because, should they happen to do that, they won’t then train someone else for the job you’ve been working previously, but instead will expect you to do both your old and new job.  If they bring in someone from the outside, that means they have an additional employee.

Does that make any sort of sense? 

Doesn’t to me.  I don’t see what the difference is between hiring a new person for a “higher up” position, or hiring a new person for the likely lower position you just left.  I mean, if they’re going to hire someone one way or another.  Makes my head hurt.

But, it also says that there is literally no hope for advancement within this company.  No one will ever actually be promoted because, in their minds, in makes more sense to hire an “outsider” with no knowledge of the company than to promote someone who most likely already has a handle on what goes on, and then to just hire a new person to start at the bottom.

And if there’s no hope of ever moving up the ladder, instead you’re just constantly moving laterally, what’s the point of even doing a job?  Granted, there are some people who find a position and are happy with it, who have no real interest in more responsibility or what have you (and it must be nice to be in such a financial situation that a pay increase that should come with an advanced position isn’t that important to you).  But most people, one way or another, don’t want to be in the same position for the rest of their lives.  It’s depressing.

I work with a person who has been with this company (in all of its incarnations) for over ten years; this person has repeatedly applied for better positions and is never given an interview.  This person is more than qualified to be a supervisor, but the opportunity is never given.  And, amazingly, I don’t think this person is making even thirteen an hour.  Isn’t that some shit? 

So, let me get to the handbook, while I’m thinking about it.  Essentially, my company is owned/part of/whatever by a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  This company has a handbook that they initially distributed, but now simply post online (which is convenient, seeing as how most of the employees don’t have access to this online site).  It’s our rules and guidelines.  Fine; makes sense.  But, and this is the truly astonishing part, the particular company I work for says they have their own set of rules that they can abide by.  These rules are posted nowhere.  There is literally no way to access them because these rules do not exist.  They only exist when a manager decides they want a new policy.  HR WILL ACTUALLY BACK THEM UP ON THIS.  How is that even possible?  How are they not opening themselves up for a world of hurt by making up rules and policies as they go?  There is no possible way we can follow the rules if they’re not available to us.  And we’re basically told not to take our handbook as gospel BECAUSE they can change the rules when it’s convenient. 

I understand, to a certain extent, when they say that each (for lack of better, obscure explanation) micro-company has its own procedures, because it’s sort of true.  To a degree.  But on the whole, to be able to say that an entire branch of a company can and will have its own rules and guidelines (that are not even posted and are completely up to the whims of management) is utterly ridiculous.  It’s the ultimate in setting people up for failure.


~ by raspychick on July 8, 2013.

One Response to “Why Treat People Like Humans When You Can Treat Them Like Shit?”

  1. Pay the employee as little as possible while working them as much as you can. Overcharge the Customer as much as possible. This how the upper tier maximizes profits these days.
    It used to be about incentives and quality. But that shit takes to long to see returns on. Upper Management wants that shit now. So basically as a peon you just need to shut the hell up and go home eat ramen and drink from your neighbor’s hose and be back to work on time for more BS

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