Archive for the ‘apathy’ Tag

Employment: Exit Edition   Leave a comment

I really hated my job.

At first, it had been a job, like any other. Standard office drone, with hierarchies organized to explain when best to eat, shit, smoke and chat. There were people there who were fun, there were people there who were pricks, there were people there I could spend a day laughing with, and one I could picture having a life with. 

But, as time went on, the character of the place began to change. The occasional perks (free lunch, free ice cream etc) became rarer until they vanished altogether. The atmosphere, which had previously been more or less informal, began to stratify into a stifling mess of corporatism (for example, before no one cared if you wore a hat to work, but it became an dischargable offense). New department heads were chosen, apparently based on their unique lack of inter-personal skills. In addition, the highest management seemed to be making directives which created a culture of departmental back-stabbing — I personally witnessed, for example, one of the managers from the third floor coming onto the forth floor (my floor) to steal boxes from other departments. As you can imagine, such actions created a culture of lies, deceit, and antagonism.

For my own part, I knew I was working a dead end job and was more or less able to stay above the fray. I couldn’t care less if the project I was working on was compromised, because they invariably were compromised by mismanagement; I worked on an old scanner, which the company stopped paying maintenance for a long time ago. As a result, through no fault of my own, the thing stopped taking paper correctly. I might scan twenty thousand images one day, though the machine grabbed twenty two thousand papers. The surplus paper was inevitably double-fed into the machine, and disappeared back to the box from which it came. At first I voiced my concerns that things were wrong, but those concerns fell on deaf ears. 

If they didn’t care, why should I?

So it continued. It then became something of a game. Layoffs were happening at this point, and I could NOT WAIT to get one. I endeavored to do as little as possible, and make sure what little I did was fucked up. That didn’t work. I then upped it a notch, beginning to be mildly obstinate to the managers. 

The company believed in “town-hall” style meetings. These were meetings where the company would assemble in the art gallery on the first floor, and a top manager would conduct a meeting talking about new directives and other bullshit. At one such meeting, the manager Steve Boudihas (the architect of many inter-department feuds), introduced a new schedule for bonuses, which was a sore topic among many employees who hadn’t received a raise in 2+ years. At the meeting, he introduced this new two-part bonus series. If departments made their quality goals for the month, employees were eligible for a TEN DOLLAR BONUS. If departments made their productivity goals, employees were eligible for a further bonus of TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. This was also on top of him suggesting, straight-faced, that if you see a temp isn’t needed on a particular job, to alert a manager to send them home early to save the company money. 

During this particular meeting he made slight mention that he himself would receive a bonus if the other departments got their bonus. I raised my hand.

“So, if I understand you right, you said you get a bonus if we get a bonus.”
“That’s right!”
“Is your bonus more than $35?”

That question made the town hall erupt in laughter. In fact, there were only two people who weren’t laughing or smirking, and those two people were me and him. After a brief recovery, he immediately dismissed the meeting. The rest of the day was spent receiving compliments on the power of my question, as well as the generous size of my balls.

But even these efforts at obstinacy delivered no reward. Instead, months dragged on, and eventually Steve himself was fired. I continued to walk the path of apathy, essentially creating a cushy position for myself where I had no set schedule, no real job duties, nor any set hours. In fact, one of the dumbest things the company did was to outsource their time clock to a web-based company. I don’t think the general body of employees understood the ramifications of that, because it allowed you to punch in and out from the comfort of your smartphone or wherever you had an internet connection. I took advantage of that, though not to the extreme of others, some of which earned ample over-time from the comfort of their home. 

Earlier in the week, I learned via the web time card that my supervisor had changed. The next day the new guy came over to tell me about the change: in short, he worked document destruction, and my new job would be to move boxes around. I could finish my normal duties for the day, but the next day we’d start doing the warehouse work.

The next day came, and I greeted it with a button-down shirt and tie. I read once that Hitler said that, at the negotiating table, every price should be paid to pomp and vanity to placate people’s egos, to make them more pliable to your demands. As the day started, I found the new guy and asked for a sit down. I complimented him on his straight shooting the day before, and asked if the new position offered any additional money incentives. He heard me out, and said he needed to take it to his people. I went back to my standard duties.

A few hours later, his boss came down with him and sat me down. They told me that they couldn’t offer me more money, nor could they continue to have me at my current position. If I refused to work the warehouse job, I would be terminated. They said the warehouse work, and the work I did, were essentially the same, which is why there wasn’t any bonus bucks attached. I respectfully replied that calling a cat’s legs tails doesn’t give a cat five tails. I was working a clerical job, at a computer with a desk and chair, and the other requires standing for long periods slugging heavy boxes around. 

“The jobs are the same. If you don’t accept the new position, we consider it a termination.”
“I will happily go back to my standard duties. If I’m leaving, it’s because I’m being forced out.”
“Your old position is terminated.”

I was then escorted from the building. I gathered my things, said goodbyes to my friends on the floor, and walked into the world. Sunshine rarely feels so sweet. 

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Posted March 29, 2012 by fatmoron in Uncategorized

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