Thursday, October 28, 2010

Domestic Violence

I have only been a witness to domestic violence once in my life. Sadly, I was so shocked and bewildered that I did nothing. I had finished shopping and was headed to my car. Ahead of me in the parking lot was a woman carrying a small child and a man. As they got closer to my position, I could hear that they were arguing. About what, I could not tell, but the tones did not indicate any cause for alarm. I wondered if they would curb the argument as I got closer, but despite being directly in my path, they did not seem to notice me. Then the man swung his arm around and punched the woman in the face. Neither of them broke stride, the baby did not react, the woman did not react. Their expressions never changed and they continued on as if nothing had happened. I stopped dead in my tracks, mouth gaping. Still, they paid no mind to my presence and passed me by in a moment or two. By the time I had gathered my wits, they had entered the store. I could not think of what to do. I was even questioning whether I had really seen what I had just seen. But I was shaking so violently, that I was sure I could not have simply imagined the incident. My imagination is not that sharp or brooding.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Request Denied

This week has been very slow at work. We have half of the inventory we would have normally since the sales team has been using up all of their vacation time so as not to lose it at year's end. (I really dislike that policy. Particularly since our company has worked half-staff all year long so no one has had any opportunity to use their time off benefits. Most of these die-hard, live-to-work employees would rather be paid the unused portion.) So, all week long, I have driven 35 miles only to be sent home after 2 hours of work. On Monday I requested Friday off. I checked with the department manager who simply joked, "I don't know what we'd do without you. . . what do you do here anyway?" I promised to run it by the gal who shares the workload with me. She got such a big head when I asked her for the time off that she delighted to tell me, "No, I'm going to need you for at least 2 hours." When she realized that I actually had a fairly good reason to be absent, she decided to put off the final decision until Thursday evening.

I will be out of town on Friday and therefore I will be absent at work. They don't have to give me any notice, so it is only out of courtesy that I am letting them know my plans. And the decision to authorize the day off is not hers to make. She forgets that she is not my boss. While having superior experience and seniority, she is my coworker. We are equal.

I decided not to make an issue of it now because there is no way to win. Everyone would rally behind her, and she would dig her heels in. I am hoping that, while exercising her imagined authority, she will--pridefully, magnanimously, eventually--grant my request for the day off. And if not, they will find a way to manage without me, and I will take the heat upon returning to work on Monday. I could lose my job if I am a "no call, no show," but I plan to argue that my manager had no objection to it and while my coworker did not approve, she had no authority to grant or deny my request. At this point, I am more invested in my plans for the weekend than I am in keeping my 2 hour per day secular job for which I have to travel a great distance only to be mistreated.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Can't Make Employer Care

My husband works as a security guard at our facility. A customer wanted access just minutes after closing, so he took the lock off of the gate and let himself into the parking lot. (A few stragglers were still leaving the lot, so the lock was only posed as if locked and not fully latched, to allow for easy exit). Since the chain and padlock had not detered the man, my husband approached him and explained that the facility was closed and would re-open at 6am the following morning. The man insisted that he would not leave without finishing his business that night. My husband continued to restate the policy and asked the man to leave quietly. The man then threatened to run my husband over with his car and the car lunged forward. My husband jumped out of the way, and the man entered the facility, finished his business, and left. When my husband created the incident report this morning, his boss accused him of hassling the man. He said it was in our company's best interest to get all of the business we could drum up, and that we ought to allow customers to enter after-hours. My husband asked that the security tape be reviewed before a final decision was made. At that point, he was told that he could drop the issue or be removed from his position.

Sadly, you can't make an employer care about their employees.

Lost and Found

Although we don't have an official policy, we generally turn in lost & found property to the security office. If no one claims the item within 30 days, the finder is allowed to take possession of the item. Many things of high value are lost and recovered at our facility.

My husband found a navigation device, new in it's original packaging. He turned it into the security guard on duty and 30 days later, it was his! He found $14.00 in cash. He put it into an envelope and turned it into the security guard on duty. As the 30 day mark approached, he asked whether the item had ever been claimed. No one had claimed it, but the security guard asked what it was. Interestingly, the item disappeared without record when it's contents became known.

A sublet employee discovered a wedding gown new in it's own box. She was getting married and loved the dress. Following the rules, she turned it in to the department where she knew the most people, which happened not to be security. In 30 days she checked back. But one of our employees had discovered it and intended to list the item on eBay to raise money for a company picnic. No one wanted to release the dress to her, so they told her that it was 60 days that she needed to wait. Well, it has been countless months now and she took the dress home today. Today is also the day that the eBayer came to claim the dress, but it was gone. The woman was told to return the dress or she would be fired for stealing.

How can I work for these crooks!?! Does anyone even remember what fairness is?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When You Are In Charge, Then YOU Are In Charge!

One of the new bosses is x-military and very organized. Well, recently he was given oversight of the maintenance team. A new kitchen crew is starting to work the cafeteria this week and his maintenance crew was assigned to help prepare by performing a deep cleaning. This assignment was strange indeed, since x-military man was never informed about the task. When he found that his crew was out of pocket, working busily in the kitchen, he started asking questions. One request he made was to receive a copy of the contract, so that he would know precisely what role his crew was legally bound to perform. Well, this request hurt someone's feelings. And it became a huge contraversy and his powers over the crew were curbed. How a military man will ever cope with the mess that is our work environment, I have yet to see. I'm hoping to follow his lead, but so far he seems as frustrated as I do.

I received a new position, and a tiny responsibility was entrusted to me. I am in charge of all billing pertaining to one of our sublet companies. I have taken an unusual amount of pride in the assignment because the sublet company is run by a spineless man who our company constantly cheats. (For instance, he makes 52% of whatever we bill our customer. Every other sublet company who works for us gets 90%.) Well the pride is in the fact that I fully intend to run interference enough to ensure that the company is paid for all of the work they perform for us. Unfortunately, the spineless man doesn't realize that I am his ally. He keeps going to the gal who used to be in charge for every matter. Admittedly, he is receiving mixed signals, since the gal often decides to steal my work so that she can remain at work drawing wages while sending me home without pay. She also interferes constantly and scolds me rather publicly. I attempted to clarify her position, but the HR director left it up to the gal to define. I had thought that although she trained me, we were equals, but it seems much more of a mother/child relationship or trainer/dog relationship. I'm about tired of playing the kicked pup.

Today, I found out that she had told him that he was authorized to do a very time-consuming, costly job for us. After the work was done, he was told that he would be paid one fifth of the amount agreed upon. She apologized, but it meant nothing since she was the author of the lie. I suggested that, in the future, he ought to refuse to do anything out of the ordinary without written approval, which is what his own superiors later suggested. I took a fine scolding for that as well.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


My husband and several of his friends (all in their 30s) collect Star Wars figures. My husband's collection primarily revolves around the characters of the Jedi Order. They really get into it, trading, and buying items for one another. My husband opens the packages and poses them on bookshelves, and hides them in my houseplants for display purposes. One of his friends has all unopened packages locked in his official toy room that is rarely seen by anyone but himself.

I tolerate this practice since my husband doesn't really have a hobby outside of this and it costs little. But I think the behavior is odd--or at least I did think it odd.

Consider how many people collect things like stamps, coins, or books. Some people have strange collections. For instance I recently read on a forum that a woman saves her cat's shed wiskers in a little jar.

You may be a collector and not even know it. My brother recently returned from vacation, bringing me a souvenier carved seashell. When I opened the package and discovered the gift, he said, "I knew you collected these." I thought, "I do?" Sure enough, I have picked up a number of them. I'm a collector. It was news to me.

I would love to get your comments on your collections and collectibles.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Petty Boss Lady

Today, my boss complained because I had not clocked out when changing departments. I explained to her that once you clock out, the system does not allow you to clock back in for 15 minutes. I had turned in a timesheet form, detailing the time spent in each department so that each department pays for my wages according to our arrangement. She was so confused, that she called the HR manager to help her input the data into our payroll system. While she was receiving instruction, she argued that I ought to clock out because it takes time to walk across the campus to begin work at the other department.

Is that petty? Would you clock yourself out? We have parking lot attendants who spend the entire day walking the lot which makes her assertion that much more ridiculous. She walks across the lot weekly to get documents signed by various employees. Does she clock out to walk across the parking lot? I doubt it.

To my surprise, the HR manager set her straight. I was grateful for that.

Friday, October 1, 2010

At My Age, I Don't Buy Green Bananas

A neighbor lady insisted that another neighbor man in his 90s, have his female dog spade. The dog had never been out of the yard in it’s life, and there was no real danger of her becoming pregnant through the high, sturdy fence. But the woman finally obtained his permission, and had the dog spade. The next day, as she was in the yard with the dog, I mentioned that the dog seemed ill. She explained that the dog was recovering from surgery. I told her that it was not normal behavior, even after surgery. A few days later, the dog died. A sponge had been left inside the dog during the surgery and she had been feverish with infection. The man was devastated. I thought that perhaps this nosey neighbor might have learned her lesson, and might stop intruding in everyone’s business. But no. She brought him a puppy. Now, at this point he was nearly bed-ridden and could only get acquainted with the puppy by throwing it treats out of the window. When I spoke with him, he worried what would become of the puppy who would almost certainly outlive him. He said, "at my age, I don't buy green bananas."