Caution, this turned out much larger and precarious than I had imagined.
These past few weeks have been a tumultuous experience. First of all, I became very ill and for no apparent reason. It was determined that I had a secondary sinus infection, but that shouldn’t have caused a fever that was quite so high nor one that lasted so long. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the medicine had actually worked, but I just seemed to keep getting sicker. I had difficult staying awake, food did not seem like fun, and my moods were shifting into dangerous areas.
Because of all this, I had to take a week off of work. It’s a good thing I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open just from moving from the bed to the couch. I can only imagine the very nasty things that would have happened if I had actually tried to withstand a full shift at work. I was hoping that was it. Surely one whole week of rest is enough to conquer any fever, right? Wrong.
The pure stress from work combined with strange hours and an allergy to fine dust particles made it too much to bear. My body simply could not fight the fever off. After the first day back, my fever spiked again. My body ached and no medicine helped the pain. I was feeling delirious, again, and it took everything I had not to cry myself to sleep. Despite this, I forced myself to go back to work the next day.. I think. It’s all kind of a blur. I remember having to go back to the doctor several times and get different doctor’s notes. It is possible that I slept one day and then went back.
Anyways, on my next day back, I lasted 40 minutes. Yes, 40 minutes. I didn’t even make it to the first 10 minute break. I just couldn’t handle the physical illness on top of the exceedingly unreasonable amount of stress. I didn’t cry when I got home, I slept. I think I slept the next day, too, but as I said before, it’s all a bit of a blur. I know I still feel weak and if I miss a dose of medicine, I get sick again.
This is where I get confused. How can we live in a place that demands so much out of each employee that their physical and mental health is at jeopardy? Is it like this everywhere in the US? The factories I have been working at as of late all seem to have the same attitude: Work them hard, work them fast, and don’t treat them like human beings.
I know, any company has to make a profit. And yes, I agree that people do need to be held accountable for their actions. People need to be willing to learn how to function at the required task and do so efficiently. That being said, it would be great if those in charge understood the implications of their unreasonable expectations. The thing is, they do and they still don’t care. “Figure it out”, “get it done”, “make it happen” are phrases too often uttered by those in charge. Those in charge who have no idea what it actually takes to complete the work. Yes, they are working too, but they do not understand that just because a job is labor intensive and considered entry level, it is still a hard job.
After awhile, such a hard job can take it out of you. This is especially true when you are required to work an outrageous amount of mandatory overtime due to the inability of those in charge to properly schedule people. This could be because they are running out of people to schedule, which is just one of many vicious and dysfunctional cycles that exist. Again, I am not calling out any one company in this. It has been this way at the last four factories I have worked at. I have been told by a few that it isn’t like this everywhere, but those who only live in the state I do, seem to disagree.
I suppose this is all from a much larger problem: at will employment. The ability given to employers by the state to fire anyone and to do so at anytime is absurd. It causes situations where people will not object to working exceedingly long hours, all the while doing the job of two or three people. They can’t afford to lose their job – they aren’t going to say no. This needs to stop.
We are all human beings, we are not disposable commodities to be replaced and discarded like a used razor just because we demand fair treatment. I can honestly see why unions were necessary once upon a time, and I think that time has come back around.
Because of all of this, I am determined to better myself and get out of the dysfunctional companies that care so little for their employees. Their employees – the very people making it possible for the company to sell any product in the first place.