And the mouth ran away with the brain

I’m really enjoying my new customer service job, I’m still not convinced it’s the right one for me, however. I am great with the cash register. I like to “front and face” the store as much as possible. I love to stay busy and clean when there’s nothing else to do. The best parts are interacting with the customers, but this is where it gets tricky. Why? Because I have a weird sense of humor.

We sell a lot of alcohol where I work and one gentleman came in and bought several bottles. A few of them were glass so I put them in a paper bag and then double bagged that in plastic bags. I told him that I didn’t want them to break before he got home and enjoyed his weekend with it all. He nodded and said something about appreciating it, but I didn’t stop. “You could go get a straw and drink it off the parking lot, but that just wouldn’t be the same.” He inhaled his orange pop and had a coughing fit for several minutes. I didn’t think the comment was all that off / inappropriate / funny, but I guess I forget what kind of conventional town I live in.

Another person came through and we got to talking how expensive compression socks are. I told him that I use mine until they just won’t stand up anymore because I can’t afford to go buy a new pair every month. I then proceeded to spout off about buying five pairs of panty hose and sewing them together to see if it worked any better. He guffawed and rolled his eyes. He walked away in either amusement or offense. I couldn’t tell. I didn’t think it was that crazy of an idea or a comment.

This is how I get into trouble (or will, I’m sure). My boss is very self conscious about the things he says to the customers and I know that one of these days, my over active imagination and mouth are going to do me in.

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It’s not mean if it’s funny…

..right? Right.

I can be mean funny, sometimes. This is nothing new, I’ve always been this way. It’s gotten better over the years. Hubby is far more mean funny than me.  Why am I telling you this? Because of this:

A comic about shaving whales

They’re getting too hairy!

This reminded me of a particular time when I was mean funny:

I used to work at a factory that made corn taco shells. It was pretty boring. We basically just stood there and packed tacos all day. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.. Anyways, we usually passed the time by joking around with one another, singing songs (especially around Christmas), and just chatting. It wasn’t a bad job, but the HR sucked. That’s a different story.

So anyways.. There was this very gullible girl that worked on my team a lot of the time. We usually had fun with her in good humor and didn’t put her down for being.. more simply minded.  Afterall, it provided us with endless hours of amusement. One example came on a particularly boring night.

We were doing our usual jobs, humming songs.  Suddenly, I got the Menards jingle stuck in my head. If you don’t know what Menards is, it’s a hardware/home improvement store. HERE’s a link to their website. Anyways, they have a catchy jingle that goes, “Save Big Money at Menards”.  I was taken back to the time when I was hanging out with some friends and that jingle came on the radio. We all started laughing and singing, “Shave big monkeys at Menards”. Hmmm.. an idea was forming.

I know, I shouldn’t.. but it’s just too good! So.. I told Ms.Gullible that Menard’s jingle used to be “Shave big monkeys” because they got their start making their giant area rugs out of gorilla hair. Yes, I went there. She looked at me with an eyebrow arched. Hmm.. maybe she was learning. I continued on explaining that they took the gorilla hair from the local zoo and wove it into rugs. That’s why they had the jingle. It looked like she was thinking about this being a possibility. I just needed to seal the deal.

They had to stop because the animal rights groups got in a tizzy, so they branched out into other home improvement stuff. BUT! They still make their rugs at each facility. In fact, if you go to Menards, just go up to the customer service desk and ask to see the rug making seamstresses. They give free tours, but hardly anyone knows about it. You even get a free welcome mat at the end of it. I swear!

I know.. I know. But I couldn’t help myself.

I’m not sure if she ever took me up on it, but every now and again, I like to imagine her going up to the service desk and what the reaction of the people working there would be. Ah, meanness humor.

Work Rant

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.

Sick from Work

Sick from Work

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.

Stress from Work

Stress from Work

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.

Fired from Work

Fired from Work

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.

Good riddance.

End of an Hiatus

Wow, I did not mean to be gone from WordPress for so long.  And the reason I’m gone is the reason I’m back again.  No, you haven’t fallen down the rabbit hole, this is reality.  It’s much more bizarre. Follow me and I’ll show you the way..

Despite my initial instincts, I took a job in a town 35 to 40 minutes away about six or seven months ago.  Why the drive?  I was unemployed at the time and the pay was phenomenal compared to what you can get in Ye Olde Timey Towne.  At the time, gas prices were staying steady at $3.20 to $3.30 a gallon.  I did the math and I would be making enough money to pay all my bills despite the drive.  Until things got funky.  It always happens, right?  It’s only a matter of time before things start to suck.

The job I took was a factory job because I don’t have a degree with two years experience in anything.  I dislike factory jobs because the company will bleed it’s employees dry of their very soul by dangling a carrot made out of cash in front of them.  Work harder!  Work faster! Work more often!  After awhile, it begins to grate on you.  Most people I have met in factories either do drugs or alcohol to maintain their sanity, or just have that kind of personality where they get fulfillment out of working grueling hours in a God-forsaken environment.  I am neither of these things.

The environment wouldn’t be so poorly if the employees actually treated each other with something that schools nor parents seem to be teaching these days: respect.  People will create problems in order to look smarter or make you look more dumb.  They will nit pick everything you do and exaggerate and manipulate the circumstances in order to have the chance to badmouth someone.  And badmouth they do.  Gossip seems to be the currency around this prison.  I don’t gossip (I work hard not to, anyway) and I do my best to build up my teammates, not tear them down.  Because of this, I am usually singled out by the majority who do these things.

At this particular factory, I was fortunate enough to be put on an assembly line with some wonderful people.  A few of them had attitudes, but about 90% of them were there to work, treat each other with respect, and get the job done.  It was awesome.  The not so awesome part was the fact that the parts weighed 15 pounds unassembled and 20 to 25 pounds when fully assembled.  It killed my wrists.  I was paying a chiropractor about $150 a week just to help my wrists out (more on this at a later time).  I asked to be moved to another line with lighter parts.  There was a meeting and a promise to discuss it later.  It didn’t happen so I had my doctor write a note.  They got upset and moved me to another assembly line, on third shift.  Let me just point out that the assembly line I was on had a 3-2-2 schedule.  Work 3 days, get two days off.  Work two days, get three days off… etc, etc.  This meant that I was only driving to and from work about three times a week.  Four times if I was doing overtime, which was rarely needed as the shifts were 12 hours each.  Someone was always there.

Then the gas prices went up.  They are currently $4.25 a gallon.  I began losing money working a job that was third shift (no canny do for me), five days a week versus three, and was with a group of people that had truly awful attitudes towards one another.  I had it all worked out, though.  I was going to get my 90 days in at the new assembly line (to get my 90 day raise) and then move to machining where I would get a base pay raise along with another 90 day raise for moving to something else.  It was a no brainer.. until a dark and stormy night.

It wasn’t really stormy outside, but the thunder was clapping inside let me tell ya.  I was accustomed to be yelled at and cussed out by my fellow coworkers by now.  Even my Lead was getting in on the act.  “It’s fine,” I would tell myself, “I won’t be here but another four weeks.”  And then the shit hit the proverbial fan.  I was extremely sleep deprived from the swing of first to third shift.  I would go 24 to 32 hours without sleep at least once or twice a week.  I was stressed out about not being able to pay bills.  I was missing seeing my husband.  I was beginning to hate life.

It was just a normal shift.  One of my coworkers started yelling at me and telling me I couldn’t do my job right.  “Why,” you may be wondering, ” did you not just stand up to them?”  Here’s why: It’s a good old boys club and my lead believed everything a select few said with total disregard as to the rest.  He would do the same things they were doing.  I tried taking it up the chain, but guess what?  They were doing it too.  Extremely unpleasant, hostile, and aggressive work environment from the top down.  Well shame on me for letting it get under my skin because the next thing I know, I’m saying every cuss word in the book, screaming at the top of my lungs, and using both hands to fly the bird to my aggressive coworker.  Mind you, they behave like this all the time.  But not me, no no.  I am not allowed to.  I actually got into trouble for it.  Say what?  I can totally understand getting into trouble for behaving this way under other circumstances.  It was not appropriate behavior.  But it was the extreme I had to go to in order to stand up for myself.. Hell, I’m not defending myself.  I just still can’t believe I gave them the bird, with both hands!

At any rate, I had enough.  I called my husband on my lunch break, sobbing.  He told me to come home and find a job in town.  This job was not worth the drive, the sleep deprivation, and the horrible attitude others were displaying.  I argued with him because I knew we needed the money.  I couldn’t just walk out.. I’ve never done that before.  It was the hardest thing I have done in my life.  But I did it.  I cried all the way home and told my husband on numerous occasions that I would just drive into a tree.. He could collect the life insurance because it would look like an accident.  I had to fight myself not to turn that steering wheel each time I passed a tree.

Now, I’m relieved.  It’s only been 5 days and I’m totally happy to be away from that horrible place.  We have no money, we’re trying not to tell certain relatives so they don’t freak out, and we’re not sure what the future holds.  But now I have a future.  If I had stayed at that place, I would have literally killed myself.

Full Circle

Last year, I started a very stubborn cause.  I began reading books that society had dictated as “classics” in an attempt to see what the point was.  What was I missing out on?  Was there really anything to be gained by reading these books?  Oh dear gods, it seems there is.

I read the book 1984 last spring or summer and it took me several months to finish because of it’s depressingly accurate portrayal of modern society.  It didn’t help that current events at the time were mirroring the events in the book, so I found it difficult to purposefully expose myself to more of the same in the context of the written form.  This is partly because I like to use books as a means to escape reality, not as a means to have it echo through my mind. Although the book was a tough read, it was thought provoking and I was determined to finish it no matter what.  It seems that decision was not without purpose.

We come to another part of the cycle where I was unemployed for over a month.  I occupied my time with crafting, creating and sending out resumes, and acting as a shuttle for my family. I finally found a job in a town not too far away (about 30 minutes one way) and the pay will help me get caught up on bills.  I was excited to begin working for this company because they have strict guidelines for employee behavior and I thought I was signing up for a more professional atmosphere.  I slowly began to realize that the company I work for is Communist.  I am not saying this in the American fear of Communism way.  I am saying this in the definition of the term.  Everything belongs to the company, you do what the company wants, when it wants it, and how it wants it done.  There is no room for individuality, this is considered “weird” and people are expected to conform to the behavioral standards given without any thought to deviation due to being human.  It is a great environment for those who prefer to brown nose instead of actually work.  I find it appalling and it has motivated me to return to school in hopes of finding work, albeit similar in environment, less damaging to the body.

This situation reminds me of “1984” and the circumstances that the characters went through.  I found myself buying into the system at first, eager to make a good impression.  I now find myself revolting from it and wanting to get out.  I pray I do  not end up loving it.  I think that in this manner, art has imitated life, has imitated art, has imitated life.   I think I’ll go back to crocheting at this point.

Out of a Job

..and out of sanity.

I lost my job around Christmas time due to inconsistent Human Resource practices.  I had walking pneumonia and Hubby had been experiencing health woes as well.  Whenever I’d bring my Doctor’s notes in from either my visits or Hubby’s, I was told that “they didn’t accept consecutive days” or that “the weren’t going to accept them” at all.  This eventually mounted and I ended up pointing out of their already somewhat screwy point system.  It is a wonder to me that company’s such as this are not fixing the painfully obvious problems that are causing such low employee retention rates, but that’s their perogerative, I suppose.  It’s now mine to find a different job and, hopefully, a better place to work.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, there are a few things I’ve learned about myself in the past few weeks of being without a permanent source of income.  The first and most overpowering lesson has been that society equates how much money you make with how successful or even how important you are as a human being.  I am not currently bringing any money in so I have lost value to some people.  It has been eye opening and has taught me that these people were not worth holding on to, but it has been painful.  My brother has struggled with unemployment as well and I fear that I treated him in this manner, even though my intentions were to try to encourage him to find a job.  The problem?  He was doing everything he could to find work, as I am doing now.  It’s simply not out there.

I believe the problem is a culmination of poor education in our country combined with poor Human Resources and management practices.  People are changing their expectations of their future employees and, at the same time, our standards of education are dropping.  This conflict is causing a frustrating situation in which one must possess a Bachelor’s Degree to be considered for even the most basic of work.

Not only has our country’s educational standards dropped, but I feel the expectations of employers has become somewhat unrealistic.  Instead of creating an environment where people can learn and grow into the ideal employee, every employer wants their newly hired employees to already be that person: polished, consisting of the company’s specific (but vaguely stated) values, and professional in every mannerism.  Instead, why not offer the employees things such as mentoring programs where “veteran” employees can take them under their wing to teach them things like customer service, how to treat your coworkers with respect, and how to maintain professionalism even in the face of outright disrespect.

Instead, employers expect you to know all of this.  I am always blown away by the fact that it is now a given to have every job description followed by the statement “experience required”.  This tells me that the company is unwilling to take an interest in its employees to the point of providing and nurturing an atmosphere where experience can be obtained and skills honed.  When I see this statement, I cringe and detest every stroke of ink I have to put on the resume (out of sheer desperation).  If I had the choice, I would not be applying for a job posting with a company such as this.

On top of these frustrations, I live in an area that is highly nepotistic.  I would have a better chance at getting a job if I knew the CEO’s daughter than if I had all the qualifications.  Sad, but very true in Ye Olde Timey Towne of the MidWest.  Factories are abundant here, but because we live in a Right-To-Work (for less) state, they treat their employees worse than the product they are trying to make.  And don’t get me started on how they could save so much money and overtime if they hired people with enough common sense to actually care about the product they were making.

All in all, work sucks.  Because of this, I want to go back into Healthcare.  I want to make a difference in someone else’s life.  If no matter where I go to work I am going to run across nepotism, favortism, unfair work practices, and poor Human Resource practices.. at least let me make a difference in the life of someone else while I am there.  That alone will give me the sanity I need to continue working.  In the meantime, I need to find sanity while I’m not working.

It is Abyssmyal

I have a horrible job.  I know, I know.. everyone thinks their job is awful.  At least, most everyone does.  I often see these weird creatures about now and again that actually like their jobs.  How does that happen?

Here’s the low-down:  I don’t think I should have to sacrifice my time with family to have a stable career.  I don’t think I should have to be constantly emotionally stressed out in order to have job security.  I believe in working hard and getting the job done right the first time.  I just don’t believe in sacrificing the things that are more important to me (family, peace of mind) in order to do that.  Add to the list that I also do not think I should put my physical health on the line for my job.  What sense does it make that while I’m trying to bring an income in, I’m dealing with physical harm that can damage my ability to bring in an income?  Sounds about right in this place.

I know there are jobs that are stressful, both physically and/or mentally.  People sign up for those jobs.  They know what they are getting into.  I guess I just want to know where have all the good jobs gone?  What happened to practicing good Human Resources so that you treat your employees like people instead of policies?  I would love to know the answer.  So far, all I get is that I am one of many, replaceable peons. The work I do is monotonous, the people I work with are apathetic idiots, and the company I work for is clueless and would like to remain that way.  This place is turning into a third world country.  Let’s milk the workers for all they’re worth without regard to their physical safety or mental well being!

Sounds about right.

I am trying to get out of factory work, but that is proving difficult.  Everyone wants you to have experience and I have none.   That’s not entirely true because I do have experience.  I know how to use the various Microsoft Office programs – I used them everyday for almost two years to complete my online coursework.  For some reason, that doesn’t count.  Hiring officials want to have someone else to talk to that confirms that you did, in fact use the software for that given amount of time.  We’ve replaced taking someone’s opinion for it with common sense.

The problem isn’t that I have a hard time working.  I like to work.  I like to sweat and feel exhausted.  This makes me feel like I did something productive.  What I don’t like is the lack of common sense, consideration, maturity, and flexibility in the work environment and the people that work there.  I am constantly hearing people tell me, “That’s how it goes.  You get used to it.”  Really?  When?  I haven’t yet and it’s getting worse.  Anymore, going to work feels like it’s sucking my soul.  It’s as if I can feel my energy being physically drained out of my veins through my skin.  Ugh.

It would be easier if: the people were smarter and more mature, the management actually gave a damn, and the nepotism got nipped in the bud.  None of this is going to change, however, so I have to. change  It is time to find a new job but I have bills to pay until then so back to the dark hole I go.  I would just like to know when work became synonymous with boring, monotonous, tedious, and “AAAHHH!  I can’t take it anymore!”

To me, work used to be something to be proud of.  I did a good job, people mentioned that I did a good job.. I was exhausted from the work but in a good way, not to the point of falling over.  I felt productive and as if I was contributing to something.  Now, I feel like a peon.  My presence does not matter.  The work I am doing does not matter.  I don’t matter.  Talk about depressing.  It’s like I’m the main character in “1984” (or 1946 as my husband calls it).

Bring on the mind control!  My brain has been turned to mush from working at a deadend, redundant and useless job.  I should be ripe for the picking.  On a bright note, if the Earth is ever invaded by mind-ingesting aliens.. I’ll survive!  Damn, so will all the people I work with. Oh the Humanity!