Every year or so the stories briefly get featured on the evening news like a blip on a gloomy green radar screen then are as quickly forgotten. Until the next study is released or, worse, some human bodies are asploded. Now that’s news.
Think of a list of professions where you’d really like people to be fully rested and alert. Airline pilots? Air traffic control? Doctors? Truck drivers?
Nice list. Congratulations. You just came up with a list of people that we fuck the most. Logical, right?
This week, again, the issue of employee fatigue was in the news. The FAA commissioned a study on air traffic controller fatigue. The results are none too surprising. Then the government fought for four years to keep the findings secret.
“Psst. Hey dude. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You pay top dollar for me to conduct a study about how I’m fucking you over. Then I keep the results secret from you. Sounds like fun, right?”
What could possibly be going on here? Luckily I got a good night’s sleep.
Life is lived one week at a time.
–Tom B. Taker
Let’s take a look at a typical week then, shall we? We’ll use my patented Poop Colored Glasses with Capitalism Tint.
In other words, this look is founded on a work-based viewpoint.
A lot of work-based people tend to favor Friday. They have it up on some kind of pedestal. Well, not me! Why? Because Friday is the work day closest to Monday. And it’s still a day where you actually go to work. Sorry, Friday. That puts you squarely in the Shit bin.
“Holy Time” is my description of the time between Friday at 5pm and midnight. Seven golden hours of goodness. This section of time is the most removed from going back to work. Unfortunately it’s also the smallest damn piece of the whole friggin’ pie.
Saturday is a pretty good day. It’s preceded by Holy Time, which is good, and to its credit, is also followed by a day that is not work. Therefore this day is “Good.” That’s high praise from the likes of me.
Sunday is a bit of a quandary. Since it is followed by a work day, it’s a very melancholy time. Yeah, it’s not as bad as work, but it is being chased by an ominous black cloud of death. Technically speaking, Sunday is a day tainted by evil. But it’s still not work. So this day we will classify as Tainted and/or Mediocre.
This graph is actually incomplete. It’s missing the slice that consists of the last two hours before bed on a Sunday night. This slice, if it had been shown, would have been represented with the terminology “Despair.” Technically it’s know worse than any work night yet is somehow amplified by the freedom that was just tasted.
The rest of the 168 hours in the life unit known as the “week” fall into a bucket known simply as Shit. This is, by far, the biggest piece of the life of pie. And I think that pretty much sums it up.
It’s another Feckless Friday so I’ve decided to riff on a theme. Today’s theme: Us and Them – Workplace Style.
“Us” is those who work. Those who do what they are supposed to do as productive members in this society. The we who produce goods and services. Why, without us, there would be a lot less widgets in the world. Imagine a world without so much plastic fake vomit and whoopee cushions and what not? Shudder.
“Them” is those who profit from the labor of others. You might think of them as the 1%. The political elite. The bankers and CEOs. The people who work the least and benefit the most from a system designed to convert the Earth’s resources into profits for a few. Or, on a more personal level, you may choose to put this face on someone must more close and personal like the boss.
I recently had my “Aha! Moment” (sponsored by Mutual of Omaha, a fucking insurance company of all things). I tweeted my great moment of clarity and awareness and the world took no notice. Nary a retweet. Nay, not even a star. As your humble proprietor here in the Abyss, I reserve the right to shove my unloved tweet in your face:
Okay. Enough about that. What else is going on in the world of economics, work, labor, job and bosses? Remember, I did promise to riff. I guess I’d better get on my black velcro-strapped riffin’ shoes. I’m about to boogie down.
Warning: It’s quite possible I don’t really know what “riff” means.
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Team America is about to unload a can of whoop-ass-sized Freedom Fries ™ on your Roquefort. Yeeeeeeee-haw!
U.S. CEO Blasts French Work Habits
–A frothy headline from the “We Hate Obama’s Guts” edition of the Wall Street Journal
Can I re-write the headline?
U.S. Money Eater Blasts Cheese Eaters, Claims Currency Is ‘Ten Times More Delicious’ Than Fromage
—The Daily Abyssian Union Picayune Herald Register Times Tribune Weekly
Roquefort is under attack. Roquefort will be defended!!!
It all started when the CEO of a U.S. tire manufacturer published a letter in a French newspaper criticizing the work habits of French workers and, responding to the notion of buying a former Goodyear tire plant, stating: “How stupid do you think we are?”
To be honest, I’d happily respond to that question but I doubt he’d be able to understand the answer. Héh héh héh héh héh!!!
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Imagine, if you will, a workplace that is roughly the size of a shipping container.
Oh yes, oh yes. Another good time work post is upon us now.
I previously reported on my discovery, the 666 equilateral triangle. It’s a place where dreams go to die. In short, it works like this. I sit six feet away from cow orker. Cow orker sits six feet away from the boss. The boss sits six feet away from me.
Technicolor? Bah! Imagine Fart-O-Vision where you get to experience the subtle nuance of every biological function of your neighbor. Good times, indeed!
It’s enough to make one go barking mad, but I, of course, resist that with all my might. That’s why I’m still completely sane.
So, in honor of Friday, the most deceitful day of the week, I merely have a quick question to ask.
In this post I’m going to refer to my boss as Proximo, mainly because, as he interfaces with my existence, he is so proximous.
The first part of the agony is a function of time. I spend more time at work than doing anything else in my life. (Source: This nifty little graph.)
That only communicates part of the story, though. The other half of the misery equation is one of proximity.
I’ve thought about this and realized that my current situation is truly unique. At some jobs the boss didn’t even work in the building. It would be a big deal when the boss stopped by (almost always by “surprise!”). All the employees were like, “Oh shit. The boss.” It changed the feel of the environment. My last asshole boss lived a mile away from the office, worked from home, but liked to jaunt over unexpectedly quite often, even though he didn’t like being there very much. I guess the necessary evil of fucking with the employees outweighed his distaste for being in the shithole. He’d usually flee as fast as possible after he had made his point.
At one place where I worked for 16 years and over 1,000 employees, the CEO liked to stroll around as part of tactic to be seen as accessible to employees and interested in every part of the operation. I knew the guy because we’d been on some committees together and had worked on a few projects. He’d stroll by and say, “Hi, Tom.” I knew I wasn’t about to get fired but it still somehow felt like it. The CEO walking by and saying your name wasn’t something that happened all the time.
Or the boss worked out of sight in an office around the corner or across the floor. The boss would occasionally stop by from time to time but certainly wouldn’t stay there all day long, day after day, every single day of your life.
I literally spend 40 hours a week six feet away from the boss. He seldom, if ever, leaves that space. It’s his clubhouse, his sanctuary, his home away from home. It is where he goes to escape his wife. It is the one part of his existence where he is the boss. His word is law. (Unlike his home life.) So he just loves and adores being there.
His wife will call him and try to make plans. It’s pathetic to listen to him tell her how busy he is (he’s not) and how he has to work late. He loves to work on Saturdays, too, and bitches when a holiday comes along and forces him to spend more time with his family.
Me? All I think about is escaping that fucked up place and spending every other precious moment of my life with my wife. Another thing I realized lately was that I would never trade places with my boss. (Is that like a positive thought?)
Our workstations are L-shaped so that I can’t see him unless I turn around (thank God) but he can view me and my computer screen without me being aware. My computer is in his line of sight. I know that arrangement is no coincidence. Six feet from my office chair is his office chair.
Here’s a nice little bonus. When he gets up off his ass and goes to the restroom and sits on the toilet, he’s still exactly six feet away. You see, my workstation shares a wall (decidedly not a soundproofed one) with the office bathroom. But I think I’ve already expounded about that enough in the past. (For the curious, research my posting history if you want to know more about what the boss in the restroom is like. Bring a strong stomach.)
So yeah, I’m within six feet of the boss for just about 40 hours a week, every week. It’s like clockwork. I don’t even get a break from him when he goes to the bathroom. And I realized that sort of boss proximity is completely unprecedented in my experience. Does anyone out there have anything even remotely like this?
This just happened. OMFG!
Customers walk in the store 14 minutes before closing time. The greeter, who actually does his job this once, says hello and let’s them know, “Feel free to come on in. Just an FYI. We close in 14 minutes.”
This prompted several comments from the customers. “Does it matter how much we spend?”
Fuck. I just bit the shit out of my tongue. Luckily the abyss exists for me to vent.
No, lady, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. Perhaps you are not a regular reader of this blog. If you were, then you’d know that not a one of us employees has ever been compensated for staying late to help customers. We are left to fend for ourselves in that extremely awkward situation. Bottom line: The company won’t pay us if we clock out late. I’ve been 20 minutes past quitting time before and the company’s position is, “Too bad, so sad!” Zilch shows up on ye olde paycheck.
Just last night two of us were here five minutes late with a customer. The boss himself was even here, a very rare and special treat. He gets impatient, though, so he stormed out, saying to us employees in his chipper way as he dashed, “Feel free to stay as late as you want!” Yeah, you don’t mind letting us work for free much, do ya, asshole?
Meanwhile, if we ever clock in up to ONE minute late our pay gets docked in 15-minute increments. Yes, we’re in a place similar to the Bermuda Triangle. I call it the Destroy Your Employees Triangle. Here the scales of justice have no meaning. Don’t like it? Feel free to speak up – and don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on your way out.
All time clock transactions are always rounded in the company’s favor. Period. Bar none. End of story.
Additionally, we don’t see a penny of sales. So you can see, it really doesn’t matter how much you spend here?
I’ve heard many customers walk out the door about what assholes our company is regarding the closing of the doors on time. I have to admit, I jizz in my pants every time I hear that!!! Tell your friends! 🙂
Gotta run. It’s closing time!
Well, I’m home now. Long story short, my car went GF (goat fuck) on me and wouldn’t start for three minutes. So I got to listen in as these customers walked out of our store a minute later. I was in for a real treat.
Woman [angrily]: Harumph! I can’t believe how rude they are!
Man: Yeah, you’d think they’d want the sale. All that over a lousy ten minutes.
Woman [wanting to go back inside]: What do you want to do?
Man: We’re going home!
Oh yes. My boss is a shrewd businessman. That ranks right up there with selling products cheaper than we paid for them and making all the employees hate him. One might assume that he’s trying to make a profit. One might, but one would be wrong. What’s he’s actually out to do is destroy his employees. He’s doing a damn fine job of it and pissing off customers at the same time. In our business we call that a “win-win.”
Most customers have two things in common. They’ve all been employees themselves and they’ve probably all worked in shitholes with signs like “the customer is always right” hanging on the wall. That message has been ingrained so deeply that they actually believe it. “I’m the one spending money now,” they think. “It’s good to be the king!” So they don’t take too kindly to being asked to leave or mind much about interrupting your lunch or hearing that you are on your break or that something is not your job or that any discount that invariably ask for (because they are oh-so-special) will be coming directly out of the employee’s pocket. I’m not making that up. Our pay gets docked if we make a deal or if we even make an honest error that costs the company money.
Too bad that’s the way this place chooses to operate. Well, too bad for customers, anyway. I still get the laughs. Sadly that is the only bonus I’ll ever see. 🙂