After much agonizing over the insanity of giving up a full time job with great benefits and above average pay for minion-level work, I did give my notice and am now halfway through my last week. Two. More. Nights. I don’t know how I’ve done this for three months because now it’s an act of will to make every step. I’ve promised myself to stick it out till the bitter end, although I don’t have to. I have enough unpaid leave time accrued that I could have skipped the entire week without any negative consequences on my job reference. But right now it’s all about the last paycheck.
The alternate title for this post was “Kids say the darndest things.. at work.” Two interesting responses from 20 somethings about my resignation:
“I sure wish I could just quit and do nothing.”
(I managed to remain silent on that point.)
“This is a really hard job to do for a long time, especially if you are .. uh.. older.”
(To which I heartily agreed, but had to interject that I felt pretty satisfied with the fact that I had made it this far without a single warning or write-up for quality or rates. Not bad for an older, short person with a gimpy leg.)
So many more people have been fired in the past week, warnings and write-ups are handed out now regularly. The woman I spoke of in my last post was terminated even though she had given her two-week notice. They couldn’t wait. Another friend received a verbal warning for being one point under rate last week. The path to termination (or how long a write-up stays on your record), is never fully explained. This is in line with the lack of helpful information about your department assignment and expectations from the date of the first interview. Another department had their rate requirements increased dramatically. Morale is in the toilet. Managers are not immune. Some have disappeared, others reappear as pickers. No one is safe. I feel badly for those whose rent and car payments depend on this employment situation.
The last purge resulted in record productivity however, and last night the manager was pushing us.. literally with messages that said.. “push push push” on our scanners. Our shift was on the verge of breaking a record for this warehouse since it opened in August. This makes management look great. We get a high five as they all stand at the door on our way out. Yay. I know it’s because they axed all the slower people, not because we are so awesome.
Withholding information is a form of control. Additionally, they create an environment akin to an early elementary school. What has been a source of irritation from day one for me, I now realize is probably by design. Bright primary colors, cute cartoon characters on the wall affirming core values and practices, pedantic repetition (not by supervisors, but solicited from associates who are asked to offer examples) of standard safety, quality and work practices – twice a day.. I could go on and on. Does this reach down to our earliest memories of learning to conform, submit, and the fear of stepping out of line? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard fellow workers comment, “This is like Kindergarten!” Indeed.
But the bottom line, no matter how much we as workers want to complain about how demeaning, demanding, and de-humanizing this environment is, every time we place an order, we are the ones responsible for keeping it in place. We are biting our own big toe. Consumers drive so much of what is wrong with the modern world. Corporations create wealth giving us what we want. I want fast, cheap, and convenient. It’s a theme that keeps coming back.
I’ve decided to deny my addiction to convenience and find alternate ways to get what I need. Reducing what I need is the first goal, (which isn’t hard for the financially challenged), but also to not add to unethical people practices when I can avoid it, and when I am aware of it. I would rather buy from an individual seller on an online auction site than support a huge matrix that squashes people in the process of giving me what I want.
So what is a person to do when they find themselves in Kindergarten incarceration? What do miserable pupils, or prisoners do? Try to get a message out to the outside world. Pass notes, messages in a bottle, smoke signals in the sky. Last night I found a path to a small act of resistance, a joke, yet an appeal to the mind of a consumer. That’s all I can say about that. 😀