Thursday, November 05, 2009

Poopy Day (Factory Politics and other Nasty Stuff)

Into every life some . . . Well, anyway . . . I woke up yesterday morning prepared to write, but found I was too tense to concentrate and finally abandoned the effort. The thing is, I didn't really have a sound, rational reason for it, I just was.

Then Gary came in the door, tense and unhappy and, no, I don't think it was an accident that I'd felt the same way. But more on those connections another time . . .

He had a great annual evaluation the previous night(one of our best, glad to have you), unfortunately followed by a write up for a very minor paperwork snaffoo (and I mean as minor as dropping the fourth zero when writing in the military time on a chart in a slot that already has the time in it--you're right, that doesn't make much sense). Unfortunately, the write up costs us our quarterly bonus in February. The bonuses this year have been dismal, so this isn't a big deal. However, he's already lost half of our Christmas bonus for the self-same kind of error two months ago. That particular bonus, which is quite a lot bigger and necessary to Christmas around here, hurts badly (and that is even more complicated by a supervisor who screwed up too). On top of this he was warned that four write ups on two years earn a three day suspension or firing. So in addition to having a very small Christmas bonus, we get to live with that ax hanging over our heads. He's been in this job for a little over two years, doing the same job, entering the same numbers on the same chart, and he's never had this problem until now.

Coincidence? I think not. When Gary came back from vacation, the man who filled in for him, who has been in the job for thirty years, was written up (same offense) and he's never been written up before. When Gary came on shift last night, the guy he was relieving quietly told him to watch his paperwork because the individual who works the same piece of equipment at the other end of the factory was just suspended for--you guessed it--a 4th minor paperwork snaffoo. People around the factory who've been there forever are beginning to accrue write ups for tiny offenses (since there are no large ones). This factory has won awards for the quality of their work and, while other factories owned by this company have had their wrists slapped and not received their bonus checks more often than not, this one always has.

It is dirty pool to separate people from their bonus checks (often counted on to buy Christmas gifts) by punishing them for minor infractions instead of simply stating that the money is not there. I suppose this way they can continue to point out to their employees how well they're taking care of them and hold themselves up as a shining example of how companies should be run.

And if you're wondering about the condition of this company's finances. By all reports, they are doing extremely well, a very long lived establishment, turning a comfortable profit, and winning awards for their great service to their customers. So, no, I don't quite understand what's wrong either, though I have my suspicions, and they're not very nice.

In brief, today hasn't improved on yesterday one bit, though I have slogged through a thousand words. It is about to be another short paycheck. We've had a lot of these lately. Though I've stretched our resources, and the bills are getting paid, and no one is going without anything they need, things are tight and I'm worried because I always worry when money is tight.

So tonight most of the boys are off to a church lock-in and I'll have the house to myself for most of the evening. After I've retrieved Daniel from his girlfriend's house (that boy has GOT to learn to drive), I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine (or two) and write the murder scene in the Dotted Line. My mood is ripe for it.

Tomorrow I will rise early and write, then we will go up to the church as a family and set up for a sizable youth concert that Jeremiah and I have been organizing for the last three months. The adults will crouch in the kitchen with our fingers in our ears as the youth jump around and cheer while the Christian Rock Bands play their music for them, and talk to them about God's love, and we will smile because we know that at least a hundred of the youth in our community are safe and having a good time. And we will know too, that they are hearing some important good news.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Oh, wow. It would get me very worried. Sounds more like they are poising themselves to let go the most expensive employees or "cost save" some way. They'll document stuff for a firing first so they don't have to do severance... maybe I am paranoid... or maybe the thought has occurred to you as well. :[

Scotty said...

Companies that get Scrooge-like with their bonuses (especially when they're doing well and showing profits) fit into the same category as insurers that withhold coverage for a multitude of BS excuses - yes, I get that you need to show a profit, yadda-yadda but I'm the guy who has been with you for 2, 10, 30 years; at your next board meeting, try looking up the word loyalty in a dictionary...

Debby said...

Loyalty? Oh Scotty. Loyalty doesn't matter. It's profits. As long as the shareholders get their money, nothing else matters. Welcome to the world of American business.

Ray Veen said...

When a company says they care about their employees, they're probably telling the truth.

It's also probably a lower priority than the profiteering.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Hi Mrs. C and thanks for your concern. I'm only mildly concerned about this, as I'm aware of how much it cost them just to train Gary (tons of overtime for at least two other employees for four or five months). I am simply convinced that they are looking for reasons to cut bonuses.

Scotty--I agree completely. It's a dirty deal.

Debby-Now that we're resigned to this, we're trying to find the silver lining, but it's awfully hard when someone has already mined it and sold it on the commodities market.

Ray--Yup. I just wish they wouldn't bother.