By David Glenn Cox
Mother Cox didn’t raise her little boy to be your lawn jockey. The state didn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars educating me to be somebodies’ flunky. What’s the old adage about , “An honest day’s work for and honest day’s pay?” The next time someone tells you about “Right to work” you tell em this story.
Nurses in the wake of a category 5 hurricane in Florida, were told if they didn’t show up for their shift, they would be terminated. “You lazy no-good louts are gonna use a little wind storm as an excuse, to lay out of work.” There is a photo of a nurse circulating being rescued, after her car stalled in a flooded intersection. The workers carry the burden of the management’s incompetence.
The storm wasn’t a surprise; management could have had people staying at the hospital, as in two shifts, until the storm passed. But you know what? That costs money. So, what we’re going to do instead is nothing, and then dump it on the workers conscience to show up or be fired.
“Sure, we’ve heard it all before; your car is missing, or your roof is missing, or your family is missing. But Missy, we’ve got a hospital to run. If you can’t plan for a category 5 hurricane any better than that, we’re just gonna have to let you go.”
To go immediately to termination in a fit of the Emperor’s pique. You will or else! We don’t give a shit about your little pissy problems. Remember all those team meetings and team building exercises? (Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?) All that goody-goody feels good, you’re one of us horseshit goes right out their window, the minute they’re in trouble.
All your troubles go out their window too. Your circumstances must be subordinated. They don’t matter in the same way that ours matter. You are inferior and so, thus are your demands versus the demands of the corporation.
Don’t think of me as your boss, think of me as your dream fulfillment coordinator! Together we shall ride the backs of the golden unicorn of success, through hard work and travails keeping our noses clean! Now, unload the truck. You’re road to advancement, starts here with cleaning the restrooms!
A friend of mine told me he now has to buy a parking pass, to park at the building where he works. That kind of passive-aggressive bullshit would get me fired and someone punched. You want me to pay to park at work? Okay, how much is this chair? May I sit down? That water fountain…is that water free? May I use this desk without further obligation? Do I need to subscribe to turn on the lights? Do I have to kick in on the light bill every month too? Nothing less than a pay cut described as a parking pass. A tax on work levied by the company.
Another friend works for an Internet retailer, the evilest corporation on the whole face of the planet. They use a combination of peer group training and bonzi and bushido management indoctrination. A sort of the Marines meets Scientology. Managers are moved and evaluated by other managers, who are also moved and evaluated by managers moved and evaluated because if you stay too long, you’ll get bored.
You might start to ask yourself, why we do they do all these crazy things? The net sum is always the same, to move more packages faster regardless of the question, the weather, or your health. But it looks good, in a sort of Nuevo hi-tech wave doesn’t it, Winston?
Turning little gears and spinning knobs and throwing I Ching, to discern the best way to ship a package to Omaha three seconds faster. How to get the absolute most out of the employee for the employer’s dollar. It’s the Stanford Experiment, only with package delivery. The managers behind mirrored sunglasses devise new and devilish ways to make the prisoners go faster.
“According to our reports, it shouldn’t take you 8.6 seconds to load that package mister. You’re cheating the company, aren’t you? You’re having idle thoughts on company time, aren’t you? I’m going to have to reports this.” You’re not so much a thought criminal as a thought hooligan, skylarking and using your brain for non-company thoughts on company time.
I recently applied for a part-time job at a hardware store for the bare minimum wage. But they wanted a drug test and I refused. If you want to know what drugs I’m on, I’ll be glad to tell you. But I’m under no obligation to share. But you don’t have a right or a customer. If you want to check my pee, to see if I’m safe enough to stack the do-it-yourself bird feeder kits on the gondola ends. And look for screws in the “fine thread” screw cabinet.
Do they think I’m going to flip out loading bags of fertilizer? Tear off my clothes and dance naked among the power tools like a Miley Sirus video? Selling .007 Weed eater string for .009? I’m not a pet or livestock to be tested by the doctor. I’m not flying a passenger jet or doing brain surgery; it’s working part-time in a hardware store.
My next employment adventure was with a canvassing company. The shifts were only four hours, and it was in town. I arrived for the planning meeting. I was the only one old enough to remember Jimmy Carter, most only barely remembered Obama. Kevin the boss, and he was very helpful. Only, when I put my information on the schedule, Kevin didn’t put me on it.
I sent him a text, as Kevin always answered within minutes. This time 48 hours passed without any response. I sent another text, two more days passed…get the picture? Then out of the blue, Oh gee, Dave. I guess I didn’t see your information (or your texts for four days?) Do you still want me to put you on the schedule? What do you think? Don’t think of it as age discrimination, think of it as age preferential treatment.
My grandfather worked in a steel mill and later, as a Union organizer in the Iron workers Union. On his first week on the job, he saw a man horribly burned. The man was taken home to live or die with no promise he’d even get his job back. The company had no obligation to him, none at all. My grandfather fought for workers’ rights all his life after that.
Maybe that’s all there is, to this life of ours. To run your shifts in the squirrel cage. To smile and make the wheels turn that turn the gears and make the doughnuts and walk the dog in the morning. Corporate profits give my life real meaning! How about you? When they hold that corporate board meeting store 5847 will be the topic of conversation, I bet. “We sold more alternators than anyone in region three.”
If I don’t show up, who’ll put out the birdhouse kits? “It’s only a minor broken bone Doc, I got people depending on me! Besides, I could get fired!”
“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
― Alexander Solzhenitsyn