16 June 2016

Staff Appreciation Day is Coming.

Exactly six years ago today, I returned to work after taking a five day parental leave for the birth of my son, and was promptly pulled into a meeting where I was told to choose between having my hours cut or finding work elsewhere.  The boss had shut down the store and held a meeting the day before, explaining to the staff that we needed to become awesome in our service. He then revealed his grand plan to achieve this goal: we were going to shrink our way to awesomeness. Some people were let go. Most of us had our hours cut. Awesome.

As I said, I wasn't there that day on account of my son having just been born. I returned to work the nest day, and was immediately called into a private meeting with him, the next in charge and my union rep. My boss, in addition to whatever else he may be, is a nervous smiler: he smiles when he's under stress. And so it was that this man had a stupid, dopey grin on his stupid, dopey face as he told me he was cutting my hours. My union rep sat beside me and seethed a palpable rage, but he was of no practical use to me. Pretty much par for the course with this union. They 'feel ' our pain, even though they aren't feeling our pain, look angry and swear they will do 'something', actually do nothing, and garnish our salary.

Over time, we sort of got our hours back, and we sort of didn't. We work full time hours, seven instead of six, but the seventh hour is an 'extra' hour. The biggest place we feel that is when we take our holidays or are sick: we lose that extra hour. If you're living from pay cheque to pay cheque, like me, the loss of that hour's pay adds up quickly, and it hurts. I even avoid taking holidays because of the loss of pay. I have almost forty days stored in my bank. No father with small children should ever have that many days stored up. He should be taking them, and spending time making memories with his family.

Since then five people have retired. One person left the store. Two have died. One took LTD and early retirement due to early onset alzheimers. (the university fought giving her the LTD- they felt she was still capable of working) but we still haven't shrunk our way to awesomeness, and we aren't getting those hours back.

In other unrelated news, I have been contacted repeatedly about the staff appreciation barbecue that's coming up. they're doing it to let me know just how much they appreciate me and my work. But I don't need a badly cooked beef 'n' sawdust patty to know how much I am appreciated around here. They told me, loud and clear, six years ago.

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