The Bitch and the Pendulums

I’ve got the flu. Coughing, aching, fever, sweating, I caught the bug.   I started feeling crappy Friday after work, but thought that since I had Saturday off, I could beat this thing and return to work Sunday. I slept a total of 12 hours from 8 am on Saturday, waking long enough to eat some toast, drink some tea, and complain about the tv being too loud. 

Sunday I was feeling worse, but since there was no one available to work for me, I had to go in and make sure the 8 people working that day were doing their jobs.

First, an apology.  I do believe it was the flu AND the flu medication that caused me to bare my fangs and claws. I apologize to everyone at work for snapping at them and waving them away when they would approach me. YOU know I’m not normally that way. Even so, you shouldn’t want to bring the bitch out in me. It’s not a pretty sight.

Next, a question.  Why can’t perfectly capable adults just do their jobs without being told every 5 minutes?  Let’s make that several questions.  Do people actually enjoy being micromanaged? I know I don’t.  I want to get-er-done, and get-er-done correctly, quickly, and in such a way I don’t have the management gods raining fire and brimstone down on me.  What happened to taking pride in your work? Is that such an old-fashioned notion, like opening a door for an elderly person or replacing the toilet paper when the roll is empty?  And whatever happened to the ideals of teamwork?  In my previous employment situations, where everyone sat in a cubicle and didn’t know the fellow employee next to them, let alone speak to them, teamwork is a very vague and abstract concept. You don’t see the results of working together until you attend an annual meeting and have to watch a Powerpoint presentation that only gives you a feeling of being a very small cog in the wheel. Where I work now, physical work makes up 75% of the job, the rest being using your brain to develop ways to do that 75% more efficiently,  utilizing your coworkers’ talents along with your own.  Brains people, BRAINS!

Let’s say, for instance, I ask someone to take all items with a green price tag off 3 shelves. and replace them with newer items with a pink price tag. This should not be so difficult. This person should not have to have someone standing over them and making sure they don’t take the green price tags off items  on 3 shelves in a different department and reprice those items with a pink tag, like the last person did.  And when someone knows their job is to break down boxes to recycle and take trash out to the compactor, they shouldn’t be standing next to someone who is actually (well kind of) doing his job and discussing the merits of using a certain type of cannon in the Civil War over another, or what is the best ammo to use if you want someone to really suffer when shot by a shotgun. (Creepy, but true).

You can blame it on their training, but I went through the same training and came away with knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and an incentive to find a better way to do it. These people, for the most part, are like pendulums on a clock; once they get started, they’ll keep going until their work day is over.  But introduce a distraction, like a coworker who wants to yap, or a song on the radio, or even a bird flying by the window, and they’ll stop.  The only thing that gets that pendulum swinging again is a manager giving them that verbal push.(Oh, if it were only legal to give them a physical one.)

Yesterday was like working in a building full of broken cuckoo clocks. Get one shut up and back to work, then another one stops ticking. Going back and forth from one end of the building to the other to keep all these faulty clocks working, when I was sick and feverish and just wanted to go to sleep, made something snap inside me. I didn’t yell, but I made it clearly known that everyone’s job was on the line if they didn’t do their jobs, and if they didn’t take that warning seriously, maybe a written one would have a better effect.  I turned off the radios, and limited the number of people working together at one task to just two. They did get their work done–barely–and baskets of baleful looks were heaped upon me when the left for the day.  Look, people; you can do your job and do it well without supervision. Or you can slack off, and have your day ruined by micromanagement and threats.

Looks to me like it’s easier for some people to just have a perfectly shitty day at work than to leave work with a great feeling that you’ve done your job well.


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