Monday, August 9, 2010

Up In Arms

Today at work, someone was fired.   He had it coming.  All summer he had been slipping out back and taking a smoke break on the clock.  Smoking on the clock is not allowed and he knows that.  He was frequently reminded of it, by notices on the employee boards, in meetings, etc.  He broke the rule so frequently that I secretly nicknamed him "Smokey".

I didn't really like Smokey very much.  He wasn't a bad guy, just an immature guy.  He went out of his way to prove how good he was at getting wasted, at saying stupid things, and making fun of his sister.  I didn't dislike him, though.  He was just there.  Someone with whom I worked.  Someone who was harmless.  He was only a year younger than me, but, in many ways, he was still just a kid.

Lots of coworkers were really put out with his behavior at work.  They were tired of being left to finish his work.  I was too.  We were all hoping that the managers would crack down on him and the two other guys at work who are almost always slackers.  So, today, when Smokey was fired, I wasn't surprised, or even upset.

What did surprise me is that I wasn't glad either.  You see, Smokey's sister works with us and a lot of his friends.  When he was fired, they were all clearly distressed.  His sister started crying.  They were angry with the managers.  And in a way, I understood why. 

After all, the managers at my work are extremely inconsistent.  They only crack down on someone once in a blue moon.  They pick favorites.  They let some get away with rule-breaking and are completely intolerant with others.  They clock out early, while there is still work to be done, then criticize employees who stay late to finish for "riding the clock".   They ignore people's requests off, mess up the menus, and periodically disappear right during the middle of service, when they're supposed to be seating dining guests.  In short, the manager's frequently fail to do their jobs.

How can someone support the decisions of managers that are hypocritical and inconsistent in regards to ensuring the staff members do their assigned work?

I want the managers to crack down on the slackers.  I want them to step up to the plate and do their job as managers.  I want the work environment to improve where I work.  Not only for myself, but also for those of my coworkers who are not likely to move on to a new work place until the distant future.   I'm still sorry, though, that this process will involve people losing their jobs.  I'm sorry that family members and friends will suffer for such changes.  I'm sorry too that Smokey didn't wise up and that other coworkers are not likely to in the future.

Smokey liked his job.  He complained a great deal, especially because he was at work so often.  He worked two different jobs, so he was able to pick up a great many hours.  He needed the job.  He lost it.  He was fired in front of his friends and his family.  There are no two ways about it, whether he deserved it or not, that's rough.

So I learned a lesson today.  Things are never as simple as they seem.  If people are involved, it's rarely clean cut or damage free.  So, from now on, I'm going to consider problems much more carefully.  Also, I'm going to start praying regularly for all those without jobs and also remember to thank God that I have a job.

1 comment:

The TORCH said...

Amen, sister. That's why I don't make fun of celebrities whose lives are falling apart. It's not funny, it's sad, even when they "deserve it". God save us all from getting what we deserve.