You’re Gonna Miss Me–

May 4, 2010 at 3:23 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
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  –When I’m gone.

  I worked at The Three Jakes last night-another exciting adventure.  When I got there, I checked on the ice machine and–lo and behold!–the new schedule is posted.
  It’s not really even that big of a deal, because everyone works the same schedule all the time.  The Three Jakes has developed a highly passive-aggressive way of making people deal with their own scheduling issues.  Basically, it works like this:  the schedule is what it is, the same, always and forever.  When Brian makes a new one he is just copying the old one.  But there is an envelope for "schedule requests" that might just as well say "Hurt me Randomly" on it.  You have to have your schedule requests in by the Friday before the second Wednesday of the Tuesday that the following week’s schedule (that begins on Wednesday) begins…or something like that.  About a month’s notice, they want.
  I learned–but at first I thought it was just me–that if you put in a request for a day off, on the following schedule you are off on that same day also, because he just copied it.  At first I thought it was just Brian being vapid (and he is), but now I think that it is an unwritten rule in their management philosophy–
  ["When someone has a schedule request, go ahead and honor it–but then fuck with their schedule for the next several weeks.  This will train them to deal with it on their own, and they’ll stop bothering us.  We’re managers; we don’t have time for things like scheduling, staffing, or managing our employees."]
  –because not only did I get corroboration that this has happened to other people, but we also have posted near the schedule a "Substitution List."  The way it is worded it sounds like if you need a schedule change after the schedule is posted, go to this.  But the practical application and general usage is "Take your troubles to the wailing wall, and bother me no more." 
  And here’s a related thing, too:  little Marissa didn’t show up last night because she was sick.  They told her, *you call around and find someone to replace you.*
  I’ve seen this philosophy in other restaurants, and in theory there is some logic to it.  However, my zip code is in the real world.
  What if you can’t find someone?  Well, you still have to come in.  What if you’re so sick that you *can’t*?  Well, then you get written up or fired.  What if you were in a car accident, and you’re in the hospital?  They have phones there.  What if you’re in a coma?  Find someone to call for you.
  So, say you have the flu.  It’s pretty bad.  And you’re contagious.  You can’t find someone to work for you and they don’t believe you, so you have to come in (or tell them to fuck off).  And–again–what if you are too sick and drained of energy to make a phone call?  So you come in, infect everyone else, and then pass out.  And get written up for sleeping on the job.  Just because the manager didn’t believe you and wants "proof" that you are sick and not faking it. 
  If you, as a manager/owner/operator of a company, want your employees to trust you, you should extend some trust to them as well.  Trust that when they are say they are sick, generally they are.
  "Rules are rules."  Yes, I know.  But they are made by people, and they are made for people, and there has to be a reasonable expectation of rational behavior from management, not just a mindless following of procedure.  There are always exceptions, and there is judgment, and there are circumstances to consider.  So be realistic.
  What if you are so sick that you shouldn’t be driving, but out of a [completely misplaced] sense of duty and the guilt trip that was laid on you, you drive to work–
  And then get in an accident?
  I’d say the company is liable.  I’d say they create a culture that tries to place loyalty to them above anything rational, and pressured you into doing something that was unsafe, and they are culpable.  I bet a jury would agree, because we’ve all been there, been coerced to work when we were sick.
  I don’t care how important you think you and your ridiculous little restaurant are–
  For minimum wage *YOU* find my replacement.  Do *your* job as manager.

  Ah–and you might think I’m done ranting.
  So I came in yesterday and looked at the schedule, both the current one and the new one.  I checked the current one to make sure it hasn’t changed–because that can happen–and then the new one to make sure there’s nothing odd on it–Because Brian will do things like schedule me to close in the middle of the week, and then act surprised when I tell him I can’t do it. 
  "I still have a day job.  A real job."  They hate hearing that, which is why I say it.  Someone has to break it to them.  "The job that pays way more than this one, that I have insurance and a 401k and other benefits with.  The one I’ve always had that I told you right from the beginning was the reason I can’t be here until 3am because I get up early for my other job, and you have a WRITTEN availability that I filled out that says this–that you never look at."
  "So you can’t close tonight?"
  "No.  It’s a Tuesday.  It’s a weekday.  I can’t."
  "Okay.  How about next Thursday?"
  To The Three Jakes, The Three Jakes is the world.  Everything revolves around it. 
  A few weeks ago, I had made the mistake of asking off on a Saturday for my birthday party.  The following week, I wasn’t scheduled, but that was okay because my daughter was singing at some function, and I got to go see it without having to ask off for it.  After that, I thought, *Why don’t I take Saturday off?  I’m trying to get this radio show project going, and Saturday is the day we do it.*  So I never went to Brian and said, "Hey, can I have my Saturday back?"
  So again…I came in to work yesterday, and the first thing I did was check the schedule.  I used to work four days, but now I work three.  On the new schedule, however–
  I’m down to two days.
  And the two days are Monday and Tuesday, the two shittiest days.  The new guy, Kevin–the one they gave my Saturday to–now has my Thursday.  I’ve never been off on the Thursday.  Never asked for it, or anything like that.  They just took one of my shifts and gave it to him.
  I know what this is; I’ve seen it before.  Hell, I’ve done it before.  If you want to get rid of someone, just cut their hours and make them quit.  For restaurant management, it’s pretty standard.  They were going to get their wish.  On my first delivery–to a new regular that doesn’t tip–I called Detroit and told her my sad story.  I love Detroit, and how supportive she is–She told me I should quit now.
  Hmmm.  Yeah, maybe so.
  But I didn’t.  When I got back from the run, all the day people had cleared out, leaving just the night crew–and we’re short-handed.  Just me, TJ, and Jessica.  Jessica, if you recall, was the manager I had some problems getting along with and then she got promoted.  Now she’s back.  I’m not clear on whether it was a voluntary or involuntary demotion because I didn’t want to pry and also because I don’t care enough.  I didn’t really have a problem with her, she had a problem with *me.*  And it wasn’t just me; she had problems with a few people.
  But just back from her latest ego-crushing adventure, she wasn’t nearly as uptight as before.  She was still closed off (to me) and not communicating (with me). 
  And so…I didn’t quit right then but I’m not sure why–surely it wasn’t for them.  Jessica was trying to out-passive-aggressive the world champion, and TJ…you know, I want to like him, but he is a very serious person, and these types of people do not like people that are funny.  Or people like me.  Plus he has a thinly veiled air of superiority because of his degree and his work in a university.  I will give him props for not being even more psychologically damaged than he is.
  I guess it was for my own pride.  Not my integrity, although I wish it was.  I’m not going to walk out in a huff.  I’m going to finish my shift with dignity, do whatever ridiculous crap I have to do, and leave quietly, with my karma intact.
  And I got my wish.  It was slow, so I ended up cleaning a wide variety of things that were already clean (standard Three Jakes procedure) and I took the initiative to do these because Jessica wasn’t going to tell me to do anything because that would involve talking to her.  While I cleaned the tables in the dining room, her and TJ talked.
  While I swept the floor in the dining room, her and TJ chatted.  While I mopped, the kibitzed.  While I did the dishes, they bonded.  I don’t care–I’ve seen people stand around, jack around, and do nothing, but if I stop moving I get ridden like a bad pony.  And I know it’s my last day–something they don’t know–so I don’t want anyone to get on my back because then I would walk out.  Plus…if they don’t want to talk to me, fine.  I thought I was an engaging, interesting person.  I thought people liked me.  I thought I had friends–Just not here.
  Fuck em and feed em beans.
  It was going to be a shitty night for tips.  During the first two hours, I just took those two runs that didn’t tip.  If number three hadn’t tipped me, I was prepared to quite calmly stabbed her in her backfat. 
  Towards the end, the only thing that kept me going was my plan to wait for Adam to get there, so I could walk out with a sammich for free.  Otherwise, it would have all been for naught and I would have wasted my night.  I made 20 bucks in tips–20 bucks!–in four hours.  And hell, eleven of that was on the last two deliveries in the last fifteen minutes.  On the last one, I got to the door, and the guy said, "How’s it going?"
  I scoffed.  "You don’t wanna know."
  "Rough night?"
  "Let’s just say…you are my last customer, because I’m going to quit this fuckin job."
  He chuckled as he signed the credit card slip.  "So it is one of those nights."  He handed me the slip, and then pulled a five out of his pocket.  "Here you go, man."
  I looked at it quickly, before reflexively sticking it in my pocket quickly. I said, "Hey, thanks, man!  Thanks for letting me end on a high note!"

  Back at the store, Jessica checked me out, and then she left.  Adam was already there.  I waited for Jessica to leave, because I remember she was a real stickler about the whole sammich thing.  She may have cooled off of that a bit, but I didn’t want a confrontation.  I told Cam when he got there about my plan, and then later, when Auja showed up, I told her.  She knew already–Cameron had told her.  As Jessica left I said, "See ya later–" but I didn’t mean it.
  I made my sammich like I usually do, while Adam was slicing meat.  I bagged it up and set it aside, and then went to talk to Adam.
  "I was wondering if you could do me a favor."
  "Whatcha need?"
  "I don’t know if you talk to Brian or communicate with him in some way, or email him or leave him a note–but can you tell him that today was my last day?"
  Adam looked at me, with the trained emotionless expression that you get from being a manager or a husband that has had to deal with a psycho wife.  "Are you sure?"  Fairly non-committal–he’s good.
  "Yeah."  I explained to him about the game that was being played, and how I knew.  And also, how I essentially quit at five, but stayed to work because I didn’t want to leave these people hanging, the ungrateful turds.
  I also talked a little about my past–I may not have mentioned it to him before, my experience.  "I know what this is–"
  At the end, he said, "Okay, I’ll let Brian know."
  "Thanks.  By the way, as a parting gift, I’m going to take this sammich."
  He nodded.  "okay."
  I went to say goodbye to Auja, who was in the back.  She said, "I’m gonna miss you."  She pouted.
  "Me too."  I grabbed her to hug her, and went right to her neck and started to kiss it and bite it and growl.  Auja squealed, but didn’t try to hard to get away.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek, and said, "Bye, Honey."
  I came out of the back room where Auja had just been squealing, and Cam cocked an eyebrow.  I held out a fist, and we bumped.  "Later man.  Be good."
  I was outta there.  I had intended to quit at five, but I had stayed until nine.  No matter–I’m sure it was five o’clock somewhere.


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