What I Learned When I Called Out Of Work For The First Time.

The difference is I wasn't faking it. Source: BroBible

The difference is I wasn’t faking it.
Source: BroBible

So, this may be a shock to some of you, but I had never called out of work at ANY job I’ve ever had until this week.

I can put up with some pretty terrible stuff while working; wrenched neck, nausea, flu. I’d like to think I’m a Juggernaut of dependability in the workplace. But, I was forced to make the decision to call out this week due to unavoidable circumstances and learned a lot about myself in the process; Things like…

It takes a lot to make me give up on a task

For those who don’t live in the New Hampshire area, the catalyst for this bailing out of my duties was the massive go-f***-yourself nor’easter we got between Sunday and Monday that crapped out at least a foot and a half of fluffy white s*** over my house.

The storm was so bad that my town couldn’t keep up with clean-up detail. The net result – and the thing that ultimately cemented my decision to call out – was me being woken up at 6:00 pm (remember, I work third-shift) by the sounds of a fire rescue vehicle spinning out on my street.

Bare in mind that my mode of transportation is a tiny sub-compact. So if a fire truck can’t survive those conditions, I’m practically a quadriplegic man trying to tame a dragon by comparison.

In short, if I know I have a job to do, the heavens have to LITERALLY open up and rain death upon humanity for me to back down.

I hate admitting defeat

I spent the rest of that night brooding and sulking around the house. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I didn’t want anyone to talk to me. I failed and I hated myself for it.

Of course, I’ve always known this about myself to an extent. I cuss out games when I lose and I get really competitive with friends. But this was different; this was pure, white-hot rage.

It wasn’t until my mother – the lovable, overly-caring alarmist she is – called to insist that I stay in that night that I understood my anger. Put simply, …

I worry about EVERYTHING… and my worry manifests as anger

I was legitimately afraid that I was going to lose my job because I couldn’t make it through the weather. And, emotional train wreck I am, I was taking that anger out on myself and people around me.

After a rational conversation with mom, though, I was able to think clearly. When Governer Chris Sununu tells everyone to stay off the roads, there’s a good chance you should listen. Plus, this wasn’t a ‘no-call/no-show’ situation. I left voice mail and texts to my boss letting him know what had happened and any action he took against me would be a fine reason to file a wrongful termination suit.

So, after milling about the house for hours, I was finally able to rest peacefully. And when I went to work the next night, I was surprised to see that…

My superiors are more reasonable than I gave them credit for

As a third-shift employee, I’m used to the idea of EVERYTHING being my fault on the grounds that I have to pick up the slack for everything the previous shifts may have missed. No surprise then that my image of my managers is less than sterling.

However, when I bumped into the assistant manager, I was surprised to see how calm he was. He totally understood my plight and told me that he had planned to sleep at work just to avoid driving in the storm had I not called out. The fact that he kept this cool even after covering for a friend of mine who had broken his hand recently made it all the more impressive.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that you can’t be expected to work full steam at all times and that you will encounter failure at some point. So, there’s no real point in fretting over it. A child-like moral perhaps, but one that’s surprisingly easy for me to forget. You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to be willing to be better than yesterday.

And now, I’m going to go get ready for night’s shift and remind myself why I’m still the best they have despite occasional failures.

Ragin’ Agent: The Importance of Cooperation In the Workplace (or How To Tell When Someone Is Slacking On the Job and Who)

I sense I may have to use this sign in the future.
Source: The Havok Journal

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I try to talk about relevant things that are useful, important, or have an effect on a wide range of people. I also try to find example and site sources to make logically sound claims.

But sometimes things happen to me that cause me to go Super Saiyan and I just need to take out my aggression in my preferred medium.

So, I have a third shift job doing custodial maintenance for a company (that shall go unnamed for reasons that will soon become obvious) and I do enjoy it. It’s quiet hours, good pay, and the work – though lacking in satisfaction – is easy enough that it leaves me more brain space to focus on other details.

However, one of the problems of the job is that quite a large number of people feel they can get away with doing less work; leaving it for us poor third shift zombies to clean up. Let me put it this way…

When you find no less than five feet of toilet paper in each of the men’s bathroom stalls, someone’s slacking.

When there is a visible layer of dust on the back of the toilets so thick that you have to change your cleaning rag halfway through to avoid smearing it around, someone’s slacking.

When someone empties the women’s sanitary boxes (for the guys, the ladies’ room stalls have mini trash boxes for used personal hygiene stuff) but fails to put new liner bags in so that the next person has to muck out and clean them, someone’s slacking.

When you catch someone sleeping in the men’s room stalls and/or passing out in their car with the drivers door open and the engine running on multiple occasions, they are likely the ones slacking.

If you’re a manager and you wonder why things aren’t getting done on third shift when you add more tasks to the list, check to see if they aren’t being forced to pick up someone’s slack first.

There are a lot of ways to make the work place better for everyone and they aren’t hard to do.

Firstly, accept the idea that everything is everyone’s job. If you have the time after taking care of your priority tasks to do it, then do it. You’ll be saving the next person time which, if they take up the same habits, will eventually come back around to you.

Second, if you want to be a manager, you should do the job of each of the people you manage at least once. This will give you an idea of how much time and effort your employees need to put into their jobs and you can build reasonable expectations. Also, don’t assume that the job stays the same between shifts; that rarely happens.

Thirdly, have a manager or assistant on site at all times during peek hours. Many problem employees will try to get away with doing less (and often do) if they know their boss isn’t around to catch them. Just having two people to oversee the first two shifts is enough since one is bound to bump into the third shift if they aren’t doing their job.

In short, don’t be that guy/girl that everyone hates for making them do their work. Also, if my employers are reading this, I’ll happily take that assistant manager job we talked about up there if you can find someone to cover my shift. Sure, it means losing my quiet hours, but it’s worth it to make things run smoother for everyone.

The Agent’s Summer Enjoyment Assurance Kit

Here in New Hampshire, we recently had a stretch of rather sudden hot weather and are only now getting some much needed cooling rain. As such, it’s time to start planning for summer.

Now, I shared my preferred summer activities previously here at the archive. However, I failed to touch on how much fun could be had a la carte. We all get the urge for an impromptu adventure once and a while. As such, you need to have your necessary gear together for just such an occasion.

So, in this week’s topic, I’ll be sharing my summer survival kit for maximizing fun this season.

Item #1: Your Bank Account

Dolla dolla bills, ya’ll.
Source: Century Products LLC

It’s never a good idea to travel without cash on hand. You never know when you may travel farther than expected and need to fill your gas tank or get the urge to stop by that burger shack you’ve been thinking of checking out.

Most people keep a written record of their purchases and deposits, but it’s a good practice to get into to check your account balance – either online or at an ATM – before every trip just to be on the safe side.

Item #2 Utility Kilt (With Optional Sporran)

#ScottishnessIntensifies (yes, that is me)

It’s hot. Like, really hot. You don’t want to wear jeans and shorts are only a mild improvement.

As stated in my very first article, I’m a proponent of the Utility Kilt. They’re comfortable, functional, and stylish (I get tons of compliments on my style when I leave the house). They also allow breathability to the parts of the body most likely to be bound in multiple layers of clothing.

What’s more, most “Utilikilts” sport exterior pockets that hold more than the average pants pocket and are more comfortable; no more car keys jabbing you in the hip.

Still not enough storage space for you? You could get a satchel bag, but that’s a lot of uncomfortable pressure on your shoulder. Why not compliment your new kilt with a sporran (that leather pouch that hangs in the front of the kilt). They’re surprisingly inexpensive and look awesome.

Item #3 Baby Powder

Now when you say you’re going to the powder room, you can mean it.
Source: Electronic Products

Okay, let’s get into hygiene.

In happens every summer; you start sweating hard in the sun which causes your nethers to chafe under the combination of heat, moisture, and friction.

There’s a simple answer to the problem that your mom was using on you as a babe – baby powder.

Baby Powder (or, failing that, pure cornstarch) works by absorbing moisture. Dusting a healthy dose on your undercarriage helps to protect against groin chafing and the most dreaded of all summer time faux pas – Swamp Ass.

Item #4 The Multi-Tool

If it’s good enough for those pseudo-survivalist guys on T.V., it’s good enough for us, right?
Source: Tech On The Side

It’s the one thing that I will carry with me at all times year round, but gets the most use in the summer – my trusted, carefully maintained, well-honed, multi-tool.

You don’t really need a complicated, fancy multi-tool like the a Leatherman either. All you need are a few basic essentials to help you on your summer frolics.

Going camping? You’ve got a pen knife for cutting rope and preparing food. Invited to a party or a cook-out? You brought your own bottle opener. Rebuilding your favorite [insert prized possession here]? Most multi-tools have at least two screwdrivers and a set of pliers.

It’s the right tool for any job… or any joy for that matter.

When Work Doesn’t: Things Employers Need To Stop Doing

 

We all know the obvious joke with this image… and I’m not making it.
Source: SodaHead

It’s happened to the best of us. We’ve all had to work crappy jobs that test our patience and make us question the quality of the human race. It’s a rare unifying fact that put us all as equals.

The only difference is that while most just deal with it until they can find a better employer, if they bother to find one at all, I’m not afraid to register my complaints on a public forum that gets a minimum of +400 unique visitors a month (side note: seriously, you folks are awesome).

Now just so we’re clear, I’m not singling out any one business or company, These are all common complaints that I’ve found at multiple employers. What’s more, the reason I want to bring these up is because I don’t want to see otherwise decent starting jobs disappear because someone in the corporate office can’t figure out why they can’t get the crucial work force they need. Believe me when I say that I am legitimately trying to help.

That all said, let’s begin.

Toxic Enviroment

Now, when I say toxic environment, I don’t mean that the places I’ve worked for in the past have violated OSHA standards. I’m talking about PSYCHOLOGICALY toxic environments. I mean to say that there are too many examples of people leaving or avoiding jobs because the people working there don’t know how to conduct themselves like civilized human beings.

There are plenty of examples of this; jobs where people are hyper-aggressive to the point of being borderline violent or where abusive behavior like sexism, racism, and homophobia are common place.

I’ll admit this is probably the most difficult complaint I have to find a solution to. I’ll admit that you don’t always have the option to fire difficult employees when your work force is already weak. That said, there should be a system in place to punish people who are repetitively offensive and repulsive.

I’m sure many people will disagree and I’m sure I’ll think of a better idea after I’ve published this article, but I’m thinking of temporary (repeat, TEMPORARY) pay cuts to act as a sort of corporate ‘swear jar’ to help uphold the decency standards that businesses claim to have set in place. Drop a gay or racial slur in the work place? Threaten an employee? Say goodbye to a little of that extra spending money in your check at the end of the week.

It’s not ideal, but we have to do something to reinforce that behavior like that won’t be tolerated.

Bad Scheduling

You would honestly be amazed how many jobs I’ve had that could be made better by simply fixing a few scheduling issues.

I’ve been in more than a few jobs where management will complain that that don’t have enough people to properly staff their business. Almost every time, I just want to say, “Then why don’t you have a few of us on full time?”

Well, the reason they don’t have us on full time is because they would rather be under staffed and lose business to poor customer service that pay us full time benefits. Does that sound like a no-win scenario to you?

Honestly, it would seem as though better customer retention, more positive word of mouth advertizing, and having one or two people around when you need them is worth the price of shelling out 10 extra hours for pay roll and full medical coverage.

Labor Law Violations

This is one that requires a little work on the part of you; the employee.

Yes, there are laws that are designed to ensure the rights of working men and women and I have seen tons of companies disregard them to further their own agendas. From denying required breaks to spying on stock portfolios, I’ve seen quite a bit.

Your job is to do your research and learn what your rights are so you can recognize when they’re being violated. Your laws may differ from state to state, but they should be easy enough to find. In fact I’l make it easy for you; here’s the official Department of Labor State Labor Laws page to get you started – complete with a list of State Labor Offices so you can report violations.

You need to be able to defend yourself from the higher powers up the corporate ladder. Arm yourself with knowledge. Also, if you don’t see a law-protected right that you think you should have. Let them know.