Monday, August 30, 2010

Conversations with My Father - Pt. 6

Dad:  Here I brought you a chicken. 
Me:  Um, great, thanks.  Why?
Dad:  'Cause you like chicken. 
Me:  True... is it a live chicken?
Dad:  That is literally the dumbest question you've ever asked in your life. 
[-- ed:  if ONLY that were true.] Also, I brought you some trail mix.  I don't like it.  It has too many nuts. 
Me: ...?  It's trail mix, dad, it's mostly nuts.
Dad:  That's why I don't want it.  I mostly liked the M&M's. 
Me:  Then just buy a bag of M&M's.
Dad:  That's unhealthy. 
Me:  Then buy a bag of peanut M&M's and dump some raisins in the bag.
Dad:  I'm TOTALLY going to do that!  Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HR Has Feelings, Too, You Know!

First off, I hate talking or writing about work.  Work is boring.  No one wants to hear about someone else's work.  Why should I presume to think that MY work is any more interesting or valid than anyone else's?  That said, I'm about to launch into a story/rant about work.  So, you've been warned and can now choose your own adventure:  quit now and go do something else or keep reading knowing that I'm babbling about work.  Oh, and it's not a funny story.  I feel like I should also say that upfront.    It's not sad or anything, but it's not something you're going to think, "Oh, that Lainey!  What a character!"  That's probably not gonna' happen.  If it does, please feel free to let me know.

I spent over an hour in a meeting today to discuss what to do about an under-performing employee.  This is the third such meeting I've been in over the past 2 weeks.   All about different employees.  The focus of today's meeting was a middle-aged woman with some type of illness (maybe Parkinson's?) that she's not really willing to discuss with us and that she INSISTS is not affecting her productivity in any way.  It should be noted that this employee has either had this affliction since she started with us 5 years ago or she's just always been an under-performing employee.  Her problem is that she's slow.  Like sllllooooooowwwww slow.  Also, she doesn't really seem to grasp simple concepts and does not take any responsibility at all for her poor performance and insists that we are just out to get her.  By way of comparison, other employees enter/bill 100 trips a day; she enters/bills 30.  Her supervisor and manager have spent many, many, many hours coaching her and training her and trying to get her up to speed.  They've taken away extra tasks and assigned them to other employees and when she still wasn't able to hit the minimum requirement, they took another chunk of responsibility away from her and sent her through training again.  During all of this she has maintained that there's not a problem and that they're just picking on her.

The supervisor and manager don't want to fire her, my boss doesn't want to fire her, no one wants to get rid of her, but there's nowhere else for her to go within the organization.  I guess the reason I'm writing this is because I get SO tired of hearing people say things like, "HR is out to screw people", "Corporations only care about the bottom line", "Employees are just numbers", blah, blah, blah.  You know what?  SHUT THE FUCK UP.  Of course companies are concerned with the bottom line! If you work for a company that isn't,  I suggest you start looking for a new place of employment, because yours isn't going to be around for long.  HR is NOT out to screw people.  Holy crap, do you even know how much fucking paperwork is involved to write-up and/or fire someone?  How much extra documentation has to be done?  It's ridiculous.  HR doesn't want to screw you.  HR doesn't even want to deal with you, so there's no way in hell they're TRYING to get you in trouble.  As far as employees being "just numbers", that's just dumb.  It's a symbiotic relationship.  The company exists to make money.  That's its function.  In order to make money, the company must have employees and in order to pay the employees the company must make money, so the employees must perform in a satisfactory and productive manner in order for the company to make the money to pay the employee for the satisfactory and productive work.  SEE?  It's a cycle.  They depend on each other.

Are there incompetent, jackassy, unethical, supervisors, managers, and directors in companies?  Absolutely.  Does management sometimes hate one of their employees?  FOR sure.  But, overall, supervisors, managers, and HR are all there, the same as you, trying to do a good job.  Trying to balance the needs of the company with the needs of the many employees.  They're trying to get their work done, while they review yours and they don't want to discipline or fire people.  They will hold many meetings (and sometimes sweep things under the rug) and review policies and lose sleep over the decision to terminate someone's employment.  The COMPANY may be an entity, but the people making the decisions and doing the hard task of writing someone up or eventually firing them are PEOPLE.  These people really aren't rubbing their hands together and twirling their mustaches and cackling with glee over the prospect of screwing you over, they're trying to find ways to help you, so that you are a productive and satisfactory part of the work cycle.  Please stop believing that Corporate America is out to GET YOU.  That seriously doesn't even make sense if you really stop to think about it and every time you repeat that little motto, it helps to create an environment of distrust and resentment and takes away YOUR ownership of your own life and your own destiny.  It makes you a victim.  Stop it.

Unless you're an asshole.  Then maybe your HR department is out to get you.  (I'm kidding.  Mostly.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Conversations with My Father - Pt. 5

Dad:  I bought you some eggs.
Me:  Oh, um, thanks?
Dad:  From the bar.
Me:  You bought me eggs at a bar?  What?  Are they pickled or something?
Dad:  No.  God.  From the Farley's farm.  They have chickens.
Me:  Oh, ok, well now that you've cleared that up...
Dad:  And I got you some of that pepper cheese you like.
Me:  Do they have cows, too?
Dad:  What?  Who said anything about cows?  *Chickens*.
Me:  I know, chickens make eggs, but cows make cheese.  Well, they don't MAKE cheese, but, you know.
Dad:  What the hell are you talking about?  
Me:  Right.  I'm the crazy one.
Dad:  Oh, no, the cheese is from Sam the Amish Cheese guy.
Me:  There's an Amish guy who sells cheese in the bar?  Does he drive his buggy into the city?
Dad:  Dammit, Lainey!  No, Sam's not Amish, he sells Amish cheese.
Me:  Ok, well that was unclear.  You said "Sam, the AMISH cheese guy", not "Sam, the Amish CHEESE guy".
Dad:  What?
Me:  The emphasis would be different.
Dad:  I didn't emphasize anything - YOU did.
Me:  I know, I just... never mind.  Thank you.

Phone rings 20 seconds later...

Dad:  They also have goats.
Dad:  The Farleys.  Chickens and goats, but they don't have goat cheese.  Do you want me to ask Sam, the Amish CHEESE guy if they have goat cheese?
Me:  No, I don't like goat cheese, but thanks.
Dad:  Then why did you ask about goats?
Me:  WHAT?  I didn't say anything about goats - YOU did.
Dad:  I don't think that's true, but if you say so.  Why would you lie about goats?
Me:  I ... do you TRY to make my head hurt?

PS:  I was trying to find an appropriate photo to accompany this post, but INSTEAD I found Pygmy goats and OHMYGOD, now I want a Pygmy goat more than anything!  Look how cute they are.