05 September 2005

Scarier Than That

Back early.

I have rearranged my life to get to work for 9am, based on the information given at interview. The kids start school across town at ten minutes to 9, so I am accumulating favours I now owe people, in order to sort this out. Thanks to help from the wonderful secretary at their school, I can drop them off at 8.30 am, so it was going to be a sprint to get to my own work, but do-able.

What the guy who interviewd me and gave me the job neglected to say is:
  • You are not allowed to wear your uniform to work, you have to change when you get there and change to leave.
  • The black shoes you simply have to have and pay for out of your own pocket are another item that cannot be worn outside of the kitchen - no wearing them home.
  • You need a good twenty minutes to mill past two or three other girls in a locker room the size of a shoe box, to get changed. Trousers, T-shirt, pinny, it's a full strip & swap.
  • 9am start means 9am changed and out in the kitchen, not 9am through the door, so I am screwed. I need to owe favours all over the place AND catch a taxi (no payphones or taxi rank near school, so it needs to be pre-ordered.) Thats at least one hour's wages knocked off the total, every day.
  • The hours might technically include half an hour unpaid, for lunch, but I am now told that no-one has time to stop, so it doesnt happen, I guess you are just expected to give half an hour for free.
  • Because the break doesn't happen, the 'meal provided' doesn't happen either.
  • He never got round to telling the supervisor that he had employed me, so she didnt know who I was.
  • We are understaffed anyway at a full compliment of four, and currently down 25% on that because someone quit and he couldn't find another newbie to take on. The supervisor is trying to get me swapped with someone at the other site because they have enough trained people to cope and she hasnt got time to train me herself, if she and the one other regular (who wants to cut her hours) are going to be doing the work of four. If this happens, then without a car it will add another half hour/more taxi money to my journeys to and from work.
  • There were no deliveries today, so no sandwich fillings etc could be made up for tomorrow when school starts back and it will be a double work day. At least we got away 1 1/2 hours early today, because of that, but tomorrow will involve three people doing in 5 1/2 hours what, even with a 'streamlined' staff, should take four people 7 hours.
  • The new headmistress prefers another catering firm for teacher training days etc so today we scrubbed down the kitchens, boil washed tea towels and removed six weeks of dust, plus.
  • The strongest cleaner used in the kitchen is industrial washing up liquid, applied to a plastic scourer or a scrub bud. I'll work out how many scratches there are on my right hand when it stops feeling spongy.
  • You have to change pinnies and wear a hat when serving and there are three separate serving sessions between 10am and 2pm. For kitchen work we have plain blue pinnies, for serving we have to wear ones with a huge harlequin pattern like an outsize circus clown.
  • In between the child and adult break times and the full on lunch sitting, we not only have to keep cooking for today and keep prepping for tomorrow, but also nip out round the canteen, disinfect all the tables and sweep the floor. It can't be done during sittings as we don't have the staff.
What the bleep am I doing? Keeping my eye on plans and goals, but they might have to be carved into the back of my hand by the end of this week.

I need this work, I want to get fit again and I have specific plans for the money that involve having a known minimum coming in to the house every month for a period of time, however tomorrow I fully expect to be sworn at. All I will be able to do is sympathise and not take it personally - there would be a lot more trouble if there were only the two of them, two very nice, if stressed, women.

Tomorrow we have the youngest year of pupils in, as start dates are staggered, but it will increase on Wednesday and be full blast by Thursday.

Never mind wishing me luck anymore, but if you wanted to PRAY for me.............


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheryl said...

Bollocks. One comment so far and its from a star wars geek who cant string a sentence together.

ME Strauss said...

Hey, Cheryl,
It's me. You have to be damn exhausted. Sometimes life just outright sucks. 2005 has been that kind of year for me--and actually for just about everyone that I know.

What can you do but keep walking?
And say screw 'em (and the horse they rode in on) if they can't take a joke?

I keep thinking of the Meatloaf Song from Bat Out of Hell 2. It was after the record companies had totally screwed him. They took his career away and he fought all the way back. The song? Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back. It's an Anthem. I think I'll listen to it in honor of both of us.

Meanwhile comment queen, you'll get your comments.


doris said...

Good grief! No wonder people don't want to work. This is total madness and mayhem and you are right - only prayers to the highest authorities might work! I think your approach of keep smiling and sympathising is the only one that might work.

I think the uniform thing is good if a blinkin' inconvenience. Many years ago I worked in hospitals and it bothered me that staff would wear their uniforms out and about and then into the supposedly clean and in some cases sterile environments. But it is farcical if you are not allowed time in which to carry out these clothing regimes and probably the other hygeine activities.

And what about rights to have a break. Or the sheer fact you are likely to work better if you are treated reasonably. This makes me really angry at the stupidity and short sightedness of the management.

Look on the bright side: maybe the kids will make up for it all! :-) Fingers crossed.

ME Strauss said...

I was thinking about leaving you a comment for every comment you had left me, but I realized that you'd never be done reading them all. :)

Universal Soldier said...

Good luck - give me a machine gun post to storm singlehandly - sounds so much easier than what you have let yourself in for.

Tanda said...

Cheryl, it would be nice if all workers who were in that situation were blessed with your disposition! Hang in there!

Arethusa said...

I think a tick started in my left eye right around the understaffed bit. I shall light candles to all of the relevant deities for you, clearly luck just won't be enough for this!

fineartist said...

Can you feel this proper hug that I am sending you across the ocean?

Don’t cha just loathe all of those very important bits of information that always seem to get left out when you sign on to a position…THEY try to suck you in first, THEY need YOU. Goes something like this…Oh and by the way, forgot to tell you about the inconveniences that you will have to deal with. Partly because they are turds, but mostly because they need you and don’t want to scare you off…..

I know that YOU don’t scare off easily, and now they know it too. I would also venture to say that you will create change where change is needed, and you will make this entire work situation a better place to be for everyone involved. First though, you will have to get acclimated, and you will.

I am reminded of the little train story….I think I can, I think I can…I know I can. Can you feel this hug I am sending you?

Dawn said...

This is my first visit to your blog, Cheryl, but after reading this I don't know where you find the time to write. I'm exhausted just reading the list! This is the Labor Day holiday in the USA. Good opportunity to reflect on just WHY we do what we do. Morgan Freeman's character (Dr. Alex Cross) in the movie Along Came a Spider says we do what we are. That's something to think about.

jane said...

Oh Cheryl, that so totally sucks. I will certainly be saying prayers for you & thinking pleasant thoughts on your behalf.

doris said...

Ding Ding! Round 2 .... it is nearly 9.30 am Tuesday morning.... and you'll already be togged up at work.

zilla said...

I'm praying for you. Hang in there.