Archive | November 2008

Jobs, Write-ups, and Other Great Ways to Pass the Time

Sit back and grab your coffee. This is a long one.

It’s been a while since I talked about this. I know, I should get over it, right? Easier said than done. I mean, hell, my friend The Director is still pissed about how he was fired this past summer (which, by the way, I discovered that he was fired because he “didn’t fit in.” Yes, that is a quote from the man who fired him while The Director drove across the country after his mother’s surgery. What kind of lame excuse is that?), so it may take quite some time for me to get over it. So, shall we begin? But of course. I feel like this needed to be more in-depth, among other things.

Big Daddy was written up a couple of days ago (the day after Thanksgiving) for–get this–failure to respond to his supervisor’s text message about something I have (it’s between me and you, jerkwads, so leave him out of it), and ALSO for failure to respond to a text message about attending a freakin‘ Christmas party. Seriously? I have NEVER in my 23 years of working heard of someone being written up for not giving an RSVP about a company Christmas party. That is just plain ludicrous. Especially when another employee also “didn’t respond” but received a phone call afterward regarding the RSVP. Hmm, why did they not call Big Daddy? One must consider the possibilities: fear, stupidity, or set-up. Personally, I would have taken the non-response as a “No,” especially when they fired his WIFE. I don’t think he feels up to “hangin'” and being all cheery with you, fellas.

Big Daddy has been working so much in order to obtain those lovely 100 points, because anything under 100 points is unacceptable, that I rarely see the man. He usually has only one day off per week, and when he’s working, he’s gone all day, and by “all day” I mean from morning until past midnight. There is no down time. It’s just straight home and to bed for less than eight hours of sleep, and then off to work the next morning. This generally takes place on the weekends, but if a kid is suspended from school, it’s an all day venture during the week, too, and he comes home somewhere between 11pm and 12am. I know this one from personal experience working there. He is so overworked that it’s causing him to forget to fill out some paperwork, which was also mentioned in the write-up, and which he has no time to do because he’s working with the kids to earn his stupid points, unless of course, he works on it during his day(s) off, which doesn’t really make it a day off, now does it? I don’t like seeing him go go go on little sleep. It’s not good for one’s health. One of his co-workers, between working and an internship, only sees their child for one hour per week. Do you think they’re getting any extra pay for this? Absolutely not, because it’s nearly impossible to get past the 130 points to reach overtime unless you NEVER want to see your family. How are they supposed to promote the importance of family time when they never get to see their own families? Oh, but the owners take a vacation at least once a month. Hmm… The money coming in must be nice. That makes for some mighty disgruntled employees, if you ask me. Not a good way to do business. By the way, this is the very reason I put the times in on every single timesheet I filled out, and I have copies of them all, thank you very much. These lovely employers also let paperwork PILE up for weeks before ever getting to it (which means they’re billing without checking the original paperwork), AND they didn’t read ANY of the individual client notes until right around the time they terminated me. That’s notes from March to October, mind you. And yes, all of my notes exist, with the possible exception to one weekend in the beginning of working there. I thought I was doing notes on specific clients, and it turned out I was supposed to do notes on others. Major confusion and we ended up working so much down the road, plus I had a lot of papers due, that I couldn’t get caught up. They don’t like paying you to take a day off from clients to specifically work on paperwork. You’re supposed to do it on your day off. Let’s just set up your employees for failure, why don’t we! Many employees have had to redo a good portion of their notes, if not all of them. That could have been fixed early on had they actually read the damn notes.

My favorite part about Big Daddy’s meeting, however, were the first words: “We’re not going to fire you. If we were, we’d just do it.” No shit, really? You think the man doesn’t know that already when you fired his WIFE through a freakin’ voicemail on her work phone she wasn’t answering at the time because she was out of it, an email, and a certified letter, because you’re too cowardly to call her personal cell phone, which she probably would have answered! And why in the world would you need to preface any meeting with those words? Obviously, your employees are in fear of their jobs if you have to say that! These guys obviously don’t know how to run a business properly, and certainly don’t know how to treat their employees. Their supposed standards for this work environment are almost impossible to achieve in the current situation. This is how it works, fellas: treat your employees with respect, give them appropriate expectations, and the productivity will soar, as will the client interactions improve. This is how it doesn’t work: Treat your employees like garbage, give them unreasonable expectations that make them work constantly, and your turnover rate will be high, not because of what the job entails, but because of the stress you put them through. Nobody wants to work at a job that’ll stress them out 24/7. One person has resigned because of the stress he was under, and he’d worked in the field for some time. Originally, I believe he was supposed to be in a supervisory position. It’s what he thought as well. Big surprise when that one came down a few months into the job.

In the beginning, they told us they wanted us to feel some “ownership” with the company. I was cool with that. The problem is, they put people in these positions with little experience in the job and with what they wanted us to do, and didn’t have much of an “education” program for the job. It was pretty much learn as you go. I’m a fast learner. The billing log confused the hell out of me at first because I didn’t have to utilize it at the previous job, and as I slowly figured it out (on my own), corrections were being made to logs I’d turned in, but not once were these corrected logs shown to me so that I could see the difference between the two. Being that it was an “ownership” setting, I, as well as others, offered suggestions to make the place run more efficient, and which said suggestions were taken and implemented. Things like some sort of order to the paperwork, and logs that auto sum the numbers, etc., so one isn’t spending that precious little time trying to figure it all out. When I ran an overnight weekend, I ran a tight ship, making certain all sharps and medications were locked up, that everything was cleaned, that notes and other appropriate paperwork were prepped or started, that all doors and windows were shut and locked, and that all the kids were asleep before I set the alarm and went to sleep myself, usually around 2am. I was one of very few who did so. I was an efficient worker, but a pinched sciatic nerve, which began in July but didn’t take me down until September, took me out of the game and I was terminated for it, because I “wasn’t working.” Well, I worked for two months while in pain, so what does that say of my work ethic? Huh? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you! And let’s not forget that while I was out, “not working,” and in pain with nausea most of the days, I received a phone call almost everyday from the girl I mentored. She checked up on me. Isn’t that sweet? The conversations were sometimes short, sometimes long, but either way, I WAS technically working because I was mentoring that child! I also recall asking if there was anything I could do from home. Of course, that was a big fat NO, but I’m pretty certain there was something I could have done. They just didn’t want me to do it. That’s premeditated. They were well aware of my pre-existing conditions prior to my employment, because Big Daddy and I asked about health insurance coverage at the lunch meeting in January. It was made clear that I could not go for long without health insurance coverage due to my Lupus because I was on medication for it. I’ve been out for a while now, and God knows what it’s doing to my body. Don’t worry, I’m being very careful and know the signs of a flare-up and how to stop it. We didn’t expect the employer of the previous place we worked to decide all on his own that we shouldn’t get COBRA insurance, which isn’t his choice. By the time I received the correct contact information to put this into process, and had the time to make the call (because it was summer), I would have had to pay almost $1,000 to make the insurance current; something I couldn’t afford at the time. They also upgraded the futon mattresses (where employees sleep during overnights) at my suggestion because of my bad lower back. Another pre-existing condition. They don’t like suggestions now. It might get one fired, or at least written up.

List of paperwork involved at first place of employment:

individual client notes (anywhere from 6 to 11 notes total)
expense log
purchase log (if needed)
transportation logs
medication log (per child)
incident report (if needed)
timesheet (every two weeks)
some form of time off request (when needed)

List of paperwork involved at this last place of employment (most of which was taken from the first place):

individual client notes (anywhere from 6 to 11 notes total–longer, more in-depth due to life skills)
expense log
purchase log (if needed)
transportation logs
medication log (per child)
billing log (per day/weekend)
shift report (per day/weekend)
life skills assessment (done once on each child and once with guardian, evaluated, gone over with child and guardian, and repeated when necessary)
incident report (if needed)
timesheet (every two weeks)
time off request (filled out prior to vacation, but AFTER an unplanned absence, stated on the document)

Why am I ranting about all of this? Because Big Daddy’s write-up has me upset. It’s the stupidest write-up I’ve ever seen in my life, and it has me concerned about his job status, regardless of what was stated in the meeting. At this point, I don’t believe one damn word that comes out of their mouths. It feels like they’re putting anything they can together so they have reason. I’ve had this feeling before. It came to me in late August/early September, and lo and behold, less than two months later they terminated me and made it sound like it was my fault. I wasn’t working, huh? Well, that’s rather hard to do when clients run away, or you can’t get them on the phone to make the appointment, or when someone steals a client or two from you for the time you intended to work with them. I was asked about a specific event that happened prior to one of my last supervisions. I looked at the man who would eventually leave me that wonderful voicemail and asked him, “Didn’t you read my notes?” He said he hadn’t. How can you run a business and not read the notes that will keep you IN business, for several months? They have to be in hard copy form and signed by the person who wrote them. I worked with what I had, and I’m sorry if it seemed my schooling was in the way, but they knew I was in school when they hired me. In fact, I was taking three classes when they hired me (and if you’ve ever taken three classes at Ottawa University, you know how insane it is), and getting new referrals was not part of my original job description. In fact, there were many things that were not part of that original description. Besides, my “not working” was due to an injury, possibly sustained while on the job. Yep, you read that correctly. I have pinpointed the timeframe of when it happened. It’ll be tough to prove, but I do have witnesses. Let’s not forget the original schedule, too. Initially, it was weekend workshops, where we’d work Friday through Sunday and have the rest of the week off, much like the previous respite job. Summer came, and as expected, that changed due to the kids having school off, but then school started again. When you have only two houses to work out of and not enough clients to go around between 7-8 employees, it’s tough to get that schedule to work for you and you find yourself working 5 or 6 days a week to earn all your stupid points. They told us not to worry about the points, so I did my best to make the time meaningful for the clients I worked with. While I was on leave, it all changed, and they were told to “make it work” and “figure it out.” I’m certain all the complaining sounded like children whining to their ears, but these are employees who took a job that was supposed to give them loads of free time to do things like go to school full time. Did we not cover this during my initial orientation at the other place, G-man? You should have been straight with me upon asking me to come work for YOU. I likely would not have taken the job and dealt with the over-zealous Christians, where I had benefits and bonuses that you set up, for however long that would have lasted. It makes me wonder now if the owner of that previous place really was offended by the “Prophecy” part of the sticker on my truck, or by the pentacle tattoo on the back of my neck.

I’ll be honest when I say that I loved working with the kids, in either job, and I miss it dearly, but they made working there not fun anymore. They made it worse than a J-O-B, and worse than the other place. A person’s job should be fun for them. If it’s not, you should find another job. But if you’re a creative person, like me, you tend to prefer jobs that are somewhat mindless so you can focus on the creativity. That’s why the respite job was so perfect. I didn’t have to think about it for four days every week! I could focus on my homework and my stories.

The economy is in a recession (let it be known that I stated this before the announcement—HA), and banks are doing whatever they can to keep people in their homes, so I won’t be losing my house. I’m current right now anyway. However, the value of my house most likely just took another nose dive because my neighbor turned his over to the bank. Wonderful. I’ll not see positive equity for at least 10 or 15 years now.

Now it’ll also be difficult to find a job, not due to the recession, but because of how these guys handled this. What am I supposed to say to a potential employer about them? Obviously, I’m smart enough not to say something negative, but how do I give a brief, acceptable explanation about why I’m no longer there? I know they can only answer two questions and can’t say anything negative about me, because it’s against the law, but I consider the “willful abandonment of employment” a negative comment.

Do you have any idea as to how much I loathe interviews? This worsens it.

So, now they have also taken away my ability to earn a future income.

You want what I have? CALL me, you freakin’ coward!

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Panda Gone Wrong

OK, so we all know by now that I was fired (miserable expletives) a month ago, and if you have looked at my other blog, you also know that my husband and I have started up our screenprinting business Phenix Ink once again with an edition called kindread clothing. The first design from kindread clothing will make its appearance at The Bollox show on the 21st here in the Metro Phoenix area, with the help of The Boneyard, whose shirts we are printing, and I am very excited about it. It’s Big Daddy’s idea, but my artwork, which I need to finish before the shirts arrive next week. Hey, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, what with being fired due to a pinched sciatic nerve, and trying to get better from that, as well as finishing my final paper for my Multicultural Lit. class (I FINISHED), not to mention editing Dusk of Death and Wolf’s Bane: Moon Cycles (yes, still). I took a little scenic trip through reality television during the last two months, as you may have noticed, and now I’m back. Yes, that’s right, the Bitch is back! And the Bitch is writing once again. Unfortunately, the Bitch is also smoking again, but this is how I look at it: smoking or losing my sanity. Hmm, no brainer there. However, I am exercising everyday (doctor’s orders) and I will attempt to keep the smoking to a minimum until the exercising takes it over completely. Yes, that can happen. I’ve done it before. The trick is not to stop the exercising.

Financially, we’re surviving and we’re putting whatever we can into our business, which is why it is so very important to see what I have listed on eBay and BUY it. It may be possible quite soon that I’ll have some Prada wallets up, but I’m just watching and waiting for now. I’ll let you know if it happens. Maybe I’ll find some Manolo Blahniks for CJ real cheap. =) What size do you wear, chica?

So, I have all of this going on and two days ago, Umi (my mother) and I were running errands and I just didn’t feel like eating leftovers again, so I went to Panda Express, and then we got Umi some Taco Bell. I know, not the best type of food to eat, but at least I had steamed rice and orange chicken… and a fortune cookie! You know what that means. Oh yes, you do. So today’s (or really Tuesday’s) fortune is “You will discover an unexpected treasure”. I certainly hope this fortune did not mean the food poisoning I received from eating the orange chicken! Yep, you read that correctly–food poisoning. God, I felt horrible the rest of the night and I will never eat Panda Express again! It really does beg the question, but I dare not allow it past my lips because you don’t EVER ask the Universe questions that you really don’t want answered.

So, there you have it: Panda Gone Wrong.

And Barack Obama Takes the Lead!

Once upon a desert dreary, while I listed, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and beautiful items of eBay lore,
While I priced, nearly strapping, suddenly there came a rapping,
As of someone briskly clapping, clapping through my big screen’s score.
“‘Tis the winner,” I elated, “speaking through the big screen’s score–
Just this, and nothing more.”

Sorry, I’m bored… and I haven’t written anything outside of blogs in a while.

While I sat listing items on eBay tonight, I watched CNN’s election coverage (of course I voted!), which distracted me bigtime, so it took approximately 4 hours to list 12 items… and I’m not done with that yet. So… go look!

In the meantime, I am in the midst of watching Paris Hilton’s My New BFF (I find it highly amusing–it’s the drama), and KiKi really should just shut the hell up. Oh wait, she’s been axed (oops, wrong show–that’s Scream Queens, which is horribly stupid funny). Kayley, I’m proud of you for getting out there and struttin’ it, chica! You go, girl! WOOT, you just won the performance challenge! Chalk one up for us not-so-skinny girls!

Ok, back to the election… Congrats to Barack Obama! History in the making… forevermore! Sweeeeeet!

Forever Nocturne – October Issue

Friends,

The new magazine is available, this time designed/edited by my business partner Siobhan MacIntyre, who did a wonderful job on it! Go check it out at: Forever Nocturne. Just click on Issue II.

We’d like to thank everyone for their support and remind you that adspace is available for the March 2009 issue. Just contact us for info. Now would also be a good time to start thinking about those spring stories for submission. Perhaps you’d like to pay a little homage to Shakespeare for the Ides of March, or maybe an uplifting Easter tale. The magazine will always take work that falls within the Modern Gothic Horror Romance arena, so send us your best. Submission guidelines are on the website. Please follow them.

We hope you enjoy this issue!

Thanks,

Nikki “Jinx” Gervasio