#Blaugust2022 Day 11 – Hard Carry

My work laptop’s going into the street if this keeps up. If I never hear that phone ring again, it’ll be decades too soon. Because of course we’d have two concurrent outages, AND continued User Migrations all happening at once! 5pm, simply cannot get here fast enough. That five days of not answering that vile nightmare I call a phone, can’t come soon enough. Not having to parse the nonsense clients talk about can’t come soon enough.

That work around the house that needs done? Flipping rooms around, and moving stuff? That’s fine, that’s stuff we can do at our own pace. The phone ringing off the hook though? Up. The. Wall. I can’t stand it after a point, 50 calls is in play with how busy my morning’s been.

Also, of course we’re still down people, because why wouldn’t we be? We haven’t hired anyone to replace the 14 people we’re down. We have five people out today, with only one being on their normal off day, because that person covers weekends. So, down four. Fires across the landscape, the other half of the propaganda meetings today, my afternoon is going to be a nightmare. They don’t make strong enough “happy pills” for this. I may have to just eat the whole bottle to survive the day without exploding.

Just three hours, forty-five minutes (at initial time of writing). I’m so close to freedom I can taste it. Five days, no phones to answer, no outages to fight, just…silence. Mostly. I have a long, LONG drive ahead of me tomorrow, but otherwise, I can just sit at home. And work on things around the house, but still, my time will be my own. My “will” will be my own. I won’t have to tense up in mental pain at that harsh, evil phone ringtone. I won’t have to act like a person for five days, I can go full gremlin when I’m at home. I don’t have to come up for air at any point until next Wednesday.


But…I also feel like I’m letting my team down. I shouldn’t, because they would (and have!) done the same to me. Many times. Half this week we’ve been down EIGHT people, with most of them on vacation. I get weekend shifts pawned off on me because people know that I’ll work them, because I like money, because they know that I enjoy working.

I like staying busy, I’d rather be working on something than standing around waiting to jump. The cashiers at my mom’s job/my old job, they don’t do what we call “zoning”, which is…finding something to do when you aren’t with a customer. Cleaning up your register, getting clothes hangers and security boxes to the bins at Customer Service, wiping down your conveyer belt, or cleaning up another register, things like that. I hated evening shifts back then, because one, I don’t like waiting to go to work, and two, I don’t like standing around and waiting. I did a lot of both as a cashier back then. So, I’d “zone”, I’d clean up, I’d find things to keep me busy. This new crop of cashiers? Not a bit.

I’m in there enough to where I know some things, and my mom working Customer Service, she sees a lot of it from her returns desk. She sees them not zoning, not cleaning up, not bringing stuff back, sandbagging the whole however long they’re at work that day. It drives me up a wall, because my old manager, who isn’t over that area anymore, wouldn’t have put up with it. She’d have put them to work, if they weren’t working on something already, she’d FIND them work to do.

It’s why I can’t get onboard with the idea that I’m “only doing what my job entails”, I can’t do that. I have to stay busy, find something to work on when there’s nothing going on. It’s why I found Produce more “rewarding“, because there was always something to do, I had an itinerary to keep, we had a list of things to do each day. I opened, I did donations after I set the floor, I closed, I pulled out-of-dates, cleaned the area, pulled the floor, I had a bunch of stuff to do day-to-day. If I was needed to pull a Dairy or Frozen truck, then I did it. If I was needed to help cover another area, I did it. I complained, but, I still did it.

Will I take all those overtime shifts? Gladly, but, it frustrates me that people forever come to me in particular to dump them off. It’s like they don’t want to work any more than mandatory. With my job, all you have to do is TAKE the overtime shifts, not necessarily work them. If you can dump them off on someone else, fine, but, you do have to TAKE them. Same with holidays. If you can find someone foolish enough to work it for you, go right ahead. Guess who the resident fool is in my department?


I can’t just do “my job”, I can’t limit myself like that. I want to know how to do everything, I want to know how to fix everything. Those new hand-held scanners we support? Technically, any of those we see get escalated, but, if I can fix it, why wouldn’t I? Sure, we haven’t been trained on them, so, they’re not technically our problem, but, if I have something to go off of, like just a user guide, I can figure it out usually. I fixed one of those a while back without even knowing it existed before I got the call, because I dug around, and found that guide buried in our Knowledge Base.

I can’t “sandbag” it at my job, I can’t not give everything I’ve got every single day. I’m not wired like that. Even if I don’t like the job, I still want to put every bit of effort I can into it. I can’t not “push” myself further into an early grave because the work needs done, and who else will do it if I don’t? Basically, if I DON’T do it, who’s going to? Therefore, the buck stops with me, and me alone. At least in my head.

Today, I took 53 calls. For me, that’s a record, and I’d have easily cracked 200 for the week if I worked tomorrow. I know that my output is going to be sorely missed until Wednesday when I come back to work, and that the people there are going to I have to push that much harder to get through. But, there’s things that have to be done, graves to go check in on, and if I don’t actually get some rest, I will keel over at some point. I have five weeks of vacation per year now, I technically don’t have to use it, but, it’s heavily encouraged. They don’t pay out for unused vacation time, otherwise, I’d never take vacation at all. I like staying busy, even when I’m screaming at my laptop in between calls.


Tomorrow, I’ll be wondering how it’s going about…8am, at least 100 miles from home, rumbling down the highway as my mom refuses to let anyone but her drive until she’s dead tired. You see where I get my stubbornness from? I’ll probably ponder if I could have plugged my laptop into a lighter port, used my phone as a hotspot, and thought I could actually work from the car. I won’t do it, but, the thought is there.

I’ll wonder if we’re completely swamped, how fast scheduling put us in “All Hands”, which, today, was before 8am. And I’ll wonder how much I’d want to go down someone’s throat for not putting in my level of effort on a case. I’ve gone to my boss three times this week on people, feeling like a snitch, but, I have standards I want people to meet. You sandbag a case, I’m going to let someone hear about it. My mom will complain about the people sandbagging at her job as well. The cashiers standing around looking at their phones, management playing grab-ass with their chosen favorites, and the constant passive-aggressive sniping and back-biting people there do. I know it happens, I saw it for six years, and it frustrates me to no end, even though I haven’t worked there in as many years.

I want my colleagues to push just as hard as I do, I’m no leader, I have no desire to manage anything, but, if I’m out here dragging this team as hard as I can, I expect others to do the same. Doing the “bare minimum required” isn’t something I can do, or accept. If we don’t do it, who will? If the job keeps getting not done because “it’s not MY job”, it’s not ever going to get done. Someone HAS to do it, and if that winds up being me, then it’s just me.

#Blaugust2022

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