Showing posts with label Corporate Dishonesty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corporate Dishonesty. Show all posts

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Business Decisions and Home Quarantine

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen, do not blame me for font and spacing weirdness Blogger/Google often does this.
Edited 4-02-2020

While working for The Company, I wondered about "Work From Home" (WfH, which is known by similar names) and was told that it was a mite difficult. Difficulties had been solved and The Company began rolling out the program on a test basis with a select few who had stellar production and quality.



In a rushed sequence of events, many of us in a cubicle farm were sent to work at home. The Company is unaware of important things that are happening, including adjustments to COVID-19.
Credit: Unsplash / Annie Spratt
A bit later, they began to send people home a few at a time. Suddenly, The Company saw fit to remove people from the cube farm and send us away — probably because of COVID-19. That's fine from my perspective because I have a heart thing, diabetes, and I hit the six decades mark. Okay, now I have been up and running for a week.

Truth is still truth if even if someone dislikes it. I'll say some things my superiors will not like, but their names are not in this. (Besides, people don't need to know that my primary job is venomous snake wrangling and data entry at Universal Widgets.) Essentially, The Company is profoundly cheap. 


When President Trump signed the tax cut bill, other companies were giving their employees raises and large bonuses. We had fundraisers to pay for our own perks. The IT people would foul something up and then refuse to fix it unless forced, telling us to use time-consuming workarounds. (Do they work for Facebook, too?) Maybe I'll give you the Department of Labor case number where they were caught and penalized for cheating employees out of their wages, but not today.


There are many other examples that I may provide in subsequent articles, but in this case, we are expected to provide our own internet connection while other companies provided separate cable connections for their WfH employees. (Gotta pinch them rupees until Mahatma Gandhi screams in pain, don'tcha know.) Take note that I have many reasons to believe that this cable-sharing arrangement is definitely not a risk to secure data.



Providing Equipment

My own computer is a tower than runs Windows 7, and it has a bay for peripherals as well as a DVD-ROM. Don't be knocking my eMachine, it's been a workhorse for several years. I may have to get a new computer soon. The computer I received startled me because at first because it's the size of a modem. That is the size of the work computer, but without the other stuff that isn't necessary for this activity anyway. Had to plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I used my own shorter ethernet cable because the one they provided would have been far too long. Okay, this cowboy was ready to saddle up.

In the Environment

No, y'ain't going to see a picture, sorry. I used some desk space and had to figure out how to set up the system in this one-bedroom apartment. (Remember, this was a hurried thing and I didn't know what to expect.) Safe enough, we're on the second floor and nobody can see anything from outside. No cameras and telecommuting, so nothing important will be overheard. I had to use a laptop table that was conveniently available — well, my wife had to relocate the slow cooker — for the keyboard and mouse. Plus some adjusting of my chair and the chair mat on the carpet. That's all set.

Aside from a few differences logging in and signing on, the same desktop and applications appeared. This part was identical to working in the cube farm, which is nice because I didn't need to learning something new there. Although The Company is impinging on the internet connection that I pay for which is also used for my own computer's after-work activities, our Roku device, and so on, there doesn't seem to be a lag in connecting time for devices or processing the work. (Well, not everything is running at the same time, so maybe I'm ahead of myself on this point.) I was concerned that the cable company might give problems with data caps and such, but I don't foresee that happening.

Storm Clouds

Before I continue, I need to say that The Company is very large with multiple locations around the world. Dozens of others and I from this location are at the bottom of the food chain. We have team leads and so forth, followed by a supervisor, a manager above the supervisor, someone in charge of this location, and then even more "important" people farther away that probably could not do this work to save their lives. They are important according to The Company and worldly standards, but I, too, am created in God's image.

I have sympathy and respect for team leads, the supervisor, and the next manager up. While most of them care about us, they also have to deal with the "I'm rich and in charge, make me richer" mentality. If production standards aren't good enough or The Company made too many promises they couldn't keep, these folks have to be whip crackers. Then they have to look the people they depend on in the eye, including me when I have anxieties and issues. That management role is not the kind of position I want to be in.


Time Away from the Desk

The manager sent out a message on the instant messaging platform that over the past few days that uptime has dropped. Yes, we have to adjust, but get to work, no excuses. A day or two later, a very angry message came from the manager about a significant number of errors, which sounded like all of us are fouling up. That second message can be a separate post, so I will deal with the first one.

Uptime is a strange word that strikes me as counter-intuitive. It is a negative thing, and I have to think of it as up time, time that workers are up and away from their computers. Like most companies, we have two paid fifteen-minute breaks as well as a longer lunch break (ours is unpaid). The Company also allows some additional time for trips to the restroom, go to the coffee machine, quick phone calls, or whatever. But Comrade Worker, you must keep up the standards.

"Get with the program, Cowboy Bob! Corporations are all greedy and squeeze their employees until they have nothing left, then replace them. It's the way of the business world."

Might doesn't make right, old son. There are higher principles that these people reject in their love of money and worldly things. By the way, didn't Lee Iacocca say that if give your employees your best, they'll give you their best? Not happening from the bean counters at the top of the food chain, nosiree.

As an aside, because I am diabetic, I make frequent short trips to the restroom. My uptime should have improved because I do not have to make that long trek like before.

Consider all the Facts

Sure, I ride for the brand and try to meet the corporate standards. In fact, employers, I don't work for you. Yes, you sign the paycheck, but my Employer is above all y'all, and I want to glorify him most of all.

Although I have knowledge and life experience, it was made clear to me years ago that I am unworthy to express or even have ideas on how to make improvements. But we are the people that you depend on who work in the trenches. We know some things. So I'll ask questions and make my thoughts known here.


How were the production standards developed? I had asked a similar question of a previous manager ("he has decided to seek employment elsewhere", but we all know what that means) and what sample size was used, but he didn't know. Were the standards arbitrary, or were they based on actual production people? For that matter, which production people? Some know shortcuts (and even "cheats" better than others). Were the standards based on the best of the best? Everyone should have been included in serious testing conditions.


This is the same cheap company that used unreliable software (which I had distrusted since I began this job) to cheat us out of our wages. The same company, same IT department, says people aren't working. Why should I trust that? Why should any manager trust that


Since we are using our existing internet connections that are usually through the cable company, there are variations in connectivity and speed. I had to reboot my modem and router twice because they need it on occasion. In addition, the servers we use have to connect with the servers of The Company, and there are interruptions. I suspect we may appear to be not working while the system is reconnecting. Part of that may be Wuhan Quarantine Internet Clogging (a term I made up, hope you like it). Many people are home and going online. Someone skilled in the nuts and bolts part of IT can correct me if I'm wrong about the internet overload.


There are times we have to wait for team leads to check on certain issues because providers often have no idea how to fill out the forms, so they slap some mighty strange stuff in there. Send the code to the team lead, let him or her check it out and get back to us. The line from The Company is, "We take that into account". Yeah, sure. Corporate excuse that I don't accept.


Related to that and to the issue of productivity is when we have to study the forms. Did Skippy write a 7, 9, 0, 6, or what? After some indecision, we call it illegible. But it took time.


In this kind of work, you have people of many ages and in varying degrees of heath. Several of us have medical conditions (one had chronic heart problems and died at home from a heart attack a couple of weeks ago). I have said that The Company has a revolving door. People get hired and trained, then they find different jobs quick-like. Someone might way, "They didn't want to work!" Meadow muffins! That's an appeal to motive fallacy. Also upper management protects and attitude of, "The Company is a wonderful place to work. Don't you know who we are?" Yes, we do know who you are. Smell yourselves, drop your presuppositions, and see why you are losing good people.


But we are really units, automatons, right? Gotta count them beans and pinch them rupees, never mind that even robots need maintenance. Yes, I'm resentful because people should be treated like people. No, not coddled, don't be disunderstanding me. We do want to work and be productive except for a few sluggards. Some of the immediate supervisors, those I deal with, have compassion, which is a rare commodity. Folks at the top of the food chain know about money but are unskilled in dealing with people.


The whole world is adjusting to the novel virus now called SARS-CoV-2. Understanding, diagnosing, treating, testing (don't use faulty made-in-China tests and their ineffective face masks!), quarantines, lock-downs, and more. The Company sent people home, and most of the population of New York is at home, too. This includes frustrated and bored schoolkids. I had no time to plan for my own set-up (partly because I made inaccurate assumptions about what we would be using). Other people had to make drastic adjustments in a mighty big hurry. No wonder the uptime is somewhat lacking. It should improve, but don't be commencing with the forty lashes so soon.

As you can guess, this article has been building up for a while and current events are applicable. If I write more about this employer, this will be foundational. I expect that should someone from The Company happen on this, my concerns and observations will be rejected out of hand. Then I'll be fired out of retaliation. I'm just a cowboy that does the work and wants to not only glorify God but also please those who sign the paychecks. My sense of right and wrong are inapplicable to worldly people who consider us cogs in the wheel. Don't take the mark.
Maybe this missive will help other people learn how to treat employees.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Workforce Hero

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 4-15-2019

Many of us who have jobs know the frustration of having upper management make demands, expecting those of us who actually do the work to somehow make their dreams and their bonuses come true. Unfortunately, too many people in their positions do not know how things work, but they make promises to clients that cannot realistically be fulfilled. I say that the motto of The Company is the song by Queen, "I Want It All (and I Want It Now)".


The hero-martyr who sold his soul for money and tries to put guilt on the rest of us.
USSR Order of Labor Glory 3rd Class Medal
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Fdutil
(CC by-SA 3.0)
While my work at The Question Evolution Project and the Piltdown Superman site (among others) sometimes feels like a full-time job, I have a day job to pay the bills. It is a data entry job, so you can imagine the eye strain from doing that plus writing posts and articles.

My own social media rules are stricter than those of The Company because all y'all don't need to know where I work. One reason for that came from an incident on Twitter where someone looked up my employer and said he was calling them to get me fired. Why? Because he didn't like something I wrote. (Leftists want people silenced, you know.) As if he could reach the CEOs of a huge international corporation anyway — not that they would care about a whining troll in the first place.


A Bit of Background

This job requires us to make bricks and gather our own straw. That is, we are not given the necessary tools. We have outdated computers ("Optimized for Windows XP", tricked out for Windows 7), a rented building that would probably not pass inspections by the county health department or the fire codes, quirky climate controls, and so on.

We also use second-drawer software. Even before I began riding for the brand, people disliked this operating system. Sure, every OS needs adjustments. But when we've been complaining for years and are repeatedly told that "we're working on it", it's downright discouraging. In fact, the IT department makes adjustments that take away functionality. Live with it. Don't you know who we are? We're The Company! When both speed and accuracy are essential, we don't want to hear excuses and get workarounds that take too much time. Fix it, or put it back the way it was, Skippy.

The Company has rules, and you will obey them. You haff relatives, in ze old country, ja? It is possible for someone to get fired for not being stupid; blind obedience is paramount. It doesn't help matters that the rules keep changing.

Add to this the inconsistent screen displays. Forms vary greatly, and many are nearly illegible as well as being in different sizes and fonts. This produces eyestrain and overall fatigue.


Mandatory Overtime

When we signed on to this job, we took a shift with specific hours. Overtime was voluntary and intermittent. People plan their lives accordingly. Some have children, second jobs (The Company is downright cheap), and have lives to live, savvy that?

Although there were not enough people to perform the work, The Company made promises to their primary customer that we could handle a massive increase in volume and the time commitments. Not hardly! Naturally, we fell behind. The facilities manager (who acts like a kindergarten teacher who is angry because someone was eating paste) passes along directives from on high to managers below her: make things work. Immediate managers want to do a good job, and they have to be the town marshals. 

The Company dry-gulched us with mandatory overtime.


Disspirited

The manager below the angry teacher-type manager is intelligent and compassionate, which makes his job more difficult (it's easier to do that job if you are have no heart). He tried to make arrangements with people who could not stay for an extra ten or more hours a week. In a group meeting, they gave us a speech about how we need to get out of backlog, it shouldn't take long, save the company, and so on. No apologies about wrecking our plans for the Christmas season, though. Or Hanukkah. Then Easter and Passover.

It went on.

Eventually, we were out of backlog and there should be no more overtime. But wait! It happened again! Why? Because management from the schoolteacher-type on up are incompetent and they do not equip us to succeed. So, more OT. Some of us think it will never end


Torches and Pitchforks

We had another group meeting, and I was on the prod. Many of us were. In fact, I had to restrain my yap so I didn't get fired. This time, they were complaining that people were not doing voluntary overtime. Schoolmarm was using guilt, manipulation and shaming on us. (I wondered if they would hang "I didn't work enough overtime" signs on us, take our pictures, and post them on Fazebook.) The powers that be cannot understand why we have such a high turnover rate, blaming the people they depend on instead of examining themselves. This is a big part of it.

The usual points were made that we have system issues and were given the "we're working on it" response. In addition, it was stated that people get burned out, so when OT is not mandatory, some of us want to have the kind of hours for which we signed on. Other points were made, and a bit forcefully at times. I thought of the old Frankenstein movie where the villagers were going after the doctor and the monster with torches and pitchforks.


Hero-Martyr

A team lead (only hired a few months ago, and then promoted) said that his grandmother had just died, and he should be home grieving, but chose to put in overtime. Guilt manipulation was added. I wanted to say, "Do you want a medal?" I have a Soviet Union worker's medal at home, I could give it to him. Another co-worker said, "You're not the only one carrying this team".

I was also offended. No, I'm not like leftists who file complaints and make people miserable. I was offended because I had been out for three days on bereavement. My mother-in-law had died so I wanted to be there for my wife and deal with family things. I wonder if, in his eyes, it makes me a bad person. It was providential that I had the following week off because we were taking care of things during that week. Also, I learned that during that week off they had more mandatory overtime, and then the voluntary overtime was instated for the week that I returned. I don't react well to guilt and manipulation, as certain stalker and trolls can attest.

He is intelligent and personable. It's truly sad that he has misplaced priorities. Sadly, he put money and job status above family and friends, and I'm certain that he will regret his decision someday.


Overlooked Lessons

There are some things that management should consider. But I am unworthy to even have opinions, let alone, to express them. (Interesting that anti-creationist and anti-Christian trolls act the same way about people who have contrary views.) So you can read a few:
  • We signed on for a shift and specific hours
  • If they want to succeed, they should equip the people they depend on so we can all succeed
  • People do not respond well to bullying and manipulation
  • Immediate managers and supervisors are in a bad place, trying to make things work despite inane upper management
  • Yes, there are slackers, those exist in any business
  • Don't punish us all for the slacking of a few
  • You have stolen wages from employees, and I have the Department of Labor documentation to prove it; our trust levels plummet even further because of corporate dishonesty and incompetence
  • Helpful hint: you cannot defy the laws of time and space, nor can you reject the laws of logic. Stop trying.
  • Many employees have physical limitations and medical conditions
  • While some light a shuck out of there whenever they are slightly under the weather, many come to work sick or in pain
  • When overly tired, people make more mistakes
  • We do the best we can with what we have


Most Important

I reckon that most people simply want to do a job, go home and get on with their lives. As for me, I work to live, I don't live to work. Others seem to live to work, gaining prestige in their jobs. It is my considered opinion that they have sold their souls for money — and will suffer for it (Luke 16:13, Matt. 16:26, Luke 12:16-21). This or any other company can rail about it, but they will not get my soul. It is not mine to sell because it has been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Peter 1:18-19). I don't expect medals from an employer. 

From the Irony Board, a song from angry Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails has some lyrics that I agree with on the love of money. The live versions are high-energy, intense, and musically exciting, but more brutal and have profanity that I won't post. Here's the studio version: