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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

The breaking strain

One of our best cutters told Laurie and I she was quitting. The long, thankless hours, the strain on her kids and her family, was finally too much.

And this is a damn shame. Also, not surprising.

You cannot keep working people 70 hours and tell them they are getting farther and farther behind indefinitely. Eventually you have to either realize that you are in over your head and no amount of worker effort will change that, or you press on and destroy your work force. I warned our production manager this day was coming. But corporate attitude seems to be that we can all reach a bit deeper, find that elusive 30% more efficiency we must be hiding so we can work all this overtime.

The truth is, you have a plant on the edge of the breaking strain. They couldn't even give us an enjoyable holiday: make us work 6 hours today with the veiled threat of "we should have worked you Monday." This is not to bash our production guy, his attitude has been one of the few things that held us together this long. But think about the words- we should have made you give up your memorial day holiday. No, you shouldn't, and it never should have gotten to the point that you thought about it. I've heard them threaten 14 hours in the past, so let me publicly state this- I will NOT leave this house at 5 am and get home at 9:30 pm, period. When they ask that, they will find themselves facing a much bigger problem.

We have a yearly "chairman's award", in which nominations are solicited from all workers, to be sent to our president, who will read them and select someone making far more than the usual factory peon to get the cash prize. I sent mine nominating the cutting department en masse and enclosing a letter showing him the view from our seat and begging for help. I debated long and hard about this before Tina quit, and had talked myself out of it. Just barely. But now comes this news and I know its only going to get worse, because they are far more worried that Fanny Adams in Duluth gets her seat pad with pillow than driving their workers to go postal. (For those who don't know me, I do not have a gun nor any intention to buy one.) And given that, and previous threats coupled with the lack of being able to see we can't give any more, I figure I have nothing to lose.

I tried to step up Friday, work on adrenaline. At 5:00 the adrenaline faded and I became intensely angry, Bruce Banner angry. After about five minutes, that turned to wanting to cry for about 2 minutes, followed by an out-loud discussion with God about "My strength is sufficient" when there is never any light at the end of the tunnel, just the next train coming to crush us yet again. Everything that goes through my mind anymore is one long bitch session. I'm not doing adrenaline any more. I'm doing my best, trying to be quiet and do what I'm told, but no more adrenaline. And no more added hours.
The last week and a half Tina and I barely spoke because of some stupid tiff we got into. I was hoping to buy an I'm sorry card and lay it on her table Tuesday morning. I guess she told Laurie she felt she owed me an apology too. Maybe I should buy some black roses and set them on her table instead. Damn you all for causing this, you incredibly stupid, inhuman, greedy bastards. The only comfort in being forced as regular joes to work for people like this is:
Luke 6:24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. (NASB ©1995)
So no doubt the excrement will hit the air circulator Tuesday morning. I hope you will all pray for us, because I honestly do not want to leave my job (although my chairman's nomination may take that out of my hands) and My ability to pray in such a way that even a vengeful Greek god looking for someone to hit with a thunderbolt probably would just ignore me.

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