28 January 2013

When fairness fucks me.

When I started work at my company my contract stated an hour lunch.  After conferring with my boss and explaining that my peak productivity is during mid day (teachers and staff call me during their lunch time) we agreed it would be smart for me to have a 30 minute lunch.  I love 30 minute lunches, don't worry I will get to the reasoning after the backstory.  Skip forward several years, after we have gone through several HR directors, to present day. (I like our current director because he IS fair.)

Our new HR director had ONE employee complain that she did not want to have an hour lunch.  She It wanted a 30 minute lunch so her its work day would feel shorter (I actually don't know the reason, I am assuming).  The HR director then pulled the work contract of every employee in our building, took a survey of supervisors and staff to review shifts.  He then called a meeting.  In that meeting he said in order to be fair, everyone would have to take an hour lunch.  Everyone would come to work at 0730 and depart at 1630.  There were a few exceptions like custodial staff and bus drivers that are required to come to work early or stay after hours.  But as per our contracts we were all supposed to be on hour lunches no matter what agreement you had worked out with your direct supervisor.  So that means my 0800 to 1630 shift is not a thing anymore.  The HR director did a wise thing by going off of our contracts and applying a set schedule for everyone based on the contracts.  But this fucks up my awesome shift that I have been working for over 5 (closer to 10) years now.  Let me get to the reasons why this fair move my company made fucks me.  Or at least makes me feel as if I am being fucked.  Dammit and I am usually all for fairness (obviously when it benefits me).


1.  And this one is for my co-workers because I care.  And because when I am not around to sprinkle the fairy-dust that fixes computers magically I am the target of their wrath.  So having me off the phone in the middle of the day for an hour means the whole district has to wait a whole hour for phone support.  So when I do get back to my desk to listen to my message and return calls; I end up interrupting teaching time.  Not good for the teacher or the student.  Not good for me because people in anger start in with their, "Well she never answers her phone."  *sigh* I won't even get into the logistics but suffice to say that the only times I do not answer my phone is: when I am at home away from work, break, lunch or already on the phone with someone else.  Obviously I am meant to be an amazing machine that has all the answers and never leaves the phone unattended.  Did I mention that I am the only person that holds my title at my job?  Never and always, damn people!


2.  My work day is extended.  Instead of spending 8.5 hours at work, I end up spending 9.  I know, life is so hard... I am gainfully employed full time, poor me.  Cry me a river.  Seriously though, I don't get paid for the extra hour I have to be on lunch.  And though I have the option to leave for lunch I don't because......

3.  I can't go anywhere without wasting gas and my only choices within walking distance are dismal.  Or rather the places that I can go will cause me to kill, have seizures or just die prematurely.  Also if I did leave work I would be forced to use the dreaded drive-thru.  From when I get in my car, locate a food establishment, time would only allot me once choice:  Drive-thru fast-food.  And I would have to stuff my face in record breaking time in order to ensure I am not late for work.  And there is always the problem with the order when you go drive-thru.

And what's so wrong with bringing lunch to have in the breakroom?  Oh, I do bring my lunch; you know, to save my body from the ravages of the fast food industry and the planet from even more abuse from my fossil fueled car.  Gimme a break, at least I try.

4.  I hate eating in the breakroom.  It's either a gaggle of cackling hyenas complaining about husbands or the same gaggle talking about the latest celebrity gossip.  The conversations in that breakroom are nauseating and sometimes I wonder what possess people to discuss the things they do in public.
To top it off the acoustics are atrocious in there.  Did I mention I hate seeing people I work with eat?  It's enough to turn my stomach, watching people talk with food in their mouth!  And the lip smacky noises ugh!  I have tried to get over my acute phobia of the breakroom.  First by going in there when I know it is going to be empty, it works until someone enters.  Then by going in there while it is occupied, it's a no go.  It is an onslaught to my senses: too loud, to smelly, to stupid and watching mouths chew and talk *gag*.

And then comes the kicker, "Hey, Susie.  How are you?  I was wondering if you could take a look at my computer. It's been..."  "I am on my lunch right now!"  "Oh, yeah sorry about that," and then they walk away.  I am only good for them when they need computer help.  Otherwise I am a leper.  Dude I get an hour duty free, unpaid lunch.  Get the fuck away from me with work questions RIGHT NOW!  I could probably write a book about my anxieties revolving around eating with co-workers.  This reminds me of a childhood recurrent nightmare I would get when feverish.  But we will save that for another time, just thinking of mouths smacking is giving me sweaty palms.

So since the start of the new year when they changed our shifts I have done this:

Not my lunch or desk... or hand!
I know, I know.... how terrible.  But what are my choices?  Sit outside in the rain?  Hide in the ladies room to eat(gross)?  Don't say eat in your car.  Today the hubs has the car so I would be without a car.  If the weather was nicer I could go sit outside.  For any of my readers:  my meals are not smelly, messy and my co-workers are okay with it.  They actually all know my anxiety of the breakroom.  After years of suddenly having to run to the bathroom when it's time to go to the breakroom to sing happy birthday they figured it out.  If I could go all day without eating I would.  But it's bad for you, I get loopy without food and it's bad for you.  I know this is all a bunch of wanky wank about a situation I can't change but what can I do?

I have also come to the conclusion that some of my fellow computer techs eat in the office to avoid the breakroom too.  And I haven't taken a survey as of yet but I think some of my reasons may be some of theirs.  Well at least the gaggle of cackling office ladies and the asking for help during eating time.

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