A Workplace Catch-22

I looked over at the clock and found it was 3:30 in the morning.

Ironic that, especially with the day I’d just had.

Earlier on the job, I’d moved a total of 2,568 pounds; a skid of printed materials weighing 918 pounds plus 15 boxes of regular copy paper weighing 50 pounds each and another 15 boxes of laser copy paper, weighing 60 pounds each.  You do the math.

And, not to toot my own horn but I did this alone while the other half of a two member operations crew was probably busy doing something else.

And this little bit of heavenly extra was in addition to the ordinary, everyday s…tuff that generally runs down the pike.

Now lying here, “fore day in the morning” as the old folks used to say and nursing my aches, I’m thinking, hard about how nice it would be to have an additional pair of hands touching some of this cardboard and how such requests are continually being evaluated.

I wondered how many others out there were lying awake nursing their workplace wounds.

It occurred to me then that as long as the work gets done in a timely and efficient manner, properly then any request for additional hands will surely fall by the waste side.

Speculating, I figured that this is a universal catch-22 that more than a few workers are laboring under, i.e. as long as you do the work then you can’t prove that you need assistance to do the work.

How can that be though, I mused?  Are there no standards?  Who makes decisions about such matters?  Better still, who is qualified to make those decisions?

The problem is that once you perform good work, good work is expected.  Any slack off will be questioned and you’ll be accused of trying to get over just to get additional help when all you are is tired.

In a way, we become victims of ourselves as most of us want to do good work on the job, whatever it is.

It wasn’t always like this.  There was a time when more people, including those who make such decisions, were workers themselves who could readily empathize with your daily effort and make a clean judgment weighing both departmental needs and the health of staff against the company’s bottom line.

It seems those days are waning and all that’s left is the toil.

As my eyelids got heavy, my last thought before delving into dream world was another ironic one.

Now, when we really need the influence and impact of organized labor, unions are a bad word of business.  Funny that.

Good night…


Filed under Opinion, workplace relationships

2 responses to “A Workplace Catch-22

  1. I had a weary work day too. No, I did not lift 2500 pounds today, but I believe I carried more than my share of mental weight today. Burned out from nonstop, and slightly nonsense meetings of endless chatter about why we can’t meet our goals and why we are not more productive, and what it is we need to do to force others to be more productive so that we can meet our goals. Too much talk, and not enough action. Well, lots of action items, but the action items are almost as nonsensical as the endless chatter from marathon meetings. I had 8 teleconferences today with intermittent breaks that totaled maybe 1 hour and 15 minutes (a half hour here, 15 minutes there, but not a large enough window of time to take a break and relieve some mental stress by engaging in physical stress — i.e. a little weight lifting and cardio at the local gym). My last call was with colleagues in Asia Pacific. That ended at 7:53pm, but with more “action items” to chase, I wasn’t completely signed off until about a quarter after 8pm. And a bit too weary to get to the gym. And my day starts again in about 6 hours…

    • Hey, i feel you. If there’s anything that toiling in the acres has shown me is that none of us has a monopoly on hard work. We each have our jobs to do, some of us do different things. But universally, I think that all workers out there, whether you are an administrator, warehouseman or food service worker, we’re all asked to do much, much more with much, much less. Doing that prevents us from doing those things that affords us relief, like you going to the gym. But, again universally, we all have to have an outlet and make sure we partake of that outlet. Otherwise it takes its toll over a period of time. And when that happens, it’s sad but sometimes you wind up with a workplace catch-.22 caliber, pun intended. Thanks for the comment, Arlean and holler back.

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