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basilmemories ([personal profile] basilmemories) wrote2010-11-28 07:59 am

Job loss, injury report, and ye old trust matters.

In what seems to be a matter of fate giving me my birthday drama early, I am now effectively not working at my seasonal job any more. Why you ask? A catch twenty-two. When it turned out that the next week’s schedule wasn’t set in stone, I went to ask the store manager if I could have some hours after the first, aka the day when I was off light duty. The manager said that he couldn’t have me as a liability, however when I said that I was concerned about being dropped for inactivity, he repeated that he couldn’t have a liability on the clock. So yes, even though I stayed in contact with the higher-ups, went to the ER to get the proper notices, and worked my little ass off to get better as soon as possible, it might not work anyway. This means if the insurance agency lowballs me on the settlement that I can only have so much room to try and get enough coverage for the bills. I need to have enough cash to pay the normal bills to be able to go to court.

But what really gets to me are the actions of one of my friends… and also head of Hr. But before I get into what she did, let me describe how black Friday went.

Yay black Friday!

After a night of me catnapping to try and be awake during my shift, the small thanksgiving group breaks up and I go with Hr to work. This is because the shift starts at 3:30 am. We go in at around midnight. So naturally, I get bored and fast. After reading for about an hour I decide to talk a walk, since I exercise my ankle every day, and by then it was oneish, and I knew when I got home I would be too dead to crutchwalk around the apartment. It was also a chance to see if the swelling had gone down enough that I could get my brace into my shoe. If I could, it meant that after the first I’d have extra stability at my job and lessen any chance of reinjury. Good for the company and good for me. So I was thankful to find out that it fit, and I was off and strolling to best buy to see how many idiots had set up full camp gear. (answer: a lot). Along the way I confirmed that I could walk without my crutches (though having one allowed me to practically run, and in general I walked faster/had better balance with one crutch then none), but that running without them wasn’t going to work just yet. So now that I had killed time, I returned feeling all proud of myself and vaguely frostbitten, and waited for my shift.

Shift came and… for the most part it was boring. Lots of time spent sitting in a chair, sometimes answering questions, and for the most part the only real heavy traffic occurred near the end of my shift. To be honest, for the most part at my “sit at desk and answer phones” job, I got more calls from employees then people wanting to know about products. Communications-wise, it was hit and miss. For the most part the customer questions were easy to answer. However when it required someone in the other departments or the managers to get on the line, it could be… problematic. As in “sometimes I had to put the person back on hold two or three times because nobody picked up the line in time.” Kinda problems. This didn’t seem to get any better when I upped the frequency of my “annoy the crap out of the people on walkies so they answer” announcements. At least however a call was better then no call. However then lunch break time came.

Managerial issues

Now I figured then would be a good time to talk to the Store Manager, since that’s who Hr told me to talk to about hours. First I asked if he’d be around after lunch, since he was doing line management work. He said he didn’t know, but possibly. Since I know firsthand how hard it is to get to talk to him if you’re not in work that day, I asked if it was okay to talk about it now. Look! I was being proactive, go me!

-Yeah. And then that conversation happened. And man did that hurt. I had done all that shit to prove that I was going to be available and ready to work asap, hell I had even come in at midnight on black-friggin-Friday and leaving at noon, and I figured if anything would show them that I was capable of this job, sleep deprivation, amazing amounts of cold, and helping people when they tagged me on breaks would show that I was the Little Crutchie that Could. Hell, even when I was using the crutches I was almost completely walking, they just provided that tiny bit of balance. So then after coming back from lunch I went back to work, and it was a good thing that nobody came in for a bit/I didn’t get many calls, because there were more then a few times I honestly couldn’t hold back the tears. But I’d be a shitty customer service rep if I couldn’t switch modes fast enough to act fine when someone called. So I managed.

A few times that day Hr came in, before and after the talk with Store Manager. She even commented on my walk earlier along the lines of “what are you doing, we go through all this [the getting light work, still being on crutches, excexc], and then you go out walking?” It was lighthearted, but it sets up something important later. In any case when she came in later she noticed that things were different. “are you okay?” “oh yeah, just peachy”. There were waves of me being almost okay with losing my job, and then others where I hit the dark spot of “Look at yourself, you’re nearly thirty and you have no signifigant power over your life. Your job doesn’t even think you’re good enough to be kept on as holiday help. If they did they wouldn’t mind you being on crutches for another week or so”. The usual feelings came up: self-loathing, hopelessness, and the general feeling that I should have bled out on the street instead of being a burden.

-Around here I decided that it would be best if I told Hr what was up. Even if she couldn’t talk to the Store Manager, she was a friend, and I felt that I could lean on her like she had leaned on me and my nearly-adopted brother just a day earlier. The next time she came in I finally started to tell her when… someone called her out mid-sentence. “Okay”, I think “that sucked balls, but she’s bound to come in later when she’s off the clock. She said she’d be sticking around to give me a ride home anyway.” And since she’d commented that she’d probably stick around in her office, and her office was connected to where I was, I could talk to her then. Besides, I had to stop mid-sentence, what kind of douche would blow off their friend after that?

The shift goes by, and people come in and out of the office. That’s normal, the change box is there, and it’s black Friday, after awhile the whole “Oh hi X/exc” smalltalk while the same people rushed in and out got a bit awkward. So I more or less tuned it out after awhile. It was during this time that someone decided that they needed my walkie more then me aaaand when I turned around to contact the manager about two calls, it was indeed gone. Not good. Now paging guest service was out, as for one of the calls previously I’d tried to get ahold of them that way when they didn’t respond to the walke call, and they very much didn’t answer that. So I say to myself, “Fuck it, Store Manager can blow me. There is a employee and a customer on the line, and I can crutchrun. I don’t have a job anyway, so why would it matter if I get hurt on the job and piss him off?” So I do just that.

I book it out the door, just as one of the managers blares over the electronics walkie, “You need to get that, Basil.” I grab it, and announce that I’m coming up there because someone grabbed my walkie and they both needed to talk to managers. Then I set it down and continued on when I didn’t get a confirm on the message. I know that thing has problems sometimes. So I go up to guest service, and someone grabs the call for the customer, then I tell Store Manager about someone who wanted to only talk to him, then I added that I didn’t have a walkie and why. I never did get a walkie back, but thankfully the rest of the calls were things that didn’t need one.

So it comes time to clock out, I do so, and then check to see if Store Manager is free yet. He isn’t. I also head over to customer service to tell them they’ve got the phones again. “Oh no! You can’t do this to me Basil! I’m swamped!” And let me tell you, it was hard not to respond, “Then tell Store Manager to schedule me during the afternoon-evening when you guys need someone to handle it.”

Talking with Hr

So I head out, and go into boarders. Hr isn’t there. Hr also wasn’t in her office. I’m starting to get downright angry. So wait, she WAS being a douchebag? Where the hell was she? Did she just leave me to walk to the bus stop? That was the reason I didn’t pack my headphones, because she said she would give me a ride home and so I wouldn’t need music while I was walking. Damnit it had been a day of suck and lack of sleep and all the things I thought I could pay for like bills and food were now off the table, the little shit counted right then! So man, I called her ass so hard. Nothing, just voice mail. I call Black_magician, nothing as well. Thinking that perhaps she was having an emotional problem like yesterday, I call mom and ask if she’s there. I could understand cutting me off and heading home if she was dealing with issues, and dude, what kind of friend would I be to-

Oh. She wasn’t there either. And mom wasn’t pleased about the news I had to give her.

…FUCK THAT SHIT. And then I promptly flipped a godamn table. Well. I was in the restroom so it was more like a package of sanitary toilet covers, BUT IT WAS CLOSE ENOUGH!!!1

So I called Hr again, fully intending to spout even more raeg onto her voice mail until either she picked up or my verbal bile dissolved the server where her messages were kept. She picked up, amazingly groggy and out of it for a moment. Son of a bitch! She’d either totally forgot about giving me a ride or she’d blown me off. I didn’t care either way, I was already seeing red, flames on the side of my face, as they say. Whatever, I just wanted her ass there so I could get home and get into the argument that was going to happen with mom.

So she does, in fact come to pick me up. In the car she comments that she forgot the tamales at home, “Taco bell!” I joyfully think to myself “Or at least some form of food kinda like that! She read up on my tweets and she DID understand how terrible I felt! Oh man I feel bad about-“

“That’s okay Hr.”
“… I was talking to Black_magician.”
“Though I guess we might have some at the house.”

I think I said something about my twitter post and looked out at the road. Jesus fucking Christ, I felt like shit and just about to boil over at the same time. I finally mentioned the reason why I was in such a horrible mood and her response to it?

A completely flat “What do you want out of me?”. Now let me backtrack here. Hr has personal experience with being in pain and that affecting how she sees the world at the moment and the sheer frustration at being unable to do things. She’s also had experience with the same upper management people dicking her around and how utterly small you feel. Moreover, she knows what it’s like to have those same people get on her case for shit she couldn’t control (like getting the keys to her own office). She’d been there for a vast majority of the time while I tried to get around, bugged people about transportation and medical issues, went off pain meds so I would be awake more and thus get more done, and just in general all the bs I went through. She knew how much I needed to stay employed and she gave me the deadpan, corporate, “I don’t care about your shit” tone. I blew a fucking gasket.

-An ounce of fucking sympathy!” And then I go on to say that if my department manager, or the Store manager had said anything close to “this is terrible, but we have to do this because of store policy.” I would have handled it better. I understand when people have to toe the corporate line, hell, I’ve had moments between friends when I’ve been in the exact same situation. But no. Their way of going about it was heartless and dismissive, and she was doing the same damn thing. Now here’s the deal. Corporate has been on her about supposed favoritism, since she can give me a ride from time to time, and we knew each other from before I was employed there. However on-the-clock we barely ever saw each other, and the longest talk I ever really had with her was about store policy. We knew the line between business and personal things. In response to the pressure she rode me harder on things, and if I got a ride I would’ve had to say she just saw me on the way from the bus. I could live with that. But this? Fuck that noise. She wasn’t on any godamned clock. She didn’t have any reason to cop the corporate tone. She’d stepped over the line from “friend” to “someone who I thought was a friend, but just wants to save her neck even when there’s no reason for her to be defensive”. As we pull in, she says something like, “Okay, we’re here. Do you want me to help you up the stairs?”

“No.” I say, getting my things and getting out of the car. “I’ve been dealing with this on my own the entire time”.

Now this isn’t true. In personal things she’s been amazingly helpful, and when it involved any matter that wasn’t based on work, she was there for me. However work-wise it was completely different. I can think of three or four times where I called the higher-ups about medical issues and keeping in touch, and they said they’d talk things over and Hr would get back to me. Cue a couple of days later and I’d get an annoyed call from Hr asking why I hadn’t called so-and-so back. Despite repeated times when I’d say, “uh, so-and-so said they’d talk to you and you’d call me back”, Hr insisted that it was my job to call people back. I felt like I didn’t know what to do. One time I needed to talk to Store Manager, Hr calls me back to tell me I need to talk to my Department manager. Another time I try to get my scheduling done for the training, and when the customer service people tell me that Hr will call me back, I get the call and Hr says that I don’t need to talk to my Department manager or the Store Manager, but any manager will do. The day when I talked to Store Manager, she told me that Department manager wasn’t responsible for my hours, Store manager was. In addition she was always insistent on telling me that I was constantly at risk at losing my job, and only the vouching she did for me was keeping me employed.

It was these things that came to mind when I twittergriped.

Heaven and hell, let’s Twitterfight!

“On one hand I feel bad for telling my friend that I've done most of the workshit by myself, but then again early on she admitted that she couldn't help too much because her bosses were on her ass. I don't wanna doubt her, but considering how generous outside of work she was… I wonder how much of what happened were the limits of her title. Sure she needed her job, but now I have to accept the settlement. After all, legal action requires you to have extra money to live on while you're dealing with the courts.

But at least I'll have a happy 2nd. I'll just take codeine and my mood will be better a few moments before the stuff knocks me out.”

This is not a nice thing to say about a friend, no. But I was hurt. This was the same person who just the other day was crying in her car about her roommate, and me and Raptor were there and offered a shoulder and advice. Later on she had talked to me about a personal matter and how much she hated not being able to do anything about it. Damn it I had considered her a close friend, and she went and pulled that. All the little things added up. I remembered how she’d said “if only you had a wheelchair” on the way home from work, and how she’d given me the stopgap medical coverage form a week or two after I’d been hit. If I’d gotten that sooner, I might have been able to get a wheelchair! Hell, I might have been able to save my job! But no, I got it, tried to apply, and got rejected. That thing has a time limit, you see.

But the response from her was nothing less then saying “I stick my neck out for you and this is the thanks I get, what more did you want from me?” I in fact tell her what she could have done. She gets upset and tells me she’s not my boss.

…wait wait wait. She’s not my boss? That changes things. If she’s not my boss I would have told the Higher ups “Uh, Hr is telling me to call so-and-so and being vaguely aggressive about it. When I told her that you said you’d talk with her and get back to me, she said that wasn’t her job, but mine. Which one is right? Or what is the correct answer?” That could have cut out 1/3 of the job-stress I was having about the job side of things.

Furthermore I mention that I’m going to talk to osha about things and see where they point me, because frankly, something smells. She tells me that “You're joking, right? OSHA doesn't even apply here! Your injury was not work-related, and this isn't a dick swinging contest. Beating a dead horse isn't going to save your job. Preaching labor laws isn't going to either. I'll get you whatever info you need for whatever claim you want to file, but I can't hold your hand or anyone elses through this. BTW, I'll get a copy of the form you signed that said TRU is an At-Will employer that does not require a reason to term seasonal associates”.

So my frustration at being caught in a catch twenty-two is a dead horse, and saying that something is up with how my case was handled is a “dick-swinging contest”. She promptly linked me to a website with information on Ca labor laws and the lack thereof. However, in addition to that, it had links to a number of employment law and accident lawyers that have free consultations. I honestly can’t trust Hr to be honest about what my rights are anymore. At this point in time I don’t intend to sue, but I do need to ask outside help about what claims I can file with the company, and what my options are at this point.

Things go quiet for a bit as the “damn, am I going to be better enough for Monday’s shift at the gas station? And even if I’m not, can I afford not to go anyway?” I… honestly don’t think I am, but at this point I need to talk to my boss and gauge his reactions before saying I can or can’t come in. When I finally gave up on the idea of sneaking a crutch in, I posted about how I had to be a liability to finish my shift.

Hr goes nuts. It goes from “who took your walkie?” to what I could have done, and that they had me back there because I was supposed to answer questions and be able to handle that, and insinuating that by not paging guest services or 94 I was being a fail at guest service. To which I say, bull. When I wasn’t trying to keep myself together, I was rocking that customer service. The only cases I had to get a manager was about an item that store policy forbid me from telling the customer the stock we had, and matter about our warranty being applied retroactively. Turns out it was good to send the last one to the Department manager, he made an exception that I wasn’t qualified to give at all. Hr did have a point about 94, I did space that. However customer service was a no-go. I had tried to page them before for another case, multiple times even. They weren’t picking up.

So yes, more verbal sparring occurred over twitter, and in the end I just ask her how she would have done the entire thing, considering my exact situation. The result made my jaw drop so much I have to copypaste it all and comment on each bit.

How to not get fired, the Human Resources way

“Well I would start by actually physically walking in to talk to the managers instead of waiting for days on end...”

Wait what? How? It was only by the last week I was able to stumble around the house without my crutches, and two weeks ago that I could walk on my crutches without winding myself in five minutes. She saw this, my friends saw this! More importantly, it was just around two weeks ago when I was able to get my damn foot over a small lip about three inches high to get in the shower. Hr and I even had a conversation about the best way to acrobatic my ass onto a bus, and even then we both agreed that there might be problems. She knew that I was trying to get whistlestop to get me to work, she knew how hard it was for me to get anywhere. Why? Because she was the main way I got anywhere. We even had an argument because I didn’t know how I was going to get down to the ER at one point, and she couldn’t take time off otherwise her bosses would accuse her of favoritism or she’d have to skip community service. How on earth did she think I was going to magically get there? Take a cab and pay around fifty bucks when I wasn’t making any money? I know we sell monopoly at my store, but cab drivers won’t take that cash in lieu of payment.

“Then I would work closely with the management to make accommodation while I tried to recover as quickly as possible...”

You mean like I did? Like how my Department manager said he needed an answer by Saturday one time when I had no clue how long my injury would last? Like how I had to arrange shit to get an ER release form even though Hr said the forms I got on the day of the accident should be fine? Like how on the day I got the release form (before I headed in to get the police report and get groceries), I crutched in to give it to Store manager? And how Department manager didn’t get it even though it was in my file? And how I had to contact him to inform him that it was in my file?

Oh right, sorry. I’m beating a dead horse again. Clearly I messed up.

“I would try to forgo the crutches as much as possible so my injury would heal faster and maintain contact with the ins. co...”

It cuts off there, so I’m just going to tackle the first part. WHAT. The exact instructions I got from both doctors was “exercise it each day, until you hit the limit.” They were insistent that the thing could be damaged very easily and that it could require surgery if I wasn’t careful. Hell, I may have even gone over my limit a few times. It sure felt like it the time I tried to shower instead of taking a bath. I worked out until it started hurting, tested to see how much range of motion I had, and kept on it every day. There was no reason for me not to. I wanted to go to yaoi con, and when that didn’t happen, I wanted to go back to work. In what strange, mirror-world does that count as not working on my injury? Secondly, who are the ins? Are we talking about management? Because we already talked about how I did that. Does ins stand for insurance? Well foolish me, I guess I was supposed to know that even before I got the police report with their info!

“And I would know whom to blame when things went awry, and not take out my frustrations on someone who has only been helping.”

Oh wow, just wow. What do I even say to that? If you’ve managed to get this far then you know just how I feel about this. Only been helping? Martyr complex much? I mean I know I have one, and I’ve warned Hr that she’s not entirely saintly a few times before, and pardon the pun but Jesus H Christ! This same person admitted that she’d taken her frustrations out on people because of her personal issues recently, and now she’s telling me that Shit Got Too Real for her? I understand not being able to take another load on your shoulders, but don’t say that frustration-dumping isn’t cool when you frustration-dump yourself. She’s even done the same thing to me about her job.

The result

In the end I still consider her a friend, it’s probably not mutual, but who cares. My issue is that like with my other friends, she’s now got that one issue that I can’t trust her on. In some cases these things fade over time, but other ones stay around as a recurring problem. I don’t know which one this will be. I don’t know how long she’s been in Human Resources over the years, and this could be a case of her still learning the ropes. But the way she handled things over the period of my accident is not the way a good Hr deals with matters. The way she crossed the work/personal line is not how you be a good friend. If anything I hope this whole thing hasn’t nailed Black_magician as well, because I’d like to at least have one friend left.