Work Ethic (or lack thereof)

Something happened at work today.  Though I was aware it was going to happen, I wasn’t there to witness it.  One of my co-workers got fired.  For cause.  And it was most definitely avoidable.

Joshua (*not his real name) wasn’t exactly what I would call an exemplary worker.  If anything he was fairly typical of his generation, at least from what I’ve observed over the past month or so.   While he was able to show up to work on time, once he got to work, he needed to be led.  Always.  He honestly did not appear to have any ‘get up and go’ or the ability to think on his own.  He expected someone to tell him what to do, and if he didn’t do something correctly, once it was explained to him he merely said “Ok” and it was never seemingly clear that he either understood what he did wrong, or was interested in changing it.

It was my responsibility to train him to be my backup.  To work on my days off, and when it came time, to do my job while I was on vacation.  From the beginning, I wasn’t really certain he was going to fit in the job.  Even so, I did my very best to give him the ‘bones’ of the job, explain how to do things, the order they needed to be done and so on.  When it came to the technology aspect of things, he was all ears.  When it came down to nuts and bolts, to the physical side of the work, he wasn’t so much interested.  His lack of enthusiasm was immediately apparent, but he seemed like a good kid (he’s 19), and I did my level best to train him appropriately.

As time went on though, there were things that he wasn’t doing correctly.  He’d be called on them, corrected, he’d say ‘Ok’ and then go ahead the next time and do it wrong again.  When asked why he did it wrong, his stock answer was “I don’t know, I just wasn’t thinking.”  Too, he had a routine I could have set my watch by.  During a six hour shift, within an hour of first arriving, he’d need to use the bathroom.  And his bathroom breaks would last 15-20 minutes.  Midway through the shift, he’d have a 20 minute break.  Early on in his employment, he’d be gone only about 22-23 minutes.  Over time, he’d manage to stretch it out to almost a half hour.  And on off days, he’d disappear for large stretches of time, then without warning or asking ahead of time, he’d leave for the day anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.  One of the meat cutters mentioned it the other day.  He had work for him to do, and he just wasn’t there.  He’d left without saying anything.  Which is absolutely both irresponsible and against company policy.

For me, the last straw was this past Wednesday.  On the day previous, we had a load come in, I’d done most of the work that needed to be accomplished and left him with the remainder to put up and enough work to keep him occupied.  One of the responsibilities in the job is to mark down product that’s close to it’s throw out date.  Typically, Joshua was never good at recognizing these items, would miss a lot of them, and that would constitute loss for the department, as they’d have to be marked down at a greater degree the day of, rather than less so on the day before.  I’d mentioned that many times to him, attempted to impress upon him the importance of why it needed to be done, but either he didn’t care, or just expected me to get it for him the next day.  The other part was that he just didn’t bother putting out the product that was empty on the sales floor.  He would wrap the meat that was freshly cut (and occasionally mark it inconsistently) and then wander around the store doing nothing instead of his job.  The meat cutter that was working with him isn’t the sort that likes to chase after people for not doing their job.  If they’re not, he just lets them fail, and shrugs his shoulders expecting them to hold up their end.

The store manager got involved yesterday when I had a long talk with MY department manager about Joshua.  I was pretty adamant about the fact it wasn’t fair for me to be busting my keister to get things done and on my off day for him to drop the ball and expect me to fix everything the next day.  I quite honestly had had my fill of it, and he agreed it was time to do something.

My department manager spoke to the store manager about it, after having had a chat with the assistant store manager the day before.  Originally, it was going to be a ‘write-up’, where Joshua would be counseled and informed that he was still employed, but he needed to really pay attention, buckle down and do his job.  The fact that he’d been leaving work without permission (far too many times) sort of put the whole thing over the limit and the decision was made to separate him from employment.  He wasn’t yet a member of the employee union (he hadn’t worked there long enough) so that wasn’t an issue.

No one likes to see someone else fail.  But when they don’t seem to care one way or the other, I can’t even fathom what that’s like.

 

New Neighbors?

In the past 20 years, we’ve had a Hogan’s Alley variety of characters renting or living in the house next door.  Some have been quiet, some have been extremely noisy.  At the present time the house is empty, but last week I talked to the woman that owns the property and in the coming weeks, there’s going to be a new tenant.  Tentatively.

At the very least she says that the new tenant isn’t going to be a problem (too much) as it’s going to be her daughter.  But of course with this family there’s always been some form of drama, as the daughter is in the process of divorcing her husband, and I was warned he may come to the property in the coming months as the divorce drags on.  Naturally she mentioned to her daughter that we next door are ‘good people’ and someone she can count on, which means at some point we may have a crying woman at the door with a couple of kids in tow asking if we can call 911 for her because of something happening at the house.  I can see it already.  Sigh.

Honestly, if I had enough money, I’d ask her if she’d be willing to sell the house and I could put someone in the house that would be suitable for us, but that’s unlikely to happen.  Or just knock down the house and barn and add it to our property.  But that’s not a good scenario either as the house next door is a buffer to what’s happening on the other side of the street.  But that’s….another story for another time.

 

Grass clippings

Voila!  It’s done!  The first mowing of the season is in the bag.  So to speak.  I left the grass clippings on the lawn for the first mow, so they will break down and reintegrate into the soil (hopefully) and make a stronger lawn in the process.  Bagging clippings makes a lawn look nice in the short term, but my parents never bagged theirs (probably because their lawns encompassed about an acre) so for the most part I don’t bag mine.  Of course my lawn is a mere fraction of the size, but then again I don’t have a place to put the bagged clippings, except for a small brush pile behind the garage.  And at the end of the season I have to find someone to haul it all away.  Which costs money.  Consequently, most of the clippings stay where they fall.  UNLESS it’s been many weeks and the accumulated debris would end up killing said lawn.  So there’s many factors to consider.

Having the day off and getting the lawn mowed early also gave me time to think about what to do with the garage this year.  Most years I get out the mower and the rototiller, use the latter once or twice and the mower every week or twice a week (depending on the weather) and then in the fall have to figure out a way for everything to fit in the garage again so the car can reside as well over the winter.  It ends up being a major chore, simply because it’s a one-car garage and there’s so many other things that need to fit in there as well.  Having a garden shed would come in handy, but although I’ve suggested it many times, it’s never seemed to garnered much enthusiasm from the opposite end of the marriage.

Needless to say, cleaning out the garage and getting rid of all the stuff that has been accumulating over the past twenty years is a goal for this year.  Just have to do it on a day when it’s not quite so hot.  Heat tends to suck at my ability to get things accomplished.  But then again, days when it’s below freezing does that too.  So it’s a matter of scheduling.

Finally, there’s still planting to do.  Memorial Day is coming up, and like most years, I get the holiday off.  So there will be time for that.